Queensland Family Law Practice

Child Support Lawyers Brisbane

Ease through the legal maze of child support, where paving a bright future for your family is what we're all about.

Need help with Child Support?

Make sure you get the best outcome possible, for you and your families’ future.

  • Guide you through the entire Family Law process

  • Help you navigate through this difficult time

  • Get the outcome you need to move on with your life

More than 100+ years of combined lawyer experience.

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Clients’ Reviews
Lee-Anne Pringle
Lee-Anne Pringle
Amazing Service & Information - I am a Disability Advocate and I was ringing for a distressed client who had had a family member pass away. The lady on the phone was pleasant, professional and tended to my inquiry straight away. Would not hesitate to use this service again.
richard hocking
richard hocking
Understanding and supportive.
Matt Hutton
Matt Hutton
Thanks to Tracy, Rachael and the team for working with me to give me a better than expected outcome financially and essentially Tracy for keeping me on track during a tough mediation. Still some work to do but you guys have been so professional and helpful throughout this messy process.
Michelle Steer
Michelle Steer
The half hour webinar was extremely useful and easy to understand. In a difficult time, you don't want "legal speak" and this was definitely not that, highly recommend for anybody who has just seperated
Nahid Tonmoy
Nahid Tonmoy
The customer service to legal advice, everything was fantastic. The whole team really looks after their clients.
Anthony Macdonnell
Anthony Macdonnell
The wills of my wife and I were updated earlier this year and the team at Forge Legal handled this in a very professional and efficient way. We would have no hesitation in recommending them
Very happy with the service received recently when purchasing our new home,everything went very smoothly and we were kept up to date with information, highly recommend .
sandra fitzgerald
sandra fitzgerald
Very happy with the service we received from Queensland Family Law Practice, when we recently purchased our new home, they kept us informed and kept everything running smoothly, highly recommend.

Many people struggle to understand decisions made by the Child Support Agency, how to appeal those decisions and other matters relating to the payment of child support.

Our lawyers are highly experienced in all areas pertaining to child support. Our director, Tracey McMillan has years of experience with these matters, having operated the Child Support, Liable Parent Section at Legal Aid Queensland for many years.

If there’s a dispute regarding parentage, relating to a child, it is common for parentage testing to be undertaken to help determine whether a person should be assessed to pay child support. Not all parentage tests are the same and many don’t need invasive action to determine parentage.

Child Support

For many people their proper income assessment is easy to obtain via their tax returns and salary information. If the person paying child support is self-employed on the other hand, there can be some deviation between what their income is and what the real personal benefit from the business is. In some cases, it may be hard to distinguish between a personal expense or a business expense.

At Queensland Family Law Practice, we can walk you through the minefield and provide you with accurate advice about your matter and keep your costs at a minimum.

We can also assist you to obtain Orders for DNA testing in support of / or to defeat an Application for Child Support.

If you are not sure whether you have a case, then give our office a call and speak to one of our lawyers for a free 10 minute consultation. We will give you honest, direct advice.

Get a personal consultation.

Our friendly team can help you in all areas of law.

Who can apply for child support?

Any person who has the care of a child can apply to the Child Support Agency (CSA) for an assessment of child support as long as the child is present in Australia or an Australian citizen.

In order to claim child support from another person, a presumption of paternity must apply as follows:

  • the parties were married and not divorced at the time of the birth of a child;
  • the parties were living together between 44 to 20 weeks prior to the birth of a child;
  • the party is named on the birth certificate as the biological parent;
  • a party signs a statutory declaration stating they are a parent of the child;
  • the child was adopted by a party;
  • the child was conceived via artificial means to the two parties;
  • the child was born with the assistance of a surrogate;
  • a Court Order has been made confirming the parentage of a child.
Navigating Child Custody Arrangements with Substantial Assets

A person can apply for a Child Support Assessment by contacting the CSA directly.  Please see humanservices.gov.au for more details.

How much child support is paid?

