Child Support

Child support is financial support provided by one parent to another for the benefit of their children. It is ordinarily money paid on a periodic basis but may also be provided in other forms.

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In most cases, support for children under the age of 18 is determined by way of an administrative assessment undertaken by Child Support, Services Australia (formerly the Child Support Agency).

Child support obligations are ordinarily calculated administratively, using a legislative formula that takes into account each parent’s income, a child’s age, the time a child spends with each parent, and other relevant dependent children.

Non-parent carers (including legal guardians, grandparents or other family members) may also be eligible to seek child support from one or both of a child’s parents.

In certain special circumstances, the assessed rate of child support payable can be varied by application to Child Support and sometimes by a court. Examples include where parents have agreed to their children being educated privately, if a child has special medical needs or in the case of high childcare costs or contact costs, amongst others.

Parents can also enter into limited or binding child support agreements. Such agreements offer a more flexible way of arranging child support and may include changes to the formula assessment, provisions for lump sum payments or the payment or sharing of specific expenses such as educational and medical costs. Legal advice is required for binding child support agreements and recommended for limited child support agreements.

Child Support is responsible for administering Australia’s child support scheme. Decisions of Child Support can be reviewed internally by application to Child Support, externally by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and, in limited circumstances, by the courts.

Taussig Cherrie Fildes can assist you to put in place appropriate arrangements for the payment and collection of child support. We are able to help you apply to Child Support and, if you believe an incorrect assessment has been made, with the preparation of applications, objections and submissions to Child Support, the AAT or the court including applications for a change of assessment or departure orders.

Taussig Cherrie Fildes also has extensive experience advising on, negotiating and drafting child support agreements. We can also assist in respect of arrears and enforcement and in relation to overseas child support and child maintenance obligations.

Our lawyers can also assist with maintenance for adult children (including children with a disability and children undertaking tertiary study) and maintenance payable by step-parents, which obligations are not determined by Child Support but by the courts.

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