Every parent has an obligation to provide financial, physical and emotional support for their children. This does not change at separation.Back to our practice Areas
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.
Child support is the means by which money changes hands from one parent to the other, relative to the financial needs of a child. In some instances it is determined by agreement between separated parents, more often by application of a child support formulae administered by Services Australia, and very occasionally by an order made by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
Ultimately, the child support scheme should ensure that children receive an adequate level of financial support from both parents following their separation. Services Australia is responsible for assessing the amount of child support to be paid and ensuring compliance with that assessment.
Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support
How is child support determined?
There are a number of ways that the amount of child support can be arrived at and paid, including:
by applying the statutory formula found in the child support legislation administered by Services Australia;
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.
How is the amount of child support to be paid actually calculated?
The child support formula takes into account the below factors:
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
The costs of raising children between certain ages as set by Services Australia
How do I change my child support assessment?
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. Our team of expert child support lawyers can assist you with that process.
The other option is to apply to Services Australia to have the assessment reviewed.
What are the consequences for failing to provide child support?
Services Australia can enforce payment of child support through a number of means, being:
Employer deductions directly from an employee’s pay
Deducting from tax returns
Restricting travel outside of Australia
Seizure of assets
Commencing criminal proceedings where there is evidence of criminal fraud
Still have more questions than answers?
If you would like to find out more about where you stand in relation to child support, contact our team of experienced child support lawyers to find out more.