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Child Support After Separation – Who receives what? - Child Support Agency


Following separation the children of the relationship need financial provision.  Generally the parent with whom the child or children live most of the time receives child support.  The parent who has lesser time usually pays the child support.  Child support is separate from spousal maintenance payable by the husband to the wife or the wife to the husband.

Prior to separation after the birth of a child or children, those children are supported financially as part of the household.  Once separation occurs consideration is required as to the financial needs and support for the children.

The parent with whom the child (children) live mainly will pay the costs associated with the child (children) during that period and may receive payment of child support from the other parent.  The amount of the child support would depend on the income of each of the parent, how many nights the child (children) stays with each of the parents and the needs of the child (children) including any special needs.

The Government through the Child Support Agency provides for mechanisms for assessment and collection of child support.  Not all payments are collected by the Child Support Agency.  The Child Support Agency website has a calculator which can be found at (www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/information/child-support-website) which provides for a calculation of the child support.  There are few variables the main variables being the number of children, the income of each parent and the time that the children spend with each parent.  This child support calculator is a good start so that you can assess what child support is payable by whom in various different circumstances.  Simply access the child support calculator and put in the variations that apply.  Also you may wish to put in other variations to see what would happen in other possible scenarios.

If the parents cannot agree in relation to payment of child support either parent can make an Application for Assessment by the person seeking to receive payment may be made by completing and filing with the Child Support Agency an Application for Assessment of Child Support.

The Child Support Agency then assesses the parents for the payment of child support.  The Child Support Agency applies a formula to calculate what must be paid by whom this is similar to the assessment that you will ascertain by applying the various factors in the calculator to be found on the Child Support Agency website.

The basic formula applied by the Child Support Agency involves a consideration of:-

  • Calculate each parent’s child support income, which is a parent’s adjusted taxable income minus a self-support amount.
  • Add both parent’s child support incomes together to get a combined child support income.
  • Divide each parent’s individual child support income by the combined child support income to get an income percentage for each parent.
  • Work out each parent’s care percentage of the child using the care and cost table.
  • Work out each parent’s care cost percentage of the child using the care and cost table.
  • Subtract the cost percentage from the income percentage for each parent.

The child support varies fundamentally on the income of the parents and the various other factors referred to.  If the major factor for example income of a parent changes, then the child support will change.  A parent can ask for a departure order from the normal assessment.

Please contact Richard Watson or Dennis Grant of Watson & Watson to discuss any child support enquiries you may have.

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