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Do you legally HAVE TO claim child support for your child?

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I have been trying to decide if it's best to claim child support from the father of my child, or not (there are many reasons why I wouldnt want to - child molestation accusations etc, it may be best to keep him as far out of our lives as possible).

I was thinking of not claiming child support at all.  My understanding was that my Centrelink 'Family Tax Benefit' would drop a little bit (but that's ok).

Tonight a friend told me that you legally MUST claim child support, because it is considered as the child's money (not yours), therefore a mother doesnt have a right to decide if she doesnt want to claim child support from the father.  Is this true?
I don't believe you have to legally claim child support. Same goes for Family Tax Benefit. If you have enough $$$ and you don't have the need for more then that is your decision. if you apply for Family Tax Benefits they do ask you to apply for child support but you can avoid this by citing family violence reasons.
I plan to claim Parenting Payment, Family Tax Benefit A & B (I know that the rate of one of the FTB's will be reduced to the base rate if I dont apply for child support).

I do not know if Centrelink will give me an exemption (from having to apply for child support, if I want the full FTB) because he has not been convicted of anything (besides drug possession) to date.  But I know that he has an ongoing or perhaps recently closed/inconclusive DOCS investigation against him (regarding a different child/relationship).  That alone is reason enough for me to be concerned (and not want to apply for child support) but I don't know if Centrelink will accept that without him having been formally charged.  (There are many other reasons besides that, that I don't want him around or being able to get access in any way).

My understanding is that I'd probably only get $10 a week child support from him anyway, so it is definitely not worth it.  I'd like to avoid it if I could.
There is no legal requirement to apply for child support, the legislation covers parents and non-parent carers who may apply (not who will or must apply). In order for the Government to benefit from the taxation aspect of child support, many of their documents are written to imply must.  e.g. when claiming FTB the form states "An assessment is required in order to pay you the correct amount of Family Tax Benefit. You can start this assessment by calling the Child Support Agency on 13 1272.". However the correct (reduced) amount of FTB, according to the legislation, will be paid, if you do not have a CS assessment.

With regards to claiming FTB simply answer no to questions 163 (Do you have a Child Support Agency assessment for this child?) and 168 (Do you receive child support privately (i.e. any amounts not received through the Child Support Agency)?). It is FTB part A that will be reduced. Also child support received results in half of the CS being clawed back via reduced FTB payments.

My impression is that it's difficult to receive an exemption citing Family Violence to circumvent having to 'ask' for CS certainly give it a crack though, its not like you have anything to lose. I haven't tried it so can't really share my experience there.

I think if you're happy going without it, do it. My ex works full-time and I'm short about $400-500 a month all up but when I think of the pain that comes with that money, its not worth it. I earn 4 times what he earns and I'm actually saving more money by not having to support a substance abuser.

There is always the option of entering into a CSA recognised 'Private Arrangement'. You'll get the full FTB then. The thing with these though is that I don't know how hard they are to over-turn should you lose your job, get hit by a bus etc and need him to start contributing.
Child support DOES NOT EQUAL access to the child. They are not 'paying' for access rights, which are handled separately.   Just discuss it with Centrelink and advise concerns you have.

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

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