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Can I still get child support after my child turns 18?

Can I still get child support after my child turns 18?

Services Australia (Child Support Registrar) assesses the amount of child support payable by one parent to the other and, if requested, collects and transfers payments between the parties.

The paying parent’s obligation to pay child support ends when the child turns 18.  However, if there is a Child Support Registrar assessment in place and your child turns 18 during their last year of school, the Child Support Registrar will contact you and ask you to apply to extend the assessment until your child completes their final year, which is usually in October or November depending on their exam schedule.

If your child continues to live at home after they turn 18, then the burden of meeting their expenses may fall on the parent they live with.  The Child Support Registrar cannot assist you to assess or obtain payments for your adult child (Adult Child Maintenance).

The first step is usually for you to discuss the matter with other parent to see if you can reach agreement regarding Adult Child Maintenance.  If you reach agreement, orders can be made by consent by the court.

If you cannot reach agreement, either you or your child can apply for an Adult Child Maintenance order from Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

You can apply when a child is 17 years old, for the order to apply once they turn 18, or wait until the child turns 18 years old.

How much Adult Child Maintenance you can apply for will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Your child’s “necessary expenses”, including but not limited to, food, housing, transport, education expenses and medical expenses but usually not entertainment expenses.
  • Your financial position and the other parent’s financial position.
  • The amount you and the other parent need to support not only yourself, but anyone else you have a duty to support, for example, other children or a new partner.

Adult Child Maintenance can be applied for if the child:

  • Is completing tertiary education, including at university, TAFE, a private college and possibly an apprenticeship.
  • Has a serious illness.
  • Has a physical or mental disability.

Orders for child maintenance payments will usually end once the child’s study is complete, once a child no longer has a particular illness or disability or after a specified period of time to review the child’s illness or disability.

If you require assistance regarding obtaining Adult Child Maintenance or you would like to discuss your options, please contact one of our team members on 03 9070 9839 or info@sagefamilylawyers.com.au


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Specialising in family law since 2016, Elisa has a long-standing background in mediation and worked as a family dispute resolution practitioner for many years.