A client recently ask “Do I still have to pay child support for my 17 year old who has a baby of their own?”

The short answer is yes. You are responsible for financially supporting your children till they are 18, regardless of whether they are now a parent themselves.

The longer answer has some more complexity.

Child Support

The best place to go if you want information about Child Support is the Child Support Agency Website which is located at www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/child-support

 Parents Guide to Child Support

A good place to start when you get to the Child Support  Agency Website is the Parents Guide Page which you can locate here. www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/subjects/parents-guide-child-support

The page has tools and resources including the following kind of information:

  • Information about your options regarding how you manage your child support
  • Child Support Assessment calculator
  • The three options for collecting child support
  • Paying Child Support
  • Child support when parents and/or children live outside Australia
Courts can also order child support for children over 18 who have a disability or are in education.
 

The following information was provided to us in a conversation with a staff member at the Child Support Agency in Mid September 2019. Make your own phone call to check it things change. 

What about when a child has a child?

As we said as long as a person is under 18 years old the payment of child support in relation to that child is required.  The fact that they are a parent themselves doesn’t change that.

It is simply not something that is taken into consideration at all.

The parent of the young mother or father isn’t required to pay child support for their grandchild.

What if they are earning their own income or are being supported by their partner?

You can always make a request to the child support agency for a re-assessment.

A re-assessment means that they look at information you provide about your specific circumstances.

If your child is already financially supported by work or a partner the Child Support Agency may review their assessment about how much you have to pay in child support.

But remember you have a legal obligation to support your child while they are under 18 based on the assessment of your capacity to pay child support, regardless of your personal feelings about your child’s choices or situation.

 

The Law

The Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 established the following principles.

1) Parents of a child have the primary duty to maintain the child.

2) The objectives of child support are to ensure that children receive a proper level of financial support from their parents.


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Joanne Law
Author: Joanne Law

Joanne Law provides family dispute resolution and post separation coaching services for Interact Support.