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Calculating Child Support

Calculating child support

Calculating the amount of child support to be paid can be complicated but, keeping it simple, it is determined by:

  • The number of children
  • The income of each parent
  • The care arrangements for the child i.e. how much time they live with/spend with each parent
  • The cost of raising children. This is assessed by independent research.  In part it depends on the combined income of both parents ie the higher the combined income the higher the cost of raising the children.  It also depends on the age of the children.  It is considered that the cost of raising children 0 – 12 years is less than the cost of raising children 13 years or older

If you fit into the circumstances of the basic formula, then please use the following link to access the basic formula.

If you are of the view that the formula produces an inappropriate result in your case then you can do something about it.  One example is that, in certain circumstances, a person (the payer or payee) can apply for a change in assessment.  There are many possible situations in which a person could apply for a change of assessment including: –

  • The child has special needs
  • The child attends a private school and both parents intended this
  • The other parent has a greater earning capacity than is reflected in their income used in the assessment
  • You have a duty to maintain another person or child which affects your capacity to support the child

What if you think that the Child Support Agency is wrong?

Your first step is to lodge an objection to their decision.  This objection is reviewed by a Child Support Agency officer who was not involved in the original decision.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the objection review you can appeal to the Social Services and Child Support Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Administrative Appeal Tribunal you can appeal to the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court, but only on a question of law.

You should obtain legal advice. Time limitations apply at every step of the way.


Parents can reach agreement as to the financial support of a child.  There are two types of child support agreements, a binding child support agreement and a limited child support agreement.

If you are thinking of entering into an agreement you should obtain legal advice.

Payment and Collection

Payment and collection of child support normally takes place between the parties.

The Child Support Agency can be involved in the collection process.

The Child Support Agency has the power to order a paying parent’s employer to garnishee their wages until outstanding child support debts are paid.  The Child Support Agency can also request an ongoing garnishee order against the parent who has a history of not paying.


*This information is supplied as general advice only. For expert advice relating to your specific family law issue, contact one of our experienced and professional family law solicitors on 02 4929 3995 or at




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