Child Support that you are required to pay for your child/children or that you receive on behalf of your child/children is part of a complex legal framework. Child Support payable may be by way of an assessment undertaken by the Department of Human Services, Child Support, colloquially referred to as the Child Support Agency, by private arrangement or by way of a binding child support agreement or limited child support agreement.
A Binding Child Support Agreement (“BCSA”) allows you and the other party to make a financial agreement as to child support payments and collection of these payments. A BCSA can be entered into irrespective of whether you already have a child support assessment. It is essential when entering into a binding child support agreement that each party obtain independent legal advice before formalising or terminating a BCSA. The BCSA must comply with the requirements of section 80C of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 to be binding.
A Limited Child Support Agreement (“LCSA”) is distinguished from a BCSA. You do not need independent legal advice before entering a LCSA agreement however, it is highly recommended that you obtain legal advice before doing so. This agreement also needs to be in writing and signed by both parties to the agreement.
With limited child support agreements there must be a child support assessment in place and the amount payable by way of the agreement needs to be equal to, or more than the assessed child support. If the Department of Human Services, Child Support, accepts your LCSA they will undertake a notional assessment of how much child support would be paid in the absence of an agreement. This notional assessment is reviewed and updated as follows:
- every three years
- if the amount payable under the agreement changes by more than 15%; or
- on either party requesting a new notional assessment.
If you need assistance with your Child Support issues or queries please contact one of our Family Law specialists and Karen Haga & Associates.