By Raising Children Network
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Mum, Dad and two teens laughing on a couch

Did you knowQuestion mark symbol

Child support isn’t about who the children live with or who gets to keep what after a separation – that’s the job of the Family Court.
 
The Child Support Scheme run by the Australian Government Department of Human Services makes sure that parents share the cost of supporting their children and that children’s needs are met. It also keeps these arrangements as simple as possible.

About the Child Support Scheme

The Child Support Scheme makes sure that when parents separate, they both still put money towards raising their children, just as they would if the family hadn’t separated.

It means that even if you don’t live with your children, you still have to help pay for them. It also means that if you have the main job of looking after your children, you can get money from your former partner to help raise them.

The Child Support Scheme is run by the Australian Government Department of Human Services.

What is child support for?

Child support is a system that makes sure both parents pay for a child’s upbringing.

Child support aims to make sure that:

  • children get an appropriate level of financial support
  • both parents are responsible for providing child support
  • payments of child support are made regularly and on time
  • parents provide a level of financial support they can afford.

The Department of Human Services can be more or less involved, depending on the parents. Some parents make their own agreements and handle their own payments, and others rely more on the Department.

How much child support?

The amount of child support you will either pay or get depends on:

  • how much you earn
  • how many children you have
  • how old your children are
  • who cares for your children.

Laws about child support payments change regularly. 

For details on how child support is calculated, look at the Department of Human Services’s guide to child support. There’s an online estimator to help you work out what your payments will be. 

Arguments about child support

If you’re having trouble working through child support issues with your former partner, problem-solving techniques can help you find solutions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support when you need it.

 
 
 
  • Last updated or reviewed 28-07-2016
  • Acknowledgements This article was written with help from Helen Rimington, Director of Family Wellbeing, Drummond Street Services, Melbourne.