Child Support / Child Maintenance

What is Child Support/Child Maintenance?

Child support or maintenance relates specifically to financial support for children, usually following a relationship breakdown. It is one important aspect of providing and caring for your child/ren that parents must consider when separating or divorcing.

Our family lawyers regularly provide advice on child support or maintenance agreements and help parents to reach an agreement.

How to reach an agreement on Child Support/Child Maintenance?

As parents you will need to determine how your children are being cared for in terms of parenting arrangements, financial support and other matters concerning your children.

An agreement can be reached amicably between the separated parents without having to involve a court. Sometimes court proceedings are inevitable and an application can be made to the Child Support Agency.

Parties who agree can choose to formally document their agreement in a Binding Child Support Agreement.

It is also important to get legal advice on the child support agreement, as they can last for years. If all scenarios are not considered carefully and the agreement is poorly drafted one parent can be left financially worse off. Getting expert legal advice on family law agreements is highly recommended.

What is the difference between Child Support and Child Maintenance?

Child Support directly relates to financial support of a minor (under the age of 18 years).

However, if a child requires support beyond the age of 18 years (usually when they are studying or have a disability), then it is called child maintenance.

What does child support/child maintenance cover?

Child support payments cover the child’s reasonable living expenses such as:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Housing and Accommodation
  • Medical expenses
  • Child-care or school fees or expenses
  • Travel expenses
  • Other Expenses

When do I have to pay child support/child maintenance?

In broad terms you have to pay child support if your children are under the age of 18 years. Child Maintenance is not as clean cut and is assessed on a case by case basis.

Assessments by DHHS

If the parties cannot agree on or child support then the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will make a determination. A child support or child maintenance solicitor will be able to help give you some indication as to what to expect and help if an issue arises.

How is Child Maintenance Assessed?

The expenses of the child and the income of both the parents are taken into account when determining child maintenance. Each situation is different as there are many variables such as earnings, number of children, expenses. The Child support Assessment Act is the legislation that covers how child support is assessed. If parties cannot reach an agreement then the DHHS makes an assessment using this legislation as a guide.

Contesting an Assessment

If you do not agree with this assessment it can be challenged. Our child support lawyers can provide advice on the matter and help you challenge the assessment.

How we help?

We understand Child Support/Child Maintenance can become quite a debated topic when parents are separating or divorcing. Our child support lawyers provide expert practical and legal advice to parents on how their matter and how to improve their chances of success.

We can provide advice and assist with child support agreements, mediations and resolving disputes regarding child support matters.

Our family lawyers can assist with:

  • Child support binding financial agreements – drafting and revising
  • Mediation on children’s matters
  • Collection of private child support debts
  • Negotiating private child support assessments

Child support and children matters arrangements may be addressed obtain a divorce. The court must be satisfied that there is adequate provision is made for the children or a divorce may be rejected.

Our family lawyers are professional and concise and will work hard to ensure you have the best legal representation possible. Our law firm has many happy family law clients.

Contact one of child support lawyers to discuss your matter on 1300 907 335 or complete an online enquiry form and we will be in contact with you promptly.


The professional development of our family lawyers matters greatly to us so that we can improve the service that our law firm provides to our clients. Our family lawyers are members of the Family Law Section of the Law Council. The Council seeks to influence the development and practice of family law in Australia and the also promote the professional excellence of family lawyers. 

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