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Kids are expensive! Who pays after separation?

Child support is a payment made by one parent to the other parent to help cover the costs of raising a child.  In Australia, child support is regulated by the Child Support Agency (CSA). The CSA is responsible for calculating, collecting and transferring payments between parents.

Child support is calculated based on the incomes of both parents and the number of nights the child spends with each parent.  The CSA will also take into account any additional costs associated with the child, such as medical expenses, education or childcare.  The CSA will then calculate a regular payment amount each parent will be required to pay.  The CSA also has the power to review, vary and enforce child support payments.  This means that either parent can apply to the CSA for a review of the amount of child support they are paying or receiving. 

Parents have an option to determine their own child support arrangements and effectively ‘contract out’ of the CSA formula by entering into Child Support Agreements.  The law provides for two types of Child Support Agreements – Limited Child Support Agreements, which are more flexible and provide for shorter term arrangements; and Binding Child Support Agreements, which are more technical documents requiring legal advice in order to have effect and are generally used for longer term arrangements.  Child Support Agreements must be accepted and registered by the CSA, however once this occurs parents can manage the payment and receipt of child support without the involvement of CSA.

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