Court ordered periodic child maintenance

Court ordered periodic child maintenance

The Federal Circuit Court and Family Courts may make orders for child maintenance payments for children who are not covered under the child support legislation. This includes parents whose children are over 18.

The Department of Human Services must be notified of all court orders about child maintenance, including orders made by consent, and any amendments made to earlier orders, within 14 days of the orders being made.

When a receiving parent tells the Department about a court order, they can also choose to have payments collected privately or through the Department.

There are limited reasons for a court order to be extended or ended.

Ending a court order for child maintenance payments

A child maintenance order may contain a provision that says it will end at a specified time, or when a particular event occurs, for example, when your child completes their specified tertiary degree.

Under the Family Law Act, a child maintenance order will end:

  • if the child dies
  • if the paying parent dies, unless the order expressly provides for it to continue after their death
  • if the receiving parent dies, unless the order expressly provides for it to continue after their death and another person is nominated to receive the payments
  • if the child is adopted, marries or starts a de facto relationship
  • when the child turns 18, unless the order says that it will continue after that
  • when the child finishes school, unless the order was made to enable the child to complete his or her education
  • if the child no longer has a disability where the order is for a child aged over 18 and was made because the child has a physical or mental disability

Child maintenance orders are often sought in relation to children who are engaged in tertiary education, particularly if their studies necessitate that they live independently from their parents.


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