Childbirth expenses

Read our legal information about COVID-19 coronavirus.

Childbirth expenses

A mother has an entitlement to get financial support to help with maintenance during the childbirth period from the father of her child.

This includes reasonable out-of-pocket medical expenses in relation to the pregnancy and the child’s birth, after any private health, Health Care card or Medicare rebates.

Childbirth maintenance

A mother is entitled childbirth maintenance from two months before the child is due to be born until three months after the child’s birth. Maintenance is a financial payment to cover reasonable living expenses.

A mother is also entitled to childbirth maintenance if she works in paid employment and is advised by a medical practitioner to stop working for medical reasons related to her pregnancy more than two months before the child is due to be born. In this case her entitlement starts from the day she stops working.

Medical expenses

Out-of-pocket medical expenses may include medical, surgical, dental, diagnostic, hospital, nursing, pharmaceutical, physiotherapist.

Examples of what other expenses may be claimed include:

  • reasonable living expenses during the child birth period (for example, rent, electricity, food, telephone, gas, household supplies)
  • maternity clothing for the two months before the child is born.

Going to court

An application to a family law court must be made within 12 months of the birth of the child or later by leave (or approval) of the court.

The mother should be able to provide a detailed list of her expenses supported by receipts that substantiate these expenses. Any expenses claimed must be reasonable and relate to the childbirth period.

What the court considers when making a decision

The court will first take into account the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of both the mother and father of the child. Any privately paid maternity leave that the mother is entitled to receive may also be taken into account.

The court will also consider the commitments that each parent has to enable them to both support themselves and other dependent persons.

The court will not take into account any means tested Centrelink benefits, such as the 'baby bonus’, newborn supplement, newborn upfront payment, paid parental leave or pensions that you may receive.

Get help

Call us for free information and advice over the phone about childbirth maintenance and how we can help you.

If we can’t help, we can refer you to other organisations that can.

However, please note that an entitlement to private maternity leave payments or government-funded paid parental leave may mean you are not entitled to a grant of legal assistance to get a lawyer to run your case.

Was this helpful?