Child Support Lawyers Melbourne

Child Support Lawyers

Support and maintenance ensures minors and adult children are provided for.

Child support ensures children are financially supported following the separation or divorce of their parents. Child support is a complex area of family law, so it’s important to seek professional legal advice.

The cost of parenting a child until they can support themselves is daunting. At Sage Family Lawyers, we understand the costs and requirements of parenting children in their childhood, teen and early adult years to ensure you’re covered at every step.

Support for Children and Dependent Adult Children

Your children might be young but we ensure they have adequate financial support now and into early adulthood. Most children are still at high school or in further study at TAFE or university after their 18th birthday and aren’t in a position to support themselves.

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    How Can a Child Support Lawyer Help?

    Our Melbourne child support and child maintenance lawyers can assist you in:

    • Advice on each parent’s child support obligations such as how much you should receive or pay.
    • Making a child support or adult child maintenance assessment
    • Responding to a child support or adult child maintenance claim
    • Reviewing and advising on an agreement you’ve drafted with your ex-partner
    • Registering an agreement with the Child Support Agency (CSA) or Family Court for consent orders (for children over 18 years of age)

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I Have to Pay Child Support?

    Child support is mandatory in Australia until the child turns 18 or finishes with full-time high school education.

    What Is the Process For Arranging Child Support?

    When going through the child support process there are different pathways you can take.

    You can apply for a child support assessment from the Child Support Agency (CSA) which is part of the Australian Department of Human Services. They use a complex formula and consider a range of factors to help determine how much child support is to be paid.

    Parents may wish to forgo assessment by the CSA and instead enter into a private formal or informal Child Support Agreement.

    A basic calculator is available on the Services Australia website for parties to gain an estimate on how much child support they should pay.

    What is A Private Formal Agreement?

    A private formal agreement is known as a Binding Child Support Agreement (BCSA). This is an option if both parties are amicable and can agree on child support payments. A family lawyer can help create and formalise a Binding Child Support Agreement. A BCSA can only be entered into if both parents are legally represented.

    Why Have a Binding Child Support Agreement?

    Binding Child Support Agreements (BCSA) are usually discussed when organising parenting arrangements and property settlement. A BCSA can take into account expenses that the Child Support Agency does not cover in their child support assessments including medical costs, private schools fees and extracurricular activities. For this reason, many parents who plan on sending their children to private schools would benefit from this type of agreement as they can include expenses like private school fees.

    Another reason parties may enter into a BCSA is for security and certainty. Perhaps one party is concerned the other may not fulfil their verbal agreement around child support, a BCSA would give them security.

    Can You Have an Informal Child Support Agreement?

    If both parties are amicable and agreeable following a separation or divorce then it is possible to have an informal arrangement for child support based on mutual trust. It’s important to note that informal arrangements are unenforceable in Family Court.

    How Does the Child Support Agency Calculate Child Support?

    One of the most commonly asked questions is how child support payments are calculated. Child support is calculated using an administrative formula set out in the Child Support Assessment Act 1989. This formula takes into account each parent’s income, care arrangements and other factors.

    A review application can be made if either party disagrees with the amount the CSA has determined to be paid.

    There can also be a reassessment of the payments if circumstances change in the future, i.e. a parent’s income increases or decreases dramatically or there is a change in parenting arrangements.

    How is Child Support Paid?

    Child support can be paid in:

    • Period payments
    • Lump-sum payment
    • Payment of expenses
    • Transfer or settlement of property

    Why Do I Need a Child Support Lawyer?

    A child support lawyer can help you navigate child support and other child support matters like parenting arrangements when you’re going through a separation or divorce

    Whether you will be paying or receiving child support payments, our team of family lawyers can help you come to a fair arrangement.

    If you decide to create your own arrangements with the other parent, we can advise you on arrangements appropriate to your unique situation and formalise those arrangements via a BCSA.

    If you did an assessment via the CSA, and want to dispute the payment amount, legal advice should be sought immediately after receiving the assessment. Our family law firm specialises in child support and can advise you as to the appropriate action in your case.

    Does Child Support End When The Child Turns 18?

    Child support can be extended after the child turns 18 in some instances. Read our blog At What Age Does Child Support Stop? to learn more about adult child maintenance.

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