Child support is an important part of Family Law because, as all parents know, raising children is an expensive exercise.
When parents of children separate, child support may be payable by one parent to the other to help with these costs.
We are often asked how we can make sure that the parent receiving the child support spends the money that they receive on the children and not on themselves and the answer is that we can’t.
Realistically though, most parents receiving child support cannot afford to keep the money for themselves simply because of the costs of raising children.
How much child support is payable?
Child support is assessed by the Child Support Agency and is calculated using a formula.
The factors affecting the amount of child support payable are:
- the ages of the children and the costs of raising them
- the income of each of the parents
- the amount of time that each of the parents spend with the children
The advantage of getting an assessment from the Child Support Agency, is that you can have the child support collected and distributed by them, meaning that you do not need to deal with your former spouse in relation to this issue at all.
You can obtain more information about the amount of child support payable via the following link – www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/child-support/child-support-assessment.
Can I have a private agreement instead of using the Child Support Agency?
You can have a private agreement about child support if you prefer, rather than using the child support agency.
You can agree to pay or receive child support in a number of different ways depending on what suits your circumstances, including:
- a regular periodic amount or
- an annual lump sum payment or
- a payment of agreed expenses when due such as school fees, private health fund fees, school and sports uniform costs and membership fees to facilitate extra-curricular activities such as membership of the Adelaide Zoo or membership of an AFL football club or
- a combination of the above
If you do choose the option of making a private agreement, then it would be prudent to have your agreement formalized by having a binding agreement prepared by us.
If you don’t do so, then it can be almost impossible to recoup unpaid child support payments.
Making sure your payments are correct
The simplest way to make sure that your child support payments are correct is to keep the Child Support Agency up to date with any change in your circumstances that might affect the payments including:
- any change in income of either of the parents
- if one of the children has turned 13 or 18 – as when each child reaches these milestones, the child support payable changes
- if one or more of the children change their living arrangements
The best approach
This is one area of family law that you can save your money because you don’t need a lawyer.
Contact the Child Support Agency to sort this issue out without paying out a cent in legal fees.
If you would rather have a private agreement about child support, then we would be pleased to help.
If you are interested in this approach, contact us to find out more.