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Child turning 18 in December and attending secondary education the following year

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Hi all,

I have a question in regard to continuation of child support payments past the 18th birthday of a child in full time secondary school.  I currently have 50/50 care and pay CS to the mother.

Child A is currently in Year 11 and turns 18 in mid-December 20, 2017.  His last exam will be in late-November 2017.  Child A will be returning to full-time secondary school in 2018.  My understanding is that I should continue to pay the child support for the 2018 school year (which will end in late-November 2018) as he is deemed to have turned 18 after the completion of the 2017 school year; and the end of the 2018 school year is within 365 days of his 18th birthday.

In other words, his 18th birthday is not a terminating event under these circumstances and I can agree to extend the assessment until the end of the 2018 school year.

Is my interpretation correct?  Or should I be negotiating an Adult Child Maintenance Agreement with his mother?

Many thanks.
 
Scooter said
My understanding is that I should continue to pay the child support for the 2018 school year (which will end in late-November 2018) as he is deemed to have turned 18 after the completion of the 2017 school year, and the end of the 2018 school year is within 365 days of his 18th birthday.

In other words, his 18th birthday is not a terminating event under these circumstances and I can agree to extend the assessment until the end of the 2018 school year.
The first important issue is the child is 18 and still at school. My understanding is the terminating event is the end of the school year as set out by the school but includes the period of examination. This is being tested in the AAT in WA currently. However, on an application (a letter is sent from the department asking if the receiving parent wants to continue receiving payments past the 18th birthday). The application can also be made in writing, the support continues until the end of the school year.

Set out is the relevant legislation … CSA Act section 5, section 12, section 34B, section 84, section 93, section 151B, section 151C, section 151D and section 151E and Family Law Act section 66E.

In this example described, the child is attending school again in 2018 for some reason, although nothing comes to me as to why that would be the case. Under the rules, child support is continued as set out in the example if the child's 18th birthday is in November or December 2017.

At the end of that period, an application can be made to the court to extend support to cover further education. There are a large number of factors taken into account as to who will pay what amount, so it can not be assumed that the payment distribution is 50/50 in a shared care case.

All of this is described fully in the CS guide and related legislation and the adult maintenance order is described as follows: Adult child maintenance orders…
A court with family law jurisdiction is able to deal with applications for child maintenance from parents or carers not eligible for a child support assessment. This includes an order for further maintenance of a child over the age of 18 if this is necessary to enable the child to complete their education or because the child has a physical or mental disability. If a court has ordered the payer to pay child support for a child over 18 it will not be necessary to apply for the assessment for that child to continue (see 3.1.3 for more information about child maintenance orders including whether the orders can be registered with the Registrar for collection).

I believe this to be interpreted as either, after the last year of secondary education usually year 12 (if the request to extend is made) OR after the second year of year 12 (or repeated last year of secondary school) subject to the school year being within 365 days of the child's 18th birthday.  In this example provided the child is 19 at the end of 2018 and on an application the possibility of an extension for four or five more years. (Another very interesting area of discussion)

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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From my understanding of :-

CS Guide - 2.5.5 Application to Have an Assessment Continue Past a Child's 18th Birthday said
A carer entitled to child support for a child who is turning 18 can apply to extend a child support assessment (including one based on an agreement) provided the child will be in full-time secondary education on their 18th birthday. The child support assessment can be extended until the last day of the secondary school year that falls within 365 days (i.e. a year) of the child's 18th birthday. Where the period of 365 days of the child's 18th birthday includes the end of 2 school years (e.g. the child's 18th birthday is 5 days before the end of Year 11 and 350 days before the end of Year 12), the assessment or agreement can be extended to the last day of the earlier school year (Year 11) as this is the relevant school year in which the child turned 18.

and being that 20th December is pretty close to the official end of terms. It may well depend upon the State.

 Tasmania 2017 end of school year is 21st December, but December 20th 2018. So according to the above, in that there are  2 school year ends, the first, the earlier, would apply.

 Victoria has 22nd and 21st so end of 2017 would appear to apply.

ACT has 15th and 21st so 2017 would apply as the 21st does not fall within the 365 days. However, it wouldn't surprise me if 2018 were applied.

All the other States would be 2018, as both 2017 and 2018 dates are before 20th.

Dates based upon School term dates

However, there is another factor. The parent has to apply before the child turns 18. However, reminders will be sent to the receiving parent.

Of course there is also recourse for a parent to apply via the courts.

You may wish to have a look at The CS Guide - 2.5.5 Application to Have an Assessment Continue Past a Child's 18th Birthday


Section 151B, the legislation not the guide (just an interpretation of the legislation) actually says:-

The Child Support Assessment Act 1989 - Sect 151B said
 CHILD SUPPORT (ASSESSMENT) ACT 1989 - SECT 151B
Application for assessment/agreement to continue beyond child's 18th birthday

             (1)  If a child turns 18 during a year in which the child is in full-time secondary education, a carer entitled to child support for the child may apply for an administrative assessment, or a child support agreement, in relation to the child to continue in force until the last day of the secondary school year in which the child turns 18.

Note:          For full-time secondary education , last day and secondary school see section 5.

          (1A)  If a relevant dependent child of a parent turns 18 during a year in which the child is in full-time secondary education, the parent may apply for the relevant dependent child to be taken into account in any relevant administrative assessment until the last day of the secondary school year in which the child turns 18.

             (2)  The application must be:

                     (a)  made to the Registrar in the manner specified by the Registrar; and

                     (b)  in the case of an application under subsection (1) for a child support agreement to continue in force–signed by both the carer entitled to child support for the child and the liable parent in relation to the child.

Note:          Section 150A provides for the Registrar to specify the manner in which an application may be made.

It is 151C that says that the child must be 17 as per  
The Child Support Assessment Act 1989 - Sect 151C said
(2)  The Registrar must accept the application if, and only if, the Registrar is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the child has turned 17; and ….

Sections 151D and E are also in regard to the application.

CHILD SUPPORT (ASSESSMENT) ACT 1989 - SECT 151B

The Child Support Assessment Act 1989 - Index
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