Parenting arrangements and child support
When you are faced with a separation, one of your biggest concerns will likely be how it will negatively impact your children. We can assist you to put in place sustainable parenting arrangements in a child-focused manner and ensure that child support is appropriate in the circumstances.
Parenting arrangementsContact us
Upon separation, you will be faced with making important decisions concerning the care of your children. These decisions can include where they will live, the time they spend with each parent, schooling, overseas travel, religious upbringing, medical decisions, communication and protecting them from harm.
While some parents are able to put aside any ill-feelings they have for each other to make decisions together, and provide their children with an environment free from conflict post separation, it is not uncommon for parents to struggle with this, especially in the early stages of separation.
If you are engaging a lawyer to assist you negotiate with your former partner to bed down an appropriate parenting arrangement for your children, you will hear the words “best interests of the child”. You will be asked for your view as to what arrangements are going to be “best”. It may be the case that what you think is best for your children is entirely different to what their other parent thinks. This is where conflict can ensue.
Unfortunately, it is sometimes the case that one or both parents are unable or unwilling to reach an agreement in respect of ongoing parenting arrangements. If that is the case, Court proceedings may be commenced.
We have extensive experience in working with clients where risk issues (such as domestic violence, substance abuse, alienation and mental health concerns) dictate that Court intervention is unavoidable.
Following separation and divorce, you and your former partner will each still have an obligation to pay for your children’s upbringing, regardless of what parenting arrangements are in place or how those parenting arrangements were determined.
It may be the case that you and your former partner are able to reach an agreement as to “who pays what” and you can avoid engaging with lawyers or Services Australia (Child Support) (otherwise known as the Child Support Agency or the CSA).
If you feel as though you do need assistance however, you can contact the CSA and make an application for an assessment. The CSA applies a formula to each family to determine which parent (if any) needs to pay child support to the other. The CSA will speak to both you and your former partner, ask you to disclose certain information about your financial position and living arrangements, and then will release their assessment. A link to the CSA child support calculator can be found on our Knowledge and Insights page
under Helpful Resources.
Another option available to you is to reach a private agreement with the assistance of a lawyer and have it formalised in a manner that overrides a CSA assessment.
We can assist you by:
→ Outlining your options for a limited or binding child support agreement
→ Outlining your options for meeting child support obligations in a tax effective way, including through a child maintenance trust
→ Liaising with the CSA to seek that an assessment be altered to reflect, for example, the need for payment of private school fees or specific medical expenses for a child
→ Taking steps to recover unpaid child support
Child support is a complex area of law and we encourage you to get in touch with us if you wish to understand your entitlements, obligations and/or options.