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Child support for further education?

A level and GCSE results are announced this month. While parents will hope for success for their children in their exams, some will be wondering about their on-going liability for child maintenance if their child goes on to further and higher education.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) only deals with maintenance for children until the end of their secondary education. Sometimes financial settlement orders made following divorce incorporate child maintenance, but these may not extend past the end of secondary education.

What then?

Hopefully payments of child maintenance to assist further education can be agreed. The university websites are very helpful in providing information for parents to assess the costs of university living. However, if no agreement has been reached, then it is possible, in certain circumstances, for the child themselves (if over 18) to make an application to the court for maintenance from the non-resident parent.

These applications are made to the court and look at income and expenditure of both parents, and their ability to pay.

In my experience as a Children Panel solicitor, it’s always best for parents to negotiate a payment for a child’s further education. If this isn’t possible, then the courts can step in. Having done several of these applications, I believe that numbers will rise in future in light of the financial difficulties faced by some students paying for the costs of their further education.