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How much child support should i pay in australia
Child Support Calculator | Estimator
How Child Support is Calculated
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About the assessment calculator / estimator
The child support calculator estimates how much child support you pay or receive if you are an Australian separated parent. It applies the basic formula, as defined by the Department of Social Services (DSS) – see How It Works.
The calculator / estimator is not designed for cases involving parents with multiple child support arrangements.
Parents who have additional children living at home will have a lower liability or higher entitlement than indicated.
A parent who receives an income support payment (such as Newstart) and has low reported income pays (i) nothing if they have at least regular care (at least 2 nights per fortnight) or (ii) $446 per child per year (2021 rate).
The calculator offers a reliable estimate of child support for the vast majority of parents, with the caveats above, and noting:
Child support assessments normally just use the variables identified in the calculator form: taxable incomes, number and ages of children, and percentages of nights spent with each parent.
The formula has been applied exactly as defined by the Australian Government.
For anyone entering into an arrangement involving a government assessment, Services Australia will ultimately determine the exact amounts payable or receivable. Assessments are based on the information supplied by parents and any other relevant information available.
What's wrong with our system?
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Income sharing and hybrid models
Alternative assessments are provided using income sharing and hybrid models. These models correct for conceptual and mathematical flaws in Australia's child support scheme. For further detail, see A Fairer System.
Purpose of child support
The Child Support Scheme was designed to ensure that both parents contribute to the cost of their children, according to their capacity. There are approximately 1.3 million parents and 1.1 million children involved in the Scheme, and more than 40 per cent of Australian families who receive Family Tax Benefit include a child support parent.
The Child Support Program was introduced in Australia in 1988 to strike a fairer balance between public and private forms of support for children [and] to alleviate the poverty of sole parent families. The Program has undergone a range of changes since its original introduction in the late 1980s, including the substantial changes on 1 July 2008 to the child support formula and the introduction of the Costs of the Children Table.
~ Australian Government
The maximum child support payable is also known as the “cap”. The maximum child support is applied to the combined income of both parents up to 2.5 times the annual equivalent of all Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and calculated using the Costs of Children Table.
~ Law Handbook
CSA vs private collect
Separated parents will be registered with the CSA if either parent makes an application to the CSA for a child support assessment. Parents can choose whether to have child support paid via private arrangement between parents ("private collect agreement"), or have it collected from the non-resident parent by the CSA and paid to the resident parent ("CSA collect agreement"). According to the CSA's administrative data, [47%] of child support cases registered with the CSA were CSA collect cases; the remaining [53%] were private collect.
Fair or unfair assessment?
Here is an income and care scenario which highlights issues with the child support formula. For more examples, see the examples page.
The parents have shared care of 3 children, who spend 9 nights out of 14 with their mother.
Basic child-raising costs were estimated based on formula costs for parents on average incomes.
Both parents are on good incomes, with the father earning $25,000 more.
Child support payments leave the mother in a significantly stronger financial position.
How Child Support is Calculated
1. Parent Incomes
The incomes of parents are an essential part of calculating child support in Australia.
The formula uses taxable income, which is the income you report to the ATO when you submit your tax return. It is your gross, before-tax income rather than net income. You'll have a smaller amount of income left to spend after paying income and other taxes.
Typically, the formula uses the taxable income reported in your most recent tax return.
The formula assumes each parent needs a certain amount of income just to maintain themselves. This is calculated as one-third of annualised Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE). The 2017 Self-Support Amount was $24,154.
Child support income
For the purposes of calculating child support, each parent has a Child Support Income. It is your taxable income minus the Self-Support Amount minus the costs of any dependents. Child Support Income quantifies your capacity to maintain children financially. As detailed below:
the Parents' Combined Child Support Income is used to calculate Costs of the Children (or, for dependents, just one parent's income)
the Income % for a parent determines the share of costs he or she must meet (via payments or care).
2. Costs of the Children
The financial costs of raising children are captured by the Costs of the Children measure. To calculate it, you need to use the Australian Government's Costs of the Children Table.
Number of children
The formula allows for the extra cost of more children. In approximate terms, a 2nd child adds 50% to costs compared to a single child. A 3rd child adds the same amount again (so 3 children cost twice as much as 1). Any more children make no difference.
