Best Practice for Determining Child Support Agreements

Separation is a trying time for parents, who sometimes overlook the impact on their children. An essential practice of family law is coming up with a Child Support Agreement, which serves to maintain the children’s quality of life amid a separated family. If you remain financially obligated to provide child support, here are a few thoughts to consider. 

 

What Exactly is a Child Support Agreement?

A Child Support Agreement is a written document stipulating the amount of child support each parent is obliged to provide. There are two types of Child Support Agreements: 

1. Limited CSA

These agreements must succeed a child support assessment, which will determine whether the annual rate payable on the agreement is equal to or more than the amount reflected in the assessment. While a limited agreement doesn’t require that you seek legal advice, it’s always best to do so. This agreement can only remain active for three years. 

2. Binding CSA

These agreements can exist even without an assessment and can be made to any amount both parties agree to. Before entering into a binding agreement, both parties must enlist legal counsel and attach a certificate of completion signed by each party and their solicitor. A binding agreement only expires if there exists another agreement to replace it or a court order deems it terminable. 

 

What Does a Child Support Agreement Include?

A CSA must reflect a plan according to: 

  • Periodic or non-periodic payments
  • Lump-sum payments
  • Modifications to the child support formula

 

Who Accepts a Child Support Agreement?

Only the CSA can process and accept your Child Support Agreement. After the initial inspection, a representative will contact both parties regarding its acceptance or rejection. 

 

Eligibility Requirements

For a court to accept your child support agreement, you and your former partner must be eligible under the following terms. 

  • The parent paying child support must be an Australian resident or living in a country with reciprocating jurisdiction. 
  • Both parties must not be cohabitating. 
  • The children in question must be below 18 years of age. 
  • The children must be Australian citizens or current residents. 

 

Changes in Effect of Care Policies

Since July of 2018, agreements can be terminated if the guardian parent stops committing to at least 35% care of the child. If the care change is handed to the CSA within 28 days, the agreement will suspend for the first 28 days or up to 26 weeks after the care percentage changes. 

If presented after 28 days, the agreement will end if the 26-week suspension does not apply. The 26-week suspension may occur if: 

  • The agreement outlines a clause for longer suspension. 
  • All parties request a longer suspension. 
  • The CSA identifies exceptional circumstances. 

 

The suspension period allows for the reinstatement of agreements should the guardian parent regain over 35% care. 

 

Conclusion

When separation impacts children, coming up with parenting and child support agreements is hardly a walk in the park. The best approach is to work towards the child’s best interests and park personal disputes. 

 

For a family solicitor who can facilitate your child support agreement, contact our experts at Springfield Legals. We work to provide the best possible resolutions and court representation, should the problem escalate.