This article was written by Alison Brown - Special Counsel – Sydney

Alison holds a Bachelor of Laws and is also a registered Family Dispute Practitioner (mediator) and is passionate about providing the best family law solutions to her clients. Alison understands that there is time to mediate and a time to litigate. She has over 10 years’ experience as a family lawyer and has worked on an array of matters including...

Impact on Parenting Proceedings


Both parents and sometimes step-parents, have an obligation to financially support a child. When parents have separated the most effective way to provide financial support is through the payment of child support. There are three types of child support payments that can be made.

Periodic Payments

Periodic payments which are payments made on a regular and ongoing basis and is usually calculated by the child support agency, within Services Australia in the form of a child support assessment. When calculating assessments the child support agency will consider:

  • the age of the child;
  • the amount of nights the child spends with each parent;
  • the incomes of each of the parents;
  • whether or not a parent has the responsibility of other children not related to that relationship.

Non Periodic Payments

Non periodic payments child are payments not made on a consistent and fixed basis made on a regular for the benefit of a child. These types of payments include:

  • school fees;
  • medical expenses;
  • health insurance premiums;
  • payments for extra-curricular activities.

Lump Sum Payments

Lump sum payments which can be made if cash is not as readily example of a parent is asset rich but low on cash

Parties can choose to enter into private arrangements for the payment of child support by:

  • a private arrangement agreed between the parties; or
  • entering into a Child Support Agreement.

The payment or non-payment of child support can impact how the Family Court allocates a child’s time with a parent. When the court is required to make a determination regarding care arrangements for a child they must consider what is in the best interest of the child. It is a child’s right to have a meaningful relationship with each of their parents not the parents right to have a relationship with a child.

What The Court Considers

When the court is determining what is in the best interests of the child they will consider:

  • any views expressed by the child;
  • the extent to which each parent has been involved in the care of the child;
  • the extent to child each parent has maintained the child;
  • likely effect of a change in the child’s circumstances.

Proceedings

If parenting proceedings are on foot the court will have regard to whether or not a parent has been assessed to pay child support and the extent to which they have complied with that obligation. Given the high level of financial support children require the court takes a dim view of parents that do not comply with their obligation to financially support a child.  Further, the non-payment of child support can cause a parent more financial stress and strain and cause the completion of their parenting tasks to be more onerous and may mean that child misses out on important events if they cannot be funded.

Therefore it is important to always keep up to date with any child support payment obligations and to keep the child support agency informed about any changes in circumstances that may impact the amount of child support payable.

If you would like any legal advice on the impact of child support on family proceedings contact Armstrong Legal on 1300 038 223 or send us an email.

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