Ages of children
In working out child support payments, there's a small allowance for a child's age. Children aged 13+ cost about 20% more in the Costs of the Children table compared to children aged 12 and under.
Child support normally stops when a child reaches 18, though continuation rules exist for children still in secondary education.
The Costs of the Children measure increases with the incomes of the parents.
If both parents have a taxable income below the Self-Support Amount, the Costs of the Children measure is nil.
A cap on the Costs of the Children applies when the Parents' Combined Child Support Income reaches 2.5 times MTAWE. The cap normally corresponds with a combined taxable income of 3.167 times MTAWE (or $230k using the 2017 MTAWE).
The highest Costs of the Children possible in 2017 was $51,448 – for high-income parents with 3 or more children aged 13+.
The treatment of income in calculating the Costs of the Children is controversial. Cost inflation is excessive at medium to high income levels (see examples).
3. Income Shares
The calculation of income shares is an important calculation step. For each parent, an Income % is calculated as his or her Child Support Income divided by the Parents' Combined Child Support Income.
The Income % is interpreted under the formula as the % of the Costs of the Children which must be covered by the parent. You can meet costs either by providing care for the children or by paying child support.
For example, if you make 60% of the combined income amount – your Income % is 60% – you must meet 60% of the Costs of the Children.
If, based on how many nights you have the child(ren), your Cost % is greater than this, you have excess cost credits and will receive child support.
If, on the other hand, your Cost % is < 60%, your required financial contribution exceeds care costs and you must pay child support.
4. Cost Shares
When a parent has care of the child(ren), he or she gets credit meeting for child-rearing expenses. The % of the Costs of the Children for which you are credited is your Cost %.
Your Cost % is determined from your Care % using the Care and Cost Table (here).
The Care % is the proportion of nights in a year for which you have custody of the child(ren).
Typically, it is calculated by dividing the number of nights you have the child(ren) each fortnight by 14.
The Care and Cost Table produces differences between the Cost % and the Care %. The purpose of these distortions is unclear but, for many parents, the Cost % is roughly the Care %.
While the Cost % usually approximates the Care %, it can be higher or lower due to a number of bends in the cost function.
See the Division of Care section for more details.
5. Calculation of Child Support
To calculate child support, the final step is to multiply the Costs of the Children value by the difference between your Cost % and Income %.
You receive child support if your Care % is > 35% and your Cost % > your Income %.
You pay child support when your Care % < 65% and your Income % > your Cost %.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible for determining child support and notifying parties of how exactly much they must pay or are entitled to receive.
An assessment contains an annual figure, an amount which must be paid each month, and the current balance. Assessments can be altered to account for special circumstances through a Change of Assessment review.
What you need to know about divorce in Australia
Research by the Australian Institute of Families has shown that people between the ages of 25 and 30 are most likely to get divorced.
Following them in this category were couples aged 45 to 50 years. However, most divorces occur in marriages that lasted less than 9 years.
Missing spouse divorce Source: Flickr/ Cordell and Cordell
Divorce is generally a fairly simple process that takes less than three months if you meet all the criteria, says Florence Cruz Montalvo, an attorney at New South Wales Legal Support Center .
Before you begin this process, she says, consider the following:
Are you an Australian citizen? If not, have you been in Australia in the last 12 months and are you going to live here permanently?
Have you lived apart from your former spouse for more than 12 months, either in different houses or under the same roof?
Do you have a marriage certificate in English?
If you have been married for less than two years, then you should also consider whether you have tried family therapy and whether you have a certificate confirming this or a statement why therapy is not suitable for you.
Do you have the address of your former spouse?
Under Australian law, married couples must have lived separately for at least 12 months before filing for divorce. In Australia, you do not need the consent of the other party to file for divorce. However, a copy of the petition for divorce must be provided to the other party.
How do I submit a divorce application to the other party?
According to Florence Cruz Montalvo, if you don't know the whereabouts of another person, you should take reasonable steps to find them, and you can always ask the court to deliver statements in a different form. For example:
If you know that a person is still in contact with his brother or sister, or with some other family member, and you did everything possible to find him, but could not find the address, then you can always ask the court for permission to deliver the application through that family member.
