Your percentage of care affects your child support payments

The child support formula recognises shared parenting and the contribution each parent makes towards the costs of the children they provide care for.

If the care arrangements for your children change, contact us as soon as possible. Some care arrangements can only be backdated if you tell us within 28 days of the change.

If you don't tell us about new care arrangements when they happen you might have to pay more child support, or pay back child support that you have been paid.

If you can’t agree about the percentage of care you and the other parent provide for your children, we’ll work out the percentage of care that each parent provides or is likely to provide.

To help us make a decision, we may ask you and the other parent to provide evidence about the care arrangements for your children. Evidence can include:

  • a diary or calendar showing when the children are in your care
  • a copy of a court order or parenting plan, including evidence that it’s being followed
  • confirmation of enrolment in day care, school or regular extra-curricular activities
  • records of visits to health care providers or other services
  • airline bookings or passports to prove dates of travel, or
  • statements from third parties

We don’t accept or consider evidence that includes any verbal or written statements made by a child. A child is anyone under 18. Statements include voice recordings, text messages and social media posts.

Regular care

This is care for a child between 14% and 34% of the time. This is:

  • between 52 and 127 nights a year, or
  • 2 to 4 nights a fortnight

We adjust child support payments when a paying parent directly contributes to the costs of raising the child through regular care.

A paying parent with regular care of a child may not receive any Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A or other family assistance payments. They may still be eligible for other benefits like Rent Assistance and a Health Care Card. They may also be able to receive a higher rate of an income support payment.

Shared care

This is care for a child between 35% and 65% of the time. This is:

  • between 128 and 237 nights a year, or
  • 5 to 9 nights a fortnight

We adjust child support payments where parents share the care of a child. Both parents may receive family assistance payments and they may be able to share FTB Part A.

Primary care

This is care for a child between 65% and 86% of the time. This is between 238 and 313 nights a year. Parents providing primary care don’t need to pay child support for that child.

More than primary care

This is care of a child more than 86% of the time. Parents providing more than primary care don’t have to pay child support for that child.

If you provide more than primary care, you’ll be eligible for 100% of any FTB payable. Read more about Child support and FTB.

Care arrangements and FTB

The amount of care you provide affects your eligibility for FTB. Once we work out your care percentage, we’ll use this to work out your child support payments and any FTB you may receive.

You only have to tell us once about any change in care arrangements. We’ll ensure your child support payments and FTB are adjusted.

Read more about child support and FTB Part A.

Other payments that might be affected due to changed care arrangements

When care arrangements for your child change, this could affect your eligibility for other family payments. This may mean receiving more or less money than before.

Read more about when care arrangements for a child change.

Parenting plans

Parenting plans are written plans. They can include an agreement about the amount of time your children will be in each parent’s care.

Read more about parenting plans.

Page last updated: 29 December 2016

This information was printed Tuesday 28 March 2017 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/your-percentage-care-affects-your-child-support-payments It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.