If you and your partner separate, there are options available for you both to be involved in providing financial support for your children. For example:
- You and your partner may wish to self-manage child support;
- You may wish to apply for an administrative assessment;
- You and your partner may prefer to make a private child support agreement; and
- Depending on your circumstances, you may apply to the Family Court of Australia in relation to child support.
What is child support?
In Australia, the Government Department of Human Services (‘Department’) administers Child Support legislation, which is legislation aimed to ensure that children receive an appropriate level of financial support from parents. The Department provides services to parents and carers such as assisting parents to apply for a child support administrative assessment and facilitating the collection of child support payments.
What is an administrative assessment?
If you or your partner apply for an administrative assessment, the Department calculates how much child support is to be paid depending on factors such as the percentage of care you and your partner have with the children and your respective incomes. The Department’s website provides a comprehensive overview of child support and provides a child support estimator which calculates how much child support may be payable depending on your circumstances. You can visit the website here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/child-support
What if my partner and I come to an agreement?
If you and your partner agree to provide regular cash payments and/or payments for your children’s expenses such as school fees, extra-curricular activities or health insurance, you may enter into a private agreement. There are two (2) types of agreements able to be entered into depending on your circumstances. The agreements include a Limited Child Support Agreement and a Binding Child Support Agreement. Both types of agreements have their own requirements and Dorter Family Lawyers can provide you with advice and guidance as to which type of agreement would be most suitable for you.
Can the Family Court order child support payments?
The Family Court of Australia has the power to hear applications in relation to child support in some circumstances. Some of these circumstances include:
- An application for child maintenance for a child who is over eighteen (18) years old;
- An application departing from an administrative assessment;
- An application for a parent to pay or contribute to payment of private school fees;
- An application for a declaration that a person is not a parent for the purposes of paying child support; and
- An application for recovery of child support paid when a person is not liable to pay child support.
Dorter Family Lawyers can provide you with specific advice as to what your options would be in considering whether to make an application for child support to the Court.