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Child Support

A parent who has a child under the age of 18 years, is financially responsible for that child. In Australia, there are a number of ways that child support can be assessed:

A formula assessment by the Child Support Agency:

The Child Support Agency can be contacted to make an administrative assessment for your child support based on a legislative formula.  The assessment can be arranged over the telephone or by completing an Application for Child Support Assessment. 

The Child Support Agency formula recognises that every family is unique, and the child support formula is flexible and takes into account many different family circumstances. It ensures a balanced and flexible way of working out child support payments. 

A written agreement between the parties:

Some parents choose to negotiate an agreement between themselves in relation to child support payments.

There are two types of Child Support Agreements which are recognised in family law: Binding Agreements and Limited Agreements. 

Binding Agreements

Binding Child Support Agreement has both parents receiving legal advice before signing the Agreement and legal advice before terminating the Agreement. The amount agreed on by the parents may be more or less than the amount that the payer would be assessed to pay under the Child Support Agency assessment.

Limited Agreements

A Limited Child Support Agreement can be entered into by parents without receiving legal advice about the effect of a Child Support Agreement. In order to safeguard the interests of parents, in the absence of legal advice, Limited Agreements are of a specific duration and can be terminated or set aside by the Courts, in certain circumstances. Limited Agreements can also be terminated by either parent if the Child Support Assessment payable changes by more than 15%, or after three years. 

Prior to entering into a child support agreement, we strongly recommend you to contact the Child Support Agency and inquire about expected child support payments using its formula. An alternative is to use the Child Support Agency website ( which provides calculators and estimators of expected child support.

A Court Order:

The Family Law Courts deal with child maintenance for children whose child support cannot be assessed by the Child Support Agency including parents who separated and had all their children before 1 October 1989 or whose children are over 18. 

In some circumstances, the Child Support Assessment Act allows parents to apply directly to the Family Courts including to make an application for an assessment or a change in assessment in a number of circumstances or to set aside a Child Support Agreement.

To discuss any child support issues or for Family Law advice, contact our experienced Family Lawyer today. Based in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.