What is the process for an application for child maintenance?


If the child is a minor (younger than 18) then you can bring the application for them on their behalf. You will need to complete the standard maintenance application provided at the court together with a schedule of your income and expenses to set out what child maintenance should be paid.

The maintenance application calls upon the other parent to attend court for an informal enquiry on a specific day and to provide documents setting out what their financial circumstances are. There may be several informal enquiries that take place at maintenance court where the parties make submissions, provide further documents or discuss settlement. The matter is then adjourned to a specific date for a formal enquiry, where a final decision will be made on the maintenance to be paid. Some maintenance courts have a pre-trial date where the issues in dispute are defined and narrowed down before they will adjourn the matter on that day for a formal enquiry.

A formal enquiry works like a trial does in a legal action, in that oral evidence is given by the parties and submissions are made to the presiding officer (magistrate) based on the documents and the evidence given, following which the presiding officer makes a final decision.

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