Kids that don’t leave home

In the United States, children who don’t move out of home after attaining adulthood are called “boomerangs”. Italy calls them “bamboccioni” – or big babies. Regardless of the description, the latest Australian census data confirms children are choosing to stay at home later into life.

The cost of accommodation – whether renting or buying – is a significant factor. Saving is much easier when food and bills are covered by mum and dad. Let’s not even start on the ‘cleaning fairy’ that many kids assume really does exists, long after they learn the tooth fairy was actually mum or dad.

When there is a relationship break up

One or both parents often seek advice from family lawyers about their financial obligations towards their children after there has been a relationship breakdown between parents. The Family Law Act 1975 (FLA) makes it clear the best interest of the child is paramount when decisions by Courts are being made regarding raising children, post relationship breakdown.

Child support, schooling, property division, parenting time, and living arrangements are all considered and adjudicated on by Courts if the parents can’t agree.

adult child financial laws obligations

18 years old and you are on your own … or are you?

It is a general presumption in the law that parents have a financial obligation towards their children until they turn 18 years old. It can be even later if the child continues to attend university. There are a number of reasons children can be eligible to receive financial care from parents after they become adults.

Without being alarmist, adult children have applied for “child maintenance” to the Family Court and been successful.

In the case of Re AM (Adult Child Maintenance) [2006], the child was diagnosed with a disability at 21 and only applied to the Court for financial child maintenance from her father when she was 28. The father was required to pay an ongoing maintenance amount along with the mother, after the Court considered the circumstances.

So when does liability of parents for their children really end?

Some suggest Family Court decisions have unwittingly made parents insurers of their children against things like disability. That might be true, but there are practical considerations parents can explore.

Insurance literally can be peace of mind

Total and Permanent Disability Insurance is something most financial planners can discuss with parents, and it can be taken out for children. Child Trauma insurance is also available. The ownership of insurance policies if paid by parents, can be held in the parents own names, with the lump sum insurance benefit paid to parents if something tragic occurs to their children.

Proper planning and engaging professionals such as financial planners and family lawyers for strategic advice can allow you to have peace of mind.