What does child support cover?
Parents in Australia have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children, which continues following separation until the child turns 18 (and on occasion, beyond). So, what does this payment actually cover?
What does financial support for children cover?
Child Support covers expenses for children such as food, housing, clothes, school costs and other extra-curricular activities. It applies to all parents whether married, in a de facto relationship, who have never lived together or never had a relationship, and also may include same-sex parents.
The Child Support Agency (CSA), is the commonwealth government agency responsible for child support (or financial support for children). When a parent applies to the CSA, a mathematical formula is applied to determine how much child support should be paid. A child support assessment takes into account the number of children involved, the age of the children, the income of each of the parents, and the level of care each parent provides for the children.
Payments made for the benefit of the child
Payments to third parties made for the benefit of the child can be credited against a parent’s child support (or financial support for children) payable. This can be either by agreement between the parents, or a parent can ask the CSA to credit certain “prescribed expense” payments for up to 30% of their assessed child support liabilities. “Prescribed expenses”, include:
- child care payments;
- school or pre-school fees;
- school uniforms and prescribed text books;
- medical and dental expenses;
- housing expenses such as mortgage repayments, rent or bond payments; and/or
- motor vehicle costs.
The child support obligation is not just a moral one but a legal one and does not stop because of the following events:
- your child does not live with you;
- if you don’t have any contact with your child;
- you and your ex-partner fight;
- if you think your ex-partner will misuse the money you pay them for child support; or
- your ex-partner has a new partner
A parent with whom the child lives cannot stop time with the other parent if child support is not paid.
If you have separated and need assistance in pursuing child support payments or are liable to pay child support but are seeking a change in an assessment or thinking about a child support agreement, call us on 3221 4300 for specialist family law advice at a fixed-cost initial consultation. You can also read more about Child Support here.