CHILD SUPPORT: What are the Options?
When parents separate, arrangements need to be made about the financial support for the children.
The Child Support Agency (“CSA”) is one avenue available to assist in making appropriate arrangements. The CSA is able to make an assessment about the amount of financial support each parent should contribute. The CSA uses a formula based on taxable income and the number of nights that the children spend with each parent. There are two ways the CSA can be involved:
By providing an assessment, but allowing the parents to make and track payments between themselves;
By providing an assessment and collecting on behalf of the parent entitled to receive the support.
The involvement of the CSA is not the only way that parents can resolve the arrangements for their children. Many parents are able to reach an agreement in relation to support for their children without the involvement of the CSA. There are many ways to reach an agreement, and many “outside the box” ways to jointly support children even after separation.
If an agreement is reached, it can be documented in either a Limited or a Binding Child Support Agreement. These agreements can be lodged with the CSA and enforced on the parent's behalf (if needed).
A child support agreement can include arrangements for weekly/fortnightly payments, the payment of medical costs, school fees, health insurance, extra-curricular activities and sports. We can assist separated parents to reach an agreement to best support their children into the future.
This can be done using a number of process options including round-table discussions, mediation, collaborative law. For parents who have already have an agreement, we can provide the necessary legal advice and documents.