Child Support Calculation

How is it calculated?

Parents are responsible for the financial support of their child or children. This is the case for birth parents, adoptive parents and people who have become parents as a result of artificial conception.

Financial responsibility for a child does not change in the event that the parents separate or divorce, where the child lives, the amount of time they spend with one parent or the remarriage of one or both parents.

In Australia, a parent must also be a resident of Australia under the Income Tax Assessment Act, or a resident in a prescribed overseas jurisdiction.

The payments are most commonly calculated as regular periodic instalments. However, lump sum payments, payment through specific expenses and payment in the form of a transfer or settlement of property is not unheard of.

The Formula is based on the income available to a parent. This adjusted taxable income minuses the cost of ‘self support’ and the number of other dependent children the parent is liable to support, to calculate the Child Support Payable for a particular child.

A breakdown of the Basic Formula is available from the Department of Human Services.

The Formula, in calculating the Child Support Payable, will take into account the time that the child spends with each parent. The Department of Human Services also bases the Basic Formula on research into the costs of raising children to determine the exact amount payable for a particular dependent Child.

There may be circumstances in which the calculation is unfair to one parent. This can occur if a parent has arranged to minimise their taxable income, a parent has lost their job since an assessment was made, or a child has special needs or attends a more costly private institution.

In circumstances such as this, it is possible to apply to the Child Support Agency to change the assessment. The Department of Human Services will consider the unique circumstances before amending any calculations.