Working out child support payments using the basic formula

Basic formula 8 steps

The 8 steps of the basic formula are:

StepActionThis step relates to
1

We calculate each parent's income. This is a parent's adjusted taxable income minus a self support amount and any relevant dependant allowance. For more information about relevant dependant allowances, see child support assessments and second families.

A parent may be able to estimate their income.

Read more about income used in calculating a child support assessment.

Income
2We add both parents' incomes together to get a combined child support income.Income
3We calculate the income percentage of each parent by dividing each parent's income by their combined total.Income
4We calculate each parent's percentage of care.Care
5We work out each parent's cost percentage using the care and cost table.Care
6

We subtract the cost percentage from the income percentage for each parent. The result is called the ‘child support percentage’. The result will determine if a parent pays or receives child support.

If it’s a negative percentage, that parent is assessed to receive child support because their share of the costs of raising the children is more than met by the amount of care they are providing.

If it’s a positive percentage, that parent is assessed to pay child support because they are not meeting their entire share of the costs of the child directly through care. We go on to steps 7 and 8 using only the positive child support percentage.

If you have different care arrangements for various children, you might have different child support percentages for each child.

Child support percentage
7We work out the costs for each child based on the parents' combined total income using the cost of children table.Costs of children
8We get the total amount of child support payable by multiplying the positive child support percentage by the costs of the child. This final figure is the amount the paying parent needs to transfer to the other parent.Child support payable

Care and cost table

The percentage of care and its costs are incorporated into the child support payable amount. The cost percentage reflects the percentage of a child’s costs that a person meets directly through care.

Child support care percentageEqual to number of nights a yearEqual to number of nights a fortnightCare levelChild support cost percentage
0–13%0–51 nights1 nightBelow regular careNil
14–34%52–127 nights2–4 nightsRegular care24%
35–47%128–175 nights5–6 nightsShared care25% plus 2% for every percentage point over 35% of care
48–52%176–189 nights7 nightsShared care50%
53–65%190–237 nights8–9 nightsShared care51% plus 2% for every percentage point over 53% of care
66–86%238–313 nights10–12 nightsPrimary care76%
87–100%314–365 nights13–14 nightsAbove primary care100%

Read more about how your percentage of care affects your child support.

Costs of children

The child support formula recognises the costs of raising children is different in households with different income levels, numbers of children and children of different ages.

Under the formula, the costs of raising children are calculated according to the combined income of both parents after an amount is deducted for each parent to support themselves. The costs are divided between the parents according to their share of the combined income.

The costs of children, determined by independent research, represent net costs after the Family Tax Benefit is taken into account.

Children aged 12 years and under

The Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) are provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Parents' combined child support income1 child2 children3 or more children

$0 to $35,415

$35,415 is 0.5 times the annualised MTAWE

17c for each $124c for each $127c for each $1

$35,416 to $70,829

$70,829 is the annualised MTAWE

$6,021 plus 15c for each $1 over $35,415$8,500 plus 23c for each $1 over $35,415$9,562 plus 26c for each $1 over $35,415

$70,830 to $106,244

$106,244 is 1.5 times the annualised MTAWE

$11,333 plus 12c for each $1 over $70,829$16,645 plus 20c for each $1 over $70,829$18,770 plus 25c for each $1 over $70,829

$106,245 to $141,658

$141,658 is 2 times the annualised MTAWE

$15,583 plus 10c for each $1 over $106,244$23,728 plus 18c for each $1 over $106,244$27,624 plus 24c for each $1 over $106,244

$141,659 to $177,073

$177,073 is 2.5 times the annualised MTAWE

$19,124 plus 7c for each $1 over $141,658$30,103 plus 10c for each $1 over $141,658$36,123 plus 18c for each $1 over $141,658

Income over $177,073

Costs of children do not increase above this cap

$21,603$33,645$42,498

Children aged 13 years and over

The Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) are provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Parents' combined child support income1 child2 children3 or more children

$0 to $35,415

$35,415 is 0.5 times the annualised MTAWE

23c for each $129c for each $132c for each $1

$35,416 to $70,829

$70,829 is the annualised MTAWE

$8,145 plus 22c for each $1 over $35,415$10,270 plus 28c for each $1 over $35,415$11,333  plus 31c for each $1 over $35,415

$70,830 to $106,244

$106,244 is 1.5 times the annualised MTAWE

$15,936 plus 12c for each $1 over $70,829$20,186 plus 25c for each $1 over $70,829$22,311 plus 30c for each $1 over $70,829

$106,245 to $141,658

$141,658 is 2 times the annualised MTAWE

$20,186 plus 10c for each $1 over $106,244$29,040 plus 20c for each $1 over $106,244$32,936 plus 29c for each $1 over $106,244

$141,659 to $177,073

$177,073 is 2.5 times the annualised MTAWE

$23,727 plus 9c for each $1 over $141,658$36,123 plus 13c for each $1 over $141,658$43,206 plus 20c for each $1 over $141,658

Income over $177,073

Costs of children do not increase above this cap

$26,914$40,727$50,289

Children of mixed age

The Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) are provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Parents' combined child support income1 child2 children3 or more children

$0 to $35,415

$35,415 is 0.5 times the annualised MTAWE

N/A26.5c for each $129.5c for each $1

$35,416 to $70,829

$70,829 is the annualised MTAWE

N/A$9,385 plus 25.5c for each $1 over $35,415$10,447 plus 28.5c for each $1 over $35,415

$70,830 to $106,244

$106,244 is 1.5 times the annualised MTAWE

N/A$18,416 plus 22.5c for each $1 over $70,829$20,540  plus 27.5c for each $1 over $70,829

$106,245 to $141,658

$141,658 is 2 times the annualised MTAWE

N/A$26,384 plus 19c for each $1 over $106,244$30,279 plus 26.5c for each $1 over $106,244

$141,659 to $177,073

$177,073 is 2.5 times the annualised MTAWE

N/A$33,113 plus 11.5c for each $1 over $141,658$39,664 plus 19c for each $1 over $141,658

Income over $177,073

Costs of children do not increase above this cap

N/A$37,186$46,393

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