Are you a parent who has recently separated?
If so, it’s important you understand your obligations in relation to child support.
Administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) (“the Department”), child support aims to ensure that children are adequately provided for financially by their parents and non-parent carers.
A parent can apply for a child support assessment for a child if they are not living with the other parent of the child as their partner on a genuine domestic basis. Further, parents can apply for an administrative assessment of child support for a child regardless of the amount of care they provide for their child.
Who pays child support?
- You will normally pay child support if your percentage of care of a child is less than your share of the combined income
- You will normally receive child support if your percentage of care of a child is more than your share of the combined income
Broadly speaking, if you earn more than your former partner and the children live with you less, then you will be required to pay child support.
However, as both parents are assessed in respect of the costs of the children, the roles of payer and payee and the amount of child support payable will depend on the incomes of both parents and the care they each provide for the children.
If the income and/or care percentage changes, the roles may reverse and the child support assessment will continue without the need for a new application for child support.
How much is child support?
The factors that will influence the cost assessment are:
- The estimated cost of raising a child in Australia (adjusted each year)
- The income of each parent/carer and their combined incomes
- How much time each parent/carer cares for the child
- The child’s age
- The number of children
How long does child support apply for?
Child support can apply up until a child is 18 years of age and when assessed by the Department, generally speaking, will be re-assessed after each tax return is filed each year to ensure the amount of child support assessed is correct at that current time.
How can a lawyer help?
During the child support process, you are permitted to authorise a representative to make enquiries and act on your behalf although there are certain circumstances where the Department will usually deal directly with person involved in the child support process.
At Farrar Gesini Dunn we have the expertise to help you through the complexities and strain that may arise with child support in an efficient and timely manner. This may mean lodging an objection with the Department or by providing you with advice in relation to a
Binding Child Support Agreement or a Limited Child Support Agreement.
Separation can be a difficult and stressful process, which creates a seemingly endless amount of frustrating obligations. At Farrar Gesini Dunn we understand your situation and can help you. Having an experienced child support lawyer on your side can make the process easier, regardless of whether you are the one entitled to receive child support or if you have an obligation to pay child support.
As you go down the route of child support, some things you may need to consider include:
- If child support is not being paid, what are your enforcement options?
- How much will child support cost or how much will you receive?
- When does a child support arrangement end?
- How do you make changes to a child support agreement?
If you have any question relating to child support or if you’re at that stage of objecting to a child support assessment, give us a call – we’re here to help!
Samantha Singer is the marketing manager for Farrar Gesini Dunn, working in the Sydney Office.