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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have To Pay Child Support After Age 18

Justice Family Lawyers Sydney

You may be obliged to pay child support after the child has turned 18 if they still require financial support.

This is called adult child maintenance. An adult child may be entitled to receive payments in order to complete their education, because of a serious illness, or because of a physical or mental disability.

The child’s education may be secondary or tertiary, including high school, TAFE, university, private college and some apprenticeships. The Department of Human Services manages child support paid between parents up until the child turns 18. From that point, the provision of adult child maintenance is determined by court orders.

This might be a consent order if the parents or the child and the paying parent have come to an agreement together, or an order made after a court application and hearing. The child or the non-paying parent can apply for adult child maintenance from the other parent when the child is 17 or after they have turned 18.

Similar to the way in which spousal maintenance payments are determined in financial orders, the court looks at the child’s necessary expenses and the parent’s capacity to pay. Necessary expenses include food, housing, household supplies, transport, medical expenses and educational material such as books, internet bills and computer equipment.

Adult child maintenance is generally not to be used for entertainment and social expenses. In addition, an adult child is not entitled to receive maintenance payments if they are married or living in a de facto relationship.

The adult child maintenance payments can be managed by the Department of Human Services if an arrangement is made to pay the amounts from one parent to the other, who will receive it on behalf of the child.

Otherwise, when the maintenance payments are from one parent directly to the child, this must be done privately.

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