Working out child support payments using the basic formula

The basic formula applies to parents with only one child support assessment.

Basic formula 8 steps

The 8 steps of the basic formula are:

Step Action This 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
2 We add both parents' incomes together to get a combined child support income. Income
3 We calculate the income percentage of each parent by dividing each parent's income by their combined total. Income
4 We calculate each parent's percentage of care. Care
5 We 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
7 We work out the costs for each child based on the parents' combined total income using the costs of children table. Costs of children
8 We 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 percentage Equal to number of nights a year Equal to number of nights a fortnight Care level Child support cost percentage
0–13% 0–51 nights 1 night Below regular care Nil
14–34% 52–127 nights 2–4 nights Regular care 24%
35–47% 128–175 nights 5–6 nights Shared care 25% plus 2% for every percentage point over 35% of care
48–52% 176–189 nights 7 nights Shared care 50%
53–65% 190–237 nights 8–9 nights Shared care 51% plus 2% for every percentage point over 53% of care
66–86% 238–313 nights 10–12 nights Primary care 76%
87–100% 314–365 nights 13–14 nights Above primary care 100%

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 income 1 child 2 children 3 or more children

$0 to $35,628

$35,628 is 0.5 times the annualised MTAWE

17c for each $1 24c for each $1 27c for each $1

$35,629 to $71,256

$71,256 is the annualised MTAWE

$6,057 plus 15c for each $1 over $35,628 $8,551 plus 23c for each $1 over $35,628 $9,620 plus 26c for each $1 over $35,628

$71,257 to $106,884

$106,884 is 1.5 times the annualised MTAWE

$11,401 plus 12c for each $1 over $71,256 $16,745 plus 20c for each $1 over $71,256 $18,883 plus 25c for each $1 over $71,256

$106,885 to $142,512

$142,512 is 2 times the annualised MTAWE

$15,676 plus 10c for each $1 over $106,884 $23,871 plus 18c for each $1 over $106,884 $27,790 plus 24c for each $1 over $106,884

$142,513 to $178,140

$178,140 is 2.5 times the annualised MTAWE

$19,239 plus 7c for each $1 over $142,512 $30,284 plus 10c for each $1 over $142,512 $36,341 plus 18c for each $1 over $142,512

Income over $178,140

Costs of children do not increase above this cap

$21,733 $33,847 $42,754

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 income 1 child 2 children 3 or more children

$0 to $35,628

$35,628 is 0.5 times the annualised MTAWE

23c for each $1 29c for each $1 32c for each $1

$35,629 to $71,256

$71,256 is the annualised MTAWE

$8,194 plus 22c for each $1 over $35,628 $10,332 plus 28c for each $1 over $35,415 $11,401  plus 31c for each $1 over $35,628

$71,257 to $106,884

$106,884 is 1.5 times the annualised MTAWE

$16,032 plus 12c for each $1 over $71,256 $20,308 plus 25c for each $1 over $71,256 $22,446 plus 30c for each $1 over $71,256

$106,885 to $142,512

$142,512 is 2 times the annualised MTAWE

$20,307 plus 10c for each $1 over $106,884 $29,215 plus 20c for each $1 over $106,884 $33,134 plus 29c for each $1 over $106,884

$142,513 to $178,140

$178,140 is 2.5 times the annualised MTAWE

$23,870 plus 9c for each $1 over $142,512 $36,341 plus 13c for each $1 over $142,512 $43,466 plus 20c for each $1 over $142,512

Income over $178,140

Costs of children do not increase above this cap

$27,077 $40,973 $50,592

Children of mixed age

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

Parents' combined child support income 1 child 2 children 3 or more children

$0 to $35,628

$35,415 is 0.5 times the annualised MTAWE

N/A 26.5c for each $1 29.5c for each $1

$35,629 to $71,256

$71,256 is the annualised MTAWE

N/A $9,441plus 25.5c for each $1 over $35,415 $10,510 plus 28.5c for each $1 over $35,628

$71,257 to $106,884

$106,884 is 1.5 times the annualised MTAWE

N/A $18,526 plus 22.5c for each $1 over $70,829 $20,664  plus 27.5c for each $1 over $71,256

$106,885 to $142,512

$141,512 is 2 times the annualised MTAWE

N/A $26,542 plus 19c for each $1 over $106,884 $30,462 plus 26.5c for each $1 over $106,884

$142,513 to $178,140

$178,140 is 2.5 times the annualised MTAWE

N/A $33,311 plus 11.5c for each $1 over $142,512 $39,903 plus 19c for each $1 over $142,512

Income over $178,140

Costs of children do not increase above this cap

N/A $37,408 $46,672

Page last updated: 22 August 2016

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