Child maintenance when kids don’t want to work
Under the Child Support laws, parents have a legal obligation to financially support their child/ren until the child’s 18th birthday. After a child turns 18 the Child Support laws don’t apply. The Family Law Act says a court can make a maintenance order, when it is necessary to allow the child to complete their education.
The court recently considered whether a maintenance order should be made given the refusal of twins aged over 18 years to seek or accept casual or part-time paid employment in addition to their university studies.
- Child maintenance orders were made for the father to pay to the mother a monthly sum for the 18 year old twins to enable them to complete university.
- After the order was made, the father asked the court to discharge the maintenance orders, he claimed the twins rejected casual or part-time paid employment which would have reduced their expenses.
- The court did not agree a complete discharge of the maintenance order was appropriate as the order was not conditional on the twins seeking employment. However, the court viewed the twins’ decision not to seek any casual or part-time employment (even during university holidays) before finishing their university studies as a ‘changed circumstance’ which may be the basis for a variation of the maintenance orders.
- The court was satisfied that the circumstances of the twins had changed since the maintenance order was first made and this justified a variation of the maintenance order. The court ordered the maintenance payable by the father to the mother be decreased from $625 per month per twin to $500 per month per twin.