The amount of child support paid will depend upon various factors including:

  • how many nights the child spends with each parent;
  • the taxable income of both parents (this is the amount earned before tax is paid);
  • the age of the child;
  • any other special needs or circumstances.

The CSA use a complex calculation to determine the amount of child support to be paid.  You can obtain a more precise estimate of child support by using the child support assessment calculator at processing.csa.gov.au.

Can I change the amount of child support paid?

If you receive a Child Support Assessment and you believe that you require more or less child support than assessed you can apply to the CSA for a change of assessment. This is an internal CSA review.

A change of assessment can only be sought for one or more of the reasons listed below:

1. Your capacity to pay child support is significantly reduced because of the high costs associated to enable you to spend time or communicate with the child.
The costs must equate to more than 5% of your income and include such costs such as travel, accommodation, and phone calls.

It does not include entertainment, food, or clothing. Further where a parent spends more than 52 nights per year with the child, the CSA will only allow for costs of travel.

You will need to provide receipts to be successful.

2. The costs of maintaining the child are significantly affected because of the child’s special needs.
This factor is usually used in circumstances where the child suffers from a medical condition.

You can only claim out of pocket expenses after the rebate has been paid. You will need to provide receipts, medical reports or other information that reflects the child’s condition and treatment requirements.

3. The costs of maintaining the child are significantly affected because the child is being cared for, educated or trained in a way intended by both parents.

This factor is used in circumstances where the child is being educated in a private school and it was the agreement of both the parents prior to separating, that the child would attend private school.

You will need to provide evidence that it was the intention of both parties for the child to attend private school. You will also need to provide an estimate or invoice for the cost of the schooling fees.

4. The Child Support Assessment is unfair because of the child’s income, earning capacity, property or financial resources.
This factor would apply in circumstances where the child is working and earning an income or receives an income from a Trust. The child’s income must be high enough to reduce the amount of child support.

Part time employment at, say, a fast food outlet is not likely to impact on the child support payments.

5. The Child Support Assessment is unfair because you have paid money to the child, other parent or a third person for the benefit of the child.

This factor is usually raised in situations where the paying parent has already paid lump sum amounts of money to the caring parent (say for property settlement), or has put money into a Trust on behalf of the child, or has paid for schooling for the child or extra-curricular activities.

To successfully argue this factor you will need to:

  • provide receipts or evidence of the money being delivered to the other party, and
  • provide evidence that the money was paid specifically for the purposes of child support.
Signatories to the Hague Convention

6. The costs of caring for the child are significantly affected because of the high costs of child care and the child is under 12 years of age.
The child care costs need to be more than 5% of your income. You will also need to provide receipts of the cost of child care and can only claim the out of pocket expenses once the rebate has been claimed.

7. Your necessary expenses significantly affect your capacity to care for the child.
This factor will be relevant where you have additional expenses above the normal range of expenses. This would include such things as medical expenses. It is important to note that the expenses must be necessary and not merely optional. An investment expense will not be considered necessary.

To be successful with the factor you will need to provide evidence of your income, receipts for the expenses and evidence that you are impacted by the additional expense, i.e. bank accounts showing the limited funds etc.

8. The Child Support Assessment is unfair because of the income, earning capacity, property or financial resources of one or both parents.
This is the most commonly used reason and is used in circumstances where one parent has not properly declared their income, or one parent owns a business, or a parent is in receipt of income from a Trust.

To be successful with this reason you need to provide evidence of their income, qualifications (if one has quit their job), evidence of Trusts or other income. If a person owns a business they will need to provide profit and loss statements.

9. Your capacity to support the child is significantly affected by your legal duty to maintain another person or child.
This factor applies to caring for biological children, spousal maintenance, or spouses who cannot support themselves, or step-children in circumstances where a court has ordered a person to financially maintain the step-child.

You will need to provide evidence of Court Orders, reasons why the person cannot maintain themselves and receipts to be successful.

10. Your responsibility to care for a resident child significantly reduces your capacity to financially support your child.

What do I do if I still disagree with the change of assessment decision?

