Parents who are financially supporting their child may soon wonder what the child support age cut off is. Child support is a payment that parents make to financially support their minor child (below 18). These payments generally help a child with expenses like:
- Tuition fees;
- Medical bills;
Parents have the duty and responsibility to support their children with these expenses since children are still dependent on them. However, the child support age cut off happens when a child turns 18. The Department of Human Services (DHS) is a government department that is in Australia in charge of calculating and collecting child support. This agency applies a formula to determine the assessment through the:
- Earnings of both parents
- Level of care between parents; and
- Costs of child care.
Following an application from either parents or carers, Services Australia will conduct child support assessments. Generally, the payee would apply for a child support assessment upon separation. Children who reached the child support age cut off can still receive financial support through adult child maintenance. Read this article to find out how children reaching the child support age cut off can receive financial support.
Child Support Age Cut Off: When Does Child Support End?
It is difficult for children to become financially dependent at a young age. Children remain financially reliant on their parents. This holds true even if the child’s parents have separated.
Consequently, parents will need to provide payments that can suffice for these expenses until the child support age cut off. Parents can arrange payments between themselves through a child support agreement. Child support typically ends when:
- The child reaches the child support age cut off of 18. It’s possible for the child support assessment to extend through the end of the academic year when the child turns 18. It can also extend if there is a need to provide for a child with a mental or physical disability. However, parents must apply before the child support age cut off in order to get adult child maintenance.
- If the other parent decides not to continue receiving child support. However, this option is not applicable to parents receiving Centrelink benefits.
It may also end if the child:
- Passes away
- Marries or enters into a de facto relationship
- Gets adopted
- Is no longer an Australian citizen.
Child support can also end if paying parents move to a country not included in an international Child Support Agreement with Australia. Moreover, child support can end if neither parent is caring for the child. Separated parents who reconciled for at least 6 months will not receive or make child support payments.
Child support may also end if either parent also passes away. Moreover, it can stop when children leave school for work. After a child starts working, parents can request to get a reassessment of payments.
Adult Child Maintenance
In most cases, parents don’t need to pay child support after the child support age cut off of 18. Although, parents may still continue financially supporting their child after 18. Parents can apply for adult child maintenance when a child is 17 years old. According to Section 66L of the Family Law Act, courts can make adult child maintenance for children over 18 orders to:
- Enable children to complete their tertiary education; or
- Help children with mental or physical disabilities.
Services Australia can help with assessments in case children turn 18 during their last school year. In this case, parents will file an application to Services Australia to extend the assessment until their children complete the school year. Parents will usually have a discussion if they both agree on the idea of adult child maintenance.
If both parents reach an agreement, the courts will draft an adult child maintenance order through consent orders. Parents or adult children can apply for adult child maintenance orders to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
This is if a parent disagrees with the idea of adult child maintenance. Applying for adult child maintenance orders will depend on factors including the:
- Child’s necessary expenses like food, housing, transport, tuition fees, and medical bills
- Financial position of both parents
- If the parents need to support any other person they financially support. For instance, other children or a de facto partner.
Click here to read our blog about Section 66L of the Family Law Act. The blog also highlights a case related to adult child maintenance and the exact expenses that the adult child received.
Communicating With The Other Parent
Not every parent has the privilege to afford adult child maintenance, or child support especially if they are also supporting someone else. One of the quickest and simplest ways to reach an agreement is to communicate with the other parent. Surely, when children have severe disabilities, the other parent will want to support them of their own volition.
If parents continue to disagree, they can choose mediation and work out the best arrangement for adult child maintenance or child support payments. Mediation is a popular method in family law that helps parties settle disputes and disagreements. This method also allows parties to formulate solutions that will benefit both parties.
Understanding Child Support Age Cut Off With JB Solicitors
Even when children reach the child support age cut off, it’s possible to financially support them after they have turned 18 years old. However, parents may feel lost and stressed when it comes to adult child maintenance payments. Our lawyers at JB Solicitors can provide financial advice for parents paying adult child maintenance.
Adult children who are unable to financially support themselves will rely on financial support from their parents. Hence, it’s important for parents to manage their finances in order to cover adult child maintenance payments. Parents who are constantly disagreeing on adult child maintenance payments may avail of our mediation services.
Our mediation services can help disputed parents reach an agreement without compromising their financial status. This way parents won’t have to go through expensive court procedures and instead, save more for adult child maintenance payments. We offer fixed fees for all our services to help parents who have financial constraints on their end.
Contact a family lawyer today.