The Child Support system exists to provide financial support for children until the age of 18.
So what is it?
Child Support covers expenses for children such as food, housing, clothes, school costs and other activities. Parents are otherwise generally required to each bear the costs of raising their children when they are in their care.
How is child support calculated?
The Child Support Agency (“CSA”), follows a mathematical formula that relies on things like:
- The number of children the payer and payee parent has
- How old the children are
- the income of each of the parents
- the amount of time each parent cares for the children
The payer parent can offset child support payments by making direct payments to third parties. It is important to note that this can only occur if there is agreement between the parents or upon application to the CSA.
What third party expenses can be credited towards my child support obligation?
Only certain “prescribed expenses” of up to 30% of their child support liabilities can be credited.
“Prescribed expenses” include:
- School uniforms and text books
- Child care payments
- Medical and dental expenses
- School fees
- Housing expenses such as rent or bond payments and even mortgage repayments
- Motor vehicle costs
What if I don’t think the assessment is fair?
You can apply to the CSA to change a child support assessment due to special circumstances.
Such special circumstances may include:
- If the cost of spending time with your child is significant (e.g. if the parents live a a long way from each other and in order to see them expensive airfares need to be paid for)
- The child needs extra attention (e.g. the child needs braces or the child has other special needs)
- Any prior agreement of the parties (e.g. if the parents have previously agreed the child should attend a private school or engage in another expensive extracurricular activity)
- The assessment does not properly reflect capacity to pay child support. This often occurs where a tax return does not truly reflect their actual income.