The Family Law Act imposes a duty upon parents to maintain their children. This duty applies independently of any court order. Step-parents may also be ordered to maintain a child under certain circumstances. However, the primary duty to maintain a child rests with the child’s parents.
The duty of a parent to maintain a child is of lower priority than either:
• A duty to maintain another child (e.g., a child of a second marriage) or
• A duty to maintain any other person (e.g., a spouse)
It does, however, take priority over all other commitments of parents, save for the following: namely, those commitments that a parent must fulfil in order to maintain themselves.
An order for child maintenance can by sought by any of the following parties:
• Either or both of the child’s parents
• The child
• The child’s grandparents
• Any person concerned with the care, welfare and development of the child
None of the abovementioned individuals are able to apply for a child maintenance order if either of the following apply:
• The applicant is entitled to apply for an administrative assessment of child support or
• The child is in care under State or Territory child welfare legislation.
If you think that you are either an eligible applicant or liable to pay child maintenance, please contact our office to arrange an appointment.