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How to Calculate Child Support in Australia?

What is child support? Child support is the money that is paid by parents to give financial assistance to the child. Usually, this amount is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial. But this depends on the agreement between the parents. This amount can change according to the decided expenses. (Child Support Australia) The […]

How to Calculate Child Support in Australia?

How to Calculate Child Support in Australia?

What is child support?

Child support is the money that is paid by parents to give financial assistance to the child. Usually, this amount is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial. But this depends on the agreement between the parents. This amount can change according to the decided expenses. (Child Support Australia)

The methodology of child support:

Child support is complicated for both parties. The rules may be different for each parent depending on the situation. It is wise to consult a family law attorney like Aylward game. They will explain the procedure that applies to your condition.

Below we have tried to explain the basic procedure of child maintenance.

  • Each parent contributes to child maintenance.
  • The cost varies according to the ages and number of children.
  • The parent with a higher income will pay more.
  • The custodial parent gets extra credit.
  • The parent will contribute only if his income is greater than the expenses.

The child support is calculated by the following formula:

Child support = costs of children * (Income – expenses)

If this formula gives a positive result then you will have to pay the child maintenance.

Where to use child support?

Child maintenance is paid to support the child financially. And to maintain his living standard. So, the custodial parent cannot use these expenses for their personal needs. Like saloons, entertainment, or vacations in which the child is not involved. The child support payments can be used for:

  • Shelter, which includes rent or mortgage. It also covers the basic home needs of the child.
  • Food, clothes, toys, and books are the basic needs of the child.
  • Medical expenses to maintain the health of the child. The parent who is paying child maintenance can also use his health insurance plan to provide this facility.
  • All of the school expenses.
  • And the extracurricular expenses like sports or summer camp.

These expenses are clearly defined in the agreement. So, both parents can understand their responsibilities.

How much is child support?

This amount is a variable. It is dependent on the incomes of parents. You will pay according to your earning and the expenses you face. The one who earns more will have to pay more for child maintenance. Usually, the following factors are taken into consideration to get a child maintenance assessment.

  • The tax on parents’ income
  • The number of nights of each parent with the child or children.
  • The number of children with the age of less than 13, and the ones who are between 13 and 17.

Let’s dig deeper to know more about child sport in QLD.

How much child support will I pay?

This is an essential factor in calculating child support in Australia.

The child maintenance is not calculated on your gross salary. You may have to pay taxes. These can be income tax, property tax, or other taxes. In the child maintenance formula, the recent tax return is used. Then there are some personal requirements. The formula assumes a certain self-support amount. It is one-third of the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE). In 2020 self-support is 25,5757 dollars.

Before applying for the child support Australia formula, the tax, and the self-support income are subtracted. You will pay only what you can easily afford. A specific percentage of income decides your share in child maintenance.

Calculate Child Support in Australia
Child Support in Australia

Support for each child:

To calculate the cost of each child you can use the following Government’s costs of the children table.

Child support period starting inAnnualised MTAWE figureSelf-support amount (1/3 MTAWE)Default income (2/3 MTAWE)The fixed annual rate of child supportParenting payment single, maximum basic amount (PPS)The minimum annual rate of child supportChild support inflation factor

 The following factors also affect the costs of children.

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A number of children:

More children mean more cost. A 2nd child can add 50% to the costs of the 1st child. If you have 3 children it will cost double compared to the cost of a single child.

Ages of children:

The ages of the children also have an impact on child maintenance. If they are 13 and above they will cost 20% more than the children of age 12 and below.

Your income:

Child maintenance increases with the increase in your income. If both of you have income below the self-support then there will be no self-support.

The child will get support if the income is 2.5 times MTAWE. And this happens usually when both parents have a combined taxable income of 3.167 times MTAWE. The minimum child maintenance in 2020 is 443 dollars.

Income shares:

Each parent contributes a certain percentage of the income for child maintenance. Each of them will be responsible for covering a specific percentage of the costs of a child. It is your choice to pay the child maintenance or to take the child under your custody.

For instance, if you have 70 percent of the combined income then you will have to meet the 70 percent requirements of the child. Similarly, If the child is spending more nights with you then you will receive child maintenance.

Cost Shares:

The custodial parent gets credit for taking care of the child or children. The cost of the child for which the credit is given is the percentage of your cost. This cost is calculated according to the table given below.

Care percentageEqual to the number of nights a yearEqual to the number of nights a fortnightCare levelCost percentage
0-13%0-511Less than regular care0%
14-34%52-1272-4Regular care24%
35-47%128-1755-6Shared care25% plus 2% for every percentage point over 35% of care
48-52%176-1897Shared care50%
53-65%190-2378-9Shared care51% plus 2% for every percentage point over 53% of care
66-86%238-31310-12Primary care76%
87-100%314-36513-14More than primary care100%


The care is calculated according to the number of nights you have the child in a year. To calculate it the number of nights is divided by 14 which is a fortnight.

The above table gives the difference between the percentage of cost and care. The result is often unclear but for many parents, the percentage of cost is equal to the care.  

Calculating child support:

In the last step, the cost of the child or the children is multiplied by the difference in cost percentage and income percentage.

The custodial parent will receive support if the care % is greater than 35% and the cost percentage is greater than his or her income. You will have to pay child maintenance if the care % is less than 65% and the income percentage exceeds the cost.

The Department of Human Resources decides the amount of child maintenance. The child maintenance assessment has an annual figure, the monthly billed amount and the current balance. It can change only in special circumstances by a change of assessment review.

Concept and method: how is child support calculated

Child support payments are calculated using a complex formula (though called the “basic formula”). While the calculations are complex, the principles are understandable.

  1. Each parent is responsible for meeting the costs of children.
  2. Costs depend on the number and ages of children.
  3. Higher-income parents are required to contribute more.
  4. A parent gets credit for covering expenses while caring for the child(ren).
  5. You pay support when your Income % > your Cost %.

In the final calculation, child support is calculated as the Costs of the Children multiplied by the difference between your Income % (share of combined income) and your Cost % (credit for time with the child(ren)).

You pay child support if the result is positive and receive support if it is negative. However, you never have to pay if you have at least 65% care.

Information used to calculate Child support.

Child support is normally worked out using just this information:

  1. taxable incomes of parents
  2. percentage of nights each parent has the child(ren)
  3. number of children aged < 13 and number aged 13-17
  4. info on any other dependents.

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When parents are no longer living together, there is a problem in raising the child or children. One cannot do this alone. To meet the child’s financial needs child maintenance is needed. It is paid to give a good lifestyle to the child. The parents cannot use child maintenance for their personal needs. This law helps the child to get his rights.

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Frequently asked questions:

What is child support for in Australia?

Child support is an amount that is paid by both parents to support the child financially.

When does child maintenance end?

Child support is paid until the child turns 18 or 19. But if the child is unmarried and still attending high school then the court may as to continue the child maintenance.

Is it mandatory to pay child support?

Yes, it is mandatory. You will have to pay child maintenance until the child turns 18. But if he is 18 and still in high school, you will have to pay child maintenance.

Should I hire a lawyer for child support?

It is good to have a lawyer. He will make the implementation of child maintenance easier.

Does the child support increase with the increase in income?

It depends on the increment. If the increment is at least 10 percent of the previous income then there will be a change in child support. You will have to pay a bit extra amount.

Child Support