Generally, parents who cannot reach agreement about financial support for their children apply to the Child Support Agency for an administrative assessment. The Agency calculates the assessment using a specific formula. If you receive or pay child support and you believe that the assessment is unfair for some reason, you may be able to have it changed because of “special circumstances”.
What are “special circumstances?”
To be successful in changing your assessment, you must prove there are “special circumstances” to warrant the change. The reasons for changing an assessment include situations where your capacity to provide financial support for your children has significantly changed; the cost of maintaining your children is significantly affected; the financial circumstances of the other parent have not been properly taken into account; you have very high costs of spending time with your children, or it would be unfair if the assessment was not changed.
How do I apply to change my assessment?
You can apply for a change in assessment by lodging the appropriate form with the Child Support Agency. You must explain the reasons why your assessment should be changed and provide information and documents in support of your application.
What if the Child Support Agency refuses my application?
If the Child Support Agency makes a decision and refuses your application, you may lodge an objection. Generally, this objection must be lodged within 28 days of the date the decision was made. The Agency then makes an “Objection Decision”. If you are unhappy with this decision, you can apply to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal for a further review. We can advise you further about changing your assessment and child support matters generally.