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Child Support or Maintenance

Generally, Child Support is money paid by one parent to the other who is primarily supporting the care of the child.

It is important to note that both parents are responsible for financially supporting the child.


The difference between child support and child maintenance:


Child maintenance – generally refers to a court order for financial payment for adult children over the age of 18. This is sometimes referred to as ‘Adult Child Maintenance’, and may occur in circumstances where the child is to be enabled to complete their education (including tertiary) or because of any mental or physical disability of the child.


Child support – this is money paid from one spouse to the other for the care of the child – under 18.


How to Obtain child support:


Lodge an application for a child support assessment with the Department of Human Services.


During this process you have to prove the other spouse is the parent of the child.

       If you cannot prove so through certified evidence, you can apply to the Family Law Courts for a Declaration of Parentage.


How are the payments calculated?


A basic formula can be accessed at this link:


Generally, the payments are calculated considering:


       Costs of caring for the children

       Income of parents.

       Ratio of care.

       Other children of the parents.


What happens after the assessment?


If you believe the assessment is unfair due to specific circumstances or reasons, you can apply to vary the assessment. A senior case officer will then assess your reasons for a change of assessment through a conference.


Minimum amount payable?


It is important to note that individuals who receive income support will have a minimum payable amount they must pay each week.


Those who are paying child support but have low taxable income, and do not receive income support may pay a fixed rate. This is a “fixed assessment”.


Services Australia has great resources about child support, read more here:



This short article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied as such. For more information, get in contact with us today.


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