the family law courts have the authority to decide child support issues only in limited circumstances
If you are getting a divorce or ending a de facto relationship, you can ask a Family Law Court to enter a financial order that divides your property or grants maintenance. You can also apply for a parenting order that addresses issues concerning children, including where they live and when they see their other parent.
Parents are usually entitled to child support if they are taking care of the children they had with a former spouse, but in most cases you cannot apply to a Family Law Court for a child support order. This article will explain that rule and its exceptions.
Applying for child support
Most parents who seek child support must apply to the Child Support Agency. That agency uses a formula to compute child support. It generally makes a new assessment each year as long as at least one child of the parties is still a minor.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Child Support Agency, you can appeal to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. Appeals are generally based on evidence that the Child Support Agency failed to follow the law or made a mistake concerning the facts of the case. Mere unhappiness with the result is not a ground for appeal.
Reasons a Family Law Court will consider child support
Although most parents are required to seek child support through the administrative process described above, there are some limited instances in which a Family Law Court has the power to make child support orders. They include:
- Ordering payment of child support by someone who is not a parent of the child, or making a declaration that a party is the parent of a child.
- Changing a child support assessment if more than 18 months have passed since the Child Support Agency made its last assessment.
- Changing a child support assessment if a family law matter is already pending in court and if the court agrees that it would be appropriate to decide whether a departure from the child support assessment should be granted.
- Discharging, suspending, or reviving a child support agreement that was entered into between the parties.
- Deciding an appeal from a decision of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal.
If you are entitled to ask the court to enter a child support order, you must file an application that explains the order you are seeking. The application must be supported by an affidavit and, in some instances, additional documents.
Child support proceedings in court are complicated. You have a better chance of navigating the system and of achieving a favorable outcome if you are represented by a lawyer.
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.