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Child Support

Child Support - What if we cannot agree?

Tuesday 23rd of June 2020
By: Kate Trajcevski, Special Counsel and Accredited Family Law Specialist, Coote Family Lawyers

I am extremely grateful for you and your team.

What if we cannot agree on how much should be paid?  

What is child support?

Child support is a sum paid by one or both parents for the support of their children. 

Periodic child support is usually a sum (often calculated monthly) that is paid to one parent by the other to meet the costs of their children's living expenses, such as food, housing and basic clothing.  It is often paid by the parent who has the higher income, to the parent with whom the children spend most of their time. 

Non-periodic child support is paid for the benefit of the children directly to a third party.  Often, parents will agree to meet or share school fees, medical expenses or extracurricular expenses in lieu of, or in addition to, periodic child support.

What if we cannot agree?

If you cannot come to an agreement with the other parent about how you will meet the costs of your children, you will need to seek an assessment from Services Australia.  You can direct Services Australia to collect the child support from the paying parent directly, or you can come to a private payment arrangement with the other parent.

The assessed amount may be not be enough to cover the costs of the children.  Private school fees, health insurance, extracurricular and medical expenses can be sought in addition to the assessed amount in some circumstances.  It may be appropriate to make an application in the Family Court for a departure from the Services Australia assessment.

Child Support and the property division

In some cases, a parent's income may be so low that the likelihood of collecting periodic and/or non-periodic child support sufficient to meet the children's expenses will justify an adjustment in the property division.

In the recent case of Washburn & Pacini [2020] FamCA 100, a further adjustment of 7% of the total asset pool was made to the mother, where the mother's care of the child and the payment of the child's expenses by her was in "far greater part" than the father.  The Court accepted that the mother had not sought the assessment and collection of child support through Services Australia as it was a "futile course", where the father's income would produce no assessed amount because he had manipulated his income to avoid the payment of income tax.

But what if we can agree? click here to read about your options.

Coote Family Lawyers are recognised as one of the top family law firms in Melbourne.  Whatever your circumstances we can assist you with all aspects of your children's financial support.  Call us now on 9804 0035 to speak with someone today.




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