New South Wales
CHILD SUPPORT ASSESSMENTS
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Who can apply
You can apply for child support through the Child Support Agency if:
When to apply
It's a good idea to apply for child support as soon as you separate from your partner. You can apply for child support by filling in an "Application for Child Support Assessment". You can get this form from Centrelink (Social Security) offices or by ringing theChild Support Agency.
The Child Support Agency
The Child Support Agency is a government agency that is closely connected to the Australian Taxation Office. It can get information from the Taxation Office and use it to work out how much child support should be paid.
How much is paid?
This is worked out by applying a formula. The formula is complex, but here are some of the rules - they'll give you an idea about how a figure is calculated. You might also like to try the calculators on theChild Support Agency web site.
Here's an example. Your gross (before tax) income is $43,900 and you have two children. First, deduct the exempt income. This gives you $34,000. Second, multiply $34,000 by 27% (the figure for two children). Your child support payments will be $9,180 per year. This covers both children.
Now this isn't the end of the story. The amount calculated using this formula will be affected by a number of other factors, for example, where:
Remember, the minimum child support payment is $260 unless, the paying parent's income is less than this amount.
What income details are used?
Child support is based on the most recent taxable income that is available.
For example, if you apply in July 1999, but you and your partner only know your income for 1997/98 then this is the income that will be used. The assessment will then be updated when you know your 1998/99 income details.
Note, income for child support purposes includes net rental property losses and foreign income.
If you are a paying parent, and your income has decreased (it must be 85% or less of the income that would normally be used), you can ask the Child Support Agency to use an estimate of your current income as the basis for calculating child support. Note, the Agency can refuse your estimate if they think it is not accurate.
Also, if you are the person receiving the support and you believe your partner's income has increased, you can ask the Child Support Agency to review and reassess the child support.
Collecting the money
Many parents just arrange this themselves. Where this is not possible, the Agency arranges for collection - often it is taken out of wages in the same way as income tax. An assessment is sent out to the parent who is paying on an annual basis.
Must I use the Child Support Agency?
Not unless you are receiving parenting payment single or maximum family allowance. If you are, the only exemptions are where the parent you are looking for can't be found, you are worried about violence from this person, or you have a private child support agreement that requires the same amount to be paid as would be paid through an assessment.
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