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Derek Legal Blog

The Obligation to Pay Child Support

Parties to a marriage or de facto relationship have an obligation to support the children of that relationship. Generally speaking, the amount of child support to be paid is covered by a statutory formula which involves the income of each parent and the time spent with each parent. Child support is a debt to the Commonwealth not to the other party and the child support agency enforces that debt if necessary by litigation.

There are times when the Act does not apply, for instance for a child under the age of 18. If the child is adopted and becomes a child of the marriage of other parties or if the child marries because the obligation is to support ceases to that point. Or if the child leaves home, obtains employment and is able to support his or herself.

The obligation to provide child support as a general rule applies until the child turns 18.

There are however, two exceptions to that rule. One is if the child is in a course of study for instance attending University or Tafe. However, in those circumstances the earning capacity of the child will be taken into account or if the child has a mental or physical disability which impacts on his or her ability to obtain gainful employment.

It should be noted that the Family Law Act allows that the following may apply for a Child Maintenance Order:

1.       Either or both of the child’s parents;

2.       The child;

3.       A grandparent of the child;

4.       Any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child.

Posted in: Derek Legal Blog at 21 March 18

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