A common myth about financial support for children is that it must cease when the child turns 18 years of age. Well, that’s not necessarily the case!
Often, parent carers and non-parent carers experience unnecessary stress as a child approaches the age of 18 because of the thought that their financial situation is about to change. For many, child support payments are the difference between making ends meet or not.
The good news is that you can apply to receive continued financial support extend existing child support payments:
- By extending an existing child support agreement;
- To the end of the school year, where the child is in full time secondary education when they turn 18, or
- By applying to have a relevant dependent child included in your assessment after they turn 18, if they are in full time secondary education.
The catch is that you must apply for an extension while the child is aged 17. There are only limited circumstances where an application can be made after the child turns 18 and if you do not extend your child support, your Family Tax Benefit options may be limited.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Beyond Child Support
Another option for securing financial support beyond 18 is by applying for a Child Maintenance Order, which is an Order of the court.
The Family Law Act allows the court to make a Child Maintenance Order concerning a child who is 18 so that they may complete their education or because they have a physical or mental disability. Also, an Order may be made for a child who is 17 to take effect when they turn 18, and extend beyond the age of 18 if specifically stated to do so.
Child Maintenance Orders are not restricted to just paying tuition fees and may extend to such things as purchasing a motor vehicle, paying for residential accommodation and associated expenses, tuition costs and the associated expenses of tertiary or similar education.
Not only that, an Order may be retrospective. The court may look backwards and review whether adequate support has been paid, sometimes over a period of years.
Information Is Important
Financial support for children 18 years and over is not restricted to a moral agreement between their parents. There might also need to be a real, binding legal solution.
If any of this sounds like it might apply in your situation and you believe your child may be eligible for continued financial support beyond their 18th birthday, then give us a call on 1300 449 500 and talk with one of our family law experts, no cost and no obligation. Very quickly they’ll be able to determine whether this is an option available to you and help you determine your next step.