Can Maintenance Payments Extend to Support Children Through Higher Education?

September 03, 2013  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

Recently there has been a surge in enquiries from divorced parents seeking legal advice on whether their ex-spouse can pay maintenance towards higher education fees for children. Tuition fees rose to £9,000 last year and increasing numbers of divorced mothers in particular are seeking extra payments towards financing their children’s university education. And, of course, just because your child is away at university it doesn’t mean that they don’t occasionally come home with a mountain of washing and clear out your fridge! Financial, emotional and practical responsibility for our children doesn’t magically end at the age of 18, which is why it is a sensible idea to plan ahead to ensure that any maintenance agreement following a divorce covers or contributes to university or vocational training – or at least provides a ‘fridge stocking’ allowance! 

higher education maintenance payments

Maintenance payments through the Child Support Agency generally end when a child reaches the end of secondary education but this is not necessarily always the case. Many family law cases involve teenage children who are soon to set off to university, and growing numbers of woman are seeking other options for finding support in funding their children’s further education.

It’s not particularly common but applying to the court to change the terms of a child maintenance agreement can be done in some circumstances, although there will be costs related to the process which may offset any payments won. Courts do, however, have the power to extend maintenance payments to the end of a university or vocational course to assist with a child’s financial and educational needs. The outcome of this kind of enquiry will depend on the financial capability of both parents and the needs of the child or children involved.

A family law solicitor can help talk you through the logistics of child maintenance payments and other decisions that need to be made when a divorce or separation involves children. If you’re in Maidenhead, feel free to come and speak to one of our divorce solicitors and family lawyers for personal advice and support, whatever your situation.

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