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23 April 2015

Adult Child Maintenance: Financial Support for children over 18

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The Child Support Agency deals only with the financial support of children under the age of 18 save where the child has turned 18 in which case it can continue until the last day of the high school year in which the child turns 18. So what if your child embarks on further study? Do parents have an obligation to continue the financial support?

The only way to make provision for adult children, absent consent, is with a Court Order. Section 66L of the Family Law Act 1975 provides that a court must not make a child maintenance order in relation to a child who is 18 or over unless the court is satisfied that the provision of child maintenance is necessary:-

a) To enable the child to complete his or her education; or

b) Because of a mental or physical disability of the child.

We will deal with education in this blog and disability at a later date.

Education is broadly defined in s4(1) of the Family Law Act 1975 to include apprenticeships and vocational training and is therefore not limited to university courses.

Here are some of the matters that a court may consider when determining whether or not an adult child maintenance order should be made to enable an adult child to complete his or her tertiary education: –

• The needs of the child, the age of the child and the parent’s expectation for the child’s education;

• The income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the parents;

• The capacity of the adult child to earn an income (entitlement to income tested pensions or benefits are not included) government income and allowances is disregarded);

• The relationship between the child and the parent;

• The likelihood that the course of education will provide an income in the future;

• The hardship to the child if they were unable to continue study;

• The reasonable time it would take to complete the relevant course.

If you have any questions about adult child maintenance please make an appointment with one of our solicitors.

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