Are you required to pay child support or are you the recipient of child support? You have legal rights and obligations whether you are the payer or payee of child support.
What is child support?
Under the Child Support (Assessment) Act, the primary carer of the child or children is able make a claim for child support from the other parent.
The Child Support Agency is responsible for administering your child support arrangements, and assessing the amount of support which should be provided.
The obligation to pay child support usually ends when a child reaches the age of 18 years however it is possible for the payee parent or the child to apply to the Court for adult child maintenance if the child is completing their secondary or tertiary education or has a mental or physical disability.
How child support is assessed
The decision is based on each parent’s (usually taxable) income, the number of children and their living arrangements. Child support is determined on the basis of the cost of care of children, the adjusted income of both parties and the level of care provided by the parents. This is can sometimes be a complex calculation and we recommend that you seek our advice to determine whether the calculation is in fact correct based on the appropriate formulae and taking into account the correct information.
Different types of payments
There are different types payments, whether direct or indirect, periodic or non-periodic, agency or non-agency, which the law may recognise as being child support, however you will need legal advice and assistance to help you navigate through the various issues that can arise.
The whole process of paying or receiving child support can appear to some parents as a bureaucratic and legal nightmare but it is important to understand that the child support laws provide many avenues for change where your rights and entitlements can be protected or advanced.
Variations of or departures from assessments
It is possible for either party to apply to the Agency for a variation of an assessment and to the Court to depart from child support assessments in special circumstances.
What if you and your former partner reach agreement?
If you and the other party agree, a Child Support Agreement can be entered into on a private basis. This agreement can be registered with the CSA or the parties can elect to comply with the agreement privately. There are two types of child support agreements:
- Limited Child Support Agreements, which operate only for three years and requires a child support assessment to have been issued.
- A Binding Child Support Agreement, which allows for an opting out of the Child Support and can only be entered into where both parents are legally represented and their respective lawyers sign a certificate certifying, amongst other things, that they had given advice to their client on the advantages or disadvantages of entering into the Agreement.
How we can help
Child support has become an increasingly complex and difficult issue for many parents – on both sides. We can assist with all aspects of advice in relation to your child support rights and obligations, including:
- Limited and Binding Child Support Agreement
- Paternity issues
- Departure orders
- Adult child maintenance
If you are have a child support issue, we urge you to give us a call on 8276 7955 to discuss your situation. The first 20 minute telephone consultation is absolutely FREE and no obligation.