Need to Know
- Child support is financial support to assist with the cost of caring for a child.
- It is usually paid by one parent to the other parent; but can also be paid to another person who is caring for a child.
- Parents can either agree on the amount privately; or have the Child Support Agency (CSA) assess and collect payments on your behalf.
- A standard CSA assessment considers the child’s age and cost of care, parents’ income and amount of time spent with each parent.
- Private arrangements made with legal advice provide greater flexibility to cover additional expenses (e.g. holidays, private education, medical expenses, extra curricula activities).
The facts about child support
Like adults, children need money to survive. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to financially support your child.
Child support is also known as child maintenance. It provides for the ongoing financial support by a parent for their child (usually under 18 years but not always) so they can continue to live, learn, grow and prosper even if their parents are no longer in a relationship.
There are two main options for negotiating child support:
- Privately – negotiated between parents directly and formalised by way of a Binding Child Support Agreement or Limited Child Support Agreement
- Government – assessed and managed by the Child Support Agency (CSA)
Child Support Assessment vs Private Agreement
The CSA uses a formula to evaluate how much a parent should pay to support their child. The formula considers how many children you have, their ages and cost of care, both parents’ income and the amount of time the children spend in your care.
- Pros - this type of arrangement can be useful when you want to keep decisions about finances at arm’s length from your former spouse as the CSA will assess and collect payments for you.
- Cons – the CSA formula does not consider many other expenses that make up modern life – private school fees, medical expenses, holidays, health insurance, day care, sports or tutoring.
You can apply to the CSA for the amount to be varied if you think you are paying too much or receiving too little, however, there is no guarantee of the outcome.
Flexibility and control
Many parents prefer more flexibility and control over child support arrangements.
At Quinn Family Law, we can help you formalise child support arrangements through private agreements. These are usually in the form of a Binding Child Support Agreement or Limited Child Support Agreement.
Our family law experts can advise you on the different formats and which one is most suitable for your circumstances.
We will negotiate and draft agreements on your behalf, provide advice and submit them to the CSA.
Expert advice on child support matters
Our experienced family lawyers can help you get your child support payments sorted so you can get on with helping your kids thrive.
Speak to an experienced Gold Coast family lawyer today. Book a free 60 minute initial consultation with Quinn Family Law.