Elevate Family Law

Adult Child Maintenance

Parenting resources

Do I have to keep paying child support after the children turn 18?

Children come with a cost and often this cost continues into their early years of adulthood as they work towards financial independence but remain living at the family home.

When can a parent apply for adult child maintenance?

When parents separate, the costs of children is a significant consideration and the obligation  of financially supporting the primary carer with child support payments needs to be considered and commence as soon as practicable to avoid any disruptions to the children’s living arrangements, schooling, medical and the extra-curricular activities that they have been enrolled into and enjoy attending.

Child support stops automatically once a child turns 18. The end of such support can pose difficulties for a child over the age of 18 who is still in school, pursuing ongoing education or a child with serious medical complications. The Family Law Act (1975) allows for maintenances to be paid in such circumstances.

Adult child maintenance is different from child support. Child support is given through either a private arrangement between parents and more commonly as assessed by the Child Support Agency and stops once a child turns 18. Adult child maintenance on the other hand is financial support provided to a child over the age of 18.

This payment is generally paid by the parent that does not reside with the child or has less of the care of the children. This payment applies to a child over the age of 18 who is undertaking education (school, TAFE, university etc.) or suffers from a disability or serious illness.

How is adult child maintenance calculated?

The amount calculated for adult child maintenance depends on various factors. These include a parent’s income, the parent’s self-support amount and the child’s necessary expenses (including food and housing) as well as any other circumstances relevant in determining the amount payable by the paying parent.

Application for adult child maintenance

An application for adult child maintenance can be made by the adult child or the parent with whom the child resides including others who may be involved with the adult child’s welfare such as grandparents who have taken over the care of the children.

It is important to seek legal advice if you are considering making an application for child maintenance. Please contact our office for further assistance and competent advice.