When a relationship breaks down, amicable steps should be taken to reduce the impact on the children. It greatly reduces stress and uncertainty for kids if parents are able to cooperate and make arrangements, whether regarding child or support payments, that preserve the relationships between the kids and each parent.
It is expected that both parents have an obligation to financially support children, even after separation. This is what is referred to as “child support”.
In Melbourne and throughout Australia, this is administered by what is commonly referred to as the Child Support Agency (“CSA”). Parents and carers of children can apply to the CSA for an administrative assessment of child support from the other parent if they are not living with the other parent on a genuine domestic basis – i.e. they have separated.
The amount that is payable is based on a complex formula, that takes into account each parent’s incomes, the ages of the children, and the number of nights that the children spend with each parent. Each case is different, so just because your friend may have to pay a certain amount for their children does not mean that you will have to pay the same amount for yours.
It is possible to apply to vary the assessment in certain circumstances, such as where the assessment does not accurately reflect a parent’s real income, there are additional costs to educate the children, such as private school fees, or you are paying for other benefits for the support of the children, such as the mortgage for the home where the children are living.
It is also possible to enter into a Child Support Agreement with the other parent directly, without the intervention of the CSA, and many parents favour this agreement as it provides long-term certainty, without the hassle of the continual involvement of the CSA.
Whilst support is very important to ensure that children are properly maintained, it is also a very complex and confusing area. It can be difficult to get information in relation to your particular situation and often even staff from the CSA cannot assist, as they are unable to give you legal advice.
Experienced lawyers in Melbourne & Sydney here to provide help
Australian Family Lawyers have offices in both Sydney and Melbourne, and we are highly experienced in navigating this complex area of law. We can give you legal advice about how much you should be paying or receiving, as well as how to apply for a variation to the assessment, if necessary. Our specialist family lawyers can also give you advice as to whether a Child Support Agreement would be in your best interests and in drafting such an agreement.
Contact Australian Family Lawyers
Do you have a question about family law or relationship law?
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