Our child support assessment considers each parent or non-parent carer’s care of the child. This is their percentage of care.
Levels of care
There are 5 levels of care:
- below regular care
- regular care
- shared care
- primary care, and
- more than primary care
How we work out your care percentage
You and the other parent may be able to agree about how much care each of you provides. For example, you may both tell us that one of you has the children for 56 nights a year and the other has them for the rest of the time.
If you can’t agree, we’ll work it out for you.
We may ask for proof such as:
- a diary or calendar showing when you care for the children
- a court order or parenting plan, with evidence that you’re doing what it says
- documents that show the children are in day care, school or other regular activities
- records of visits to health care or other services
- airline bookings or passports showing travel dates, or
- statements from other people
You can’t give us any verbal or written statements from anyone under 18. Statements include voice recordings, text messages and social media posts.
Care percentage and Family Tax Benefit
Your care percentage affects how much Family Tax Benefit Part A you can receive.
Read about Child Support and Family Tax Benefit Part A.
Below regular care
This is care from 0% to 13% of the time. It means:
- 0 to 51 nights a year, or
- 0 to less than 2 nights a fortnight
A paying parent who provides below regular care can’t receive Family Tax Benefit Part A or other family payments from us.
This is care from 14% to 34% of the time. It means:
- 52 to 127 nights a year, or
- 2 to 4 nights a fortnight
A paying parent who provides regular care will pay less child support.
A paying parent who provides regular care can’t receive Family Tax Benefit Part A or other family payments from us.
This is care from 35% to 65% of the time. It means:
- 128 to 237 nights a year, or
- 5 to 9 nights a fortnight
A paying parent who provides shared care will pay less child support.
Both parents may receive family payments from us. They may be able to share Family Tax Benefit Part A.
This is care from 65% to 86% of the time. It means:
- 238 to 313 nights a year, or
- 10 to 12 nights a fortnight
A parent who provides primary care doesn’t have to pay child support.
More than primary care
This is care for more than 86% of the time.
A parent who provides more than primary care doesn’t have to pay child support.
If your care arrangements change
If the way you share care for your child changes, contact us as soon as you can. We may need to change your care percentage and your payments.
Normally we can only backdate care changes if you tell us within 28 days.
If you don’t tell us in time you may:
- pay too much
- end up with a debt because you don’t pay enough, or
- end up having to pay back an overpayment
If we change your payments we’ll change Family Tax Benefit Part A too.
We may also change any other family payments.
Read more about when care arrangements change.