Are you an expecting mother who has separated from the father of your unborn child? The Family Law Act 1975 allows expecting single mothers to apply to the Family Court to have the father of the unborn child provide financial support.
What is childbirth maintenance?
Childbirth maintenance can be claimed to cover reasonable costs associated with your pregnancy and childbirth, as well as some living expenses. You will need to make an application to the court setting out:
- Your living costs, including rent, household bills, vehicle expenses, the cost of purchasing maternity clothes; and
- The birth costs, including doctor appointments, hospital visits and stays (not private health insurance), prenatal supplements and anaesthetist costs.
When can I claim?
You can claim for the period 2 months prior to the birth and for up to 3 months after the birth of your baby. This is known as the “childbirth maintenance period”. There are some exceptions to this time period though and in certain cases you may be eligible for payments over a longer period.
What does the Court consider?
- The parents’ income, earning capacity, financial resources and property;
- The parents’ ongoing financial commitments necessary for that parent to continue to support and provide to any other person and / or child; and
- Any special circumstance which has not been taken into account which would result in undue hardship to any person.
The Court needs to be satisfied that the father is in a position to pay the mother and that the mother requires such financial assistance.
How long have I got to make a claim?
You have up to 12 months after the baby’s birth to make an application to the court. If you are outside of the limitation period, you will be required to seek leave from the Court to have your application heard.
To provide you with tailored legal advice for your unique situation, please call Paterson & Dowding Family Lawyers and Mediators on (08) 9226 3300 and make an appointment with one of our team of experienced family lawyers.