Child Support Agency
The Child Support Agency has dual functions of assessing and collecting child support. The Child Support system is based on the principle that parents’ primary obligation is to support their natural (or adopted) children.
Calculating child support
The Child Support Agency assesses a parent’s child support liability based on a number of factors. The Child Support Agency has a helpful calculator on their website to assist parents to estimate the amount of child support payable – (www.csa.gov.au).
Expenses such as private school fees, extracurricular activities and orthodontic treatment are not taken into account under the assessment. Parents with such expenses can apply to the Child Support Agency (CSA) for a change to the assessment based on the ‘special circumstances’ in their matter.
Child support options
Some parents pay child support according to:
- An informal arrangement – which either parent can change at any time; or
- Administrative assessment of child support based on the child support formula – which may not be accurate, particularly if one parent is self employed or there are extra child expenses such as private school fees; or
- A Limited Child Support Agreement is operative for a limited time only and can be changed by one parent in some circumstances.
- A Binding Child Support Agreement – requires independent legal advice.
Parents do not need to be involved with the Child Support Agency if they do not want to be, they can decide for themselves the best way for them both to support their children. However, private Child Support agreements can impact on Centrelink payments a parent receives.