Child support and child maintenance orders
The Department of Human Services assess parents for child support. The Court decides on child maintenance applications and other specific matters pertaining to child support.
Child support and child maintenance are financial support that is given by their parents for the care of a child. Child support is given to the carer for the upkeep of a child who is below 18 years old while child maintenance is for the support of a child who is already above 18.
Department of Human Services
The matter of child support is mainly under the umbrella of functions of the Department of Human Services (DHS). It is this branch of government that takes charge in making an administrative assessment for child support based primarily on the income of the parents.
The Court on child support
Since the assessment of child support is the work of the DHS, there are specific applications concerning child support that can be brought to the court.
A person may file an action in court that he is not the parent of the child and thus, not liable for child support.
- A parent or carer of the child may file an urgent application with the court for payment of child support. This is an extraordinary remedy because it is the exigency of the situation that gives the court jurisdiction. In the absence of an urgent need for child support the application must be filed with the DHS.
- In cases where there is a child support agreement, a party may have this agreement set aside, varied, suspended or revived by the court. The usual grounds for the application are fraud, significant change in circumstances and undue influence in obtaining the consent of a party.
- A party will have to go through the court if he wants to apply for overseas child maintenance orders.
- The court will also entertain applications praying not to follow the administrative assessment under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.
- Sometimes the issues involved are too complicated for the DHS to be able to assess child support. In this case the court can determine child support.
- A person who it turns out is not liable to pay child support may recover the amount paid by filing an application with the court.
- An application for a stay order of the payment of child support may be brought before the court.
- Arrears in child support may be enforced, suspended or suspended through a court application.
- The court also has jurisdiction over applications for child maintenance orders.
Child maintenance orders
Parents of children who are already 18 years old but are still completing their education will be liable to continuing paying for child maintenance. The application for child maintenance orders can be filed with the Family Court. An order may also be made for the support of a child above 18 who is unable to financially support himself because of a mental or physical disability.