Our Child Support Lawyers Answer Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

When parents separate, the welfare of any shared children is paramount. Family breakdowns can be incredibly emotional times for all parties, and in some cases, these heightened emotions can make reaching an agreement between ex spouses difficult. If you are looking to separate and have children, you’ll likely have many questions about how to ensure your children’s wellbeing is maintained. And more often than not, many of those questions will be around child support. Our specialist child support lawyers at Pullos answer some of those frequently asked questions below.

What is Child Support?

Child support is financial support paid by one parent to the other to assist with the day-to-day costs of any shared children under 18. In some cases, it may be paid by both parents to someone who is looking after the child.

The child support amounts will vary depending on how much money each parent makes, the child’s living arrangements, as well as the current cost of their needs.

How is a Child Support Agreement Reached?

Some parents are able to reach an agreement themselves about how much child support should be paid. If this is the case, you can create a child support agreement that is legally enforceable. At Pullos, our child support lawyers advise that you always seek legal advice before becoming a signatory on any agreement.

If parents are unable to agree, parents can apply to the Child Support Agency through Services Australia for an administrative assessment.

How is Child Support Calculated?

The Child Support Agency  will use a formula taking into account your specific circumstances to work out how much child support the other parent requires to care for the child.

These factors include:
• the number of children;
• the age of the children;
• how much money you need to support yourself;
• the incomes of both parents;
• the percentage of care each parent provides for the children.

Pullos' Child Support Lawyers can assist with calculating the assessment estimate you might expect from the Child Support Agency. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Whose Responsibility is it To Provide For a Child?

The law says that both parents have a duty to support their children financially, whether they are biological or adoptive parents, same-sex or otherwise.

If you have legitimate concerns over the paternity of a child you have been asked to provide support for, you are best to seek advice from your child support lawyers as soon as possible.

Do I Have To Pay Child Support?

If a child support assessment has been made and you don’t agree with it, you can request a review from the Child Support Agency. You may only oppose this if you believe the agency has:

  •  used incorrect information
  •  not considered all the relevant facts
  •  overlooked relevant details (or new information has become available) or
  •  not applied the appropriate law or policy correctly.

Some of these instances might include if your child/children attend private school, your child has a disability, or there are other extraordinary expenses that have not been included in the CSA formula assessment.

Sometimes a parent will “hide” income through companies and trusts and other means. The review process can examine what the real income available to a paying parent is, often resulting in an increase to the original assessed amount of Child Support payable. This area can be complex and knowledgeable and experienced advice is needed.

The Family Law Act 1975 states that both parents have a primary a responsibility to financially support your children. This is the case regardless of the state of the relationship between the parents, and whether or not your spend any time with your children.

If you do not meet your financial obligations, the carer can notify the Child Support Agency. The department has power to take child support out of the payer parent’s salary or tax return. Alternatively, it may be enforced through litigation. Significant arrears in child support can result in the payer being prevented from leaving the country.

More information about objections to child support decisions can be made here.

Please notify your child support lawyers if you are unsure you are able to make payments, you’re confused about payments, or there are any changes to your circumstances.

When Does Child Support Stop?

Typically child support will end once the child turns 18, except in exceptional circumstances. Pullos Lawyers will be able to advise what these circumstances might be, if any, in your particular case.

Need Further Assistance From Our Child Support Lawyers?

If you are a parent going through a separation, our team of specialist child support lawyers at Pullos can assist. We have over 30 years’ experience dealing with children’s issues, as well as divorce and spousal maintenance. Please contact us to make an appointment for an initial telephone call. This telephone call will be free of charge and it may save you significantly into the future. Alternately call us to speak to one of our Brisbane specialist family lawyers (07) 3144 1641 or one of our Gold Coast specialist family lawyers (07) 5526 3646. You may also visit the Services Australia website for more information.