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COVID-19 and Child Support

Monday 20th of April 2020
By: Lauren Dunning, Associate, Coote Family Lawyers

Thank you Kate and Gillian and all the team for your work in getting this matter sorted so swiftly. You have all acted so professionally as well as with great compassion and understanding. 

How might the COVID-19 pandemic affect my child support payments?

There has been unprecedented disruption to our daily lives as a result of COVID-19.

A number of people have now been stood down, have lost their employment or are facing growing concerns and uncertainty about their ongoing employment.

This may significantly impact on a party's ability to meet their child support obligations. This may also place financial strain on the non-paying parent as a result of the paying parent's reduced capacity.

If you have an administrative assessment of child support in place through the Child Support Agency, the administrative assessment varies based on each parent's income, amongst other factors. If your income has reduced or you have ceased employment, then you can seek to alter your child support assessment by contacting the Child Support Agency and updating them as to your circumstances.

If you have a Limited Child Support Agreement in place you may be able to terminate the Agreement if the amount of child support payable changes by more than 15% .

This may not be so simple for parents whose child support obligations are governed by a Binding Child Support Agreement. The law around Binding Child Support Agreements is complex and they are difficult to set aside.

One ground under which the Court can set aside a Binding Child Support Agreement is if exceptional circumstances have arisen since the agreement was made such that the child or the applicant will suffer hardship if the Agreement remains in place.  

The idea of approaching the Child Support Agency or the Court may seem like a daunting prospect particularly given the uncertainty regarding the potential impact of Covid-19 and how long your financial circumstances may be impacted.  You may prefer to try and negotiate an outcome with the other party in the short-term to ensure that the financial impact on all parties is mitigated.

If your Child Support Arrangements are impacted by Covid-19 or you would like advice regarding your options, please contact one of our team of top family lawyers on 03 9804 0035 to book an appointment today.  Our office is still open for face to face appointments, whilst observing social distancing regulations.  We also offer and are fully equipped for video and telephone conferences. 

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