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Child Support

In most situations, child support arrangements are determined by the federal Department of Human Services.

Child Support disputes

In most situations, child support arrangements are determined by the child support branch of the federal Department of Human Services.  The rate of child support payments required to be paid by parents is determined by applying an assessment formula that it set out in the relevant child support legislation.

There are avenues for both payer parents and payee parents to dispute child support assessments made by the Department of Human Services if a parent or caregiver is concerned that the information used by the Department in making the assessment is incorrect, or if it is believed that the Department have not taken into consideration a relevant factor.

Child Support is a complex and technical area.  It is important that appropriate legal advice is sought before raising any dispute or objection with the Department.  There are also strict time limits of which applicants need to be aware.



Binding Child Support Agreements

Parents who have reached agreements in relation to the financial support of their children can enter into Limited Child Support Agreements or Binding Child Support Agreements.  By resolving child support arrangements by consent and properly documenting agreements, parents can avoid relying on formula assessments by the child support branch of the federal Department of Human Services.

Limited Child Support Agreements can be implemented without requiring both parties to have independent legal advice.  These agreements can only operate for a maximum of 3 years, must be accepted by the Registrar of Child Support and must provide for child support payments that are at least equal to the rate that would have been assessed using formula assessment. 

Binding Child Support Agreements are only valid if both parties have received independent legal advice about the nature and effect of the Agreement before the Agreement is signed.  There are also a number of other formal requirements that must be met for a Binding Child Support Agreement to be valid. 

There are only limited circumstances in which a Binding Child Support Agreement can be terminated.  A change in circumstances of a parent or child is not, of itself, a ground to terminate a Binding Child Support Agreement.  Limited Child Support Agreements may be a more appropriate mechanism for documenting child support agreements for families where significant changes of circumstances are foreseeable.

The law relating to child support agreements is complicated.  Child support agreements must meet legislative requirements and careful consideration should be given to a family’s current situation and likely future circumstances to ensure the intention of the agreement is not compromised.

Contact our office to make an appointment with a lawyer experienced in family law and child support matters.


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