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Monday, 22 October 2018
Page: 10542

Child Support

Dear Mrs Wicks

Thank you for your letter of 18 June 2018 regarding a petition presented to the House of Representatives that requests parents continue to make child support payments after their child turns 18 years old. The petition requests that parents continue to pay child support until their children earn enough to reach the tax threshold, complete training or study, or turn 21 years old, whichever comes first (EN0593). I appreciate the time you have taken to bring this matter to my attention.

The child support scheme is based on the principle that parents generally only have a legal responsibility to support their children until they turn 18 years old. Where the child is still in secondary school on their le birthday, child support assessments can be extended until the last day of secondary school for the school year after the child turns 18, where the receiving parent has applied for an extension of the assessment.

A parent can seek a child maintenance order from a court with family law jurisdiction under section 66L of the Family Law Act 1975 to enable their child over 18 years of age to complete their education, or because the child has a mental or physical disability. A child maintenance order may then be registered with the Department of Human Services for collection.

If the petitioners would like more information about child maintenance orders and the court process, the Family Law National Enquiry Centre (NEC) is the entry point for all telephone and email enquiries on Family Law Court matters. The Family Law NEC can provide information and procedural advice, forms and brochures and referral advice to community and support services.

Petitioners can contact the Family Law NEC by phoning 1300 352 000 for the cost of a local call from 8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, or by email at

Thank you for raising this matter with me.

Yours sincerely

from the Minister for Social Services, Mr Tehan (Petition No. EN0593)