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Child Support Lawyers Adelaide
Divorce or separation can result in significant financial pressures on both sides, particularly when children are involved. Iѕѕuеѕ surrounding child's hеаlth, welfare and lіvіng ѕіtuаtіоn must be taken into consideration when a couple decides to split.
In an attempt to deal with the financial issues which commonly occur in the event of parental separation or divorce, the Australian Child Support Scheme (the CSS) enforces the rights of children to be supported by both their parents in the event of a separation or divorce. The law sets forth a comprehensive scheme that governs entitlement to, process for the calculation of the amount of child support to be assessed, and regulation of the child support process in Australia. The scheme involves the assessment of the amount of child support that a parent must pay in accordance with a legislative formula, as well as, the collection and enforcement of child support assessments, agreements and Court Orders.
In order to begin the assessment and collection process, one of the parties to a divorce or separation must apply for a child support assessment with the Australian Department of Human Services (the DHS). This assessment calculates the required child support payments according to an administrative formula that uses an income shares approach and is based on published research into the cost of raising children in Australia. The formula takes into account the combined income of both of the child/children’s parents as well as the amount of care provided by each parent to the child.
How is child support determined?
The starting point for calculations is:
- Both the parent’s income
- Necessity expenses, including work-rеlаtеd day саrе соѕtѕ, health insurance аnd оngоіng mеdісаl еxреnѕеѕ. The cost for food, shelter and сlоthіng are not taken into account as they have been allowed for in the statutory formulas that applied to the calculation of child support (e.g. if the statutory formula is the child support is 18% of net income, that figure of 18% already takes into account the costs of food, shelter and clothing and no further adjustment is required. It is only if there are additional expenses beyond those necessities that are deemed to be a necessity that the further adjustment can be made).
The two methods of the collection of child support under Australian law
Once an assessment has been completed, parents can choose one of two ways to handle a child support arrangement:
- The parties can either choose to handle collection and administration of the required payments themselves privately through an arrangement made (and policed) by the ex-spouses themselves; or
- Handle collection of the child support through the Australian government.
If you choose to go the government route, then DHS will be responsible for the initial determination of the amount of child support required and enforcing any unpaid debt on your children’s behalf if your ex-spouse does not pay the required amount. The DHS has wide collection powers, including a number of coercive powers to ensure payment is made. These include the ability to take deductions from the non-compliant parent’s paycheck, the ability to seize tax refunds, or the institution of litigation.
If a couple chooses to go the private collection route, then they are responsible for collecting child support and enforcing any unpaid debt. It can be difficult to recover payments if they have stopped or you are owed money.
We’re here to help
At Armour Allen Lawyers, our experienced family lawyers in Adelaide can assist you regarding what amount of child support you can expect to receive if you are separated or divorcing and you have children as well as whether private collection or utilising the DHS is the best solution in your individual circumstances. If you are in need of help in resolving financial issues in connection with the end, or potential end, of your marriage or relationship and children are involved, contact us. We offer a first interview free at no cost and no obligation.