Men's Rights Agency - Child Support

Child Support Amendments - December 1998

Since the long-awaited, disappointing changes to child support were accepted by the Senate (December 1998) we have been inundated with queries, especially for the start dates.

Here they are, together with a brief summary of the changes.

CSA expects most of the items to come into affect on 1st July 1999, providing legislative procedures are completed on time.

The exceptions are changes for second families needing additional family payments and the adding-in of fringe benefits to income used to assess child support. The start date allowing you to reduce your �family income� by 50% of child support paid was 1st January, 1999. So if you now qualify, reapply to Centrelink.

The fringe benefits addition will not start until 1/7/2000

Hopefully this will explain some of the intricacies of CSA changes. It won�t be long before it�s as complicated as the ATO legislation. Foolish to expect anything less I suppose!

In Summary - Child Support Legislative Amendments

Changes to child support payable

1. Increase paying parents exempt income by 10% - effective 1/7/99

[note JSC report recommended at least a 20% increase in the disregarded income level of the paying parent. This is only 10%!]

2. Including an amount for �shared care� child in the exempt income amount - effective 1/7/99

3. Reduce the amount of the payees disregarded income - effective 1/7/99

4. Remove the automatic inclusion of child care in payees disregarded income - effective 1/7/99

5. Allow high child care costs to be a ground for departure from assessment - effective 1/7/99

6. Reduce the effect of the payees disregarded income - effective 1/7/99

7. Introduce a minimum payment of $260 a year - effective 1/7/99

8. Child support to be payable for secondary student until the end of the school year in which they turn 18 - effective 1/7/99

9. Include rental property losses and foreign exempt income to calculate child support - effective 1/7/99

Late Amendment ----Fringe benefits will also be added into income used for the assessment of child support - effective 1/7/2000

10. Base child support assessments on the most up to date income of parents. Only use an �uplift factor� when the parent has not lodged the most recent tax return - effective 1/7/99

11. No longer backdating child support liability - effective 1/7/99

Changes to Second Family

12. Allow credit for child support - Effective 1/1/99

Changes to Improve Administration

13. Provide greater flexibility for parents in making Non-Agency Payments and allow the payer to make certain payments that can be credited towards child support - Effective 1/7/99

There is some confusion regarding this change and we are seeking further clarification of the CSA intentions.[Remember this was the late �sweetener� added in response to the disappointment registered by paying parents when the long awaited changes were announced.]

14. Introduce a formal process to enable parents to object to CSA decisions - Effective 1/7/99

24. Allow estimates of income to be rejected where they do not reflect the actual income - Effective 1/7/99


Changes or proposed changes 15 to 23 have not yet been released. It�ll be interesting to see if the next round of changes will be more successful in bringing in a fairer system.

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