Most parents who separate will go the Child Support Agency first about the amount, types and collection of child support and to obtain a Child Support assessment.
Change of assessment in special circumstances
If parents believe the child support assessment made by the Child Support Agency is unfair they can ask them to review it and change that assessment.
To be successful, they must be able to establish both:
- special circumstances under one or more of the 10 change of assessment reasons
- that it would be fair to both parents, the children and the community to change the assessment.
Parents can’t have a legal representative appear for them during the change of assessment process.
If parents disagree with the change of assessment decision they’ll need to contact the Child Support Agency. They will need to do an administrative review before the parents can go to court.
The initial step is for one or both parents to object to the decision.
Parents can appeal most objection decisions to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Parents can appeal the AAT decision to a court if there has been an error of law. Parents may want to engage lawyers to represent them in this process.
Child support agreements
There are alternatives to assessments made by the Child Support Agency. Parents may decide to make an agreement about the amount and form of child support to be paid. There are 2 types of agreements, limited agreements and binding agreements. If parents enter into or want to end a binding agreement they must get legal advice.
A legal practitioner is required to complete a Legal certificate form (CS4137). This is to verify the parents received legal advice before entering into a binding child support agreement. The form should then be annexed to the binding agreement.
Appeals against decisions
Parents can formally object to most decisions made by the Child Support Agency. Parents can appeal most objection decisions to the AAT.
For some decisions, there are 2 levels of appeal to the AAT. Parents can request an AAT first review for most objection decisions. If they don’t agree with the outcome of the first review, they can request an AAT second review for:
- a decision to refuse an application to extend the time to apply for the AAT first review
- a care percentage decision
- a decision to make, or not make, determination about the date of effect of a care percentage decision.
Parents can appeal the AAT review decision to the court if there has been an error of law. The parents may want to engage lawyers to represent them in this process.