Child Maintenance

Child Maintenance is a difficult and complex area of law. Child Maintenance can refer to:

  1. International Child Maintenance;
  2. Adult Child Maintenance;
  3. Child Maintenance for children whose parents separated before 1989.

International Child Maintenance is usually determined by a Court (or by agreement between the parties) and registered with the Department of Human Services (Child Support) for collection. Child Maintenance Orders from overseas jurisdictions can be registered with the Department for collection. On occasion, the registration of an overseas Order can include significant arrears.

Adult Child Maintenance is usually determined by a Court (or by agreement between the parties) for children over the age of 18 years. Orders are usually made if the child needs to complete their first tertiary course or degree, or are physically or mentally disabled.

Child Maintenance (Stage 1) cases, being those prior to 1989, have almost all concluded due to the effluxion of time. There are rare cases where arrears of Child Maintenance have been litigated.

Ms Devine has appeared in a number of reported Child Maintenance cases, including:

English & English [2007] FMCAfam 1112 (21 December 2007)
Ms Devine successfully opposed the Father's application to discharge an Adult Child Maintenance order for a disabled child.
Marklew & Marklew [2009] FamCA 753 (13 August 2009)
Ms Devine acted as Junior Counsel to Mr Robert Lethbridge SC, successfully applying for the discharge of Child Support/Child Maintenance and Spousal Maintenance orders that were registered in the United States of America.
Wreford & Caley [2010] FamCAFC 21 (16 February 2010)
Ms Devine, as co-counsel with Dr Renata Alexander, appeared before the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia, in a successful appeal against a Federal Magistrates' decision to discharge arrears of Child Maintenance. This case is cited as authority with respect to other cases involving arrears of Child Maintenance (prior to 1989) and as authority for the abolition of the former "12 months rule" with respect to applying for arrears of Child Maintenance.