Parents almost always complain about the child support system, both paying parents and parents who receive child support.  However there are certain things that parents can do to make child support easier.

Private Agreements

A lot of parents would pefer not to deal with the Child Support Agency.  Parents have the ability to be able to enter into a private child support agreement which is registered with the Child Support Agency provided a certain process is followed.

There are Limited and Binding Child Support Agreements.  Binding Child Support Agreements require a solicitor certificate to confirm you have received independent legal advice about the advantages and disadvantages associated with the agreement.

Limited Child Support Agreements can also provide a lot of flexibility about how child support is paid and what it is used for (education expenses including school fees, medical expenses including dental and private health cover and other expenses as well).  Independent legal advice is not required but is strongly recommended as the agreement can be difficult to change.

Communicating with the Agency

If you are dealing with the Child Support Agency it is important you keep them informed and you keep records of your contact with them, especially when telling them important information.  You can get a receipt number at the end of phone calls with the Agency.

The Child Support Agency is a large organisation and you will not always be able to deal with your case officer.  Making a note in your diary (or electronically) of the person you spoke to, the date and the receipt number will make it much easier for you to refer back to in the future. Make a note of any time deadlines given to you by the Agency (to appeal decisions or provide information) and comply with them.

Educate yourself about the Child Support System.  There is an online estimator which you can find by doing a google search to tell you about what child support is likely to be paid and received based on different factors.  Child Support also have “The Guide” which is a very comprehensive guide about all sorts of issues.  The system is complicated and legal advice is recommended to consider your individual problem.

Sometimes the system can be confusing and people often comment they feel like they receive little assistance or are treated poorly when dealing with the Agency.

Avoid getting angry and get some legal advice to know where you stand and avoid the situation getting worse.  Contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form should you have any queries.

James Bailey
Solicitor
Family Law