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Child Support Agreement
14 May 2024

Recognising Need for Child Support Agreements

By Family Lawyers Mackay, 14 May 2024
Child Support

Providing your child with monetary help is a crucial responsibility as a parent. Maintenance agreements are vital for children whose parents have separated or divorced in Mackay. Operating in this complex system requires knowledge of the different kinds of child support contracts, their requirements, and the steps involved in developing them.

What is Child Support?

Child support is a payment provided by a parent who cannot reside alongside the kids to help conceal the expenses of caring for them. Child support usually lasts until the child turns 18 but could be due later in particular situations. A Binding Child Support Agreement or an application to a child support agency for an administrative assessment are ways to receive child support.

What is a Child Support Agreement?

A child support agreement is a written arrangement between parents (and a non-parent carer) regarding the amount and method of payment (payment of child support).

The laws governing child support are the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act of 1988 and the Child Support (Assessment) Act of 1989.  

The most challenging thing a person may go through is separating from a spouse or partner, whether through a divorce or ending a de facto relationship. This scenario is especially pertinent when it involves little ones.

The Commonwealth Child Support Laws aim to preserve children’s best interests and well-being by considering each party’s parenting plans and finances. Due to the uniqueness of many scenarios, individuals often need legal expertise and advice to determine an appropriate course of conduct.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

The Importance of Child Support Agreements

Child support agreements are vital in securing children’s financial well-being after their parents separate. These agreements require that both parents contribute financially to their children’s upbringing, thereby lessening the economic disparity resulting from the separation.

Moreover, setting a child support agreement encourages a cooperative parenting relationship. When parents reach a mutual understanding regarding their children’s financial support, potential conflicts are reduced, and the children’s needs are prioritised in parental responsibilities.

A well-structured child support agreement is of immense importance. Children thrive in stable environments where their basic needs are consistently fulfilled without financial uncertainty. By securing a child support agreement, parents invest in their children’s future, confirming they access essential resources that contribute to their prevalent well-being and growth.

Binding Child Support Agreements

 Binding Child Support Agreements (CSA Act section 80C) offer several features:

  • They can endure for the duration of the child support entitlement/liability period.
  • The agreement allows parents to specify any agreed-upon amount for child support, including amounts below the assessed amount.
  • The agreement cannot undergo variation (section 80CA). It can be terminated under specific circumstances (section 80D), such as:
  • Mutual agreement between the parents leading to a termination agreement;
  • Occurrence of a terminating event as outlined in the Child Support Assessment Act 1989;
  • Court Order (refer to section 136 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989).
  • The agreement must be in written form and signed by both parties, and it must fulfil other specific requirements as outlined in the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.
  • Both parents must get separate legal advice, and each parent’s lawyer must sign a statement confirming the provision of the required advice.

Unless desired, there is no obligation to register the agreement with the Child Support Agency.

Two Types of Child Support Agreements in Australia

Private child support agreements come in two varieties in Australia. In the first instance, a contract is either binding or limited.

  • Limited Agreement: Both parents must sign a written document defining a limited child support arrangement. An administrative assessment must be in place before you can enter into a limited agreement, and the agreed-upon quantity of child support must be at least the same as the assessment.
  • Binding Agreement: A binding agreement, as opposed to a limited contract, can be created and accepted without completing a child support examination. Even after the assessment has been finished, it can be for any amount if both parents approve it. In addition, before entering or dismissing a legally binding agreement, both individuals must find legal advice.

Child Support Private Agreements: How do they work?

Even though the Agency can assess on their behalf, the parties can decide to enter into a private agreement.  

If the parents can agree on the specifics of the payments, a legally enforceable private child support agreement can be performed. This agreement will give the kids an accurate amount, timing, and support method. It will additionally cover various costs related to raising children, such as other interests, medical coverage, and education costs.

The Formula for Assessing Child Support

Australia’s child support formula is complex. The simplest method to estimate your payment is to use the government’s child support estimator.

This tool predicts the amount you’ll pay or receive if Services Australia conducts a child support assessment. Additionally, you can utilise the estimate to agree with the other parent.

The child support formula takes into account:

  • Each parent’s income (excluding a new spouse’s income)
  • Each child’s age
  • The amount of time each parent spends caring for the children
  • It often undergoes slight changes due to fluctuations in typical child costs.

Typically, you’ll receive child support if your care percentage (or parenting time percentage) is at least 35 and exceeds your percentage of the total income both parents earn.

Otherwise, you will likely pay child support.

Use caution to ensure that the estimator and official forms contain correct numbers. You could lose thousands of dollars for seemingly insignificant mistakes like failing to account for your parenting time on public holidays.  


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

Child Maintenance: Obligations and Responsibilities

Parents in Australia have a lawful duty to provide their children with financial support during their childhood through child maintenance, which they use periodically alongside child support. The legal approach highlights this obligation, no matter the type of the parent’s relationship.

Child maintenance involves more than just financial assistance; it also demands ensuring kids have entrance to other basic needs like healthcare, education, and other resources. The primary purpose is to give children an environment of safety and love that stimulates growth.

Parents must meet their legal obligation to contribute to their children’s maintenance. Australian law manages child maintenance seriously, as evidenced by the potential legal repercussions for non-compliance.

Seeking Legal Advice for Child Support Agreements

Given the legal complexities and possible long-term implications of child support agreements, any parent should seek legal counsel. Family law specialists can offer valuable guidance, ensuring fairness, compliance with Australian law, and adequate provision for the children.

Legal advice is particularly crucial when committing to a binding child support agreement. Understanding its terms and conditions is essential due to the agreement’s irreversible nature. A family lawyer can also help negotiate terms prioritising the children’s and parents’ interests.

Furthermore, legal counsel can assist in navigating the process of modifying or terminating a child support agreement if necessary. Their expertise ensures that changes adhere to the law and prioritise the children’s best interests.

Enforcing Child Support Agreements: Rights and Remedies

Ensuring commitment to child support agreements is crucial for the welfare of kids and financial stability. There are legal means to impose an arrangement when a parent fails to pay their child support.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) is vital for enforcing child support agreements in Australia. The Agency can take various measures to collect unresolved child support, such as restricting travel and garnishing wages or tax refunds.

The enforceability of binding or limited child support agreements provides additional leverage in ensuring compliance. In cases of non-compliance, parents can seek legal recourse to enforce the contract and ensure the continued financial support of their children.


In Mackay, managing child support agreements can be a challenging and mentally straining process. However, when you pick an informal or legally enforceable child support arrangement, it’s essential to deal with the matter with justice, honesty, and the child’s best interests in mental clarity. You can create a favourable and durable agreement that safeguards your kid’s health with the assistance of a lawyer and through open discussion with the other parents. Keep in mind that getting the help of a family law attorney with expertise in cases involving child support can offer valuable guidance at each step of the process.

For expert legal advice and assistance in dealing with child support agreements in Mackay, contact the experienced family law solicitors at Family Lawyers Mackay.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.


  • Can a child support agreement be modified?

Yes, agreements about child support may be modified in particular circumstances, such as the parents’ needs or income alterations.

  • What occurs if one party breaches a legally binding child support contract?

Legal steps may be taken to enforce a legally binding child support agreement and ensure execution if one party refuses to comply.

  • Are private child support agreements legally binding?

Private child support agreements are not legally binding. Although they may be honoured voluntarily, the law does not enforce them.

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