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Do I pay child support if I do not see my children?

Do I pay child support if I do not see my children?

The answer is yes.

The amount of child support is determined through a formula and submitted to Services Australia and a Child Support Registrar.

The formula is complex but can be summarised as follows:

  1. The first step is to consider the income of both parents, that is, the annual income each parent generates through employment and/or investments;
  2. Next, there is a consideration of the age of the children. Children’s ages are important as the government has determined that the costs of children changes over time;
  3. Finally, there is an assessment of how many nights each parent spends with the children.

There is a useful online calculator that can estimate the amount of child support you may be assessed to pay.  You can find the calculator easily by using this link: https://processing.csa.gov.au/estimator/About.aspx

It may seem unfair to be required to pay child support for children you do not spend time with however according to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) parents have a primary duty to maintain their children.  This duty continues regardless of the time a parent spends with a child.

There are limits on the amount of child support a parent is required to pay according to the government assessed formula.  The maximum amount of child support is calculated using the combined income of both parents, up to 2.5 times the annual equivalent of the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings, as well as the Costs of Children Table.

However, if a parent who is in receipt of child support is of the view that the amount of child support received through the government assessment is not sufficient to cover the children’s expenses, they may be able to make an application to have the assessment reassessed and potentially seek a Child Support Departure Order with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

A parent is required to have exercised all avenues of review through Services Australia and the Child Support Registrar before approaching the Court for a departure order.  The parent is then required to demonstrate the grounds for the departure order which can include:

  1. The capacity of either parent to provide financial support for the child is significantly reduced because of:
    1. The duty of the parent to maintain any other child or another person;
    2. Special needs of any other child or another person that the parent has a duty to maintain;
    3. Commitments of the parent necessary to enable the parent to support:
      1. Himself or herself; or
      2. Any other child or another person that the parent has a duty to maintain; or
    4. High costs involved in enabling a parent to spend time with, or communicate with, any other child or another person that the parent has a duty to maintain (such as geographical distance requiring cost of travel or the cost of professional supervision services);
  2. That in the special circumstances of the case, the costs of maintaining the child are significantly affected:
    1. Because of high costs involved in enabling the parent to spend time with, or communicate with, the child; or
    2. Because of special needs of the child; or
    3. Because of high child care costs in relation to the child; or
    4. Because the child is being cared for, educated or trained in the manner that was expected by his or her parents.
  3. That in the special circumstances of the case, the administrative assessment of child support would result in an unjust and inequitable determination of the level of financial support to be provided by the liable parent for the child:
    1. Because of the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the child; or
    2. Because of the income, property and financial resources of either parent; or
    3. Because of the earning capacity of either parent; or
    4. Because of any payments, and any transfers or settlement of property, made or to be made by way of property division under the Family Law Act by the liable parent to the child, to the carer entitled to child support or to any other person for the benefit of the child.

As outlined above there is a specific requirement that any ground for departure be based on “special circumstances” and as such, an application to depart from a child support assessment is complex.

If you are unsure as to whether you are required to pay child support and how much child support you are required to pay, contact Lewis Family Lawyers today and we can assist you in understanding your rights and obligations.

Memberships and Associations

Lewis Family Lawyers

Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au

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Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au