Both parents are responsible for maintaining their children. The amount of child support that you are required to provide may be determined by having a Child Support Assessment carried out by the Child Support Agency (“CSA”).
What is the Child Support Assessment?
This is where the CSA uses a formula from legislation to work out the payments to be made. The formula takes into consideration:
- the cost of raising children
- the income of both parents
- the percentage of care for each parent based on their income levels
- any arrangement for the care of children for whom child support is payable
- whether the parents have any relevant dependent children living with them and whether the parents have any children in other child support cases.
Are there alternatives to a Child Support Assessment
Yes. Parents are able to enter into different types of child support agreements with or without the intervention of the CSA. These can be either long term or short term agreements.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is when one partner provides financial support for their former partner on an ongoing basis.
Why is spousal maintenance paid?
Both partners have a duty to support and maintain each other after separation or divorce. Spousal maintenance is not automatic, and often is considered as part of an overall settlement of financial matters.
How much support is required?
This depends largely on two considerations:
- whether one partner is unable to adequately meet their own reasonable needs; and
- The other partner has the capacity to make payments.
The list of considerations taken into account include:
- the age and state of health of each of the parties; and
- the income, property and financial resources of each of the parties and the physical and mental capacity of each of them for appropriate gainful employment; and
- whether either party has the care or control of a child of the marriage who has not attained the age of 18 years; and
- commitments of each of the parties that are necessary to enable the party to support: (1) himself or herself; and (2) a child or another person that the party has a duty to maintain; and
- the responsibilities of either party to support any other person; and
- subject to subsection (3), the eligibility of either party for a pension, allowance or benefit under: (1) any law of the Commonwealth, of a State or Territory or of another country; or (2) any superannuation fund or scheme, whether the fund or scheme was established, or operates, within or outside Australia; and the rate of any such pension, allowance or benefit being paid to either party; and
- where the parties have separated or divorced, a standard of living that in all the circumstances is reasonable; and
- the extent to which the payment of maintenance to the party whose maintenance is under consideration would increase the earning capacity of that party by enabling that party to undertake a course of education or training or to establish himself or herself in a business or otherwise to obtain an adequate income; and
- the effect of any proposed order on the ability of a creditor of a party to recover the creditor’s debt, so far as that effect is relevant; and
- the extent to which the party whose maintenance is under consideration has contributed to the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the other party; and
- the duration of the marriage and the extent to which it has affected the earning capacity of the party whose maintenance is under consideration; and
- the need to protect a party who wishes to continue that party’s role as a parent; and
- if either party is cohabiting with another person–the financial circumstances relating to the cohabitation; and
- any child support under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 that a party to the marriage has provided, is to provide, or might be liable to provide in the future, for a child of the marriage; and
- any fact or circumstance which, in the opinion of the court, the justice of the case requires to be taken into account; and
- the terms of any financial agreement that is binding on the parties to the marriage.
When must an application for spousal maintenance be made?
An application for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of a divorce becoming final.