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My Ex wants me to stop paying Child Support

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Is this possible? and what issues may come up?

G'day

My ex has asked me if i can stop paying child support. Sounds unbelievable, I think she is going very well, where as she sees me struggling. I have always paid whatever csa says plus any extra she asks for, like schools fees and dentist etc. I have a new family and was left with a huge amount of debt from the divorce, so even though I have a high income, thus a high CSA, We live very basically compared to my ex. I think she thinks that it is only fair that I stop paying.

However I am concerned that I may be up for a future debt with the CSA.

If CSA was worked out on the Family or household income instead of the individual parents incomes, I would possilbly be getting CSA.

Dave
You and the ex can work out an agreement with C$S - just need to ask them what is required to complete.
TassieDave,
                 if you are private collect as opposed to CSA collect then there should be no issues as there are greater restrictions on going back in time in regards to private collection. The limitation is 3 months unless there are exceptional circumstances. If exceptional circumstances are found then the collection of arrears can be extended to 9 months. Here's what the CSA Guide says in relation to this :

The CSA Guide - 5.1.4: Collection of arrears accrued during non-collect period said
5.1.4: Collection of arrears accrued during non-collect period
Version 2.2, Last updated 10 May 2011 12:05pm
Context

A payee who elected not to have CSA collect maintenance for them when they applied for a child support assessment, or notified CSA of a court order or court-registered agreement can later apply for collection. They can also apply for CSA to collect arrears.
Legislative references

    Section 18A, 28A Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988

Explanation

    Application for collection of arrears
    Exceptional circumstances
    International Maintenance Liabilities
    Evidence to show exceptional circumstances
    Calculating amounts unpaid

Application for collection of arrears

A payee who previously elected not to have their liability registered for collection can later apply for registration. CSA must register that liability for collection. The payee can also apply for CSA to collect arrears for them (section 28A).

CSA must accept the payee's application for collection of amounts the payer has not paid in the 3 months immediately before the date the liability first becomes enforceable by CSA. CSA will need to be satisfied that the amounts have actually not been paid.

A payee may also apply for collection of amounts unpaid by the payer for 9 months before the liability first becomes enforceable by CSA. This is called the maximum arrears period. If there are amounts unpaid for this period and CSA is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances it must grant the application.

If CSA grants the payee's application the unpaid amounts become a child support debt and CSA will vary the Register to show that the payer owes these unpaid amounts.
Exceptional circumstances

Whether circumstances are exceptional will depend on the facts in each particular case. The circumstances must be unusual in some way. They may be circumstances beyond the control of the payee that prevented them from applying for collection within a reasonable period. CSA will consider the effect of the particular circumstances on the payee and the extent to which they contributed to the payee's delay in applying for collection.

The following are examples of circumstances that CSA may consider exceptional. This is not an exhaustive list and each case must be considered on its merits.

    The payer threatened or pressured the payee not to apply for registration for CSA collection chapter 6.10 Family violence.
    The payee was ill or had an accident that stopped them from applying for collection.
    The payee suffered a personal trauma such as a death in the family or a natural disaster that caused damage to the payee's property.
    The payee had communication difficulties because of, or including, isolation, illiteracy or poor English-language skills.
    The payer created a false expectation of payment (e.g. they promised to pay a lump sum from the proceeds of the sale of property or a compensation settlement).
    The parents were involved in negotiations over child support and/or other matters and applying for collection may have compromised those negotiations.

In some cases payees may apply for collection after CSA amends a child support assessment retrospectively so that there are significant arrears arising (for example, it may replace a default income or reconcile an estimate of income). These arrears arise through the ordinary operation of the Act and are not an exceptional circumstance even if the payee was unaware of any change in the payer's circumstances.
International Maintenance Liabilities

An amount of arrears arising under a registrable overseas maintenance liability can be registered with CSA for collection. This type of liability is not limited to three or nine months (section 18A(4)).
Evidence to show exceptional circumstances

The payee must provide suitable evidence for CSA to find there are exceptional circumstances. For example, if the payee states that the payer threatened or pressured them they may provide evidence from a person fully aware of the nature and details of the circumstances such as a doctor, social welfare worker or police officer.

In the case of illness, accident or psychiatric condition, the payee should provide written confirmation from a medical practitioner. In other cases, the payee must supply a full and detailed explanation supported by appropriate evidence.

CSA must provide the payer with an opportunity to comment on information the payee provided to CSA if it is taking it into account to make a decision to grant an application for a maximum arrears period.
Calculating amounts unpaid

In some cases parents may provide conflicting information about payments made during the relevant arrears period. If there is a dispute over the amount of unpaid child support, CSA will make reasonable investigations before reaching a decision on the amount owing in the arrears period. This would include contacting both parents to seek details of payment dates and amounts, the period to which the payments apply, and any supporting evidence that supports their claims.

Supporting evidence may include:-

    bank statements showing amounts transferred from the payer to the payee
    bank statements recording the withdrawal of the amount paid to the payee for child support
    receipts from the payee
    other records, such as letters or emails, about payments made or owing in the arrears period.

CSA will take into account any amounts that the payer has previously paid that would qualify as a prescribed non-agency payment (chapter 5.3.1 Non-agency payments ) when calculating the amounts unpaid. If the payer has paid 70% of the liability directly to the payee, CSA will credit towards the remaining 30% of the liability any further amounts that would qualify as prescribed non-agency payments.

If the parents do not agree and CSA cannot be satisfied based on the information and evidence available that payment was made for some or all of the arrears period being claimed, the arrears claim will be accepted.

