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If you are separated and have children, you may be entitled to receive or may be assessed to pay child support.
The Child Support Scheme aims to improve financial support for your children by obtaining contributions for their support. The Child Support Agency can collect child support payable under Court orders or registered agreements.
The Child Support Scheme is administered by two acts of legislation:
- Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988: formerly the Child Support Act 1988
- Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989
The main object of the Assessment act is to make sure that children get the legal amount of child support from their parents.
You have the following options:
- Utilise the Child Support Agency to calculate the relevant child support payable and have them collect the payment;
- Contact the Child Support Agency to find out the amount which would be assessed and then make private arrangements for the payment of that amount;
- Enter into a private agreement (child support agreement) for the payment of child support, eg. By the payment of private school fees, private health insurance, etc.
- You can access the website of the child support agency to find out what your child support liability or benefit would be.
Whether or not you have children, you may be having difficulty meeting your own expenses. If you have a reasonable need for some support, and your ex-partner has the capacity to pay for those expenses, you may be entitled to receive spousal maintenance.
However, spousal maintenance is not automatic, and in deciding an application for spousal maintenance the Court will consider the needs of an applicant and the respondent’s capacity to pay.
The court can take into account:
- The income, property and financial resources of each party.
- The physical and mental capacity of each party for gainful employment.
- The financial needs and obligations of each party.
- The responsibilities of either party to support another person.
- Any payments made in relation to maintenance of children.
The aim of the Child Support Scheme
This scheme was introduced in 1988 to focus on the needs of the children and balance the interests of both parents to in order to:
- Make sure support is paid in full and on time
- Reduce conflict about parenting arrangements
- Make sure that child support is paid on time and in full
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