You can make the same request if you have an email address or if you found him or her on Facebook.
Divorce for migrants
Newly arrived migrants in Australia on permanent visas, as well as those who are in Australia on visas for refugees and asylum seekers, can use the free interpreter services provided by through the Department of the Interior.
Florence Cruz Montalvo recommends that all migrants who have recently arrived in the country translate all their documents, including their marriage certificate, into English within two years of receiving a visa. It is during this time that the service is free.
How to get a divorce in Australia
How to apply for a divorce?
Couples who have been separated for more than 12 months may file their application through the Federal Circuit Court.
However, according to Florence Cruz Montalvo, if you lived separately but under the same roof, then you need to attach to your request a statement called an affidavit that includes the date the relationship broke up, your explanation of why you think that the relationship broke up on that very day, as well as a comparison of how you lived before the breakup of the relationship and how you lived after, to show the court the difference in the quality of your relationship.
If you were married abroad, the family court can dissolve your marriage in Australia. However, a divorce may affect the immigration status of people who are in Australia on a temporary visa. In this case, Cruz Montalvo recommends seeking legal advice as soon as possible to consider all possible options.
She also says that after a breakup it is very important to tell Centrallink if you receive any benefits from them. And to get alimony, if you have children, you must contact the alimony payment service, which will make the appropriate calculations. If you receive family tax benefits and have not filed for child support, then your payments may be cut.
Divorcing couples have 12 months from the date of their divorce to reach an agreement on the division of property.
According to Florence Cruz Montalvo, if you don't have joint property, then you don't have to go through this process. The division of property mainly concerns those people who jointly own the house, or if the house is registered in the name of one of the spouses, but the spouses lived in it together and it was their family home. Even if the property is not in your name, you can still apply for property division.
In the case of division of property through the court, the property is not divided in half, since the court considers the circumstances of each case separately.
Florence Cruz Montalvo named the factors that the court looks at when dividing property:
Who made the financial investment and how much?
Who worked? Who paid for what?
What financial assets did each party bring to the relationship?
The court will also look at intangible investments in the family:
What was the family income? What are the investments?
Should the future needs of the spouses be taken into account if there are children, a disability or some kind of illness.
Whether the proposed division is fair in all circumstances.
Alimony after divorce
A recent report from the Australian Institute of the Family found that almost half of all divorces in Australia occur with children under 18 years of age. Most children receive support through a Child Support Scheme, which calculates and calculates the amount of support that one parent owes the other. Couples who cannot reach an agreement can contact the Department of Social Services for help.
Victorian legal aid spokeswoman Emma Smallwood explains that many parents decide who pays and how much. But if the parents can't come to an agreement, the child support services of the Department of Social Services can take care of it. They will do the calculations and calculate the amount of child support that must be paid by one parent to the other.
The cost of filing for divorce is $910. However, this amount may be lower for people in exceptional circumstances. Emma Smallwood recommends keeping track of your household accounts so you can negotiate property divisions and child support that are child-friendly.
She said it would be good if both parties collected all the financial information so that everyone knows what the financial situation really is. This can help the couple to agree on the division of property, which is very important for caring for children.
Where can I get help?
If you are considering divorce, you can contact National Legal Aid to find out how to get free legal aid in your state or territory.
Published 27 September 2019 at 10:54am, updated 27 September 2019 at 11:03am
By Amy Chien-Yu Wang
Presented by Anastasia Tarasova
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Australian Omran Matar learned Russian, gave up his career in an international company and stayed in Belarus only to be near, understand and sometimes see his daughter.
Communication with her was restricted 11 years ago by her ex-wife. Recently, Omran has a new family and a second daughter was born. But the man does not lose hope that he will be able to fully participate in the life and upbringing of both girls. Sputnik journalist Inna Grishuk talked to an unusual father who has been fighting for his right to raise his daughter for many years.
Learned Russian for my daughter
“My family, especially my father, who live in Australia, are not very happy that I stayed in Belarus. They think I'm ruining my life. That I gave up everything, gave up my career and life in my homeland for the sake of a child who does not want to communicate with me. But on the day my daughter was taken from me, I consciously made this choice. I asked myself then: what will I answer Dunya when she turns 18 and she asks where I was and what I did. I can tell her, looking into her eyes, that I did everything possible in these circumstances so that she had both a mother and a father,” Omran says in good Russian and adds that he learned the language only thanks to his daughter.
