When do I stop paying child support in Australia? How is child support calculated? What percentage of my income do I have to pay in child support?
Whether you are receiving or paying child support, the area is often a significant concern for people going through a divorce or separation with children. Child support will almost always arise in such a situation because, in Australia, it is expected that both parents must financially support their children after the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship.
The following article will provide answers to the most commonly asked questions.
What Is Child Support?
Child Support refers to the financial payments made from one partner to another following a divorce or separation. This payment is to assist the other parent in satisfying the financial needs of the party’s mutual children. Child support in Australia is regulated by the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.
What Expenses Does Child Support Cover?
Child support will generally cover the following expenses for the child:
- Medical Expenses
- Extracurricular activities (subject to agreements)
Typically, additional expenses such as private schooling or extracurricular activities are only covered if both parents have agreed on them. Therefore, if the parent receiving the child support payment wanted to send their child to a private school, and the payer disagrees, they will not have to pay anything towards the cost of the private school if the receiver of the payment sends their child to private school regardless.
When Do I Stop Paying Child Support In Australia?
The question of ‘When do I stop paying child support in Australia’ does not have a straightforward answer.
Generally speaking, you will stop paying child support in Australia when your child turns 18 years of age. However, there are some exceptions to this.
If your child is still in high school, the other parent (or receiver of the child support payment) can apply to have the child support payments extended until the end of the school year. As such, even though your child is of 18 years of age, you will not be able to stop paying child support in Australia until they have graduated or ceased attending high school.
This is not, however, the only situation where you stop paying child support in Australia.
Here are some more situations in response to ‘When do I stop paying child support in Australia?’
- If the other parent elects to stop receiving child support payments
- If the child gets married, adopted, no longer lives in Australia, gets married or enters into a de facto relationship
- If neither parent is caring for the child
- If either parent or the child dies
Additionally, you will stop paying child support in Australia if:
- You and your former spouse get back together (for a minimum period of 6 months)
- If you move to a country that is not included in the International Child Support Agreement with Australia
What Is Considered In Your Child Support Assessment?
The following factors are considered in your child support assessment:
- The income of each parent and their financial requirements to support themselves.
- The amount of time each parent spends caring for the children, including how many nights each child spends with each parent.
- The amount of children and their ages.
- The children’s living arrangements in general.
See here for an estimation of your child support payments.
Is Child Support Taxable Income?
Taxable income includes the income earned from your business, wages, government payments and investments. Child support is not an allowable tax deduction because it is both private and domestic in nature and is not incurred in gaining or producing assessable income.
Therefore, generally speaking, child support is not taxable income. Consequently, you are not required to pay any taxes on child support payments you have received.
What Are Prescribed Payments?
Prescribed payments apply in situations where the paying parent maintains less than 14% of the childcare responsibility. Accordingly, child support may cover additional expenses in such a situation up to 30% of the total amounts for matters such as:
- Uniforms and textbooks
- Public school fees
- Essential Medical and dental fees
- Vehicle usage and maintenance costs
- Mortgage repayments and rent
What Are Non-Agency Payments?
Non-Agency payments are credited towards the child support required to be paid by the paying parent. These types of payments do not necessarily have to be in the form of money. They can be items such as transferring of property ownership, service provisions and other non-monetary transactions. For this payment to be credited towards child support, the Department of Human Services must believe that both parents agreed that the payment would contribute towards child support.
What Can You Do About An Unfair Assessment?
1. Contact our firm to discuss your legal options
2. Make an application to the Department of Human Services to alter your child support assessment to consider particular circumstances such as:
- The costs associated with organising visits
- Any changes in your circumstances the assessment date which affect your financial capabilities, such as losing your job
- Whether your child requires additional medical care
- If your child no longer attends private school or partakes in the specified extracurricular activities on which the child support assessment was based
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is essential that when you have questions such as ‘When do I stop paying child support in Australia’ to remember that not everything you read online may be relevant to your situation. Accordingly, you should always do your due diligence and seek legal advice from a family lawyer who can provide guidance for your particular circumstances.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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