Before we delve into the topic of what is child support used for, let’s first see what “child support” means. The question of ‘what is child support used for’ is most relevant to couples who have recently gone through a divorce or separation.
Upon the breakdown of a relationship where children are involved, child support is the payment made either by one parent, or both parents to help with the general costs of raising the child/ren and looking after the child/ren.
All parents who were either married, in a de facto relationship, or same-sex relationship with children are require to make these financial payments upon the breakdown of their relationship.
The basic answer to what is child support used for is that these payments are used to manage expenses related to school, food, housing, clothes, and any external activities which the child engages in.
Child Support Application
An online application for needs to be paid to Department of Human and Health Services (DHS). When making the application, the applicant also needs to to check if they are eligible to receive these payments from their former spouse.
The online application can be found here. Once the application has been lodged, both parents are contacted by DHS to be informed of the decision.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
Generally, there are certain things that are taken into consideration by authorities like the DHS. The things that are considered in determining how child support is to be calculated include:
- the number of children
- the children’s ages
- the amount of money required by the person to support themselves
- the income that each party receives
- the percentage of care each party provides – and if one party spends more time caring for the child than the other
In making these calculations, the DHS may also look at other factors such as if there are other dependent children in your life. For instance:
- Under the Family Law Act (1975) any child for whom you have a duty to maintain, for example if you are the step-parent of a child
- any child who you have adopted
- a child born as a result of artificial conception
- a child born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement
- all biological children
What Is Child Support Used For?
To elaborate on the point of what is child support used for, let us understand the various areas where the payments can be put to use. The main answer for what is child support used for is that it is meant to provide an appropriate level of financial support to the child.
Under this, the main things where the payments are used for includes:
- housing costs
- medical costs and healthcare costs
- schooling and other educational costs
- extra-curricular activities and their costs
What Is Child Support Used For: Other Payments
Generally, these payments are made in regular periods as instalments. However, sometimes the paying parent makes extra payments in a specified period – these are third party payments. These payments are “non-agency” payments and “prescribed” payments
A non-agency payment is made by the paying parent either to the receiving parent, or a third party who acts on behalf of both parents. These payments do not necessarily have to be monetary, in that, non-monetary payments like property ownership or service provision are included.
- Child care payments
- School books purchase and school uniforms
- School fees
- Dental expenses and other medical expenses
- Motor vehicle costs
- Housing expenses like bond payments, rent, or mortgage payments
When Do Payments Stop?
Generally, they are paid until the child turns 18 years of age. After this, if the child is in need of financial support, he/she will need adult child maintenance.
For adult child maintenance, court orders will be required. These payments are also made generally for educational and health purposes.
To read more about the topic of child support age, click here.
There are some other reasons why support payments can stop. These include:
- if the child is not living under the care of either parent anymore
- the child is in a de facto relationship or gets married
- the child is adopted by another person
- the payer of child support has moved to another country, where the payer’s child support requirements are not enforced by law
- if the child has passed away
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
Now that you know what is child support used for, it is also important for you to understand why legal advice is essential.
Legislation around these matters following divorce or separation is often complicated and gets tricky. On top of that, each case in family law has different circumstances and situations. When dealing with legislation around child support, you will need to have guidance that is tailored to suit your specific situation.
It is important for these reasons that you approach family law specialists who understand the law and what is in the best interests of your child to help you through the legal procedures around this.
At JB Solicitors, our experienced family law team have many years of experience under their belt which has helped them gain the knowledge around how to navigate each case, and provide market-leading advice that is tailored to each case.
We have fixed-fee pricing for family law cases which gives you a clear sense of all legal costs right from the start. We value transparency and maintain this throughout our processes.
To gain more information, it is advised that you book a consultation with our experienced lawyers.
Contact our friendly team today.