Support for you as a spouse

Spousal maintenance is when one party provides continuing periodic financial support to help support their former partner. Spousal maintenance can also be paid by way of a lump sum. It is important to note that this form of maintenance is different to and can be in addition to any legislative requirement for child maintenance / child support.  The court can make an order for one party to pay spousal maintenance to their former partner if:

  • one spouse (the applicant) is not able to adequately meet his or her own reasonable needs; and
  • the other spouse (the respondent) has the capacity to pay.

In determining the amount of spousal maintenance the court will award, they will consider a standard of living that is reasonable in all circumstances for the applicant. Reasonable in all circumstances does not guarantee that the applicants standard of living prior to the relationship breakdown will be maintained, however the court will take this into consideration.

If you wish to seek spousal maintenance from your former partner or have had an application made against you, our family lawyers can assist you in handling this matter.

Support for children under 18

In Australia, all parents have an ongoing obligation to provide support financially to their child until they turn 18 years of age. This form of support is commonly known as child support.

Included in the child support obligations, parents are required to cover the child’s expenses such as food, housing, clothing, activities and costs associated with schooling.

The Government agency in Australia that manages child support is the Child Support Agency (CSA), and it uses a formula that mathematically evaluates how much a parent should pay for their child. Factors the CSA take into account when evaluating the child support are things such as:

  • how many children are involved and how old they are;
  • the income of the parents; and
  • the extent each parent cares for the child.

Following an assessment by the CSA, the parents can either pay privately or the CSA can collect the payments on behalf of the child.

In the alternative, if you do not wish to enter into a child support arrangement through the CSA, parents can enter into a child support agreement, which is a private agreement between the parents which will outline the following factors:

  • the amount;
  • the frequency; and
  • the method of payment

At Ramsden Lawyers, our family lawyers can assist you in:

  • changing an existing child support assessment through the CSA;
  • apply for child support in special circumstances through Family or Federal Circuit Court; and
  • enter into a private child support agreement

Support for children over 18

Adult child maintenance is when a child can receive ongoing or lump sum support from their parents when they are over 18 years of age if they fall into the following categories:

  • they are completing secondary or tertiary education;
  • they have a serious illness;
  • they have a physical or mental disability.

If an adult child’s circumstances fall into the categories above, either the adult child or a parent can apply for adult child maintenance against the other parent.

How much maintenance is paid depends on an array of factors such as:

  • the necessary expenses of the adult child;
  • the capacity of the parent to pay; and
  • the amount a parent needs to support themselves or anyone else they have a duty for.

It is often favoured by the court if the adult child is able to show that they are attempting to pay for some of their necessary expenses, however the court will take into consideration personal/work/educational/other commitments preventing this.

If you decide you wish to seek adult child maintenance there are two primary methods you can take through the court which are:

  • orders by consent (which is when you want to formalise an existing agreement); or
  • court application (when the court will determine how much maintenance the adult child should be awarded).

If you believe you or your adult child may be entitled to adult child maintenance by a parent, our family lawyers will be able to evaluate which method above will be most suited to your circumstances and assist you in as time and cost effective manner as possible.

Levels 5 (Main office) and 9 (Property group)
Corporate Centre One, 2 Corporate Court
Bundall , QLD, 4217 Australia
Phone: (07) 5592 1921

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