Child Support Assessment

Family Law Registry Melbourne

It is parents’ prime duty to support their children. In the event of parents’ separation, the parent residing with the child applies to the Child Support Agency for an assessment of the amount due by the other parent for the child’s support. Both parents’ gross annual incomes are considered, in conjunction with the child’s age and care costs, as well as the amount of time with the child spent by each parent. Supporting a child from another relationship is also a factor. The child support website www.csa.gov.au comprises an estimator of child support amounts payable or receivable, as well as a calculator for tentative Family Assistance Office payments.

Parties can depart from child support assessment, e.g. if the parent liable for child support incurs substantial expenses in travelling to the child’s residence from his own home; or when the liable parent’s income drops below the minimum self-support threshold. In such cases a more equitable sharing of financial support between both parents can be made. On obtaining assessment, monthly payments are dispatched to the supporting parent. Parents can reach agreement on child support without CSA mediation.

With mutual consent, a private child support agreement can be made between the parties, registered with the CSA or executed privately. The amount of child support should be reviewed at the end of each financial year. Two child support agreement types are used: limited agreement and binding agreements. The former are valid for 3 years, and can be renegotiated on expiry. The latter can only be altered by another agreement, or in cases of fraud, duress, etc. Binding agreements require parents’ legal representation.

With children aged over 19, when further financial support is necessary for education completion or owing to physical or mental disabilities, a parent or the child can apply for adult child support.