Claiming maintenance for an adult child

Claiming maintenance for an adult child

Our Family Law solicitors here at Neves are often asked if it is possible to claim maintenance for an adult child. Below we explain the circumstances in which a claim could be made to the Family Court.

No order shall be made for a child who has attained the age of 18.  However, if that child remains in full time education, not including university education but for example including school or college, maintenance provision may continue until the child finishes full time education; and

  • Where there are “special circumstances”, the Court may make an order for ongoing “child” maintenance even though the child is no longer in fulltime education.

“Special circumstances” can continue beyond the age of 18 and may include physical or other disability. The expenses attributed to the child’s disability should be taken into account. 

In practice, most child maintenance is now paid as a result of either agreement between the parents or an assessment by the Child Maintenance Service. It is unusual for the Family Court to make a child maintenance award.  However, maintenance for a child who is no longer in full-time education but for whom there are “special circumstances” is a claim which would be made to the Court.

Where parents have never been married to each other, an adult child in education or training (not including university) retains a right to child maintenance as does a child where “special circumstances” exist such as a disability.

The rules concerning child maintenance where the parents have been married are set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 at Section 29. 

As the “child” is likely to be over 18, the child will be the applicant unless he or she does not have the mental capacity to handle the case themselves in which case a Next Friend may be appointed to manage the case on their behalf.

You can find out more about the CMS here -

If you need further assistance, Neves Solicitors offer a fixed fee initial meeting so that we can give you information about claiming child maintenance and the eligibility criteria.