Under the emotionally trying circumstances of separation and divorce, you may find yourself wondering ‘How does child support work?’. Whether you are a parent who wants to understand more about child support or someone who has received a child support assessment to pay child support to someone else, understanding how child support works is essential. 

In this article, we will delve into the details of child support including what it is, how it is calculated, and other important information.

At Daykin Family Law, we guide you through the maze of child support and into your bright, new future. We are your trusted advisors in one of the most difficult times in your life. You can rely on our team of dependable, expert family lawyers to provide clear direction and steps toward meeting your goals. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

What Is Child Support?

Child support is when one or both parents provide financial support to the other or a caregiver to cover the expenses related to caring for a child or children. In some cases, child support may be paid to a person other than the parents who is taking care of the children.

To determine the appropriate amount of child support, parents can either come to an agreement or seek an administrative assessment from the Department of Human Services (Child Support), or there can be a combination of the two. If a dispute arises regarding child support, it is recommended to seek legal advice – and if you need help, contact Daykin Family Law today.

How to Apply for Child Support

To apply for Child Support by way of an assessment through the Australian Government, the simplest method is to do it online, using the Government’s Child Support Applications Service. Once you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed and you will be informed of the result. 

After your application has been reviewed, you can set up self-service and handle your child support online. Before you begin the application, ensure that you meet the Eligibility Criteria. If you or the other parent resides outside Australia, you may need to apply to that country’s child support authority. 

If you are afraid of negative consequences from requesting child support, you have lots of options. You can speak to a support worker through the Centrelink employment services line or visit the 1800RESPECT website for assistance, alternatively, seek legal advice and contact us today. 

To establish a self-service account, you can go to the Government’s Child Support self-service page and set up a myGov account if you don’t already have one then log in to your MyGov account and select Child Support online account

If you are unable to apply online, you can contact the Child Support Enquiry Line. If you wish to withdraw your application, you may do so before a decision has been made. You and the other parent will be notified of the outcome, as well as the amount and start date of the payments if an assessment is made.

How Much Will You Pay?

It is generally understood that both parents share the expenses for their children, and this is determined by Child Support (Services Australia) based on the combined income of both parents and other factors. You can see how much you might have to pay, or you might receive, by using Services Australia’s online Child Support Estimator.  Before making the calculation, a “self-support amount” is subtracted from each parent’s income. The parent with the higher income is generally required to pay a larger portion of the children’s costs, depending on the relevant care arrangements.

Is Child Support Taxable Income?

The good news is that received child support is generally not part of taxable income, and, when you pay child support, you might also be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A

In order to be eligible, you must provide care for your children at least 35% of the time, you may also need to demonstrate to Centrelink that you have requested a child support assessment from the other parent unless special circumstances are present. It may be necessary to discuss this with your Centrelink social worker.

Parents who receive Family Tax Benefit Part A at a rate higher than the base amount are generally required by Centrelink to apply for a child support assessment. The amount of time you spend caring for your children, including both daytime and overnight care, will be considered by Centrelink when calculating your Family Tax Benefit Part A.

In addition, your annual household income, including the income of any new partners, as well as child support payments for each child, can impact your eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part A.

On top of this, it can be important to file your tax returns annually because Child Support (Services Australia) and the Australian Taxation Office exchange information. If you are late in filing your tax return, your child support assessment for previous years may be affected, resulting in overpayment or underpayment of child support, which could cause financial difficulties.  You may wish to seek advice from your accountant regarding these issues.

When Do The Payments End?

Typically, child support payments continue until the child reaches 18 years of age. However, there are certain circumstances under which the payments may cease earlier, such as if the child becomes self-sufficient, gets married or enters into a de facto or marriage-like relationship, is adopted, or passes away. In some cases, child support may be payable for a child over 18 years old.

Can I reach a private agreement on child support?

Yes, you absolutely can. Contact us today to talk about your other options, such as a Limited Child Support Agreement or a Binding Child Support Agreement.  We have other articles for you to read on such avenues.

Choose Daykin Family Law – Your Trusted Child Support Lawyers in Brisbane

Understanding how child support works is essential for parents to ensure that their children receive the necessary financial and emotional support they need to thrive. 

At Daykin Family Law, we recognise the importance of this process and the impact it can have on your family’s future. That is why we are here to guide you through the maze of child support and into your bright, new future. 

Our team of expert family lawyers in Brisbane is ready to provide you with the support and direction you need to meet your goals and protect your children’s best interests. Whether you need assistance in reaching a child support agreement, seeking administrative assessment, or resolving a dispute, we are your trusted advisors. 

Contact us today to find out how we can help you navigate this challenging time and secure your family’s future.