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Financially Supporting Adult Children

The Courts rarely intervene in child support matters given there is a government agency that handles this issue, namely Services Australia and the Child Support Registrar. However, when parties separate, it is not unusual for children who are close to 18 years of age or even over 18 years of age to be included in the settlement discussions particularly if the adult children still reside in the family home.

But is there a requirement for a parent to pay the other parent support for a child if they are over the age of 18 years?

Section 66L of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) states that a Court must not make a child maintenance order in relation to a child who is 18 years or over unless it is necessary to enable the adult child to complete his or her education or because of a mental or physical disability of the adult child.  As such, it is not the usual course of action for the making of an adult maintenance order but they can be made if certain thresholds are met.

In considering the first issue, some children turn 18 years of age before they complete secondary school and as such, it may be appropriate and necessary for an order to be made that a parent continue to provide financial support in order to enable the child to complete their education.

As the legislation does not specifically refer to what type of education the child is entitled to seek support, there are cases where the Family Law Courts have ordered a parent to pay support for an adult child to complete tertiary education.

The Court takes into account many factors before making any order for adult maintenance including but limited to the following:

  1. The age of the child;
  2. The income the child may be able to generate themselves;
  3. The income of both parents;
  4. Any special needs of the child;
  5. Any entitlement the child has to government benefits;
  6. Whether the parents have any requirement to financially support other children or persons.

Interestingly, whether a parent spends time with or has any relationship with the child is not a factor that the Court finds relevant and in fact will disregard when considering making such an order.  This can be seen in the case of Harold & Raymond [2021] where the Father had not seen the child who was 18 for at least 7 years yet was required to pay adult maintenance to the Mother in the amount of $450.00 per fortnight until such time as the child completed his tertiary education or ceased his enrolment.

If you are concerned that you may be required to pay adult maintenance or are unsure whether it can be claimed, contact Lewis Family Lawyers today and we can advise you on what obligations you have or what rights you have to claim adult maintenance.

Memberships and Associations

Lewis Family Lawyers

Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au

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Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au