Determining equitable contributions to the support of children can be difficult without expert assistance. I will help you to negotiate a Child Support Agreement.
Separating from your partner is a challenging and emotional enough process when children are involved. You do not need the added stress of wondering how you will support your family. But do you know what level of financial assistance you will get from your former partner? Or how much you will have to pay? Would you prefer a private arrangement that has some flexibility? What about including a lump sum amount to support your children as part of your property settlement?
As your trusted lawyer, I will assist you to arrange an Administrative Assessment of Child Support or negotiate a Limited or Binding Child Support Agreement with your former partner. I am here to help negotiate and secure an arrangement that best meets the needs of you and your family.
For the majority of separated parents, the amount of financial support that each parent must provide for their children is determined using a legislative formula based on:
- Childcare costs
- Living arrangements
- Both parents’ income
- Other children receiving child support payments from either parent
The administration of the Child Support formula and scheme is handled by the Department of Human Services. Ordinarily, DHS will collect payments from the paying parent, deposit these funds to the payee’s account and regularly review assessments.
The suitability of a Child Support Arrangement depends on your financial circumstances and negotiation abilities. Our lawyers can help you secure a solution that fulfils your family’s unique needs.
If both parents agree that the amount of Child Support to be paid is different from the amount determined by DHS, they can enter into an Agreement.
A Binding Child Support Agreement allows for considerable flexibility. Payments can be made by lump sum or even transfer of property in lieu of payment. There are strict formal requirements, including that each party must receive independent legal advice.
A Limited Child Support Agreement may be appropriate when the agreement is for a shorter period or a less contentious issue. It does not require parties to obtain legal advice and can be revoked at the request of either party after three years, or earlier in some circumstances.
As your Child Support lawyer, I will give you pragmatic and accurate advice, assist with negotiating an agreement and prepare documents that will ensure that the Agreement you reach with your former partner works.
Biological and adoptive parents may be liable to provide Child Support payments. If you are arranging a Child Support assessment with the DHS, you must provide evidence that the other party is in fact your child’s parent. If you do not already have the required documents, a DNA test may be requested.
Any parent or legal guardian who cares for the child for at least 35% of the 12 month period following the start of the Child Support assessment is eligible.
Note that you are not permitted to receive Child Support payments if you continue to reside with the other parent of your child.
The formula for determining Child Support is based on a number of factors. The main factors taken into account to determine this amount are:
- The number and ages of children to be supported
- The amount of time that the children spend in the care of each parent
- The financial circumstances of each parent and their capacity to meet the costs of raising children
- Whether there are other children from previous or subsequent relationships that either parent must support
Parents can elect to have a private arrangement for collection of Child Support. In cases where the contributing parent fails to pay the receiving parent the agreed or assessed amount, that parent can ask DHS to collect payments on their behalf from the paying parent.
DHS has many powers to compel this payment, including:
- Demanding the Child Support be deducted from the payer’s income by their employer and forwarded directly to DHS
- Retrieving the payments through social security and family tax benefits
- Accessing arrears from any tax refund due to the paying parent
If DHS is unable to secure payment after attempting the above administrative methods, then an application may be made to enforce a debt through the Court.
Child Support is intended to cover all costs associated with raising children such as housing, food, clothes and extracurricular activities.
Application can be made for additional amounts to be paid by a parent over and above the assessed rate of Child Support. Private school fees and medical expenses are examples of expenses that a parent may be required to contribute an additional amount to meet in appropriate circumstances.
The Child Support formula works on many factors including the cost of raising children and the combined income of the parents. There is a cap on the costs of the children, which is influenced by the combined income of the parents.
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