If you have separated from your partner and have care of the children from that relationship, you are, in most circumstances, able to apply for financial assistance from the other parent to contribute to the costs of raising those children, in the form of child support obligations.
Child support stems from a fundamental principle that both parents have a responsibility to provide for their children. After separation, whether married or de facto, an agreement can be reached regarding the type and level of child support that is paid from one parent to the other to make sure that a child is supported financially by both parents. Child support is an ongoing payment that is purely for the financial support of a child from that relationship.
The area of child custody can be fairly complex, particularly if parents cannot come to an amicable agreement or there are extenuating circumstances that require the intervention of the Court. In our previous blog post, you can find out in more detail how to get child custody. Today, we’ve summarised the key things we think you need to be aware of when considering your child support obligations.
In Australia, child support obligations continue until a child turns eighteen years of age, or to the conclusion of Year 12 if the child turns eighteen during that year of schooling. However, in order for the obligation to continue to the end of Year 12 a specific application must be made. In some circumstances, the Court can order for a parent to financially support an adult child of the relationship.
There are certain circumstances in which the obligation can be stopped early, for example:
On the other hand, child support can also be extended in circumstances where, for example:
This is called adult child maintenance. If you would like to receive child maintenance for your adult child, or you have been asked to pay adult child maintenance, you should get legal advice.
The procedure for paying and receiving child support is governed by the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth) and the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (Cth).
The actual process of assessing the amount of child support can be quite complex, but in general terms it involves the use of an 8 step formula;
In practical terms, the simplest way to work out your potential child support contribution or what you are likely to receive is to use the Department of Human Services Child Support Estimator. The estimator takes you through each step and provides a calculation based on your individual circumstances.
There are various ways in which you can organise and manage your child support payments. This will depend on your individual circumstances as well as how able you are to communicate with your ex-partner.
Child support can be paid:
If you and the other parent are not able to communicate effectively, it may be advisable to organise your child support payments though the Child Support Agency by opting for the ‘Child Support Collect’ method.
You are able to change to another arrangement at a later date if you find you need to, however the parent receiving the child support must agree to the change in payment method.
If either the payer or payee are living abroad, child support payments may still apply. If this is the case, you should seek legal advice.
There are limited circumstances where child support arrangements go to Court. Most child support disputes are handled outside of the Court. However, some examples where a case may go to court are:
Compiling the correct documentation, serving other parties and the ensuing evidence gathering and subsequent hearing can be complex. It is vital in these circumstances that you seek independent legal advice from a family law specialist.
Daykin Family Law have offices in Brisbane and are highly experienced in navigating the complex area of Child Custody. Director, Shannon Daykin, was named in the prestigious Doyle’s Guide for 2019 in the Leading Family & Divorce Lawyers list (Recommended) and Leading Parenting & Children’s Matters Lawyers list (Recommended).
Daykin Family Law was also named as Recommended in the Leading Family & Divorce Law Firm list.
We will give you expert legal advice on the most appropriate and cost effective course of action for you and your family. Contact us on (07) 3338 5645 to make an appointment today.