Child Support

Experienced Child Support Lawyers in Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Maitland & Central Coast

Separated parents often argue about the level of financial support the non-residential parent is to contribute towards the living expenses and well-being of the children of the relationship.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) is part of the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Human Services. It shares information with other parts of the same department, for example Centrelink and also with other Commonwealth Government Offices, for example the Australian Taxation Office. The CSA is able to provide advice to parents as to the level of child support payable if assessed by the Agency and is also able to collect the assessed payments. Sometimes assessment and collection of child support payments by the CSA is mandatory, for example if the residential parent is in receipt of Centrelink benefits.

Many parents are also in a position where they can reach their own agreement about the payment of child support without the involvement of the CSA. Sometimes the agreement requires one parent to directly pay the child or children’s expenses, such as day care or school fees, sporting fees, medical needs and speech therapy. It is important to document the agreement you reach with your former partner as to child support, if you are not registered with the CSA and are not making use of their assessment and collection services. The arrangement you reach privately with your former partner may be formally recorded by way of a Limited Child Support Agreement or a Binding Child Support Agreement. There are legal rights and obligations attaching to these different Agreements, and certain steps must be undertaken to ensure the Agreement is enforceable. If you are considering entering into a Child Support Agreement you should obtain legal advice at an early stage.

It is sometimes necessary to seek legal advice in relation to an assessment of child support made by the CSA. You may be the payee or payer in those circumstances. It is not uncommon for clients to dispute the level of child support assessed and/or the manner in which the assessment has been calculated. The CSA has a set procedure for review (and sometimes further review) of an assessment. It may be helpful to speak to a Family Law Solicitor about the review process before completing the documents associated with a review application.

Court action regarding child support is fairly restricted and there are specific steps that must be followed. The Child Support legislation is lengthy and somewhat complex. If in doubt as to your child support obligations or entitlements it is prudent to contact a Family Law Solicitor for advice.