At Bardo Lawyers, our child support lawyers possess the resources, knowledge, and expertise to advise you on the best way forward with any child support matter.
Post separation, you are entitled to apply to the Child Support Agency which is within the Department of Human and Health Services. You can do so by going to your local Centrelink office or by calling 131 272.
The Agency will undergo your assessment and will inform you of the outcome. From there you will either be required to pay child support or receive child support payments.
It is recommended that you open a myGov account to monitor child support payments.
Please note that you can apply to have an administrative assessment that considers retrospective child support payment.
You may claim up to 18 months of retrospective child support payment. A Court, on the other hand can extend the maximum period of the retrospective operation of any variation of any departure order to a period of 7 years.
It is imperative that you read very carefully all correspondence that you receive from the Child Support Agency. As soon as you receive an administrative assessment or decision, contact our office immediately to obtain legal advice as there are strict timelines in place in the event we need to make an application to either the Social Security Appeals Tribunal or a Court.
Please note Section 159 of the Child Support Act states that it is an offence punishable by fine or imprisonment to provide the Child Support Agency with false or misleading or incomplete financial information.
There are times though when the child support assessment does not reflect a child’s unusual and additional needs.
In these circumstances the first step is to make an application to the Child Support Agency for an administrative assessment.
After the administrative assessment, if either parent objects to the assessment, they then need to use the administrative departure process under Part 6A of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.
The form to be used for the administrative departure process is the Application to Change Your Assessment – Special Circumstances form. Once the Department of Human Services decides on that application, either party may then seek a review of that decision from the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT). Appeals from the SSAT decision are then directed to the Court on a question of law.
If the parties already have proceedings on foot in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia for property, parenting, or spousal maintenance, then either party may be able to apply to the court to make a departure order.
The court needs to be satisfied that it would be in the interests of the payer and payee to consider the matters together. This option may only be used if there are proceedings before a Court.
Parties may come to an agreement between themselves in relation to child support payments.
Agreements can include provision for payment of periodic amounts, lump sum payments and non-periodic payments such as school fees and health insurance.
A binding child support agreement can be made whether or not a child support assessment is in place and can be for any amount that you and the other parent agree upon. The payment can include periodic and non-periodic items. Both you and your former partner will need to obtain independent legal advice before entering into a binding child support agreement or a termination agreement terminating a binding child support agreement.
If you wish to terminate the agreement early and your former partner does not consent then an application can be made to the court to have the agreement set aside, however these applications can be costly and complex.
In Order to have a limited child support agreement, there must be a child support assessment in place and the child support payment under the agreement must be the same or more than the amount payable under the assessment. The payment can include periodic and non-periodic items. The parties do not require independent legal advice to enter into a limited child support agreement.
Some useful links on child support are as follows:
The knowledgeable child support lawyers at our Melbourne office can help protect your children’s interests and ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities. Let our experience ensure your child support agreement is settled smoothly, promptly, and with minimal stress. Use the contact form below to get in touch with us and let us know about the situation you’re dealing with.