How to work out your child maintenance rate

Date: May 01, 2014

When a marriage breaks down, it is inevitable that one parent will leave the family home. If that person leaves without the children and it becomes a permanent fixture, then you and your children are entitled to child maintenance from them.

If a divorce or separation follows, it is important to contact a family lawyer that can assist with both child custody agreements and the preparation of child maintenance proceedings.

In most cases, parents are not on good terms when they separate so any decisions or agreements may not be suitable for the long term. Even if the contract is verbally agreed to, there is no evidence to support it if one party fails to met their side of the deal. This is why it is crucial to contact a family lawyer who can make it official.

According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, there were 49,917 divorces in 2012. This was well up from 2011. It is safe to say that a majority of those divorces would have involved children and means many parents have faced the conundrum that is child support.

There are a number of factors that are taken into account when deciding how much and how often a parent has to pay maintenance.

  • The incomes of both parents is an important aspect of calculating child support. If one parent is on a six figure salary and the one parent is unemployed staying at home to look after the children, then the calculations would be different.
  • How many children and how old they are is an integral part. If the children are older and can support themselves (i.e. have a job or income) then the support would be less, but if the kids are younger and need full care, then the amount would be a lot higher.
  • If a second family is involved, then that one parents income has to be calculated across two sets of children. It isn't fair to favour either side more although the above factor could be relevant.
  • The amount of time spent with either parent is also taken into account. If one parent takes on the children close to full time then the amount expected from the other parent will be higher.

There are many other factors that go into determining the amount of child support is required. Any parents involved in maintenance issues should contact a family lawyer who can help iron out details and make the process as smooth as possible.