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With specialisations in the area of family law, our team is passionate about finding the best solutions for all when it comes to the matter of child support legal services.
Under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989, every parent has a primary duty to maintain their child or children. Child support is assessed and collected by the Child Support Agency (CSA), which is part of the Australian Government Department of Human Services.
Parents are not obliged to use the CSA and are perfectly entitled to reach their own arrangements regarding child support. Ultimately, the Court is concerned with what’s best for the child, as are we.
There are two main types of child support agreements. One type of child support agreement is a Binding Child Support Agreement. This is for parents who opt out of the Child Support Act and come to their own agreement. This can only be altered by another agreement, terminating the agreement, or by being set aside by the Court in circumstances where there has been an event such as fraud, duress or lack of disclosure.
Every parent has a primary duty to maintain their child
Legally, Binding Child Support Agreements can only be entered into where both parents are represented by lawyers and have their respective child support solicitors sign a certificate certifying that they have given advice to their client on the advantages or disadvantages of entering into the agreement.
The other type of child support agreement is a Limited Child Support Agreement, where a child support assessment will be issued. These Limited Child Support Agreements operate only for three years, after which the parties can renegotiate another agreement if they wish.
If the parents agree, a Child Support Agreement can be entered into on a private basis between the parties. This agreement can be registered with the CSA or the parties may elect to comply with the agreement privately. Once registered, the CSA can be utilised to collect money due under the Agreement. The level of child support payable is reviewed at the end of every financial year.
It is possible for either party to apply to ‘depart’ from the child support assessment in special circumstances. For example, the parent liable to pay child support may encounter substantial or unusual expense in spending time with the child because they live a considerable distance away from the other parent.
In such cases, a modification to the child support assessment based on the usual formula can take place which takes these costs into account.