When does liability to pay child support stop?

The Federal Magistrates’ Court recently overturned a decision of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (“the SSAT”) which found that the father of a 17 year old child was liable to continue to pay the mother child support pursuant to an administrative assessment. This was in spite of the child undertaking a full time apprenticeship and work moving out of his mother’s home to board with third parties. The Child Support Registrar had found that the mother was still providing care for the child and so refused to amend the Child Support assessment.

Federal Magistrates’ Hughes found that there was an error of law in the approach of the SSAT. He found that there had objectively been a major change in the care arrangement for the child and the SSAT had not considered whether the move by the child represented a terminating a event or at least a significant reduction in the level of care provided by the mother. The result was that the proceedings were remitted back to the SSAT for rehearing.