How can parties arrange child support matters?

At Perth Family Lawyers, we recognise that there are 3 ways in which parties can arrange child support matters. They are:

  1. via a child support assessment;
  2. via a child support agreement; and
  3. via an informal agreement.

A Child Support Assessment

The Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 enables parents to apply to the Child Support Registrar to have an administrative assessment put into place, between the parties, based on information available to the Registrar. 

When the application is made the Registrar calculates the relevant amount of support that should be paid in accordance with a prescribed formula. This takes into account the number of children, both parents’ income and a number of other factors.

Once issued, the amount payable under the administrative assessment is enforceable by the Child Support Registrar against the liable parent.

The amount payable under the assessment is reviewable, which provides for one or both of the parties to seek a reassessment should circumstances change. For example, in the event a parent’s income increases or decreases significantly, or if there is a change in parenting arrangements. If you have any questions about child support assessments, then please contact Perth Family Lawyers.

A Child Support Agreement

The second way parents can arrange their child support affairs is by agreement. There are two types of agreement, namely:

  1. a Binding Child Support Agreement (“BCSA”); and
  2. a Limited Child Support Agreement (“LCSA”). 

A Binding Child Support Agreement (“BCSA”)

A BCSA replaces any assessment which has been made – although there is no requirement for there to be an assessment in place prior to entering into the agreement. The BCSA is unable to be changed in the absence of a further agreement, or unless the Court sets the agreement aside. This type of agreement is enforceable. Periodic payments usually being enforced by the Child Support Registrar and other types of payments (such as school fees) are also enforceable by the Court. Both parties must obtain independent legal advice in relation to the advantages and disadvantages of signing the BCSA before it will be accepted by the Child Support Registrar.

It should be noted, that seeking to set the agreement aside is both expensive and not guaranteed. This is because this is a matter of discretion for the Court. As such, a BCSA is the most secure way of permanently “locking” child support arrangements in place, however can be costly.  

A Limited Child Support Agreement (“LCSA”)

A limited child support agreement replaces the assessment, noting that there must be an administrative assessment already in place by the time the agreement is submitted to the Child Support Registrar. For the agreement to be accepted by the Child Support Registrar the agreement must be for at least the annual rate of child support that would otherwise be payable under the administrative assessment. Limited agreements can also be terminated by either party after 3 years by one party giving notice to the Child Support Registrar in writing.

Again, if you have any questions about any of this content, or you want to find out some more information, please contact Perth Family Lawyers.

Informal Agreement

If parties are largely agreeable and no assessment has been issued, they can simply enter into an informal arrangement based on mutual trust. Such agreements are unenforceable and can often cause issues in the event there is no documentary evidence setting out the payments made by the payee.

If you require any advice with respect to Child Support arrangements then contact one of our solicitors at Perth Family Lawyers on (08) 9325 8675, today.