Assets May be Included in the Child Support Assessment

The child support formula that is being used by the Child Support Agency (CSA) is one that is mandated by the Legislature of Australia. The CSA is the administrative body that uses the formula to compute for the child support each parent must pay for every child.

In making an assessment for child support, the CSA will be taking into account the taxable income of the parents, the care arrangement each parent provides for their child and the number of dependent children which includes dependent children from other relationships.

Assets are generally excluded from the computation of child support since what the CSA needs is the taxable income of the parents. Assets will only come into the picture if the parent has no other source of income or has insufficient income and he cannot meet his child support obligations.

When we think of assets what will usually come to mind are properties like cars, houses, shares of stock and bank deposits. Assets are capable of being assessed but unlike salary or wages, these are not so easily assessable and readily available.

For example, an owner of a house would have to hire a licensed valuer or an expert to value a house or to know how much is its worth in the market. The same would apply to shares of stock, business interests and the like. This is the reason why assets are generally not used when the CSA assesses a parent for child support.

The exception to the general rule is when the parent has child support liabilities and he does not have any other source of income or his income is not enough to meet his child support liabilities. Then the CSA will be looking into the assets of the parent who is required to make a full disclosure of all that he owns. There is a tendency, however, for some debtors to deliberately hide their assets making it difficult for the CSA to assess and collect child support.

The CSA is not without enforcement authority against child support debtors who are deliberately hiding their assets. Once the administrative means of collection are exhausted, the CSA can institute a civil action to recover a debt under the Family Law Act 1975.

An order against the debtor will be enforced by the court and a warrant of execution will be addressed to the court sheriff who is authorized to go to the debtor’s residence or any other place in which they might keep their assets. The sheriff can seize assets which can be sold to satisfy the judgment debt against the child support debtor.

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