Child support is financial aid that must be paid from one parent to the other parent or to the person who cares for the child—including a grandparent, relative, friend, or anyone who has that child in their care. Even if both parents of the child were never in a relationship, they each have a duty to support their child financially. The Child Support Agency (CSA) is part of the Department of Human Services (DHS), it oversees and administers the payment of child support.
If you do not have a child support agreement with your former partner, the CSA will conduct a child support assessment. This calculation uses an approved formula approved to determine the amount of child support applicable and which partner should pay or receive it.
What Is the Child Support Formula Assessment?
When a parent or caregivers applies for child support, the CSA uses a formula established in the Child Support Assessment Act. This formula helps determine the amount of child support that should be paid annually. This is called the “assessment.” The formula used in the assessment takes into account the following:
- The child expenditure table. This table is based on data and information from statistics. It shows what Australian parents spend when raising a child and is split into three groups: the costs for a child 12 and under, 13 and over, and children who fall into both age groups. The costs are based on national research and are updated annually.
- Parent income. Each parent’s income is considered equally in a child support assessment. Adjusted taxable income from the last completed financial year is used to determine which costs each parent should meet. In addition to employment income, adjusted taxable income takes into account other factors such as net investment gains/losses, reportable fringe benefits, reportable superannuation contributions, and foreign income.
- Percentage of care provided. The CSA acknowledges each parent’s contribution toward the costs of direct child care. The amount of child support, as well as who pays or receives it, is based on what percentage of time each parent cares for the child. If a parent cares for the child at a percentage of time greater than his/her share of total income, that parent usually receives child support from the other parent. A parent whose share of total income is greater than the percentage of time he/she cares for the child will generally be required to pay the support to the other parent.
- Financial responsibility for other children. A parent who provides care for children from a second family, is financially responsible for stepchildren, or is subject to other child support assessments may have an amount for those costs deducted from considered income.
CSA child support assessments apply to a specified period of time. A child support period can be any length of time up to a maximum of 15 months. Each new child support period requires a new assessment to account for changes in financial circumstances and the cost of living. If situations change during that period, the assessment can be updated.
An experienced family lawyer can help you reach a child support agreement that provides an equitable division of financial responsibility for your child’s care. Wayne Dawkins Lawyers in Perth focus on finding fair resolutions for family’s facing separation and divorce. Contact us through our website, or call at (08) 9214 3887 to talk to the family law experts at Wayne Dawkins Lawyers today.