As any parent will appreciate the costs of raising a child are significant. These costs are the responsibility of each parent of a child.
How much each parent should contribute and whether one parent should pay the other parent money to assist with the financial support of a child is assessed by the Child Support Agency.
To determine how much child support one parent is liable to pay to the other parent, the Child Support Agency uses a formula to calculate an assessment which takes into account each parent’s income and also the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
Ho do you apply for a child support assessment?
An application for the assessment of child support must be made to the Child Support Registrar at the Department of Human Services.
This application can be made online or by phoning 131 272. To access the online application click here.
Who can apply for the assessment of child support?
A person must be a parent of the child in order to be eligible to apply for a child support assessment.
As parents, can we come to our own child support arrangement?
If both parents agree to a child support arrangement that is different to the assessment calculated by the Child Support Agency this arrangement can be documented in a Child Support Agreement.
A Child Support Agreement is a formal agreement between parents of a child about child support payments. Child Support Agreements can include agreements relating to the payment of cash from one parent to the other or the payment by one parent for specific expenses for the child such as private health insurance, medical expenses such as doctor or dentist bills, private school fees, sports club memberships etc.
There are two types of Child Support Agreements parents can agree to enter into:
(1) Limited Child Support Agreements; and
(2) Binding Child Support Agreements.
What is a Limited Child Support Agreement
A Limited Child Support Agreement allows parents to determine their own child support payments and how they are to be made.
The agreement must be recorded in writing and signed by each parent.
Once signed, the Limited Child Support Agreement should be provided to the Child Support Agency.
The Child Support Registrar will not accept this type of agreement unless: –
1. there is a child support assessment in place; and
2. the amount of child support agreed to is equal to or greater than that determined by the child support assessment.
If the Child Support Registrar accepts the Limited Child Support Agreement, a notional assessment of child support will be made representing the amount of child support that would be payable if the parents had not entered into the agreement.
What is a Binding Child Support Agreement?
A Binding Child Support Agreement allows parents to make a binding agreement about child support payments. This agreement can be made even if there is already child assessment in place.
In addition to the agreement being in writing and signed by both parties, each party to the agreement must also obtain independent legal advice before entering into the agreement.
Parents considering a Binding Child Support Agreement can consider any child support payment, including an amount less than that assessed by the Child Support Agency.
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