If you require legal assistance with child support, contact Wilding & Co Lawyers, based in Balmain and the Sydney CBD. Family law is one of Wilding & Co Lawyers’ practice areas.
Here are some key details regarding Australia’s child support laws.
Definition of Child Support
Child support is required to be paid for the care of all children living in Australia whose parents have separated, regardless of whether the parents were married or not. If a child turns 18 during their final school year then the child remains eligible for child support for the duration of the school year.
What Are The Types Of Child Support?
- Periodic payments: Ongoing payments, usually of a similar amount. Often calculated using the child support formula and payment is made through the Child Support Agency.
- Non-periodic payments: These are applied to expenses like school fees, for example. This sort of payment can be made in part through the formula assessment, but more often is made through agreement.
- Lump-sum provision: Made via a credit balance. The court determines what percentage of a lump-sum provision can cover regular costs, but a court order of this sort is rare.
Calculating Child Support
The Department of Human Services use the following 8-step formula to calculate child support:
- Both parents’ taxable income is calculated.
- The earnings of both parents are added together to establish a combined child support income.
- The cost percentage for both parents is worked out via the care and cost table.
- The cost percentage is calculated for the two parents.
- The care percentage is calculated for the two parents.
- The cost percentage for each parent is taken away from the income percentage. The calculated sum will show which parent will be the one to receive child support. The parent who has a negative percentage will be paid child support, whereas the parent with a positive percentage is the one to pay child support.
- Costs for the child are then determined by using the costs of children tables.
- The final amount of child support is determined by multiplying the positive child support percentage by the total costs of the child.
Other Key Details
- Once a child turns 18, child support legislation no longer applies, both in NSW and every other Australian state (there are exceptions under special circumstances).
- Child support amounts can be adjusted if either parent submits a Change of Assessment application. This would be done if a parent’s circumstances allow for a change to the amount.
- A parent may still need to pay child support even if they live overseas, but this process can be tricky if the parent isn’t an Australian resident. The Department of Human Services can organise child support payments from parents who reside overseas.
- If a parent decides not to pay child support, it can be deducted from their salary and/or tax returns.
- In most circumstances, parents will reach an agreement for payment of private school fees, but the Agency can make an order on payment of school fees.