How much child support will I owe?
Hi. I’m Vanessa Mathews from Mathews Family Law & Mediation Services and I’m going to talk with you today about child support in Australia. While I can give you the basics about child support in Australia, I would stress that you contact a lawyer and get professional legal advice. Every family and every case is different.
Child support is the amount of money the non-custodial parent, meaning the parent the children don’t live with, must pay to the other parent in order to help support the children financially.
You and your partner may come up with your own child support agreement. If you do this, there are a few important pieces of information that your agreement should include. The agreement should say how much money one parent will pay to the other. The agreement should explain what the money is for, for example, generally, monthly payments are for food, clothing and housing.
But what about special expenses like private school fees or orthodontics? A good agreement should include who pays for those unexpected expenses or since you can’t always know what these will be, how you’ll decide who pays. You can agree that when an unexpected expense arises, you’ll go to a mediator, or a third party who knows you both well and let them decide how the new expense will be paid.
You should also include in the agreement how the monthly payments will be paid. Do you want to make a bank transfer? Cash or a check? And it’s also important to state when the payments will be made. At the end of each month, at the beginning of the next month. If you work out these arrangement ahead of time, you can avoid a lot of headaches and fighting.
When deciding what needs to be paid for, you should also think about putting money away for your children for the future. This is especially important because once your child turns 18, the law doesn’t require you to support them anymore. Some parents continue to help out their adult children. While you may want to help them, your ex- partner may not want to and he or she does not have to do so. One way of ensuring that they’re not left out in the cold at that point is to include savings for them in the child support agreement.
I would add that there are different types of agreements you can make, so be sure to read the section on child support on our website at MathewsFamilyLaw.com.au.
Sometimes parents can’t come to an agreement on their own. In this case, the child support agency will decide how much you need to pay. This is called the Child Support’s fee and it’s a mathematical equation that determines how much a parent must pay. The calculation is based on how much you earn, how many children you have, how much time you spend with them, whether or not you have children from another relationship, and how much you the parent need for yourself.
So, while a parent in one family may need to pay $500 a month for 2 children, another parent in another family may need to pay $1500 a month for 2 children. The Child Support agency’s responsible for assessing the amount a parent has to pay, collecting it, and distributing it to the other parent.
People often ask me what happens if a parent doesn’t pay. The law has a few ways of dealing with these parents. One is to garnish their wages. This means the money they owe for child support is taken directly out of the parent’s salary. Money can also be collected straight from the parent’s bank account. A parent may also be prohibited from traveling overseas for not paying child support and in the extreme cases, go to jail.
Child support can be complicated and every emotional. It’s best to seek out professional legal help to work through various issues and come up with a plan that is fair to everyone, especially the children. Please look at our child support calculator on our website. I’m Vanessa, Mathews from Mathews Family Law & Mediation Services.