Legal Advice

The Facts About Adult Child Maintenance For Divorced Parents

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Whilst family lawyers may spend many hours working for clients with children under 18 concerning maintenance payments, it often comes as a shock to some clients when they are told by their family lawyers that maintenance payments can also be ordered by the Family Court for children over 18 years of age.

It is an assumption, not just in Australia, but in most countries that, when a child turns 18 they are considered an adult, and thus any child support or maintenance payments by the absent parent are no longer required to be paid. In fact, in Australia, they can end before a child turns 18 if, for example, the child marries, is adopted, or becomes financially self-sufficient.

However, as family law currently exists, an application can be made for “adult child maintenance”, and this is contained in the Family Law Act, Section 661. We must state at the outset that applications cannot be made simply because an adult child continues to live with one of their parents who happens to be divorced, but instead only when one of several specific circumstances exists.