Adult child maintenance in Australia
The Child Support Agency regulates parents’ financial obligations for their child until the child turns 18 years of age. However, many parents may be surprised to learn that a parent’s financial responsibility for their child does not necessarily cease when a child reaches the age of 18.
In Australia, section 66L of the Family Law Act 1975 provides the Court can order one or both parents to provide financial support to a child over the age of 18 (adult child maintenance) if necessary:
- to enable the child to complete their education (including tertiary education, vocational training or an apprenticeship); or
- because of a mental or physical disability of the child.
An application for adult child maintenance can be made by an adult child, a parent, a grandparent or any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child.
Where the application is for maintenance to enable an adult child to complete their education, the Court will consider a number of factors, including:
- the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the parents;
- the amount the parents need to support themselves or other children the parent has a duty to maintain;
- the capacity of the adult child to earn an income (although any entitlement to government income and allowances is disregarded);
- whether the course to be pursued by the child is going to help the child earn an income;
- the likelihood that the adult child will finish the course of study;
- the hardship that would result to the child if they have to abandon the course through lack of means;
- nature of the parent – child relationship;
- whether the studies are post grad ;
- whether the adult child has refused reasonable job offers , including from the parent ;and
- the attitude of the adult child towards the parent.
Where disability is a concern
When it comes to adult children with disabilities the court will consider such additional factors including thethe longevity of any such order.
A person could still be eligible for adult child maintenance even if the disability arose after the child’s 18th birthday.
For more information on adult child maintenance or any other family law issue, please contact us today.