Parents can execute binding child support agreements that will provide for their child support arrangements. Parents who do so must have had independent legal advice prior to entering into the agreement. The lawyers of each parent must annex to the agreement a certification that they have provided independent legal advice particularly on the effect of the agreement on the rights of the parent and the advantages and disadvantages of the agreement.
Parents and lawyers alike must be aware that lump sum payments for child support effective from July 1, 2008 must be a subject of an agreement pursuant to Child Support Assessment ACT (subsection 84(7)(a)). Said persons must also take note that the agreement will not have an effect on the child support but also on the entitlement of the parties to Family Tax Benefit Part A.
A child support assessment formula is not necessary in the execution of a binding child support agreement although parties may opt for it. The agreement is in force until a party or both parties apply to terminate it.
If both parties wish to terminate the agreement prior to the agreed end date they must both seek independent legal advice and prepare a written Termination Agreement or a new binding agreement that effectively terminates the previous agreement. If it is only one party that is interested in terminating the agreement, he may apply to the court to set aside the agreement.
The grounds for termination in this instance are limited such as fraud; failure to disclose material information; consent was obtained through undue influence, fraud or unconscionable conduct; or change in circumstances that would cause a party to suffer hardship if the agreement continues to be in force.