By Raising Children Network
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The scheme run by the Child Support Agency (CSA) makes sure that parents share the cost of supporting their children, and that the children’s needs are met. It also keeps these arrangements as simple as possible.

Mum, Dad and two teens laughing on a couch

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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.
 

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 if you have the main job of looking after your children, you can get money from your former partner to help raise them.

Before the Child Support Scheme was introduced, you could only get child support by reaching an agreement with your former partner, or by seeking an order from a court.

What is child support for?

The aim of child support is to make sure that:

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

In other words, child support is a system that makes sure both parents pay for a child’s upbringing. The agency can be more or less involved, depending on the parents. Some parents make their own agreements and handle their own payments, and others rely on the agency to do everything.

How much child support?

The amount of support you will either pay or receive depends on your income and on how many children you have, how old they are and who cares for them. Laws about child support payments change regularly.

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

Arguments about child support

Parents paying child support often complain that it’s too much, while parents receiving it complain it’s too little. Unfortunately, it takes more income to support two households than one, and so it isn’t surprising there are disagreements.

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  • Last Updated 07-02-2013
  • Last Reviewed 15-05-2006