11 March 2024

Maintenance for a young adult

By Rosemarie Post

Do you (still) have to pay child support if your child is a young adult? And if so, what is the amount of the child support? This blog briefly discusses the obligations of parents of young adults.

What is child support?

Child support is a financial contribution that is typically paid by one parent to the other parent, with the aim of contributing to the costs of raising and supporting a child.

The primary purpose of child support is to ensure that the well-being and financial needs of a child are safeguarded, regardless of the divorce or separation of the parents. The parent with whom the child resides contributes to the child’s upbringing on a daily basis, while the parent with whom the child does not primarily reside contributes financially to ensure that the costs of living, clothing, education, medical care, and other necessities are covered.

Until when and to whom should child support be paid?

Child support must be paid to the other parent until the child reaches the age of 18. However, the obligation to pay child support continues until a child reaches the age of 21. Parents are required to provide for the living expenses and education costs of their adult children who have not yet reached the age of 21. From a child’s 18th birthday, child support can be paid to the child itself rather than to the other parent. Parents can make agreements on how much they contribute towards the living expenses and education costs of a child between 18 and 21 years.

The hight of child support

In general, it is not possible to know in advance how much child support you will have to pay for your young adult child. This depends on a wide range of circumstances. Does your child live independently? Is your child a student? Does your child have a job? Do you have other children? What is your income and that of the other parent? Based on these factors, a lawyer can make a calculation of how much child support you are required to pay and how this should be divided between the parents.

Inability to reach agreements

When it’s not possible to come to agreements, the court can determine the hight of the child support. This means that either one of the parents will have to go to court. As long as a child is a minor, the parent who is to receive the child support is entitled to initiate legal proceedings regarding the child support. In the case of child support for a young adult, the young adult themselves can initiate legal proceedings.

It is also possible for the young adult to authorize the other parent (often the parent where the child has his or her primary residence) to act on their behalf in court. By allowing the other parent with a power of attorney to file an application on behalf of the young adult, the young adult is spared legal proceedings against one of their parents. This is important to avoid the possibility of a child facing a parent in court.

Can the obligation for child support for a young adult be mitigated?

Child support for a young adult can be mitigated. However, it is important to note that these situations often involve extreme and exceptional circumstances. Courts will assess each case individually and look at the specific facts and circumstances before deciding on the mitigation of child support.

Some examples

Below are some examples of situations in which the court could potentially rule that the obligation for child support to the young adult is mitigated:

  • Extreme behaviour: when the young adult repeatedly makes threats, insults, or acts in a seriously harmful manner towards the parent who is supposed to pay support.
  • Criminal activity: if the young adult engages in criminal offenses, bringing them into contact with the law and possibly even imprisonment.
  • Financial irresponsibility: if the young adult shows demonstrable and conscious reckless behaviour in financial matters, such as incurring debts without any accountability.
  • Refusal of contact: in some cases, refusing contact with a parent may play a role in a court’s decision, but this alone is usually insufficient grounds for mitigation.

More information

For more information about child support or if you have another legal question. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Rosemarie Post

Rosemarie Post


Rosemarie is a lawyer within the Family and Inheritance Law section. She is involved in (international) divorces, access arrangements and issues of custody and maintenance.

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