Child support is an area of family law that can be very contentious. This is because both parents have a duty to financially support their children, even if:
- they do not live together;
- have never lived together;
- do not see the children;
- think the parent receiving the child support does not spend it like the person paying it thinks they should.
Child support is financial support paid by a parent to the carer of their child. Whilst this is often the other parent, it could also be a grandparent who has the main care of a child. Whilst child support can be informally agreed between parties, it is mostly regulated by the Department of Human Services (previously the Child Support Agency) through an assessment. An assessment takes into account both parties’ incomes, the age of the children and the care of the children as well as other matters like the care of any dependent children. Sometimes, parties agree to something different to the assessment and have that formally documented by way of a Limited Child Support Agreement or a Binding Child Support Agreement. These agreements often include such things as the payment of private school fees and the payment of private health insurance premiums for example. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of agreements.
Any child support received by the carer parent can impact on their Centrelink benefits so it is best to both consult Centrelink and a lawyer before proceeding.
As this is general information only, please contact the West Family Lawyers team on 08 9380 9111 for a consultation specific to your family law matter.