Based on each parent or non-parent carer's situation, we work out who pays child support and how much. Once we work out the details, we collect money from the liable parent and pass it on to the receiving carer or Government.
If you're getting a sole parent rate of benefit or the Unsupported Child's Benefit, any child support paid will go to the Government to help pay for your benefit. If the amount paid is more than your benefit, you'll receive the difference.
How the formula works
If both people are parents, the formula is based on:
- both parents' taxable incomes
- an allowance for both parents' living costs
- the amount of time the child is in each parent's care
- the cost of raising a child
- an allowance for other dependent children in their care.
If the carer is not a parent of the child, their income is not included in the formula.
How payments work
After a parent or non-parent carer applies for child support, we make an assessment. Each person gets a letter saying how much they will receive or pay each month.
Child support payments are due from the liable parent on the 20th of the month and are paid to the receiving carer by the 23rd of the same month. We can only pass on payments if we receive them from the liable parent.
We’ll pay any overdue child support to the receiving carer as soon as we receive it. This could mean you get more than 1 payment in the same month.
Paying child support
If you're the liable parent and you earn salary or wages or schedular payments, we’ll get in touch with your employer and ask them to deduct the payments from what you earn.
If you're getting a benefit or student allowance, we will ask Work and Income or Studylink to deduct your child support before they pay you.
When a formula assessment ends
A formula assessment ends when 1 of the following situations happen.
- A child no longer qualifies, usually when they turn 18 and they are no longer at school.
- You start living with the person you pay child support to, or receive child support from.
- Both people agree to change to another type of agreement.
- The person or people caring for the child choose to end the formula assessment.
Applying for a formula assessment
If you're a parent or a non-parent carer, you can apply for a formula assessment.
We'll need the details of any shared care arrangements for the child or children. These details will help us work out who will pay or receive child support and the amount.
Proof of paternity
You'll need to provide proof of who the parents are, for example, a full birth certificate showing the names of the parents. If you do not have a document to prove you're the parent, you can acknowledge in writing you're the child's parent.
If a paternity order is made later, we can start your child support from the date you made your original application if both of the following apply.
- You apply to the court for the paternity order no later than 60 days after we receive the application for child support.
- We receive the paternity order no later than 60 days of it being made.
If you do not meet these timeframes, we'll start the child support from the date we get the paternity order, unless there was reasonable cause for the delay.
If you believe using your real name when applying for child support will cause safety concerns for you, a carer or your child, we may be able to leave your name out when communicating with the other parent. You can tell us when you apply for child support.
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