The new child support formula is part of the overhaul of the Child Support Scheme implemented a few years ago. The previous formula, which use fixed percentages of income to work out child support, has been criticised for being inequitable and not taking into account factors such as the different costs associated with raising children of different ages, the time each parent spends caring for the child/children, and the effect of income tax. In comparison, the new formula will better reflect the cost of raising children and treats parents’ incomes more equally.
The new formula is based on the costs associated with raising children. It recognises that such costs will vary depending on the household’s income levels, the number of children and the age of the children. Other key elements of the new formula include:
- Both parents’ incomes will now be taken into account and considered equally;
- The same self-support amount – an amount that accounts for the costs of supporting oneself after separation – will be subtracted from each parent’s income before child support is calculated;
- Shared care of the children will be better acknowledged. This means a non-residential parent who looks after their child at least once a week (14% of care), may pay less child support in recognition of the costs involved; and
- Parents who have children (natural or adopted) living with them from subsequent relationships will now have an amount for the support of these children deducted from their income when calculating child support. This will help to ensure that children from first and subsequent families are treated more equally.
The new formula is one of a number of changes being made to the Child Support Scheme. For more information about the new Scheme, visit the Child Support Agency’s website www.csa.gov.au.
For assistance with Family Law matters, phone Dominic Wilson, Managing Partner of Craddock Murray Neumann, on (02) 82684000. We have Family Lawyers who are certified by the Law Society of New South Wales as Accredited Specialists in Family Law.