Child Support FAQ

1. What does Child Support cover and do I have to pay if I have 50/50 care?

There is no description within the legislation regarding this. The Child Support Agency calculates the cost of child support with the following information when a formula assessment is in place:

  1. The combined incomes for both parents.
  2. Care levels that each parent has.
  3. The costs of children table as different costs apply to children 0-12, children aged 13+ and children of mixed age.

Many customers have told us they want to know where the money is being spent as their child support is excessive and/or the receiving parent does not spend the money on the child or children.

No doubt many people do not want to pay child support when this is the situation.

We have a solution to this problem and can prepare a Binding Child Support Agreement for you. This can be tailored to have the child support payable as:

  1. Periodic amounts to be paid to the other person.
  2. Non-periodic payment provisions.
  3. Lump sum payment provisions.

Contact us today to discuss this.

2. I have a court/parenting order in place regarding my visitation rights, but my ex is not adhering to it and the Child Support Agency (CSA) are ignoring it. Why is this so?

Because in Australia, many parents breach parenting orders and the Family Law system considers it a "reasonable excuse" depending on the reason why they were contravened.

3. When do my legal obligations to pay child support end?

Usually, when your child/ren turn 18 (an application can be lodged by either parent with a care level to extend the payments until the last day of school attendance in the year that the child turns 18 but an agreement has to be signed by both the Paying and Receiving Parent as stated in the Legislation) OR if a terminating event occurs, please Contact Us should you want to go back to a private arrangement. Your ex could engage the services of a family law solicitor to intimidate you into getting court orders to pay past the age of 18, but whether the Child Support Agency accept it is at their discretion as they are a law unto themselves.

4. How are child support payments calculated?

Generally, payments are calculated using 5 factors:

  1. The paying parents' gross taxable income.
  2. The receiving parents' gross taxable income.
  3. The numbers of child/ren on the case.
  4. The ages of the child/ren.
  5. The care levels of the child/ren (the parent with the greater care level will generally be the receiving parent).

Please see our menu Child Support Calculators for further information on this topic.

5. How do I cease the Child Support Agency from dictating my payments?

By either the receiving parent applying to end the case OR a terminating event occurs.

6. Is there a difference between taxable ATO income and income used by the Child Support Agency (ATI)?

Yes, the Department of Human Services, Child Support can use an ATO income or an ATI (adjusted taxable income) whereby allowances, salary sacrificing, fringe benefits, negatively geared property and other tax offsets for ATO purposes are simply added back on. Possible triggers for these are irate calls from your ex to the Child Support Agency and the officer who took the call initiating an investigation internally via the ATO.

7. How do I have extra payments which I have made (on top of the liability) recognised as a credit or to reduce my liability?

Please Contact Us.

8. Does the Child Support Agency consider payments on the monthly statement to be in arrears or advance?

Arrears.

9. How do I have my ex's income investigated?

Internally through the Child Support Agency via a departure to the current administrative assessment. Please Contact Us.

10. Why doesn’t my debt with the Child Support Agency reduce even though I am making payments and efforts to reduce it and why are the CSA asking me to borrow the money to get a loan to pay it off?

The issue here is the “late payment penalties” (lpp’s) portion of your debt. The term late payment penalties is a little misleading as any debt with the Child Support Agency above $1,000 will in almost all cases accrue late payment penalties. The role of the Child Support Agency (if your case is Child Support Agency Collection) is to administer the collection of child support payments, therefore, their role is essentially similar to that of a debt collection agency. Should you want the penalties to be remitted, call them on 131 272 and ask them verbally, then get the receipt number for the call should you require a Freedom of Information request for the call recording in case the officer at the Child support Agency does not uphold your request.

11. What can the Child Support Agency do to recover the debt?

  • Automatically deduct child support from wages or income support payments.
  • Automatically deduct money from bank accounts.
  • Intercept tax return refunds.
  • Stop a parent from leaving Australia by issuing a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO).
  • Refer the debt to the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) or a third party law firm like Minter-Ellison or Mills-Oakley to take a parent to court to recover the debt.

Please Contact Us should any of the above relate to your situation.

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