Adult Child Maintenance

Child Maintenance

Guiding you as your experienced custody lawyer, once a child reaches 18 years of age, they may still qualify for child maintenance depending on the circumstances. This can include if your child is studying, has a serious illness or has a disability.

Once a child reaches 18 years of age, they may still qualify for child maintenance depending on the circumstances. This can include if your child is studying, has a serious illness or a disability.

Either you or the child can apply for adult child maintenance and the amount received will depend on the child’s expenses, your income, and your expenses.

When applying for adult child maintenance, you can agree privately on the amount and formalise the arrangement. Our skilled custody lawyers can make a court application where they will determine the amount to be paid.

We can help advise, negotiate, and make arrangements in both these circumstances.

Do you qualify for adult child maintenance?

A child who is over 18 is able to get financial support from a parent if the child:

  • is completing their secondary or tertiary education – they are at high school, TAFE, university, or a course at a private college (apprenticeships may also be included)
  • has a serious illness
  • has a physical or mental disability.


An adult child who is married or living in a de facto relationship is not able to get adult child maintenance.

How to apply for adult child maintenance?

Either the parent or the child can apply for an adult child maintenance order against the other parent:

  • when a child is 17, to begin when the child turns 18, or
  • after the child has turned 18.


It is helpful for the adult child to show that they are trying to pay for some of their own support, for example, by working part-time or looking for work.

Centrelink payments are not considered income and will not stop you from applying for maintenance.

The court will take into account study commitments, illness or disability, personal/work skills and availability of part-time work.

How much adult child maintenance will I receive?

How much maintenance is paid depends on:
  • the adult child’s ‘necessary expenses
  • each parent’s financial position (including how much they are capable of earning)
  • the amount a parent needs to support themselves and any other person that they have a duty to look after.
If you and the other parent cannot agree, the court will decide how much needs to be paid.

Is your child under 18? Read more about Child Support.

Not sure where to start?

Book a free initial 30 minute consultation and I will guide you to the next steps.