What is Child Support?

Child Support payments are those made by a person to an ex-partner with whom a child was shared.

There are 3 foremost variables that are used to work out when/how much Child Support needs to be paid: the parents’ income and combined income, how much time each parent cares for the child, and the child’s age.

The Department of Social Services (at guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/4/2) provides an in-depth explanation as to how these three variables are used to calculate Child Support payments.

Essentially, the calculations begin by determining the average costs of the child/children (based on family income and age/no. of children).

Once the costs of the children have been determined, each parent’s financial obligation is determined with consideration both of the time each parent spends caring for the child and the parent’s individual income.

Normally Child Support payments will need to be made when one person’s share of the combined income (of both partner and ex-partner) exceeds their percentage share of the child.

Any taxable income components are taken into account so this may include lump sum redundancy payments, superannuation, or even Centrelink payments.

Simply put, when possible, if a parent’s time spent caring for a child does not reflect their share of the families’ income, they will likely need to pay child support at a rate equivalent to their share of the total average costs of the child.

This does not constitute legal advice.

Lucy Urach

Lucy Urach

Family Lawyer