Generally, child maintenance is an issue dealt with by the Child Support Agency. The agency is a Federal Government agency, which has the responsibility for assessing and, if appropriate, collecting child support payable by one parent to the other.
Applications for child support are most usually lodged online.
The calculation of child support is based on a formula, the primary elements of which are the income of each of the parties, the number, and ages of the children, and the time that the children are in each parties’ care. If the children primarily live with one parent, an arrangement for time with the other parent, between 14% and 34%, has no impact upon the application of the formula. In other words, common arrangements for children to have time with the parent with whom they do not live, each alternate weekend for 3 or 4 nights as well as half of school holidays, will fall within that range.
In appropriate circumstances the formula can be varied, having regard to the particular circumstances of the children, such as a long standing agreement for the children to be educated at a private school, or unusual care requirements because of health issues, or the cost of transportation for the children to spend time with the other parent. Except in cases of urgency, or if an appeal against a Child Support decision needs to be lodged, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia is not involved in the process of child support.
A link to the Child Support Agency website, which will provide further, and more detailed, information, is:
Spousal maintenance is financial support provided by one party to a marriage or de facto relationship, to the other party, in circumstances where there is:
- A need for financial assistance by that party;
- An inability by that party to provide for their own financial needs (in part or in whole);
- The financial capacity of the other party to assist in the provision of the applicant’s financial need.
It is common, but not universal, that spousal maintenance orders are made for a limited duration, typically to enable one party time to retrain and obtain suitable employment so that they can support themselves.
Spousal maintenance must also be considered in light of any application for property adjustment orders, as an order for one may impact an order for the other. This is an area that should be discussed with your family law specialist.