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[Sticky] When does child maintenance (CMS) stop after a child leaves education?

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New Member Registered

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum but am going through a similar scenario.

My son was 17 in March 2023 and was attending a 2-year college course doing domestic electrics from Sep 2022- June 2024. He dropped out in May and stopped attending and didn't do the 1st year exams in June.

I arranged for him to start working for a friend doing car bodywork repairs and he started on 4th September. On the 27th I requested that my CMS case be closed as my son was:
1. No longer in full-time education, approved training or an apprenticeship and
2. Now in full-time employment

After waiting until the decision date (30th October) I called CMS who said ex is still claiming Child Benefit (CB) so maintenance needs to be paid until September 2024.
I contacted ex and said that she needs to stop claiming CB because of points 1 and 2 and if she continued to do so knowing full well about points 1 and 2 she could be taken to court and fined up to £1000.

She assured me that she had contacted CB and updated the info.

Fast forward to 23 Nov...

Son receives an instant dismissal for gross misconduct and is now jobless but not in education/training/apprenticeship.

28 Nov

I called CMS who advise me that ex is still claiming CB so I need to continue paying maintenance. CMS advise me to contact CB office and report her for fraud. CB office told me they would look into it but would not be able to feedback any findings etc. and that I would need to contact CMS; they also advised me that the likely outcome is finding in her favour and so I would have to request a Mandatory Reconsideration with CMS. I also email ex stating that CB have been informed.

29 Nov

Receive email from ex blaming me for dangling a carrot of a full-time job which led to my son leaving college and not doing exams. Ex also assumed the initial training and job were approved training and an apprenticeship and was disappointed because I had arranged this knowing that it wasn't approved training or an apprenticeship.... This is why ex never stopped claiming CB despite son receiving over £1300 for a month's wage. Ex has now weaponised son who is now not talking to me because "I'm more interested in money than his welfare" and I should pay the full amount because she needs the money to support him.

Am I wrong to challenge CMS/CB now that son is out of work and not in education/training etc.?

I'm still really cross that he squandered a fantastic opportunity because of his immaturity and bad attitude and the incredibly stupid things he did that got him fired and so my judgement may be somewhat clouded. I don't really want to be paying maintenance for him to doss around all day on his xBox because his mum is still getting a second income from me. I want him to accept responsibility for his own actions and go and get a job shelf-stacking/anything until he re-evaluates his life and decides on a worthy career/education etc.

Your advice would be very helpful right now as I am struggling mentally with it all.

Thanks x

Posted : 01/12/2023 2:02 am
New Member Registered

I have an order that states that the Child Periodical payments order,  the section states that " The youngest child of the family attaining hte age of 18 years or ceasing full time secondary, whichever shall be later., or further order

4 children, have ceased for 2 of them as they are now well over 18 and in full time work

Child 3 has just turned18 and at college, I am assume I can now stop paying for him based on the order above

Child 4 is only 15 



Posted : 14/12/2023 3:24 pm
Trusted Member Registered

@yawneerg If your 18-year-old child re-sits their A levels at school or college, this would still be classed as 'approved education' (i.e., more than an average of 12 hours a week of supervised study or course-related work experience), so, yes, the CMS would expect you to continue to pay child maintenance until such time when they finish their education based on the academic year (even if they are 19). Even if your child is working during their approved education, you would still be expected to pay up until the end of that academic year.

For the avoidance of doubt, the academic year in England is 1 September - 31 August, and while the CMS should stop all payments after 31 August when a child turns 16 or 18 (i.e., leaves approved education), the CMS seems to use the first few days (e.g., 3-4 days) in September as part of the calculation period while they administer the closure of the case.

Posted : 14/12/2023 6:34 pm
Active Member Registered

Does full time education mean the end of secondary school? Or does one continue to pay whilst they are away from the resident parents home and at uni etc?

Posted : 27/04/2024 5:06 pm
New Member Registered


I’m having the same issue. Daughter left FT education and has been working since September. Notified CMS refused the letter from college as evidence that she does not attend. Refused on basis mum still received CB. Called hmrc and stated exactly the same evidence. They’ll look into it…nothing. CMS continue to lie to me about speaking to mum. They haven’t spoken to her. She claims she’s informed them they say she hasn’t. I’ve made two complaints about the service been ignored both times. The caseworker was arguing with me all the time, being rude. 
Been told by CMS adviser I shouldn’t have to pay as child clearly not in education. Now being threatened with DEO, after being told this action will not take place as I’m in appeal process. However, it’s another dept of DWP and they have no clue about ongoing CMS appeal case. I’ve hit a wall and whilst the mum continues to lie to receive CB, even though she earns in excess of £80k a year, government agencies are enabling her to do this and seek to drive me to an early grave. 
The dept is rotten to the core. It seems to change its regulation whenever it wants and seems to use bespoke regulations. says one thing, legislation says the same, CMS and receiving parent seems above the law. I’m sick of it…it has to change. 

Posted : 02/05/2024 2:39 am
New Member Registered


I need advice regarding my payments. I used to pay the required amount of child maintenance for my 2 children. eldest is 18 and was attending college. youngest was in secondary education and had last day at school on 19th May. Both live in Scotland as do I. I discovered in January that my eldest left college in October last year and challenged ex over this. She eventually consented to a payment for my youngest less than the required amount in April 2024. She now informs me that I still have to pay her up up to and including September 2024. Both are working between 25 and 30 hours a week. Both have no plans to go to college or University. Is this the case that I have to paying this lying benefit cheat as Im convinced she hasnt even reported the eldest is no longer at college, What should I do?

Posted : 30/05/2024 1:51 pm
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