Family law has traditionally ended financial support for children living at home once they reached the age of 18. However, with a growing number of adult children continuing to live at home past this age, due to high housing costs and pursuing study options, many children are still looking for some support past this age.
Here are some of the options available to you under family law.
Continuation of formal child support
In some circumstances, such as when a child who has a serious illness which prevents them working and supporting themselves or a child pursuing a post-secondary qualification that is time-consuming, formal child support can be continued. Either the child or the parents can make the application for continued child support but this needs to be completed before the child turns 18. If you are unsure of how to complete the application or if the other parent is likely to dispute the request, it can be a good idea to get some advice from an experienced family lawyer.
Starting informal child support
If both parents are in broad agreement about continuing to support their child past 18, they can enter into an informal arrangement. This can take the form of cash support, but also other forms of support such as continuing to cover the adult child on health insurance, paying tuition or providing free or reduced rent. These arrangements can be flexible and should be negotiated between the parents and the adult child with a view as to the requirements for support continuing (such as continued enrollment in a course).
Encourage the child to independence
If you are struggling to pay the bills for the entire house and cannot access child support, you can encourage your child to look for ways to become more independent such as taking on a part time or full-time job or looking for scholarships for their course. While it can be tricky in the short term, this can have long-term benefits for your child as they learn budgeting and financial skills as well as getting to practice time management. This can be a benefit for the whole family.
In some circumstances you can apply for child support for the time after your child turns 18, but it is important to lodge the application before they turn 18. It can be useful to get some advice from a family lawyer who can look at your family and provide specific advice.