He explains that after the divorce, the understanding came that if he left Belarus, he would lose touch with his daughter forever.
“I decided to settle in Grodno, learn Russian, learn to understand the people and culture of the country in which my daughter grows up, so that in the future I can understand her not only with my mind, but also with my heart,” the source said.
Now his daughter is 13 years old, she studies in the 8th grade and every year she moves away from her father more and more. If earlier Omran had meetings and communication with the girl in the presence of his mother, then in the last 2.5 years he has been hitting the closed door of the apartment twice a week. And the daughter says she doesn't want to see him.
“In the first three years before the divorce, Dunya and I had a great relationship, we spent a lot of time together, we had an emotional connection. Now I see that she has developed a psychological alienation from me. This happens when one parent, usually the custodian, programs the child, and as a result, love is replaced by contempt and hatred,” says Omran, quoting from one of the many books in his home library.
All free walls of the living room are lined with bookshelves. On them - literature on children's education, development, protection of children's rights, legal, psychology and features of divorce proceedings.
Books and a room for Dunya
A man shows one of the most expensive shelves for him with books on personal growth, psychology, and development. Mostly in English. Some books are autographed by famous authors, which are addressed to Dunya.
“This is the bookshelf of the eldest daughter, these books are priceless. I signed this one during my trip to the USA. And here is the book "Huggo" about the secret of Danish happiness, you should know it, Mike Wiking signed it for Dunya. At first, I gave books to my daughter, but I found out that the family gives them away, and my daughter does not get them. Now I keep them here until my daughter grows up,” Omran shares and adds that he is always ready to receive Dunya as a visitor.
In the rented apartment where he lives with his new family, a separate room is provided for his eldest daughter.
“Unfortunately Dunya never saw her. There is a bed, a wardrobe, a desk, everything you need,” the man shows.
There are also boxes with gifts for the girl at home, which the ex-wife's family does not allow to give.
“The last time I tried to give gifts was in August when I returned from Australia. In order for me to open the door of the apartment, I asked the bailiff to be present. I saw my daughter. But they didn't take my gifts. They didn’t even take a gift from my parents, they handed over 1000 Australian dollars,” says Omran and puts some of the things he bought for Dunya on the sofa - these are branded clothes, a backpack, creative kits, a Google Pixel smartphone. He says that this is a small part of the gifts accumulated over the years.
Omran Matar is from Australia where he has parents, brother, sister and family business. He is a lawyer and financier by education. He arrived in the Belarusian city of Grodno in 2009 with his first wife, Dunya's mother.
“We met Olga, my ex-wife, in Dubai. I then worked for two countries - between Australia and the UAE. And she worked in Dubai. We soon got married. When Olga was expecting a child, the question arose of where he should be born. The option with the UAE disappeared immediately, since after the dismissal, Olga lost her work visa. I wanted to take her to Australia, but for an Australian visa, I needed a medical certificate with x-rays, which cannot be done during pregnancy. Therefore, we decided to come to Belarus,” the man says.
At first the family lived well, they went to Lebanon, visited Omran's brother in London, visited France for a friend's wedding. After the birth of their daughter, they made joint plans to go to live in Australia. Omran rented a four-room apartment in Grodno, supported his family, devoted a lot of time to his daughter. There were plans for career growth. According to our hero, he was offered to head an investment fund, and he was also going to develop a family business in his homeland.
The wife insisted on a divorce
Suddenly, the family idyll cracked, and the man's life changed dramatically. Omran is sure that her parents became the reason for the discord with the ex-wife.
“Already a year after returning to Belarus, Olga started talking about a divorce. Now, looking back, I understand that it was the influence of her mother, who was against me. She did not like that I spent a lot of time with my daughter. Now I understand that my parents turned my wife against me, they said that I would take my daughter to Australia and leave her. But I don’t understand why she didn’t listen to herself, but to the older generation, ”Omran is surprised.
He clarifies that he was always against divorce, he thought about the interests of his daughter, he wanted the girl to grow up surrounded by mom and dad. Zhenya offered to resolve all disagreements with a family psychologist.
