a non-parent carer may apply for child support from either or both of the child’s parents
A person other than the parent can be the carer of a child and may be able to receive child support. Certainly it is only fair that the person who is caring for a child is provided with child support by either or both of his parents.
There are instances when sometimes the parents of a child cannot care for him. Rather than leaving a child alone and uncared for, other people fill in for the parent in caring for the child. So sometimes we see grandparents caring for their grandchildren, aunts caring for their nephews and so on. There are even cases wherein non-blood relatives care for a child.
Child support to a non-parent carer may be agreed upon by the parties. The parents and the carer may enter into a private agreement that provides child support for the child. The agreement may provide for the living and care arrangements of the child as well as the financial support. It is better if the agreement of the parties will be in writing, such as in a parenting plan, so as to be very clear about the arrangements for the child. In the parenting plan, the parties can stipulate for the child support payment which the non-parent carer will receive.
A non-parent carer may also receive child support through a parenting order. The Family Law Act 1975 recognizes that it is not only the parents who can apply for a parenting order but anyone who is concerned for the care, welfare and development of a child. The parenting order can stipulate how the parents will financially support the child.
The non-parent carer can also apply for a child support assessment provided that certain conditions are met. However, before a non-parent carer is eligible for child support assessment, he or she must first be eligible as a carer. A non-parent carer is eligible as a carer if:
1.He is not a legal guardian of the child;
2.The child’s parent or legal guardian has manifested that do not consent to have the person care for the child; and
3.It is not unreasonable for a parent or guardian to care for the child themselves. It is considered unreasonable for a parent or guardian to care for the child if there has been extreme family breakdown, or there is a serious risk to the child’s mental or physical well-being from sexual abuse or violence in the home of the parent or legal guardian.
Once it is established that the non-parent carer is eligible, the following conditions must be met to qualify for a child support assessment:
- Care is provided for the child 128 nights or more a year or equivalent to 35% or more of care;
- The non-parent carer is not in a domestic relationship with either of the child’s parents;
- The non-parent carer does not have joint care of the child with a parent;
- The non-parent carer is seeking payment from a parent of the child who is a resident of Australia or a place with reciprocating jurisdiction; and
- The parents of the child consented to the non-parent’s care of the child.
The non-parent carer is entitled to child support from both parents. However, it may be that only one parent will pay for child support if special circumstances exist like the other parent is unknown or his whereabouts are unknown, is deceased or is not a resident of Australia or reciprocating jurisdiction.
In applying for child support, the non-parent carer must fill up the form Application for Child Support Assessment – Non-parent Carers with the Department of Human Services. However, it must be first clearly determined that the persons named in the child support assessment are the child’s parents. If assessment is contested, proof of parentage will sometimes have to be presented. It may even be that the person who is claimed to be the parent will contest the allegation of paternity in court.
The child support assessment will follow the regular procedure by taking into consideration the costs of raising a child, income of both parents, and the care percentage that they provide for their child. There will be a single administrative assessment unless each parent is separately liable to the non-parent carer.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.