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A complete step-by-step guide to child support in Queensland
05 Dec 2023

A complete step-by-step guide to child support in Queensland

By Family Lawyers Mackay, 05 Dec 2023
Child Support

Child support is a crucial aspect of family law in Queensland, Australia, aimed at ensuring that both parents contribute financially to the upbringing of their children, even if they are not living together. In this detailed guide, we will walk you through the ins and outs of child support, covering its definition, who is obligated to pay, determining the amount, dealing with non-payment, and the various considerations based on custody arrangements.

What is Child Support?

Child support refers to the financial assistance provided by one parent to the other for the benefit of their child or children. It encompasses the costs associated with raising a child, such as education, healthcare, and general living expenses.

Who Has to Pay Child Support?

The responsibility to pay child support typically falls on the non-custodial parent, i.e., the parent who spends less time living with the child. This is often the parent who does not have primary physical custody.

How Much is the Child Support Amount?

Child support amounts are determined using a complex formula that takes into account factors like each parent’s income, the percentage of care each parent provides, and the number of children involved. The Child Support Agency (CSA) in Australia administers this process.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

Dealing with Non-Payment of Support:

In the unfortunate event of non-payment of child support, various steps can be taken. Initiating communication with the other parent, contacting the CSA, or seeking legal assistance are potential options. Legal recourse may involve obtaining a court order to enforce payment.

What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is intended to cover the general costs of raising a child, including education, medical expenses, and day-to-day living costs. However, it does not typically cover extracurricular activities or extraordinary expenses.

What Do Unusual Expenses Include?

Unusual expenses may include items like school excursions, special medical treatments, or other unforeseen costs. These are generally not covered by regular child support payments and may need to be negotiated separately between the parents.

What Special Costs Are Taken Into Account?

Special costs refer to significant expenses related to a child’s specific needs, such as private schooling or medical treatments. These costs can be shared between the parents in addition to regular child support payments.

Who Pays for What in Sole Custody?

In cases of sole custody, where one parent has primary physical custody, the non-custodial parent is typically responsible for paying child support. The amount is determined based on the income and care percentage.

Who Pays for What in Shared Custody?

Shared custody arrangements involve both parents sharing care responsibilities. In such cases, the child support amount is calculated based on a formula that considers the percentage of care each parent provides.

Concept and Method: How Much Child Support Will I Pay?

The formula used to calculate child support takes into account the income of both parents, the percentage of care, and additional factors. Online calculators provided by the CSA can offer an estimate of the child support amount.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

Is Child Support Possible in the Event of Joint Custody?

In joint custody arrangements, both parents share equal responsibility for the child’s care. Child support may still be applicable, depending on the income disparity between the parents. The formula adjusts for shared care, but financial contributions may still be necessary.

How Do I Get Child Support?

Initiating child support involves contacting the Child Support Agency (CSA) and providing relevant information. The CSA will use this information to calculate the child support amount and facilitate the collection and transfer of payments between parents.

Retroactive Calculation of Support:

In some cases, child support can be calculated retroactively, taking into account the period before an official child support assessment was made. This may be applicable in situations where there has been a delay in assessing child support.

The Child Support Agreement:

Parents can choose to create a formal written agreement regarding child support, either through a private agreement or a Binding Child Support Agreement. This agreement should be in line with the legal requirements to be enforceable.

In the Absence of Agreement:

If parents cannot reach an agreement on child support, the CSA can step in to assess and enforce child support payments. Legal advice may be sought if disputes arise or if one party is uncooperative.

Contact Family Lawyers Mackay Solicitors:

For personalized legal advice and assistance in navigating the complexities of child support in Queensland, it is advisable to contact Family Lawyers Mackay Solicitors. They can guide individual cases, ensuring that parents understand their rights and responsibilities.


Child support is a critical aspect of family law in Queensland, designed to prioritize the best interests of the child. Navigating the complexities of child support requires a comprehensive understanding of the legal framework, the calculation process, and potential issues that may arise. Seeking legal advice and engaging with the Child Support Agency can help parents ensure a fair and sustainable arrangement that supports the well-being of their children.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Can child support be applied for if parents live in different states?

A: Yes, child support can be applied for even if parents reside in different states. The relevant child support agency will assist in coordinating the process.

Q2: What happens if the paying parent refuses to pay child support?

A: If the paying parent refuses to pay child support, legal actions can be taken, including wage garnishment or court proceedings to enforce payments.

Q3: Can child support be used for expenses other than basic needs?

A: Child support is generally intended to cover basic needs, but specific usage may vary. Parents can discuss and agree on additional expenses for things like education or extracurricular activities.

Q4: How often can child support orders be reviewed?

A: Child support orders can be reviewed periodically, especially if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as income changes or changes in custody arrangements.

Q5: Can grandparents or legal guardians apply for child support?

A: In some cases, grandparents or legal guardians with primary custody may be eligible to apply for child support.


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