Child Support: How to Make Sure It’s Fair

Relationship breakdowns can be stressful and difficult situations to go through, and this is especially true when children are involved. Not only will their welfare and custody need to be taken into account, but it is also necessary to determine the amount of child support which must be paid, and by whom.

Knowing how child support obligations are determined might assist a parent to ensure they only pay an amount that is fair and reasonable.

Keep reading to learn more about child support requirements within Australia, including how to make sure you have a fair assessment.

What is Child Support?

In the event of a separation, one or both parents will pay child support to the child’s primary caregiver. It can be paid by either parent to the other or by both parents to another individual, such as a grandparent.

Child support payments are devised to offset the expenses associated with raising and looking after a child, such as childcare, school fees, clothing, activities, and medical expenses. Child support arrangements can be formed individually or with the assistance of the Australian government.

Since child support aims to achieve what’s in the best interests of the child, it’s important to keep them out of any custody or child support related disputes. Failure to do so can have a detrimental effect on their wellbeing.

Coming to an agreeable arrangement with your former partner concerning child support payments is typically in everyone’s best interests. If you and your former partner cannot agree on the amount of child support, the Department of Human Services (DHS) will conduct a child support evaluation to determine what they believe is to be a fair payment amount.

It’s sometimes less stressful to create a Child Support Agreement without the intervention of the DHS, but this isn’t always achievable if parents disagree or are not on speaking terms.

What Factors Determine How Much Child Support Should Be Paid?

Child support is determined using a complicated formula, and each situation is unique. Some of the main factors the DHS use to determine child support include:

  • The income of both parents
  • The percentage of care offered by each parent
  • The percentage of the cost from each parent
  • The number of children requiring support
  • The age of each child

It’s illegal to wilfully report incorrect information in an effort to reduce child support payments. Therefore, both partners must ensure the information they provide to the DHS is up-to-date and accurate for a fair assessment.

If you want to measure what your child support payments may be before (or instead of) having a child support assessment, then you can do so using the DHS child support estimator.

What Happens if You’re Not Happy with this Assessment?

If you’re unhappy with your child support assessment or believe you’re paying an unfair amount of child support, then you can submit a review application. This is best done with the help of a family lawyer who can also help to determine what options are available to you.

What Age Do You Stop Paying Child Support in Australia?

Child support payments normally terminate when a child reaches the age of 18. If your child is still attending high school, you can request that child support payments be extended until the conclusion of the school year, however.

In Summary

Irrespective of whether they are married, de facto, or have ever been in a relationship, all parents are obligated to provide financial support for their children—including those who have been legally adopted. While this amount may differ for each parent, as well as each individual child support scenario, it’s important to ensure you’re paying an amount that is both fair and reasonable.

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us at (03) 9422 5439 or email

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