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Child Support advisory - Parenting Plans and Day/Night contact

Under the new formula, care of children is recognised as making a contribution towards meeting the costs of children.

PARENTING PLANS

Under the new formula, care of children is recognised as making a contribution towards meeting the costs of children.  To make sure the Child Support Agency and Centrelink have the same information about care from both parents and can therefore calculate payments correctly, we recommend parents have one of the following in place:

- a written parenting plan

- an agreement (verbal or written) with the other parent about the level of care; or

- a court order about care, which they have supplied to CSA.

Parenting plans can be useful in giving children security around spending time with each parent and help to reduce conflict between parents.  Parenting plans can be changed at any time with the agreement of both parents.

Making a parenting plan often means sitting down together and writing down whatever you can both agree on, for example:

- the day to day responsibilities of each parent

- the practical considerations of a child's daily life, i.e. where the children will live, holidays, special occasions and so on.

Under the new Scheme, there is the flexibility to cover the small number of parents who have significant regular daytime caring responsibilities and no night time responsibilities.  A parenting plan is the best way for parents who have significant daytime and regular daytime care to have it recognised in their assessment.  

Further information about developing a parenting plan can be obtained from:

FamilyLawWebGuide Parenting Plan comparison sheet and Shared Parenting Plans in our Forums

You can also go to Family Relationships Online at www.familyrelationships.gov.au

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Days are Nights and Nights are days for CSA

Further to the discussion relating to credit for day contact.

CSA have published the following:
Q: When working out the amount of care I have, can I include daytime care?

A: Where the care of your children is relatively equal, between 40-60 per cent of the time per week, we can take into account the amount of time both during the day and night that you care for your children. However, if the amount of time that your children spend with you and the other parent is not equal, we will not consider daytime care.

Daytime care outside of the shared care category can't be considered until 1 July 2008. However, if you have daytime care of your children make sure you update this information closer to 1 July 2008 when the new scheme takes effect. It is a good idea for you to keep a record of your care for the future if this applies to you.
We reject this formula.

Our view is that as the new formula considers "bands of care" then the days vs nights scenario of old is no longer applicable. The word substantial care is being used currently by FaCSIA policy advisors however this word does not get used in the definition by CSA. In any event the word substantial is not used in the sense "substaintial care" as per the existing legislation BUT we believe it to mean over 14% or 52 to 126 nights/days and between 127 through 175 and between 176 through 182. It does not mean between 40 -60% of the time because the bands of care do not equal 40% through 60% of care.

Our view is that any day care in these bands should be treated the same as night care in those bands for purposes of "credit for care" in the calculation

It seems reasonable to suggest that days = nights for purposes of the band calculations.

Getting a straight answer on this question has not been a simple matter.

Existing

0 to 109 nights, then the payee is deemed to have sole care.
110 to 145 nights, then you have substantial care.
146 + is shared care for both parties

New (Bands of care for credits)

Number of nights of care annually
     Proportion of annual care
   Proportion of net cost of child incurred
0 - 51
0 to less than 14%
Nil
52 - 126
14% to less than 35%
24%
127 - 175
35% to less than 48%
  25% plus 0.5% for each night over 127 nights
176 - 182
48% to 50%
50%

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
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