What is Child Support?
Child support is a simple enough concept on its surface. The law compels parents to each contribute towards their children’s daily cost of living.
The amount payable is calculated by a default formula, which is designed to ensure that there are basic rights and obligations for separated parents across the country.
Parenting, however, is a journey for parents and children alike. Kids grow older and circumstances change. The living costs necessary to support the children change. The financial circumstances of the parents change. The living arrangements of the parents and children can change. The law itself, also changes.
It follows that child support disputes frequently arise as to the level of support that should be paid to reflect past, current and future circumstances. They often involve disagreements as to:
- paternity and whether a person should be liable for child support at all;
- a parent’s income changing to a lower or higher amount over time (and whether this is fairly reflected in the rate of child support payable);
- structures (such as a company or trust) or business expenditure reducing a parent’s child support income;
- whether a particular rate of child support properly reflects the time arrangements in place for a particular child;
- support payments in lieu of cash payments, such as school fees, school books and uniform expenses, private health insurance and extra-curricular activities;
- child support agreements and their ability to create certainty;
- steps taken by the Child Support Registrar to collect or recover child support;
- unfiled tax returns and re-assessments that issue as a consequence of late lodgement;
- non-payment of child support and recovery of child support arrears, including collection via private Court enforcement;
- when child support should stop, or be reduced in the future;
- adult child maintenance (such as the costs of an adult child’s university studies).
If you have concerns as to child support, either before or after a dispute arises, or simply wish to review your legal options as to any child support related concern, please contact us to discuss.