Effect of Direct Care on Child Support

The direct care provided by parents will be taken into account in the computation of child support. Payment of child support will be adjusted if the parent provides more care.

Parents care for their children without counting the costs. However, how a parent cares for his child or the degree of care he provides becomes relevant in the determination of child support each parent must give. Child support which is the amount given by the parents for their child is calculated by the Department of Human Services. The final amount is arrived at by following the DHS’ formula that takes into account the direct care that is provided by the parent.

What kind of care will be considered?

For purposes of computing child support the DHS will be considering the number of nights each parent spends with the child.  A parent is considered to be providing direct care if he has the child under his care during nights.

Regular care is when a parent has the care of a child between 52 and 127 nights in a year. That would be 14 and 34% of the time. A parent shares the care of a child when he has the child 35 and 65% of the time which is 128 to 237 nights in a year. Spending between 238 and 313 nights a year with a child means that the parent is providing primary care. Above primary care is when a parent spends more than 313 nights a year with the child which is 87% of the time.

What is the effect of spending nights on the computation of child support?

Having a child during nights would mean that the caring parent has to spend money for accommodation, food, utilities, clothes and entertainment for the child. Spending nights with the child means that the parent cannot work so this is tantamount to loss of income for the parent.

The more that a parent is providing direct child care the lesser will be his child support. If a parent is determined to be providing primary care or has the care of the child more than 65% of the time he will not be anymore assessed to pay child support. It will be the other parent who will be liable to pay for child support.

So if parents are providing regular and shared care their child support will be assessed in recognition of the direct care they are each providing.

Are there other benefits we can avail if we provide care for our child?

Yes. Parents who provide primary and above primary care may receive 100% Family Tax Benefit. Parents who have shared care of the child may be able to share the Family Tax Benefit and family assistance payments. Parents who provide regular care and are thus paying child support may apply for rent assistance and a health care card.                

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Alan Weiss

19th March, 2020

Alan Weiss developed aussiedivorce.com.au after he experienced himself how devastating divorce proceedings can be. I witnessed firsthand my own future security, and that of my familys, being destroyed by acrimonious and costly divorce litigation. I created aussiedivorce.com.au to help people avoid an experience like this and lose thousands of dollars. Instead the aussiedivorce.com.au system will assist them in getting on with their lives.