If you receive the change of assessment decision and still disagree with the decision then you can appeal the decision by notifying the child support registrar that you object to the decision.

You MUST write to the child support registrar and advise them you object to the decision that was made within 28 days.

If you do not object within that time the child support registrar can refuse to consider the matter.

Your objection must outline the reasons why the decision is incorrect, for example, the decision calculated that I received $100,000 of income however I only receive $80,000.

You can provide further evidence to support your objection and we suggest that as much evidence be provided as is possible to support your argument otherwise you risk the objection being refused.

If your objection is rejected you may then apply to the AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Child Support Division)) for your matter to be determined. This tribunal is less formal than a court however their decisions are binding.

Please see the AAT website for further information on the tribunal procedures.

If you are having difficulty with your change of assessment application, we have experienced lawyers available who can assist you with drafting your application for a change of assessment or appealing a child support decision.

Get a personal consultation.

More than 100+ years of combined lawyer experience.

Child Support Agreements

If both parents agree to the terms of child support then the parents can choose to enter into a Child Support Agreement. There are 3 types of Child Support Agreements:

  1. Limited Child Support Agreement
  2. Binding Child Support Agreement
  3. Terminating Child Support Agreement

1. Limited Child Support Agreement
A Limited Child Support Agreement is an agreement that is entered into by the parents regarding the amount of child support that needs to be paid.

A person does not need legal representation to enter into a Limited Child Support Agreement.

To enter into a Limited Child Support Agreement the following must occur:

An assessment for child support must have been applied for and accepted by the CSA,
The agreement must cater for child support payments equal to or more than child support payments as assessed by the CSA.
Under a Limited Child Support Agreement the CSA will make an assessment to ascertain that amount of child support payable if the agreement didn’t exist.

A Limited Child Support Agreement ends when:

  • both parties agree to end the agreement, or
  • after 3 years, upon the giving of written notice to the other party, or
  • the CSA assessment varies by more than 15% and one party chooses to end, or
  • a Court Order sets the agreement aside, or
  • the parties enter into a new agreement.

The CSA will conduct a reassessment of the child support payable:

  • Every 3 years, or
  • if a person’s income changes by more than 15%, or
  • each party asks for a further CSA assessment.

2. Binding Child Support Agreement
The parties can choose to enter into a Binding Child Support Agreement to set terms for:

  • the amount of child support to be paid, or
  • the amount of nights spent with each party for the purposes of calculating child support, or
  • how the child support is to be paid, or
  • how the child support is to be calculated.

A Binding Child Support Agreement varies from a limited agreement in that:

  • each party is required to be legally represented,
  • the legal representative must sign a statement that they have provided independent legal advice,
  • a Child Support Assessment is not required,
  • the agreement can reduce a person’s child support payments to less than assessed by the Child Support Agency,
  • the agreement continues until a terminating event occurs, or by Court Order sets the agreement aside.
Legal Child Support Brisbane

3. Terminating an Agreement

A Binding Child Support Agreement can only be terminated if:

  1. Both parties enter into a new binding child support agreement,
  2. Both parties enter into a termination agreement,
  3. The child turns 18 or completes school (whichever the later) or other date as specified in the agreement,
  4. A court sets aside the agreement on the basis that it was entered into under duress, fraud, misrepresentation.

While Binding Child Support Agreements assist with providing clarity and finality to negotiations for child support it can also limit the flexibility of the parties depending how it is written.

We strongly suggest that a person contemplating this type of agreement to have a lengthy discussion with their lawyer and consider the terms of the agreement before signing.

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More than 100+ years of combined lawyer experience.

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Our areas of expertise include:

  • Limited Child Support Agreements

  • Binding Child Support Agreements

  • Departure Application

  • Change of Assessment Applications

  • Child Support Objections

  • Stay Orders

  • Departure Prohibition Orders

  • AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal- Child Support Division)

  • Overseas Child Support Applications

  • Adult Child Maintenance Orders

  • Step-Parent Maintenance Orders

Child Support

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