Child Support Lawyers

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What is Child Support

Child support is a payment made by one or both parents to the other to help with the cost of looking after the children. In some situations, it may be paid by one or both parents to another person who is looking after the children.

Different Types of Child Support

A child support agreement can provide for periodic amounts (regular amounts payable on a regular basis) to be paid to the other parent or non-parent carer.

These may be paid directly to the other parent or non-parent carer, to their bank account, or to a third party acting as the agent of the payee, such as a solicitor or trustee.

Periodic child support can be adjusted for the costs of living by either the child support inflation factor or the Consumer Price Index or another adjustment factor identified by the child support agreement.

Non-periodic payment provisions:

Child Support Aggreement

Where both parties agree on how much support is to be paid and how, they can enter into a written agreement to that effect. The agreement is then registered with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, who can collect and distribute payments as per the agreement.

It is important to obtain independent legal advice before entering into a Child Support Agreement. Commonwealth child support laws are designed to ensure the interests and wellbeing of the child are met while balancing the capacity of parents to support their child. It is important that you consider all of your options carefully and obtain accurate legal advice about which scenario is best for you.

The type of child support arrangement you enter into will depend mainly on your financial circumstances, but also on how well both parties are able to negotiate the terms of child support.

Our Child Support Lawyers can help you achieve the best possible arrangements that benefit your child’s welfare.

Child Support Assesment

An assessment is the most common type of support arrangement and involves DHS assessing the contributions to be made by both parties according to a set formula, which is set out in legislation.

The formula takes into account both parties’ income and the amount of time each party cares for the child and then calculates the amount each party owes to each other. DHS will then collect and distribute payments to the parties. Assessments are automatically reviewed and reassessed by DHS after a set period of time, not usually more than 15 months.

Can I appeal a Child Support decision?

If you disagree with a child support assessment you have 28 days to notify CSA that you are objecting to a decision. The 28 days starts from the day you get the decision letter.

Objections can be raised where you believe CSA have:

Once the objection is received, CSA will review and consider your objection within 60 days. If they uphold their decision and you still disagree, you can make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to review it.

Court ordered Child Support

An application can be made to the Family Court for support where the child in question is over 18 (an application for ‘child maintenance’) or where the child was born before 1 October 1989. Any parent or non-parent carer who cares for a child at least 35% of the time (‘time’ being the 12 month period from the dates the assessment commences) may apply for a child support assessment.

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You have Questions. We have Answers.

Frequently asked questions

Yes. When an assessment by CSA has been completed and a parent is not meeting their payments obligations, CSA have the power to make arrangements to garnish wages and tax refunds. In extreme cases you can also be prevented from leaving the country.

Even if you do not have regular care of contact with your children, you are still required to pay child support. The family court will not reduce the amount of child support you owe because your former spouse has stopped you from seeing the children or there is a court order in place.

You can still have a child support arrangement if you or the other parent live overseas. But it must be in a country where the agreement can be enforced in Australia, called reciprocating jurisdictions, such as the USA, UK, Germany, and Hong Kong.

No. If you provide care for a child and aren’t the parent, you may be able to receive child support from both parents. You must apply for a child support assessment.

The child support assessment is designed to account for all of the child’s expenses, including school fees, excursions, uniforms and extra-curricular activities. It is the responsibility of the parent receiving the payment to allocate sufficient funds for the child’s educational needs.

When Services Australia calculates child support, they make an assessment factoring in the cost of a child attending a state school, not a private school.

If you don’t pay your child support in full and on time, Services Australia may apply penalties on the outstanding amount. You pay the penalty amount to the Australian Government, not to the receiving parent. Services Australia also has the power to take overdue amounts directly from your wage, sale of assets and tax return. In extreme cases, Services Australia can also prevent you from leaving the country until your child support debt is paid.

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