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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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Hi I have a court order dated 2004 in which it states that

Customer Question

Hi

I have a court order dated 2004 in which it states that i have to pay my ex wife £300 per month until my family (3 boys) have finished full time tertiary education when the sum payable shall be £200 per month until she remarries or cohabits. It further states that i have to pay her £200 a month for each boy until they reach 17 years or cease full time tertiary education.

My first question is the middle boy who has just turned 19 years old left school after his A levels at 18 and lived with me for a year as he obtained a full time job as a trainee accountant with a full study package earning £17.5k pa. He then decided to leave after a year and go back to his mum in Yorkshire as he was 2 hrs nearer to his girlfriend at Edinburgh University who he was desperately missing and visited each weekend (4hrs). I have just been informed he is now going to Edinburgh university for 4 years and i have been told under the court order (by my ex-wife) i am obliged to resume paying £200 per month. Can my sons take permanent jobs as adults, give them up and rejoin full time tertiary education and i have to keep paying for them? My eldest son has also just finished his degree which i have paid for for 3 years and i am concerned he is now also thinking of doing a masters degree and i will have to resume his payments also?

My ex-wife also after 10 years as never remarried or had a partner. Once my boys are fully independent is it reasonable to keep paying for her. My youngest is now 17 years old yet she refuses to get a full time job. Myself and my wife work full time and have continued with masters whilst working full time?

Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.

This is difficult one as it depends upon the interpretation of the order. It is generally considered that higher education or tertiary education means a first degree not a second or third one. Equally if someone ceases education and gets a full time job that terminates the maintenance obligation. So in my view no you cannot be required to resume payments for your second son because he has ceased education and chosen voluntarily to resume it. I also do not consider that you are obliged to pay for your son taking a masters degree. At the end of the day you amy have to take it back to court but I cannot see a court sanctioning maintenance for an adult child who chooses to be an indefinite student. You are stuck with paying your ex however until your third son finishes university if he is going there unless you want to apply to court for a variation.

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