Seeking Financial Support From The Father During Pregnancy
Posted: 6th November 2019
Posted in: News
Posted by: Fiona Browne, Associate
Having a baby can be a beautiful and pleasant experience. It can also be daunting because of the expenses incurred during the pregnancy and childbirth. What if you are pregnant and you’re no longer with the father of the child? What if you were never actually in a relationship? Can you still ask for financial support from the child’s father?
The answer is yes.
The Family Law Act specifically provides at Section 67B that the father of a child who is not married to the child’s mother is liable to make proper contributions towards:
- the maintenance of the mother before and after the birth; and
- the mother’s reasonable medical expenses in relation to the pregnancy and birth.
Seeking Financial Support From The Father During Pregnancy and Childbirth
How do I apply for financial support?
As the mother, you would normally file an Initiating Application in the Federal Circuit Court at Brisbane seeking an order for financial support from the father of the child. This is commonly known as an application for “childbirth maintenance”.
An Application seeking financial support from the father may be filed during your pregnancy or within 12 months after the birth of the child unless leave of the court is given to extend this timeframe.
Your Application should give evidence as to all costs and expenses claimed. These may include:
- Reasonable medical expenses (ante-natal checks and obstetric requirements, medications, etc.) incurred during the pregnancy and birth of the child
- Expenses in relation to the death of the child or mother as a result of pregnancy of childbirth
- Maintenance of the mother during the childbirth period
- Loss of wages due to medical reasons
- Mortgage or rent payments
- Medical expenses
- Must-have mother and baby items
Related Article: Father Ordered To Pay Mother’s Child Birth And Lost Earnings
Any costs and expenses claimed must be reasonable.
What does Childbirth Maintenance NOT include?
Although there is not a large amount of case law in respect to Applications for Childbirth Maintenance, “reasonable medical expenses” has been held:
- To include only a proportion of private health insurance cover care of the mother
- Not to include the cost of a Doula birthing partner
- Not to include non-essential items for the baby and mother. For example, an expensive “settling swing” or buggy.
What are the circumstances that Court considers when deciding if the father will provide financial assistance?
Under Section 67C of the Family Law Act, the Court takes the following into account:
- Income and earning capacity of the father and mother
- Financial resources of the mother and father
- Commitments of each of the parents necessary to support himself/herself or any other child or person that they need to support
- Special circumstances, which, if not taken into account, would result in injustice or undue hardship to any person.
If you need financial support during pregnancy or childbirth, or you’ve been asked to provide support, get in touch with us. We’re happy to answer your questions and assist you with the process. Call us on (07) 5574 1888 for a FREE consultation.