Child Support

Child support can be a sensitive and difficult issue to navigate, but we are well versed in the intricacies and process involved.

As parents of your children, you are financially responsible for them, regardless of whether or not you were married or in a relationship when your child was born, and irrespective of whether you are involved in your child’s life.

Child support is regular financial payments which are applied towards the welfare and maintenance of your child.

Applying for a Child Support Assessment

Parents seeking child support payments, may apply for assessment through Services Australia – Child Support.

How is child support calculated?

The amount of child support is worked out using a formula, which takes into account several factors, and can include your respective incomes, the time the children spend with each of you and the costs for raising your children to name a few.

When is child support payable?

Generally, child support is payable for all children (who can be adopted children, children born from artificial conception or through surrogacy arrangements and children from same sex relationships) until they are 18 years old.

The Child Support Agency must be satisfied both parents are the legal parents of the child before assessing an application for child support.

In some cases, parentage may be challenged through a Court and/or DNA testing. These matters can be quite complex, and in such cases, we recommend guidance from an experienced family lawyer.

Children over 18 years

There are also situations where parents or non-parents can make an application to the Child Support Agency seeking to extend an assessment for payment of child support after the child turns 18 but has not yet completed secondary education.

There are also some circumstances where child maintenance may be payable for children over 18, who are engaged in fulltime tertiary studies, or who have a physical or mental disability.

Applications for adult child maintenance through the court can be complex and expensive, so it is important you obtain advice from an experienced family law solicitor.

Can I object to a decision made by CSA?

Sometimes a child support assessment may not fully consider the special or unusual needs of your child or children, or your circumstances as a parent or carer. This may also be the case for a parent who has been assessed to pay child support may have a change in circumstances since the assessment was made, which now makes it difficult to meet these payments.

In such cases, either you or your former partner may apply for a re-assessment of child support.

If you think an assessment has been calculated incorrectly or that your personal and financial circumstances have not been fully considered, we can assist you with:

  1. Preparing an application for the child support assessment to be re-assessed.
  2. Or, if you have received an assessment for payment of child support and you do not agree that the assessment properly takes into account your circumstances, then we can provide you with assistance in lodging an objection.

What happens if my ex-partner won’t pay child support?

The Agency has the power to investigate, enforce and collect child support payments in a number of ways, including deductions from the paying parent’s employment income, directly from the paying parents bank account, or retain any Australian Taxation Office refunds due to the paying parent.

In extreme circumstances, the paying parent can also be prevented from leaving the country.

If you need any further assistance please contact [email protected] or call (07) 5536 1140 for a no-obligation discussion and for expert legal advice.