Child Support & Spousal Maintenance

Following separation, you may be in need of financial support for your children (child support), or for yourself (spousal maintenance). Or perhaps you’ve been the main breadwinner and need to know your obligations and what support you may be legally required to pay.

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Child Support

Your children are important to you, so it’s natural to want them to have the financial support that provides them with the best opportunities. We regularly deal with this complex area of family law, including advising on assessments from the Child Support Agency, drafting and reviewing Binding Child Support Agreements and child support departure orders.

Spousal maintenance

While child support addresses the financial support of your children, spousal maintenance is for those who need the financial support of their ex for their own living expenses. Typical situations include when you need some support to get back on your feet after having relied on your ex as the main income earner for many years. Or you may be unable to work due to an injury or illness for which you need support until you can work again.

For those who have been the primary breadwinner, you may want to know what your obligations are to support your ex into the future.

Our expert family lawyers have the experience to advise you on your options or obligations when it comes to spousal maintenance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You have the option of objecting and applying to the Child Support Registrar for a formal review of a child support assessment. If the Child Support Registrar rejects your application, you may appeal to the Australian Administrative Tribunal (AAT) within 28 days of receiving the rejection. You may, beyond these avenues, apply to the Court for child support departure orders in certain circumstances. Child support law is complex and it is essential to obtain legal advice before lodging such an application.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to negotiate payment of spousal maintenance and, failing that, make an application to the Court. If you are not receiving any payments for the children, then you may wish to consider applying to the Child Support Agency for a child support assessment. You may also consider contacting Centrelink to apply for support payments/benefits. There are also other legal options available so that you have the funds to support yourself, which our expert lawyers can discuss with you.

There are two main threshold tests to a spousal maintenance claim. Firstly, the payee needs to establish that their reasonable expenses exceed their income. Secondly, the payee needs to show that the payer has surplus income after paying their own reasonable expenses to help the payee meet their shortfall. There are also other considerations to take into account and it’s important to obtain legal advice before making an application.

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