Yes – but you need to establish grounds
In short, yes you can. You can:-
- apply to change your child support assessment if you pay child support; or
- apply to change your child support assessment if you receive child support.
However, the Child Support Agency will only change an assessment where a person has satisfied a three step process. These steps are:-
- Is there a ground for changing the Assessment?
- Is it just and equitable to change the Assessment?
- It is otherwise proper to change the Assessment.
In this article I will focus on Step 1 – Reasons to change your Child Support Assessment?
Step 1 – Reasons to Change the Child Support Assessment
The Registrar will consider changing an assessment where it is established that there are special circumstances (grounds or reasons) that should be taken into consideration. There are ten circumstances that may support a change in assessment as follows:-
- The costs of maintaining the child/children are significantly affected by the high cost of enabling the paying parent to spend time with or communicate with the child/children.
- The costs of maintaining the child/children are significantly higher due to the child/children’s special needs.
- The costs of the child/children’s education, care and training are significantly higher and both parents intended the education, care and training to be at that level prior to separating.
- The assessment is not fair due to the child/children’s income, earning capacity or property and financial resources.
- The assessment is not fair as the paying parent has provided money, goods or property to the child/children, the receiving parent or caregiver for the specific benefit of the child/children.
- The costs of the child/children’s child care costs are significantly higher (applicable where a child is under 12 years of age).
- The paying parent or receiving parent’s necessary expenses significantly affect their capacity to support the child/children.
- The assessment is not fair because of the income, earning capacity, property or financial resources of either the paying or the receiving parent.
- The paying or receiving parent’s capacity to support the child/children is significantly affected by:-
- the need for them to support another child or person;
- their necessary expenses in supporting another child or person;
- their high costs of spending time with or communicating with another child or person (where they are required to spend time and communicate with another child or person).
- The paying or receiving parent’s responsibility to maintain a resident child significantly reduces their capacity to support the child/children to whom the child support payments relate.
Each of these reasons can be quite complicated and you should make an appointment to obtain legal advice prior to lodging such an Application. Getting the Application right in the first place is crucial to your chances of success.