When Dunya was three years old, the divorce nevertheless took place. By court order, the girl was left with her mother, who moved into an apartment with her parents.
“In court, the ex-wife said that the reason for the divorce was disagreements in matters of upbringing. There were simply no others. I supported the family, treated my wife and daughter well. I remember that the judge also asked Olga if she understood that she was making the child half an orphan. Apparently, everyone thought that after the divorce I would leave Belarus, because here I had no family, no friends, no connections, no classmates to call,” recalls Omran.
I wanted my daughter to have both mom and dad
The next revelation for Omran was that he began to put obstacles in communication with his daughter.
“I could not imagine that if a child officially lives with one parent after a divorce, the rights of the other parent are infringed. Moreover, I could not imagine that the wife’s family could turn the child against me,” the man says.
He imagined life after divorce more positive. I thought that I would be able to pick up my daughter from the kindergarten, walk, go to a cafe, park, and in the evening take her to her mother or leave her for the night at home. That is, not only pay child support, but also actively participate in the upbringing of the child.
“I thought it didn't matter where my daughter lives. It is important that she be able to freely communicate with dad and not feel pain from the fact that I live separately. I bought an apartment in the center, but I rent an apartment 500 meters from the house where my daughter lives. Because I want her not to be deprived of either mom or dad. I want to be there,” said the man.
Gives the example of her brother from Australia, who is also divorced. Children live with their mother, but every week they come to their father to spend the night. And the brother's ex-wife comes with the children to visit her mother-in-law, they communicate well.
“This is an act of a sane person who thinks not about himself, but about his children. After the divorce, I asked my ex-wife not to limit my communication with Dunya. He begged: think, not about yourself, not about me, but about what is important for the child in the long run. She refused to listen,” Omran says.
Neighbors called him super-dad
The man said that for the first time after the divorce, by court order, he had three meetings with his daughter a week. But all the meetings, if they took place, then in the presence of my mother. He is sure that such a format of communication was contrary to the interests and psychological peace of the girl. Omran applied to the court to change the format of the meetings, but he was refused. He noticed that the daughter every time more and more moving away from him.
“In 2020, the family decided that Dunya did not need to meet with me. Twice a week I come to the door of the apartment, knock on the door and hear the words of my daughter so that I leave and never come back, that I am a foreigner and not her father, ”Omran says sadly, he is sure that his daughter is set up negatively against him, he has no other explanation why the girl developed aggression towards him. After all, he never offended her and did nothing wrong.
Our conversation is interrupted by a phone call from the ex-wife's number. The man answers the call and joyfully greets his daughter in English. On the other end of the wire, her voice is heard: “I want to warn you that I don’t want to see you, so I ask you not to come. I don’t want to go out to you and I won’t.”
Without giving anything to her father, the girl disconnects the call.
Omran explains that Wednesday from 18:00 to 20:00 is the usual time to meet her daughter. He hears something like this every time from behind a closed door when he comes to a meeting.
“I can't blame her for such words. She is a smart girl, in the family she is most likely not allowed to show positive feelings for me. I tell her: daughter, I understand why you say that, in the future we will communicate normally with you. In person, not through a closed door. I love you and will be here as long as I live,” says Omran.
A man noticed that now his daughter's English is worse than in childhood. In support of his words, he shows a video from 12 years ago, where they communicate with two-year-old Dunya in English. At that time, Omran did not know Russian, but he spent a lot of time with his daughter, took her for walks, played on the playground, they sang songs together and talked a lot.
At that time, many neighbors called Omran a super-dad and were surprised at the man's ability and desire to take care of a child. It was noted that Belarusian men should take an example from him. This is what they talked about in court during the divorce proceedings, our hero showed a copy of the case with the testimony of 14 people.
Omran Matar: if you love, don't give up
Some may find Omran's story sad and even hopeless, but the man says it's not about him, he is very positive. Now he has a new family, his daughter Mira was recently born, she is now two months old.
“My wife accepted that I want to improve relations with my eldest daughter. This was an important condition when we planned to get married. She understands that I will love both daughters equally. The father is not a temporary person, he is responsible for the child for life. I believe that Dunya will understand everything when she grows up. I'm just waiting," the man said.