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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32983
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I pay maintenance under a court order as follows: "to be paid

Customer Question

I pay maintenance under a court order as follows:
"to be paid to the Petitioner for the benefit of the child of the family * periodical payments at the rate of £12,000 per annum... until * shall reach the age of 17 or complete full time secondary education, which ever shall be the later".
She turned 18 a month ago.
She has recently completed a BTEC (accelerated completion in advance of the contemplated completion date), so is no longer in full time education, and I was advised her final paper was in February/March. She has her results (apparently, I have had no sight of them).
She went to the USA three weeks ago on holiday (or so we all thought) and then announced that she will not be returning. She applied for a visa in the UK several months ago (unbeknown to us), and now will attend some vocational course there.
According to the government website, child maintenance payments may stop if the parent with care is no longer providing that care. Am I correct to assume I can stop making payments to the mother and support the child directly now?
Please provide case or legislation links to support your case for and/or against my right to stop payments.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you .

Your daughter has finished her Secondary Education - the course she is doing now will be seen as Tertiary so you can indeed stop payments.

The definition of Secondary Education is here

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 5 months ago.

Thank you. I understand the definition of Secondary Education, but the vocational course she will attend in the USA is non-advanced, and would not be classed as tertiary.

My concern is more about the cases I have read which indicate payment is generally due until the September after a course finishes, irrespective of Child Maintenance Payments, although I appreciate that CSA payments would stop at the same time as Child Maintenance Payments, I have read that this is not necessarily true for payments under a consent order.

The consent order does not specify education in the UK - is it right to interpret it that a vocational (non-advanced) course overseas is not relevant for the terms of the consent order?

Please provide more information with regards ***** ***** maintenance in the event the child is no longer living with the parent with care. I referenced: with regards ***** ***** assertion that if she no longer lives with her mother, then there is no requirement to pay - but I am unclear, again, if this applies to only CSA arranged payments or also to consent orders?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
My question related to maintenance under a consent order and asked for citations to support the assertion. I have only received a definition of secondary education, which I already had.
Expert:  Clare replied 4 months ago.

My apologies - this fell off my list for some reason!

You are right - CSA payments end in September - but this does not apply to Court Orders - they end when the Order ends.

The fact that your daughter no longer lives with her mother and has chosen to pursue education (of whatever level) abroad means that payments are no longer due to your ex.

Your ex cannot enforce the Order when the child no longer lives with her

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