Child Support Assessment
Child Support Assessment
If you want to apply for a new Child Support assessment complete an Application for a Child Support Assessment.
If you care for a child but are not the parent, you need to complete an Application for Child Support Assessment—Non-parent carers form or call 131 272.
Parents or children who live outside of Australia
If you or your children live outside of Australia, read Child Support for Parents or Children Living Outside of Australia.
Every family is unique and the Child Support formula is flexible enough to take into account many different family circumstances. It provides a balanced and flexible way of working out Child Support payments.
The formula is based on independent research and the costs of raising children. The key components are that:
- both parents’ incomes are considered equally
- a self-support amount is deducted from each parent’s income before Child Support is worked out
- the percentage of care each parent provides is taken into account
- children from first and subsequent families are treated in a similar way.
If you are a parent receiving Child Support and you receive more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit (Part A), you may need to apply for a Child Support assessment.
Sometimes children are cared for by someone other than their parent, for example, a legal guardian, grandparent or other family member.
If you provide care for a child and you are not the parent, you may be able to receive Child Support from both of the child’s parents if you apply for a Child Support assessment. It also helps us if you let us know about any changes that affect your Child Support assessment.
You can apply for Child Support if you are a separated parent with children from a previous same-sex relationship and meet the legislative requirements of the Family Law Act.
If you are a separated parent with children from a previous same-sex relationship and already have a Child Support case where you are listed as a non-parent carer, you can ask that your case be changed to reflect your status as a parent.
Child Support period
A Child Support period is the length of time a Child Support assessment applies. A Child Support period can last up to 15 months or can be shorter, depending on the circumstances of your case.
At the end of a Child Support period, we will start a new assessment for the next period, taking into account changes in income and the cost of living.
You need to know
Parentage of children involved with Child Support
Before we accept a Child Support application, we must be satisfied both parents are the legal parents of the child or children involved.
We will be satisfied if:
- the parents were married when the child was born
- the parents are named on the child’s birth certificate
- the male parent was living with the mother between 20 and 44 weeks immediately before the child’s birth
- the person has adopted the child
- a statutory declaration has been made by a person acknowledging they are the child’s parent, or
- the person is a parent under the Family Law Act 1975 (for example, where the child was born as a result of artificial conception, surrogacy or to recognised same-sex couples).
After we register your case, we send you a Child Support assessment. You do not have to work out your assessment yourself—we work it out for you. If your case details change at any time, you should let us know and we will send you an updated or new assessment.
Working out child support using the basic formula
The basic formula applies to parents with one child support assessment and no other dependent children. This is the formula we use for most child support assessments.
Child Support for same-sex parents
You can apply for Child Support if you are a parent with children from a previous same-sex relationship and meet the legislative requirements of the Family Law Act.
Your percentage of care affects your Child Support
Child Support is calculated to recognise shared parenting and the contribution each parent makes towards the costs of the children through direct care.
Parents with two or more Child Support assessments
The calculations for parents with two or more Child Support assessments are a little more involved, yet still based on the basic formula.
If you pay or receive Child Support for two or more families, we deduct an amount—called a multi-case allowance—after we deduct the self-support amount and any relevant dependent child amount from your adjusted taxable income, to work out your Child Support income. We then apply the basic formula.
The multi-case allowance recognises your responsibility for supporting your children in other Child Support cases. We work out the multi-case cost for each child according to their age and how much it would cost if all the children were living with you.
Where a paying parent has multiple cases, the formula uses a multi-case cap to determine the maximum amount of Child Support payable. The multi-case cap ensures you do not pay more in Child Support than it would cost if you had all your children that need Child Support payments living with you.
Residency requirements for Child Support
To ensure your Child Support assessment is eligible, we need to determine your and the other parent’s residency status. Normally we can only accept a Child Support assessment if the parent paying Child Support is a resident of Australia or a reciprocating jurisdiction (an overseas country Australia has a Child Support arrangement with). Determining residency status is important, because some parents living in non-reciprocating jurisdictions may still legally be considered residents of Australia or a reciprocating jurisdiction. See Child Support for parents or children living overseas for a list of reciprocating jurisdictions or call us on 131 272 for more information about determining residency status.
Applying for a Child Support assessment
To apply for a Child Support assessment, complete the online Application for Child Support assessment form.You can also apply over the phone by calling 131 272.
Non-parent carer applying for Child Support
If you provide care for a child and you are not the parent, you may be able to receive Child Support from both the child’s parents if you apply for a Child Support assessment.
Managing your child support
Income used in calculating Child Support payments
Each parent’s income is considered in the same way and then combined to work out the costs of raising children. Each parent’s share of the total income shows how much of the children’s costs they should meet.
Child support with second families—relevant dependent children
If you have other children who are legally yours and living with you, an amount for their support may be deducted from your income when calculating your Child Support. These children are called ‘relevant dependent children’.
Minimum and fixed Child Support assessments
A minimum amount is payable under each Child Support assessment. A fixed assessment applies to a paying parent who reports a low taxable income and did not receive income support in the last relevant year of income (the financial year that ended before the start date of the relevant Child Support period).
Child Support responsibilities when you enter prison
When you enter prison, a number of things will change that we need to know about so we can make sure your Child Support assessment is accurate.
Child Support responsibilities when you are being deployed
When you leave on military deployment, a number of things will change that we need to know about so we can make sure your child support assessment is accurate.
Varying your Child Support assessment
If your circumstances have changed or you believe your Child Support assessment does not reflect your current situation, you may be able to apply to have your assessment varied.
This will depend on whether you have a Child Support assessment or a court order, and whether the court order or assessment was made in Australia or overseas.
- If we made your assessment, you will need to contact us.
- If you have an Australian court order, you will need to get legal advice about how it can be varied.
- If you have an assessment made by an overseas authority, you will need to contact the country where the original assessment was made.
- If you have an overseas court order, you may be able to have this varied in Australia or in the country where the order was made. Seek legal advice if this is your situation.
Changes to your child support assessment in special circumstances
If you believe your child support assessment does not reflect your, the other parent's or your children's special circumstances, you may be able to apply for a change of assessment.
Child Support care percentage estimator
The care estimator allows you to estimate the care percentage to be used in estimating Child Support payments.
Simply enter a start date and select the total nights of care you have for your children through the year. The care estimator will calculate and display the total nights of care, care percentage and care level.
The Child Support Guide
The Child Support Guide is our technical resource, which outlines our approach to the administration of the Child Support Scheme.
The Parent’s Guide to Child Support
The Parent’s Guide to Child Support has relevant and important information to help you understand Child Support, your rights and responsibilities and the services we offer.