Setting aside child support agreement
The Child Support Agency uses a formula to assess the amount of child support payable. If parties agree however, they can document a Child Support Agreement, either a limited agreement or a binding agreement, separate to an assessment.
A binding agreement is particularly difficult to change.
A father recently applied to the court to set aside a binding child support agreement he had entered into with the mother in 2007 with respect to the parties’ two children, aged 13 and 17.
The father claimed there where “exceptional circumstances” that had arisen, namely that he was experiencing financial hardship due to the mother’s relocation, which was not reasonably foreseen when they entered into the child support agreement.
The question for the court was whether the father’s change in circumstances amounted to “exceptional circumstances”.
The court said that the change must occur unexpectedly, unusually and not as a result of reasonable contemplation between the parties.
The father was self-represented and the court found that he failed to adequately present his case. The father failed to provide adequate information on his own financial hardship, instead he had focussed on his dissatisfaction with his child support commitments.
The father’s application to set aside the agreement was dismissed.
Note: There is a very high threshold for setting aside a child support agreement. There must be exceptional circumstances and clear evidence that hardship will be suffered if the agreement is not set aside. Ultimately, the decision is at the discretion of the court. If you have any queries about your situation, please contact us on 3221 4300.