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Tertiary education post A levels??

Posted by ethan2019 
Tertiary education post A levels??
August 20, 2019 11:50AM
I currently pay maintenance for my son who turns 19 this September. He's completed his A levels. I have told him I plan to pay directly to a University bill rather than via him or his Mum, so I know where my money is going.

In our divorce court order it says "The Respondent do pay or cause to be paid to the Petitioner periodical payments for the benefit of the child <name> at a rate of £x until <name> shall attain the age of 17 or cease full-time tertiary education (whichever shall be later) or futher order."

Does this mean I have to pay the same fixed amount until he finishes University?
Does it matter whether it's a 3 or 4 year course?
If the bill I pay towards is more than my commitment, I assume I'm only obligated to pay my fixed £x amount?
Out of transparency I've asked him to send me his full set of costs for Uni. Does he have to provide this? Basically I'm trying to understand how he will fund all elements of his degree so I'm not paying towards unnecessary things.
He is currently going through clearing. If he doesn't go to Uni this year but works instead with the goal of going in a years time, does this still commit me to pay in future?

Thanks
Re: Tertiary education post A levels??
August 20, 2019 02:20PM
This wording (which is standard) provides that you should pay your ex wife rather than your son direct. If your ex wife wanted to be difficult she could insist that you continued paying her. In practice many people in your ex wife's position do not object to the child being paid direct once the child is at university. However, most people in your ex wife's position would also want to be satisfied that the correct amount of money was actually being paid. Obviously if you pay your son direct rather than via your ex spouse she does not really know whether you are fulfilling your obligations or not.

If your ex wife agrees (and for the reasons above she is not obliged to agree) then you can pay your son direct.

'Tertiary' education is normally understood to a mean a first degree course. It does not matter if that course last 3 years or 4 years. Both are covered. As to a gap year, well, this is sufficiently normal for a court to think that your obligation to make the payments during tertiary education continue.

There is one final point which is that your post seems to be to some extent about you exercising control. Well, the days of you exercising control over your ex wife are over (which you may find to your cost if she insists upon payments continuing to be paid through her). So far as your son is concerned you know how much you should be paying because the court order says what you should be paying. Any child of this age with any sort of backbone would probably resent sending you the information you are asking for and he certainly isn't obliged to provide it.
Re: Tertiary education post A levels??
August 29, 2019 10:01PM
Ok thank you for taking the time to explain things. So basically me paying him instead is only ok with her sanction.

He intends to return part time to resit one A level. And work part time. This is not full time education and I want to encourage him to need/want to work rather than just take a handout so he can sit around playing computer games. He's already spent 1000 quid on an expensive camera and guitar. Is offering to pay half until he goes to Uni acceptable?

His exam results were superb but he refuses to go to clearing unis. Nor will he consider apprenticeships with degrees. I understand it's his life choices but how long many years can he turn down good opportunities?

Several years ago we agreed between us that I would pay 16% less per month than the court order due to my circumstances. This has resulted in a deficit of several thousands which she is now threatening to reclaim. Can she?

Thanks
Re: Tertiary education post A levels??
August 30, 2019 02:17PM
If you reached agreement that you should pay less and you can prove that you reached agreement (with, for instance, an email or a text) then she will be debarred from claiming the arrears. In any case there is a statutory bar on recovering arrears of child maintenance which are more than a year old so she would only be able to claim arrears for one year if you are not in a position to prove the agreement.

Since he will be working part time, yes, I think it is reasonable to suggest paying half for that period of time. That does, of course, act as a disincentive for him to work. Whether it does act as such a disincentive depends upon his character.
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