All children in Australia whose parents have separated, whether or not the parents were married to each other, are eligible for child support payments. A child is defined as under 18 years of age. If a child turns 18 during their last year of school, then they are eligible for child support until they complete their school year.
A child who is married or enters into a de facto relationship is not eligible for child support. If there is no international maintenance agreement applicable, a child who is no longer in ordinarily in Australia or an Australian citizen is also not eligible for child support payments.
This responsibility has been given to the Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS).
A formula is applied under Part 5 of the Child Support Act 1989 (the “Assessment Act” or the “CSAA”).
In the words of the Full Court, in the case of Gyselman (1992) FLC 92-279:
“The Assessment Act, combined with the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 enables, and in some cases obliges, the assessed liability to be collected through and enforced by the Child Support [Registrar].”
Child Maintenance is financial support for dependent children over 18 years of age. Adult Child Maintenance is payable is a child (over 18) is studying (including secondary and tertiary education such as a university or an apprenticeship), has a physical or mental disability or suffers from a serious illness.
A Child Maintenance Application must be made before the Child in question turns 18 years old. The Application can be brought by the parent of the Child or the Child themselves.