Can I lock in my child support payments?

Can I lock in my child support payments?

It’s possible for parents to organise and maintain private agreements in relation to child support obligations and for this money to be paid either directly to the supplier (such as a school) or to the other parent’s nominated bank account. However, for parents wanting these arrangements to become locked in, consideration should be given to executing either a Binding Child Support Agreement (Binding CSA) or a Limited Child Support Agreement (Limited CSA).

A Binding CSA or Limited CSA can include various forms such as an ongoing amount and/or specific ‘non-periodic’ payments such as tuition fees.

When parties enter into a Binding or Limited CSA, it is important to consider the following:

  • A Binding or Limited CSA cannot be varied but can only be terminated or set aside by a Court so it is important to ensure the Agreement is perfect before signing;
  • A Binding CSA requires each parent to obtain independent legal advice as to the effect and advantages/disadvantages of the Agreement for it to have any effect. However, a Limited CSA doesn’t require legal advice though the agreed payment must be equal to or greater than the ordinary assessed amount of child support;
  • There are limited circumstances where a Court may set aside a Binding or Limited CSA. The most common are if the Agreement was obtained by fraud, without free and willing consent of one or both parents or if there has been a significant change in circumstances to a parent or child as a result of exceptional circumstances;
  • Parents should ensure that they fully understand the terms and effects of a Binding or Limited CSA and be aware of the estimated payable amount otherwise assessed by the Child Support Agency. A Limited CSA requires there to be an administrative assessment in force in relation to the child of whom the Agreement is made; and
  • Either parent might have a change in annual income in the foreseeable future making any Binding or Limited CSA more or less advantageous.

If the parents cannot reach a private agreement, collection is available via Services Australia. However, for parents looking to lock in each other’s financial contributions towards raising the children, a Binding or Limited CSA should be given serious consideration.

Joshua Noble is a Family Law Solicitor at Zande Law Solicitors, Suite 9, Norwinn Centre, 15 Discovery Drive, North Lakes.  To contact Joshua for advice, phone 3385 0999.

The information in this article is merely a guide and is not a full explanation of the law.  This firm cannot take responsibility for any action readers take based on this information.  When making decisions that could affect your legal rights, please contact us for professional advice.