Child Support Lawyers Sydney: Payments For Your Children
Divorce is hard on everyone in the family. Often children get caught in the middle, and, as parents, we want to ensure that their health and well-being are taken care of.
In Australia, it is a legal responsibility for both parents to support children financially. Our family lawyers in Sydney can help you navigate this stressful and emotional time. We help you with the legal logistics, so you can focus on your children.
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What Is Child Support?
In family law, child support (also known as child maintenance) is a payment made by one or both parents to help with the cost of looking after a child following the end of a marriage or other relationship.
In some cases, it can be a payment made by one or both parents to another person who is looking after the child.
Parents can choose to form an agreement about child’s support between themselves, or they can apply to the Department of Human Services (Child Support) for an administrative child support assessment.
In most situations, child support is usually paid until the child reaches the age of 18. There are some circumstances where support may be stopped early. These situations can include:
- If the child becomes self sufficient.
- If the child marries or enters into a de facto relationship.
- If the child is adopted.
- If the child dies.
There are some circumstances where payments can continue after the child has turned 18. In these cases, it is best to speak to a professional family lawyer.
Child Support Agreement Types
You and your former partners are entitled to create an agreement between the two of you on how much child support each will pay. There are two types of agreements, limited and binding agreements.
Binding Child Support Agreements
These types of child support agreements are in writing and signed by you and your partner.
In order to enter into a binding child support agreement both yourself and your former spouse must seek legal advice. This advice will cover the impacts, advantages, and disadvantages of the agreement before it is signed. You will need to provide a legal certificate signed by a legal provider, confirming that you have received legal advice. A binding agreement cannot be accepted without it.
The amount of child support can be anything so long as it is agreed on by both parents. The contract must also contain an annexure signed by both parents.
Once signed, the Binding Agreement cannot be changed, only terminated. This can often be a complex and costly process, so it is recommended you talk to a family lawyer before applying for the agreement to be terminated.
Limited Child Support Agreements
This is a formal agreement for child support that is signed by both parents, however unlike a binding agreement, legal advice is not needed before entering into a limited agreement. It offers more flexibility than binding contracts for parents of children.
A Limited Agreement can be terminated by either yourself or your former partner after 3 years.
In order to complete a limited child support agreement you must:
- Have a child support assessment in place before the contract can pass.
- Payments of child support must not be less than the child support assessment.
- It must be in writing and signed by both parents.
- Must be accepted by the CSA (Child Support Agency) before the agreement will have any effect.
What Is The Australian Child Support Agency?
The Child Support Agency (CSA) is part of the Department Of Human Services (DHS). The CSA’s role is to administer the Child Support Scheme and provide services to customers.
The Child Support Scheme is designed to enquire that children receive adequate financial support from both parents following separation. It assists parents to take joint responsibility for the financial support of their children.
The CSA can provide an administrative assessment of how much child support should be paid, and facilitate the payment of child support.
How Much Is Child Support In Australia? (How To Calculate Payments)
Child support is determined using a basic formula which determines the cost of care of a child, the adjusted income of both parents and the level of care provided by each parent. This can include who has custody of the children and the time spent with the other parent.
The aim of the Child Support Agency is to support shared parenting, ensure child support payments are made in full and on time and reduce any conflict between parties.
This 8 step child support formula is:
Step 1: Calculate Each Parents Income
This is calculated by subtracting a self-support amount from the parent’s taxable income. Any other allowances the parent is receiving for a dependant is also subtracted.
Step 2: Add Parents Income
This is to find out the combined child support income.
Step 3: Determine The Income Percentage Of Each Parent
This is calculated by dividing each parent’s income by the combined total.
Step 4: Calculate Each Parents Percentage Of Care
This step recognises any shared parenting arrangements and contributions each parent makes towards the costs of direct care of the child.
Step 5: Work Out Each Parent’s Cost Percentage.
This is done by using a care and cost table.
Step 6: Subtract The Cost Percentage From The Income Percentage Of Each Parent
The result of this subtraction is called the “child support percentage”. This calculation will determine if you or your former partner will pay or receive child support.
If the result is negative, then you are to receive child support. The negative result indicates that the share of the costs of raising your child is more than met by the amount of care you are providing.
If the result is positive then you will need to pay child support. A positive result indicates that you are not meeting your entire share of the costs of the child directly through care. If the result is positive then you will continue with steps 7 and 8 of the child support process.
If you have different care arrangements for various children, you may have different child support percentages for each child.
Step 7: Work Out Costs For Each Child.
This is based on you and your former partners combined total income using a costs of children table.
Step 8: Determine The Total Amount Of Child Support To Be Paid
This is calculated by when the positive child support percentage is multiplied by the costs of the child. The resulting figure is how much the paying parent needs to provide to the other parent.
What Are The Different Type Of Child Support Payments?
We understand that everyone has a different financial situation, and often it can be easier to provide support payments over time.
Periodic payments are payments made to the other parent or guardian on a pre-determined schedule. The Child Support Agreement will outline various guidelines on how much should be paid. The date the money will be transferred and how it will be transferred are outlined as well in the contract. Before any money is transferred, the payment schedule must be clear and agree upon by both your and the party receiving the support payments.
Do you want something more flexible that periodic payments? Non-Periodic payments allow you to pay an agreed amount for a year. These payments are more flexible, because they may not be due on a specific date throughout the year. This can be handy if you agree to cover for yearly fees such as your child’s school tuition.
Lump Sum Provisions
In many cases, former partners may want to resolve the matter of child support through one payment or lump sum. In order to do this, both parties must agree to such a payment, which should be outlined in a binding agreement.
Before the lump provision sum can go ahead, an administrative child support assessment must be in place. This lump some should equal the result of the administrative assessment. The lump sum will then be credited against the amount of child support payable or administrative assessment.
Want To Organise Child Support Payments?
It is crucial that you speak to a family lawyer before agreeing to a binding agreement.
Our lawyers are experienced in all child support contracts and agreements. Our family law experts understand what the Court wants to see and can carefully draft the contract on your behalf.
Advice And Support For Parents
Child support can be confusing. Our family law experts can help you understand the Child Support Scheme and how you Assessment is calculated.
We can advise you around arranges for child support regarding school fees, special medical expenses, and extra-curricular activities.
Our family lawyers can provide advice on periodic payments, non-periodic payments or a lump sum payment for child support.
If you have a child over 18 years, we can help you with applications for adult child maintenance.
Difficulties can also arise between the parents or when circumstances change. We can help you when things get complicated.
Child Support Lawyers In Sydney
Our family lawyers can provide expert advice about any agreement you have reached with your former partner about child support.
Do you need a child support agreement drafted? Our lawyers can create the agreement and file it with the Child Support Agency.
Do you need help negotiating payment of school fees, medical expenses, and other issues? We can help detail issues which you might want your child support agreement to deal with.
Child support is often a complex area of law. In the event that a complication arises, our family law team can provide advice and support for your situation.