Changes to Child Support Scheme Affect Those Paying and Receiving

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Child support is often a bone of contention between parents. It can be a complex matter that can cause anxiety and impact negatively on parents and children.

Major changes to the Child Support Scheme, designed for more fair and equitable arrangements, come into effect this July. They will affect everyone paying or receiving child support and, in some cases, parents who have a Child Support Agreement.

Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson, one of Canberra’s largest and most experienced family law firms, recommends you seek legal advice on how the child support changes will affect you.

How is child support calculated under the new arrangements?

The new arrangements treat both parents’ income the same way. The amount of child support is calculated on two factors: a) the costs associated with caring for a child and b) the amount of time each parent cares for a child.

Under the old scheme, a parent who cared for a child for up to 30% (109 nights) of the time, paid the same amount in support as a parent who rarely cared for a child. With the changes coming on 1 July, the 30% threshold has been removed and a percentage of child rearing costs will be met through providing care rather making a payment to the other parent.

What percentage of care does the new arrangement apply to?

Between 14% and 34%. This spread allows for minor variations in care arrangements without affecting payment amounts.

Can lump sum and other payments be made in lieu of periodic child support?

Yes. The new arrangements make it easier for parents to enter into agreements for lump sum payments and/or transfer assets, including during a property settlement.