There is no legal requirement for parents to have something in place for the support of their children from the other parent. Often parents will implement a system for the ongoing financial support from another parent which is known as ‘child support’. It is a payment by one or both parents to the other parent (or third party assisting in looking after the children) to help with the costs of caring for the children.
Child support can be implemented in the following ways:
• self managed between the parents themselves;
• an assessment undertaken from the Department of Human Services;
• a child support agreement; or
• Court-ordered child support.
Child support is generally paid until children attain 18 years of age. In some circumstances, child support can cease prior to, or continue after, the age of 18. Consideration is given to factors such as the child marrying or entering into a de facto relationship, if the child is adopted or whether an adult child has a disability.
Child support can be provided and received either privately or through the Department. If parents opt for private collection, the child support is made and received directly through the parents.
A court cannot make an order for child maintenance if an assessment could be made by the Department at the time of the Order.
If assessed by the department, the amount of child support paid by a parent varies on factors such as income, the percentage of time the child spends with each parent and whether the parent has any other dependent children. Parents who do not spend any time with a child may also be required to pay child support.
Once assessed by the department, parents are required to inform the Department of any change in circumstances which may affect the assessment.
A family lawyer can assist you with your child support issues including:
• How to determine if you should be paying/receiving child support;
• How to determine the amount of child support which you should be paying/receiving;
• Explain a child support assessment;
• Explain the options available to you if you wish to contest an assessment;
• Draft a child support agreement; and
• Act as your legal representative in proceedings involving child support.
Need help with complex family issues? Our expert team of family lawyers in Wollongong can assist you with all family law matters including child custody and visiting rights. We always strive to achieve the best outcomes through negotiation and keep your family out of court. To speak with one of our expert solicitors in Wollongong, call 02 4229 5699 today.