Every parent has an obligation to provide financial, physical and emotional support for their children. This does not change at separation.
It really is that black and white and yet child support is one of the most contentious issues we encounter with our clients and for a variety of reasons, most of which are entirely understandable.
In theory, the child support scheme should ensure that children receive an adequate level of financial support from both parents following their separation. The Department of Human Services- Child Support is responsible for implementing this scheme including assessing the amount of child support to be paid and ensuring compliance with that assessment.
What are some of the Child Support FAQ’s we get asked?
There are a number of ways that the amount of child support can be arrived at and paid:
- by applying the statutory formula found in the child support legislation administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS);
- by agreement between both of you as to the amount to be paid/and how it might be received (such as through a periodic cash payment or via the payment of expenses directly for the child); or
- in rare circumstances, by court order.
Find out more about alternatives to child support in this article.
The child support formula takes into account:
- the incomes of both parents (including notionally adding back as income certain benefits such as salary sacrificing, tax-deductible losses, depreciation, or certain other benefits);
- a “self-support” allowance to enable each parent to meet their own reasonable expenses;
- the amount of time that the child spends with each parent – calculated on the number of nights per year (referred to as the “care percentage”);
- whether you have any other child support cases or dependent children; and
- the costs of raising children between certain ages set by the DHS.
Find out more on how child support is determined.
One formula will not fit the unique and varied circumstances of every separated family.
One alternative to the child support formula includes reaching agreement with the other parent as to how child support will be provided, and to formalise that agreement (we can assist you with that process).
The other option is to apply to the Child Support Agency to have the assessment reviewed.
The Department of Human Services can enforce payment of child support through:
- employer deductions directly from an employee’s pay;
- deducting from tax returns;
- restricting travel outside of Australia;
- seizure of assets; or
- commencing criminal proceedings where there is evidence of criminal fraud.
You can read more about these consequences in this article.
If you would like to find out more about where you stand in relation to child support contact our team of dedicated child support lawyers to find out more.
Contact our Child Support Lawyer Brisbane for Legal Help
Child Support is a complicated area, and for this reason, our child support lawyer would need to discuss your specific situation with you personally in order to ensure you receive the most accurate information and advice.
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