The amount you pay for child support is based on a formula which is updated and varied from time to time.If you’ve already separated and have children, it’s likely you’ve encountered the child support system and received an assessment that you either pay, or receive, child support. You might not know that there may be steps you can take to vary your assessment further, if a number of special circumstances apply.
If you have only recently separated and you are not aware of your child support rights and obligations, we strongly encourage you to get advice about those issues as soon as you can. There’s a risk that your child support obligations may be retrospectively accruing.
For some parents, the child support system can be a confusing and complex process, but it can be simplified. Another commonly used method of clearly defining enforceable child support obligations is a Binding Child Support Agreement.
You and your former partner must obtain independent legal advice before entering a Binding Child Support Agreement. Another advantage is that you can make the agreement as simplistic or comprehensive to suit your needs.
A Binding Child Support Agreement allows you to clearly define the costs that each parent is to pay for the benefit of your children, which might include:
- Setting the amount of child support payable; whether through regular instalment payments (known as periodic child support) or as a lump sum. This can help provide certainty that payments will not be varied in accordance with the child support formula managed by the Department of Human Services;
- An election that periodic child support is assessed using the child support formula;
- A provision that there is no periodic child support;
- Payments toward other costs (known as non periodic child support) such as education costs, medical and health care expenses, and other expenses relevant to your children.
A Binding Child Support Agreement is enforceable by the Court. The terms for ending a Binding Child Support Agreement can also be tailored to suit your specific needs.
If you have separated and there are no formal child support arrangements, or you are not satisfied with the formula-based process, we invite you contact us to discuss the whether a Binding Child Support Agreement is appropriate for your circumstances.
We can help you with a Binding Child Support Agreement as part of a property settlement, or independently of any other matters relating to your separation.