The Child Support Agency (CSA) has released detailed information about the new Child Support Scheme, which commences on 1 July 2008.
In a statement released to the media, the General Manager of the CSA, Matt Miller, said the changes to the Child Support Scheme were recommended by a Ministerial Taskforce and aim to better balance the interests of separated parents and be more focused on the costs of children.
The new Reforms, which affect all separated parents, were passed in Parliament in 2006 and 2007 and have been implemented in three stages over two years.
“The most significant change being introduced is a new formula used to calculate child support payments that will better reflect the costs of raising children today, treat both parents’ incomes and living costs more equally and better take into consideration the level of care parents provide for their children,” Mr Miller said.
The new child support formula is more complicated than the standard 27 per cent applied under the old system. But most parents can obtain an estimate of how much child support they may pay or receive, using the online Child Support-Family Assistance estimator, available on the CSA, Centrelink and Family Assistance Office websites.
Separated parents across Australia will receive their new child support assessment between March and mid-May this year so they have time to check their details and plan prior to the new Scheme starting on 1 July.
All separated parents who pay and receive child support, including those with private arrangements, will be affected by the new Scheme. The new assessments may also affect family assistance payments, because child support and family assistance are closely linked.
The CSA wrote to all customers last year, to collect care information required for new child support assessments. Parents who did not receive their care letter and have not updated their details should contact the CSA.
“From March to mid-May it will be important for all 1.5 million registered parents to look out for their new assessment and check the details carefully,” Mr Miller said.
“Parents should advise the CSA of any changes so that the assessment can be reissued and is correct when the new Scheme starts.”