A common question asked by many divorced or separated parents is “When do you stop paying child support?” and whether child support payments can be extended to adult children?
In most instances, child support does not have to be paid any longer after a child has turned 18 years old or finished high school.
There are, however, some instances where the Family Law Act 1975 will make it so that child support payments will need to continue after a child has turned 18.
The following article will elaborate on when you stop paying child support and discuss the various scenarios in which child support can be extended.
What Is Child Support And Its Purpose?
Child support in Australia is regulated by the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.
Child Support refers to the financial payments made from one partner to another following a divorce or separation.
The purpose of the payment is to financially assist the other parent in satisfying the financial needs of the party’s mutual children.
The payment will generally cover basic expenses for the child, including:
- Medical Expenses;
- Schooling; and
- Sometimes extracurricular activities – depending on whether agreements have been made or the Court has ordered them to be included.
When Do You Stop Paying Child Support – Common Reasons
The most common answer to the question of “When do you stop paying child support?” is simply – when the child has turned 18.
However, beyond a child legally becoming an adult, there are various other circumstances where child support payments can cease.
These reasons include:
- If the child gets married or is in a de facto relationship;
- If the child passes away;
- If the child is not living under the care of either parent;
- The payer of the child support relocates to another country that has not agreed to enforce that person’s child support requirements; and
- If the child is adopted by another person or persons.
Other Reasons For When You Stop Paying Child Support
Although a child turning eighteen is the most common cut off point for when you stop paying child support in Australia, there is an exception to this rule if they are still in high school.
If a child is still in high school and eighteen years of age, the parent receiving the child support payments can apply to have the payments extended until the end of the school year.
Additionally, you will stop paying child support in Australia in the following circumstances:
If the other parent elects to stop receiving child support payments; and
Where you and your former partner get back together (for a minimum period of 6 months).
What Can You Do About An Unfair Assessment?
A common occurrence when it comes to child support payments is that they no longer reflect your circumstances.
This can be true for both the parenting paying the child support and the parent receiving the child support. For instance, if you are the parent paying the child support, multiple things could have happened that have negatively impacted your financial capabilities since your child support assessment.
As such, your child support obligation may need to be reassessed to reflect your current financial status.
If you are the parenting receiving the payments, the child support received may not be adequate any longer to cover your children’s basic needs, and you also may need your child support received to be reviewed.
If either of these sounds like your circumstances, you should contact our firm today to discuss your legal options. The principal solicitor of JB Solicitors, John Bui, has extensive experience in family law matters involving child support. John can help you with the application process to the department of human services to have your child support reassessed.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
When discussing matters such as ‘when do you stop paying child support in Australia’ it is essential to remember that although the typical scenario is that child support payments will cease when a child turns eighteen, there are some exceptions to this rule.
If you have any further questions about child support or other family law matters, please do not hesitate to contact our team today. We are always happy to help answer any questions you may have.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way.
With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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