How your percentage of care affects your child support payments

Our child support assessment considers each parent or non-parent carer’s care of the child. This is their percentage of care.

Your care percentage

We usually work out your care percentage based on the amount of care you provide.

You and the other parent may be able to agree how much care you each provide. For example, you may both tell us 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.

We may work out your care percentage differently if you have a written care arrangement that isn’t being followed. If we do this, we base your care percentage on your written care arrangement for an interim period. Read more about disputed care.

Levels of care

There are 5 levels of care:

  • below regular care
  • regular care
  • shared care
  • primary care, and
  • more than primary care

Your care percentage also 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 providing below regular care can’t receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A or other family payments from us.

Regular care

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 FTB Part A or other family payments from us.

They may be able to get other help like Rent Assistance and a Health Care Card. They may also be able to receive a higher income support payment.

Shared care

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 FTB Part A .

Primary care

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 you provide more than primary care you can receive 100% of any FTB Part A.

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 child support payments.

Normally we can only backdate care changes if you tell us within 28 days.

If we change your child support payments, we may also change other family payments, such as your FTB Part A. We’ll let you know if this happens.

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

Read more about when care arrangements change.

Page last updated: 31 May 2018