Government assessed child support is calculated using a complicated formula based on what the research has determined it costs to raise children.
As a mother who has experienced first hand the real cost of raising a child, it is not surprising to me that some parents find that child support as assessed by the agency alone is not sufficient to raise their children – and agreements are reached for payment of other amounts outside of any child support assessment.
While your standard child support assessment provides for a weekly cash amount to be paid from one parent to the other, parents might agree to receive this payment in other ways such as:-
- a lump sum cash payment each year;
- payment of weekly activities such as extra-curricular fees (i.e. swimming, dancing, tutoring);
- payment of private health; or/and
- payment of private school fees.
To ensure that these payments are recognised as child support payments and avoid the risk of accruing a child support debt unbeknownst to you, it is recommended that any agreement outside of a standard child support assessment be reflected in a Child Support Agreement (CSA). A CSA can be either a binding agreement or a limited child support agreement.
What is a Binding Child Support Agreement (BCSA)?
The BCSA must be in writing, signed by both parents and each parent must have received independent legal advice before entering into the agreement, with a certificate of that advice attached to the agreement. A BCSA can only be terminated if both parties agree and enter into another agreement in its place.
What is a limited Child Support Agreement (LCSA)?
The agreement must be in writing and signed by each parent, however the parents are not required to obtain legal advice prior to entering into the agreement. The agreement must be approved by the Registrar of the Child Support Agency and will not be approved if the amount agreed to is less than the assessed amount. For parties to be able to enter into a limited child support agreement they must already have an administrative assessment in place.
Limited child support agreements can be terminated at any time by either parent.
If you are considering a Child Support Agreement or have been provided with a Child Support Agreement from the other party contact Macrossan & Amiet Solicitors today to discuss the options available to you.