What is child support for? It seems a lot of people don’t know. Let me enlighten you a little – only a little because I don’t know EVERYTHING about it and nor does anybody else!
Where do you start?
One line of enquiry is the legislation – that is, the Child Support (Assessment) Act.
Section 3 says parents have a duty to maintain their children – a no brainer. The assessment process is based on a legislative formula to work out the ‘cost of child/ren’, and allows for the payer of child support (and the payee) to support themselves before their children. The costs of children are set out in tables. In other words, the government tells us how much it costs to raise a child. Child support is calculated on that, not what you actually spend on raising your child/ren.
What then would assessed child support cover? Contribution towards the cost of raising a child, one would think based on what the legislation says. Here is where differences lie though.
Is child support for just food, clothing and shelter or for more such as schooling and sporting activities?
I have been told that people should have to pay child support, then for school and sporting activities and even child care. Some expect the parent paying child support should pay for everything for their child, but that is not what the legislation provides.
In the end, what child support covers depends on the circumstances of a child and his/her parents, and whether there is an agreement for one to pay more child support than the Child Support Agency (CSA) would assess as being payable. Or, whether there is an agreement for payment of some other thing instead of paying child support. Such matters can be easily mediated between parties.
The Child Support Agency’s (CSA’s) website has helpful information. Their website is csa.gov.au. From there you can email or telephone them to discuss your matter.