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What is Child Maintenance

Child maintenance is also known as child support. This is a payment usually made by one parent to another to contribute to the financial support of their child after the parents’ separation or divorce. Child maintenance payments may be worked out between the parents themselves or one or both may apply for a child support assessment through the Department of Human Services. This is the government department that manages child support.

Child support may be paid in monetary payments transferred between bank accounts on a regular basis or in non-cash items, or a mixture of the two. Non-cash items include such things as school fees and insurance. If the person paying and the person receiving child support choose to self-manage, they can decide how, when and how much to pay.

Otherwise, the Department of Human Services (DHS) can calculate this for them. When a court orders a person to pay child support, the DHS has the authority to enforce payments. The DHS does this in various ways, including collecting child support directly from banks, deducting it from other government payments and preventing someone from leaving the country if they have not paid their child support debts. Although it is paid to the other parent, child maintenance is for the financial benefit of the child in question.

A person may pay different amounts in child support for different children. Once a child turns 18, they may still be entitled to receive child maintenance, now called adult child maintenance. The court has the authority to order the payment of adult child maintenance.

This is usually paid to allow a child to complete their education or to assist them if they have a disability or illness. Maintenance payments for the financial benefit of a former spouse are called spousal maintenance or de facto partner maintenance and are managed separately from child maintenance.

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