When couples divorce or separate, formal or informal arrangements are typically made regarding the financial support of their children. The formal obligations are governed by the Child Support Scheme, which legally requires periodic payments known as ‘child support’ to your former spouse for costs relating to your children.
This article aims to provide a quick guide on frequently asked questions on child support applications and child support in general.
What is Child Support?
Child support essentially means financial support for children. This financial support is commonly provided through regular periodic payments and encapsulates lump sum payments through the payment of specific expenses or via transfer or settlement of the property.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support typically covers housing, clothing, food, school, medical expenses and sometimes extra-curricular activities.
Usually, the coverage of non-essential items such as extra-curricular activities and private schooling are subject to whether both the payer and payee of the child support have agreed to send their children to the specified school or participate in an extra-curricular activity.
Usually, if the receiver of the child support wishes to send their child to a private school, and the payer disagrees – then the payer will not have to contribute to these additional costs.
What Is Considered in Child Support Applications?
- The living arrangements for the children
- The time each parent spends caring for the children
- The number of children
- The age of the children
- The income of each parent
- The financial requirements of each parent to support themselves
Child Support Eligibility
- Child support is eligible for all children who reside in Australia whose parents have separated, irrespective of whether the parents were married to one another.
- Typically, both parents must live in Australia; however, there are some exceptions when arrangements with other countries continue to require child support payments even if a parent is living overseas.
- A child who is either married or living in a de facto relationship is not eligible.
- Child support is payable under the child turns 18. The exception to this is if the child turns 18 during their last school year – in this case, the child support remains payable until they complete the school year.
Who Can Make Child Support Applications?
Depending on their circumstances, generally, both parents of the child are liable to pay child support.
The term ‘parents’ encapsulates the natural or biological parents of the child, adoptive parents and individuals who have become parents from any artificial conception procedures.
How To Make Child Support Applications
Child support applications are made to the Department of Human Services, which administer the child support scheme. This application can be made via Centrelink by completing an online form or through the Department of Human Services website itself.
Assuming the formal requirements for the application are met, The Department will conduct an assessment of child support to provide the details of which to both parents.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
Child support payments are calculated on a formula that primarily considers each parent’s income and the amount of time that the child spends with each parent.
This formula recognises the obligation that parents obligation to contribute to financially supporting their children, balanced with the parents’ financial capability.
See here for an estimation of your child support payments.
What Can You Do About an Unfair Assessment?
Sometimes an assessment may result in an unfair or inappropriate result, or your circumstances may have changed since the assessment was made, such as losing a job.
Suppose you disagree with the outcome of your child support application assessment. In that case, it is highly recommended to get in touch with a legal professional to discuss the next steps you should take.
You may also apply to the Department of Human Services to modify your child support assessment to account for exceptional circumstances, including:
- When your child requires additional medical care
- You and your ex-partner were previously in agreement that your child should partake in an extra-curricular activity or go to a private school.
- The assessment does not reflect your financial capabilities of paying child support.
- The costs of organising visits with your child are far too expensive.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
When discussing issues relating to child support applications, it is important to note issues relating to child support applications to seek legal advice to ensure all the correct procedures are being followed, and you are not being taken advantage of.
JB Solicitors can help advise you on how much child support you are entitled to receive or required to pay and your rights if dissatisfied. We can also help you meticulously prepare child support applications and registration. Finally, if it is needed, we will zealously represent you in the courtroom.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
If you have any more questions about child support applications or any other family law matters, check out our blog section for more informative articles.
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