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Let’s BREAK it down…

The overwhelming feelings experienced during separation in the early days can delay us in sorting out the things we need to! Child support and organising that part of the separation was something I personally dreaded. BUT it had to be done, and the thought of wasting a few hours on the phone with a government department (my experience was a few years ago and I am hoping it has gotten better!?).

We spoke to Steven, who worked with a child support agency for many years and has now combined his knowledge with his role as a Mediator,  about our top questions!

YOUR TOP Questions:

1. What is the first thing one must do when they have JUST separated in terms of Child Support?

Once a parent wishes to receive Child Support payments, that parent will need to contact Department of Human Services– Child Support and satisfy the requirements to register a case.

If you have requested more than the basic Family Tax Benefit through Centrelink, you will be required to register a Child Support case prior to receiving Centrelink payments.

2. In your experience is the TOP misconception you have seen when people are Separating?

“He/She is not seeing the kids until I get paid/ I’m not seeing the kids, so I’m not paying.”

This unfortunately happens a lot. All this is doing is hurting the children, by making them a pawn in your personal battle with the ex-partner.

3. What is the process of refuting the payments if you don’t agree?

Depending on the circumstances, the first thing to do is contact Child Support and ask them which way you need to address your concerns. It may be a simple fact of presenting evidence to show you believe the payments are incorrect (such as in a care dispute).

There may be a need to object to a decision made by Child Support. This can be done through an Objection. This generally needs to be done within a period of time from the date Child Support make that specific decision.

4. What are the main things that can change the value of a payment in your experience?

There are a few things that can change the value of a payment however, the three main things that can affect a child support payments are;

i) Non-Agency Payment. This is payment to a third party (such as a school, Doctor) in lieu of a child support payment. This then may be credited against the ongoing child support liability (conditions apply).

ii) New information. When a parents’ adjusted taxable income changes year to year and Child Support is advised by the Australian Taxation Office will result in a recalculation of the assessment.

iii) A change in care percentage of the child(ren) will also result in a recalculation of the assessment.

There are a few reasons for a parent to apply for a Change of Assessment due to Special Circumstances (http://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6). This in itself can be a lengthy topic. The key to success in a Change of Assessment application is evidence. Just because you believe an assessment should increase itself is not a reason to apply.

Here are few helpful links related to Child Support:

  1. Child Support related forms
  1. Child Support Guide

Please NOTE: This article has been provided from Stevens’ perspective at this current point in time. This article is NOT to be seen as advice and should only be seen as general information only. Please contact the Department of Human Services or a professional for your own specific situation to be assessed.

ABOUT the Blogger:

Steven has over a decade of high level investigation skills working within DHS and is now an accredited Mediator. 

Steve can be found in our directory!

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