What is a child support agreement?

Date: Apr 23, 2016

When a separation occurs, a child's needs can sometimes be forgotten. This is why the Family Court and the law always foreground the interests of children when or if a dispute arises. Like child custody, child support is an essential element to agree upon during a separation.

So what is a child support agreement and what does it take to develop one?

What is a child support assessment?

Parents have a primary duty to financially support their children, even after a divorce or separation. To make sure this happens, the Australian government can seek a Child Support Assessment.

The review takes into account a number of factors, which include but are not limited to:

  • Calculating the cost of raising a child
  • The income of parents.
  • The care arrangement.
  • Other dependents of the parents.
  • Children in other support cases.

A child support assessment is not always needed and its use depends on a number of factors, one of which is the type of agreement you and the other party enter into. 

Two forms of child support agreements

There are two types of agreements that parents can enter into: a binding child support agreement and a limited child support agreement. The latter is a flexible agreement that lasts no longer than three years, while the former is a long-term arrangement that offers a high level of certainty and finality and as such is very difficult to change.

Additionally, binding child support agreements require that both parties have independent legal advice and because of the government takes this aspect very seriously. You will need to supply a legal certificate, which is signed by the legal provider, and have it attached to the agreement.

Without a legal certificate, the agreement will not be accepted by the relevant authorities. You will also need to attach a signed statement acknowledging you have received independent legal advice. 

Having legal advice is not just a requirement. A lawyer's experience and training can ensure the agreement satisfies legal requirements set out by the relevant legislation, it achieves the resolution intended and the clauses and conditions are reasonable under the law. 

If you would like to learn more about the two types of agreements that are recognised under child support legislation, talk to the specialists in the field of family law. Contact Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers today.