A parents’ guide to child support in Australia

How to handle child support and going through a separation and divorce with a child

Whether you are paying or receiving, child support payments are a major concern for people going through a separation or divorce with a child. In Australia, it is expected that both parents have an obligation to financially support their children after a separation or divorce.

Child support is a complex area of law, and each situation is unique. Here are some of the key details at a glance:

  • The Department of Human Services (DHS) handles applications for child support
  • Child support payments are calculated with a complex formula, and each case is unique
  • You can make a Child Support Agreement with your former partner without the DHS

Keep reading our straightforward child support guide to further your understanding.

At Australian family lawyers, we can help you navigate child support and other children’s matters when you’re going through a divorce. 

Understanding child support in Australia

The purpose of child support in Australia is to ensure that the wellbeing of children is properly maintained, and both parents are meeting obligations to financially support their children after a divorce.

As such, it’s usually in everyone’s best interest to come to an amicable agreement with your former partner about child support payments. Creating a Child Support Agreement without the involvement of the DHS is often less stressful, but this is not always possible if parents are in dispute.

If you can’t agree on the amount of child support with your former partner, then you will need to have a child support assessment through the DHS.

See the DHS website for more information about getting a child support assessment or talk to the team at Australian Family Lawyers for advice.

How is child support calculated in Australia?

Parent and child support payments holding hands

The DHS uses a very complex formula to calculate child support payments. Every situation is unique, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If you want to estimate what your child support payments may be prior to (or instead of) making a child support assessment, DHS has an online calculator that can help you estimate the child support payable.

Some of the factors the DHS will consider when calculating child support payments for your case include:

  • The number of children you have
  • The age of each child
  • Your income and your former partner’s income
  • Each parent’s percentage of the care
  • Each parent’s percentage of the cost

Once the DHS has assessed all the financial information and the care arrangements, they will calculate which parent needs to pay child support and how much they need to pay. For more information about how this calculation is done, refer to the child support formula on the DHS website.

Other common questions about child support payments

1. What percentage of your income do you have to pay in child support?

This depends on the circumstances of your care arrangements and your income, as well as several other factors. To find out the answer for your circumstances, you will need to have a child support assessment through the DHS or talk to a lawyer for advice.

2. What is the maximum child support in Australia?

The maximum child support amount is calculated using the combined income of both parents, up to 2.5 times the annual equivalent of the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings, as well as the Costs of Children Table. Refer to the Australian Government Child Support Guide, for a detailed overview – or contact Australian Family Lawyers, today.

3. What age do you stop paying child support in Australia?

Child support payments typically end when a child turns 18. If your child is still in high school, you can apply to extend the child support payments until the end of the school year.

Talk to Australian Family Lawyers for advice

Going through a divorce with a child is difficult and stressful, and financial uncertainty doesn’t help. Whether you will be paying or receiving child support payments, we can help you come to a fair arrangement with your former partner.

Need some advice? Fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch with you. Alternatively, learn how we can help you with child support and other children’s matters here.

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