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When you need a child support lawyer
All parents have an obligation to financially support their children. However, often disputes about child support arise following the breakdown of a relationship. A child support lawyer from Lawpoint can help you understand your rights and obligations when it comes to child support. We are a team of highly experienced, empathetic lawyers. We are proud to have settled 98% matters out of court and a long list of client reviews from happy clients. Learn why Lawpoint is trusted by families all over Australia and contact us today for advice.
What is child support?
Child support is a general description of the rules surrounding calculating what financial contribution each parent must make towards the costs of raising their children, following separation.
Child support most commonly takes the form of regular periodic payments from one parent to another to assist with the cost of raising children, however child support can also take other forms such as lump sum payments or non periodic payments to assist with additional costs such as private school fees or extra curricular activities.
How much child support does a parent have to pay?
The amount of child support depends on a complicated formula which is used by the Department of Human Services to calculate child support.
This formula takes into account a number of factors, including:
- The percentage of care that each parent has (i.e. the number of nights that each parent spends with the children per year);
- Each parent’s income;
- The age of each child; and
- The number of children.
The calculation is a complicated one and our child support lawyers can assist you to estimate the amount of child support that you are entitled to receive or obligated to pay.
Is there a maximum rate of child support?
It is a common misconception that child support is uncapped and that a parent pays child support based on their income, with the higher the income the more the parent pays.
This is only partially true. Income is a factor used in determining the amount of child support that a parent must pay, however the rate of child support does not continue to rise uncapped as income rises.
Child support is intended to be a reflection of the cost of raising the child. Therefore, child support is capped at a maximum rate. In 2022, the maximum rate of child support payable by a parent whose income exceeds $202,970 for children aged 0-12 years is:
- $24,762 for one child;
- $38,565 for two children; and
- $48,713 for three of more children.
Different amounts apply if the children are aged 13+ or are of mixed age.
How can I get child support?
There are different ways that you can receive child support from the other parent.
The most common way that child support is paid is after a statutory assessment is made by the Department of Human Services. The department utilises the formula referred to above and the issues an assessment as to the amount that a parent must pay in child support. Child support is administered by the department.
Either the paying parent or the receiving parent can appeal the assessment if they are dissatisfied with it.
Child Support Agreement
A child support agreement is an agreement entered into between parents in which they agree on how much child support one parent will pay to the other. The agreement can deal with periodic payments, non periodic payments or both.
Some parents choose to have an informal agreement about child support, however these are not binding if one party chooses not to abide by the agreement.
There are two types of written formal child support agreement. A limited child support agreement and a binding child support agreement.
A Binding Child Support Agreement must be in writing and signed by the parents. It also has technical requirements such as the requirement for legal advice to be received by each parent and the child support lawyer giving the advice must sign a certificate confirming that the advice is given.
Once the agreement is signed, it can then be registered with the department and can be used to override a statutory assessment of child support. It is therefore very important that the Binding Child Support Agreement is written by an experienced child support lawyer.
What age do you stop paying child support in Australia?
Child support usually ends when a child turns 18. However, in limited circumstances, a parent may apply for child support to continue after that if the child is still in full time secondary education. The extension will apply until the end of the school year. Any application must be made before the child turns 18, except in exceptional circumstances.
An order can also be sought from the Court for a Child Maintenance Order for a child after they turn 18, if the child suffers from a mental or physical disability.
Speak to a child support lawyer
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