What does child support cover?

This is a frequently asked question and can lead to much confusion.

Firstly, child support is money transferred between separated parents to help the financial costs of raising a child or children. The money can be transferred privately, by agreement or to the supporting parent through the Department of Human Services, Child Support Division (“the Department”) who collect the money on their behalf.

Both parents are assessed to determine who receives the child support, with factors contributing that include:

  • Time spent with primary carer
  • Income earned by non-primary carer

The child support is paid when both parents no longer live together on a domestic basis, the child is under the age of eighteen or is still at school, and is not a member of a couple.

Child Support Assessment: this is where the Child Support Agency (CSA) calculates payments based on a legislative formula. To calculate a Child Support Assessment the Child Support Registrar (“the Registrar”) takes into account: each parents’ income; the percentage of nights that the child spends with each parent each year; the percentage of the child’s costs for which each parent is responsible based on their care of the child; and the costs of the child.

Child support generally covers food, clothing and shelter. The formula used to reach the figure paid is based on research estimating the cost of raising a child, taking into consideration that the costs of raising a child increases as the child grows older and may also increase as the parents’ income increases.

Lawyers do not determine child support.

For further information on Child Support and related details see: https://www.dss.gov.au/families-and-children/programs-services/child-support/the-child-support-scheme

If you require legal advice call Acclaim Legal (02) 9744 0722 for advice on relationship breakdowns.