All You Need to Know about Child Support
Child support is an essential part for parents to consider regarding the caring and financial support for their children when they are separated or divorced. Sometimes one parent may want to be the primary carer of his or her children, but is worried that he or she cannot afford the daily expenses of the children. Child support is designed to cover such expenses involved with raising children, so that children can grow with a proper living standard.
1. What is child support?
The child support scheme aims to ensure that children receive an appropriate level of financial support from parents who are separated or divorced. The cost covers the day-to-day expenses of a child, including but not limited to:
- extra-curricular activities
It may vary depending on the income of the payer parent and the child’s living needs.
Services Australia is the responsible agent in managing child support payments.
2. What children are eligible for child support?
Child support is payable for all children living in Australia whose parents have separated, whether or not the parents were married. Normally, child support stops when your child turns 18.
To pay child support to a child over 18, an application can be made to court if:
- it is necessary to enable the child to complete their education or
- the child has a physical or mental disability
3. How do I apply for child support?
An application for child support can be made to Services Australia online, which administers the Child Support Scheme.
Provided the formal requirements for an application are satisfied, Services Australia will make an administrative assessment of child support and send details of the assessment to both parents.
4. How is child support calculated?
If you are unable to reach an agreement about a child support payment with your former partner, Services Australia can calculate the amount using the following 8-step formula:
This formula is for parents who have care of the child/ren and neither parent has another child support case. If you have 2 or more families from past relationships, another formula will be used.
You can use this child support estimator to calculate an estimate of your child support payment.
Please do not hesitate to contact our experienced family lawyers at Ascent Lawyers to assist you.
5. Can I object to a child support assessment?
You may object to the amount calculated by the Services Australia and request a review of their decision.
To do so, you must submit an “Objecting to a Child Support Decision form” within 28 days from the day you receive the decision letter. You may apply for an extension up to 90 days if you live outside of Australia.
6. What if we agree about the child support arrangements?
If you agree about the child support arrangements, you can make your own arrangements for child support. You do not have to apply to Services Australia or the Federal Circuit Court when making arrangements for child support. You can enter into a private child support agreement and you can also include the agreement in a parenting plan.
7. My ex-partner refuses to make child support payment. What should I do?
If the payer parent failed to comply with their financial obligations, you may enforce any outstanding debt personally or inform Services Australia about the outstanding debt. You must address any debts as soon as possible.
The Services Australia can enforce the child support payment in several ways. These include but is not limited to:
- income support payment deductions
- enforcing tax return lodgement or intercepting tax refunds
- employer or bank account deductions
- issuing overseas travel bans
- litigation and prosecution
8. Can I change the child support amount?
Yes. Services Australia can change your child support amount payable if they are satisfied there are special circumstances and the change would be fair to both parents and the child.
You cannot change your child support plainly because you are unhappy with it.
9. Do I need to continue to pay for child support if I live overseas?
You may be required to continue to pay for the child support even if you live overseas. This can be a difficult process if the payer parent is not an Australian resident. The Services Australia can forward the child support assessment to the payer parent’s country of residence.
However, different countries have a range of child support schemes. How Services Australia can help depends on your case and where each parent lives. A different jurisdiction may or may not recognise or enforce it the parenting order made in Australia.
Child support is neither punishment nor compensation. It is a payment made by parents to ensure the healthy and happy growth of their kids after separation or divorce. The Australian Family Law System encourages parents to solve family disputes through negotiation as much as possible. The most cost-effective way to determine child support issue is by reaching an agreement with the other party.
The exact amount of child support can be a complicated issue. Enquire now to get more specific suggestion about your case!