Child support agreements are contractual arrangements between parents or non-parent carers to enable financial support for their children. The Child Support Scheme was introduced by the Australian government in 1998 to ensure the adequacy of court ordered child maintenance. Child Support is payable for all children living in Australia (up to the age of 18 years) following separation, regardless of whether the couple were married to each other or not.
Child Support Assessment
The Department of Human Services can make an assessment for child support based on income tax records and other financial information held by the ATO and the Commonwealth Government. The assessment is a complex formula and will broadly take into account the following:
- Parents’ income
- Combined income
- Time each parent cares for the child
- Child’s age
- Living expenses
Child Support Agreements
If parties are able to reach an agreement between the other, then a solicitor can prepare a binding Child Support Agreement which is registered with the Department of Human Services. The agreement may include a combination of cash payments and non-cash payments (such as health insurance and school fees). There are two types of Child Support Agreements that can be formed depending on your circumstances.
1. Limited Child Support Agreement
This agreement requires a Child Support Assessment to be undertaken before the Child Support Agency accept the terms of the Agreement. A Limited Child Support Agreement is limited by the amount payable under the agreement, which must be equal to or more than the Child Support Assessment.
2. Binding Child Support Agreement
A Binding Child Support Agreement can be entered into between the parties despite whether a child support assessment was undertaken or not. Further, it can be made for any amount that is mutually agreed upon. However, both parties must obtain independent legal advice before making or terminating a Binding Child Support Agreement.
Court Ordered Child Support
A court may make a child maintenance order for children not covered by child support legislation, such as maintenance for children from carers who are not eligible for a child support assessment. The Family Law Act regulates the process of enforcing child maintenance orders.
The team at Etheringtons Solicitors are skilled at handling all matters relating to Child Support Agreements, and are able to assist with complex cases and the modifying of agreements after they are in place. If you are currently thinking about entering a Child Support Agreement or need assistance with any area of Family Law, do not hesitate to contact us on 9963 9800 or via our contact form here.