Child maintenance payments usually stop when the child reaches 16 (or 20 if they’re in full-time education up to A-level or equivalent).
Child maintenance can also stop if, for example:
- the child stops being eligible for Child Benefit
- the parent being paid stops being the child’s main carer
- the parent being paid doesn’t want it any more
- either parent dies
- the paying parent is eligible for the ‘nil rate’, eg because they’re a student or a prisoner
If the paying parent stops being eligible for the ‘nil rate’, payments start again automatically. The receiving parent doesn’t need to re-apply for child maintenance.
When child maintenance stops any unpaid amounts up to that point must still be paid. These are known as ‘arrears’.