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.
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.
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.