Both parents are responsible for financially supporting their children until they are 18 years of age or self-supporting.
The Child Support Agency is a government agency set up to calculate the amount of child support that should be paid and can also collect the child support payments for you. There are 2 ways that the amount of child support can be calculated and paid to you:
♦ Assessment by the Child Support Agency
♦ Private Agreement
Assessment by the Child Support Agency
The agency uses a formula to calculate the amount of child support based on the income of each parent, the number of children and other factors including the amount of time the children are in each parent’s care. If you are not satisfied with the child support assessment we can assist you with seeking a change of assessment and/or appealing the decision made in the review.
You may be able to use the online calculator available on the Child Support Agency website to estimate what your child support or family assistance payments might be.
There are 2 types of private child support agreements:
♦ Limited child support agreements
♦ Binding child support agreements
Binding child support agreements can only be entered into with a high level of formality. Each party must receive legal advice before entering into or terminating the agreement and legal advice certficates must be attached to the agreement.
Limited child support agreements are more flexible and less formal and do not require the parties to enter into legal advice. A child support assessment must be in place before the Agency can accept a limited child support agreement and the amount of child support to be paid under the agreement must be at least as much as what would otherwise be payable under an assessment. If the notional assessment changes by at least 15%, either party can terminate the agreement. Further, either party can terminate the agreement after a period of 3 years.
There are limited grounds to get an agreement changed and in some circumstances, a private child support agreement may impact on the Family Tax Benefits you receive. Therefore, it is important you seek legal advice before entering into a private agreement.
Private child support agreements can be registered with the Child Support Agency if you require the Agency to collect the payments, or remain unregistered.
If you have a child support assessment or registered agreement with the Child Support Agency and your child turns 18 and is still attending secondary school, you can apply for an extension for the payment of child support until the last day of school. You must apply before the child turns 18, unless there are special circumstances.
The court can also make an order for the maintenance of children over 18 years of age if the support is necessary to complete the children’s education (including tertiary education) and/or if the child has an intellectual or physical disability. It may also be possible to obtain a court order requiring a spouse to contribute to child -bearing expenses whilst you are pregnant and any time up to 12 months after you have given birth.
Hogan Stanton Lawyers can assist you will the preparation of private child support agreements or applications to the court for child support for children over 18 years of age or child-bearing expenses.
Assessment by Child Support Agency