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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34900
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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Hi, I have a small query I hope you can help me with. I have

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I have a small query I hope you can help me with. I have been subject to a child maintenance, court order for my 2 children since 2003.
My daughter is now 27, married and totally self sufficient. My son is 19 and just finishing college and intending to go to University in September.
I know, before you say it, I should have stopped a long time ago for my daughter but long story short. I decided it would be too stressful for all and as years had gone by, I would likely be paying similar for one as I had for two.
My question, where do I stand now, with my son heading for University? Am I obliged to continue honouring the court order and paying money to his mother directly? Or, do I now go back to court to have the order rescinded and support my son independently?
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
When does the court order say that payment should stop?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Clare,

Good question, well presented. I am not in a position to read the order at the moment as I am not at home.
It will be Thursday or Friday before I can answer that question.
To be honest, I found your site by chance and rather spontaneously asked the question. I haven't opened those files since I left court in 2003.
I will get back to you ASAP.

Kind regards,

That is fine - add it when you can
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
As requested, the wording from the court order;

The respondent shall pay maintenance of £xxx.xx per month of each of the two children of the family commencing 01st June 2004. The said payments shall continue until the children cease full time education or attain 18 years, whichever is later in time and may be varied by consent or court order.

As already stated, my daughter is now 27 years old and married. my son is 19 years old and currently resisting A levels at further education college with the intentions of attending Univeristy in September.

I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards,

Did your daughter go to University?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes she did, after finishing her A levels at 18 years old in 2005.
Did you pay her direct or still pay your ex whilst she was at University?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I continued to pay my ex.
The phrase "full time education" is ambiguous and there has been much litigation in the past regarding whether or not it involved University.
Unfortunately in your case you have already set the precedent that in your case it does include University education and on that basis I suspect that a Court could say that it is still payable
You could however offer to pay the money to your son and see if your ex will agree that
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your help. As you cam imagine I am not very happy with the interpretation, ' I have set the precedent'.
I continued to pay in the knowledge that my son did not go without and rather than drag it back to court, I left it as is.
Quite convenient for the legal profession to misconstrue this on behalf of me ex.
Maybe now that I have set equal precedence continuing to pay for my daughter whilst married, I am well truly locked into maintenance payments indefinitely.
The starting point is that you half your payments so that you are no longer paying for your daughter!
Do that immediately
Then write to your ex and say that you will be making the last payment for your son at the start of September and thereafter will make arrangements direct with your son.
It is then up to her to apply to the court if she wishes and can afford it...
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you