I don't believe that you are alone as some parents do realise that CS is unrealistic and reach their own private arrangements and it is quite admirable that the other parent considers the real situation and is offering a more realistic amount. I've quit often, in my posts, explained various factors that clearly show that CS is unrealistic and is really a Government measure to tax children of separation via the claw-back of FTB payments. The very core of the formula, the cost of children, is based upon ridiculous amounts that are excessive by at least a factor of 10. The amounts are unrealistic as the basis is that the average cost of a child exceeded $500,000, when the average wage was under $50,000; very convenient for FTB claw-back. The basis of the cost of children is from various research that sums various costs and some incorporates some very flimsy assumptions. One such assumption is that because some research has suggested (not shown, not proven, just suggested) that children of separation cost more (do they eat more?, do landlords charge more rent?, is there a surcharge on nappies for separated children? how do retailers know to charge more? is big brother bigger then we imagine? ………). In reality the only real difference is that children of separation may have additional costs related to contact and that in the majority of cases this cost is borne by the liable parent thus actually warranting a reduction in the cost of children.

More recent research instead of trying to add many of the potential costs in conjuring up the cost of children looked at more factual information, the difference between the disposable income of families with and without children. That research came up with a cost of children of $50,000 rather than $500,000. This research also being years later would, if done at the same time, shown a significantly lower cost of children due to inflation. My own experience, formerly as a liable parent and now as a recipient also indicates that this factor of CS being excessive by at least a factor of 10. So again it's good to hear that the other parent is willing to discard the unfair and fundamentally flawed amounts of CS.

Going back to the subject of protection, which you will hopefully not need, if you were both willing to enter into a binding child support agreement, this could, if soundly formulated, protect both parties. A binding child support agreement, unlike a limited child support agreement, isn't restricted in relation to the amount of CS. It could therefore be for no payment (a limited child support agreement must have a CS amount that is at least as much as a nominal assessment (a nominal assessment is a formula assessment done simply to determine what CS would normally be paid). However a binding child support agreement is more rigorous in other requirements. It cannot be varied without it being ended and replaced by another binding agreement. A binding agreement must be in writing and signed by both parents or the parents and a non-parent carer. It must include a statement saying that the parties have sought independent legal advice before it was signed. It must also include an annexure, signed by the person who provided the legal advice, for each of the parties confirming that the legal advice was sought. You may wish to ask the other parent if they consider a binding agreement as a beneficial option that could be taken. Here's some more information from the CSA Guide:

The CSA Guide - 2.7.1: What is a child support agreement? said
2.7.1: What is a child support agreement?
Version 2.8, Last updated 8 March 2011 10:55am
Context

The Assessment Act sets out the requirements for a child support agreement.
Legislative references

    Sections 5, 12(4), Part 6 and Part 7 Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989
    Item 16, Schedule 6, Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008

Explanation

The Child Support legislation allows parents to reach agreement on the amount of child support to be paid. A child support agreement has to meet the requirements of the legislation and has to include matters that can be dealt with in a child support agreement. Once parents have made a child support agreement, either parent can apply to CSA to have it accepted.

    Children for whom child support agreements can be made
    People who can be parties to a child support agreement
    Binding Child Support Agreements
    Limited Child Support Agreements
    Agreements that cover periods both before and after 1 July 2008
    What can be in a child support agreement?
    Other requirements of a child support agreement
    Alterations to a limited child support agreement
    Alterations to a binding child support agreement
    Child support agreements and notations

Children for whom child support agreements can be made

A child support agreement must be in relation to a child for whom an application for assessment can be made. A child support agreement can also deal with other children, but CSA will disregard those children for the purposes of the assessment (section 82).
People who can be parties to a child support agreement

A child support agreement must be between:

    two parents of a child who would be able to properly make an application for administrative assessment of child support for the child in relation to whom the agreement is made (sections 83, 25, 25A) or;
    one or both parents of a child, and a non-parent carer of the child, who would be able to properly make an application for administrative assessment of child support for the child in relation to whom the agreement is made sections 83, 25, 25A). If both parents are assessed for child support, then they must both be parties to the agreement.

In determining whether an agreement complies with the legislation, the Registrar may act on the basis of the application made to CSA for acceptance of the agreement; the documents accompanying the application and the agreement itself; and is not required to conduct any inquiries or investigations into the matter (section 91).
Types of child support agreements

From 1 July 2008, there are two types of child support agreements.
1.Binding Child Support Agreements

Binding child support agreements allow parents to make binding financial agreements about child support. Binding child support agreements operate in a similar manner to financial agreements that separating parents might make in relation to property, superannuation and spousal maintenance.

Each party to a binding child support agreement must have received legal advice before entering the agreement, and must also receive legal advice before terminating the agreement. This legal advice must be provided by a legal practitioner who has been admitted by the Supreme Court of a State or Territory of Australia and holds a current practicing certificate.

A binding child support agreement cannot be varied. To change a binding child support agreement, the agreement must be terminated and replaced with a new binding child support agreement. For information on how a binding child support agreement can be terminated, see Changing or terminating a child support agreement.

A binding child support agreement must:

(a) be in writing, and signed by both parents or the parent(s) and eligible non-parent carer;

(b) include a statement to the effect that each party has received independent legal advice as to the effect and advantages and/or disadvantages of the agreement, before it was signed; and

© include an annexure, for each of the parties to the agreement, signed by the person who provided the legal advice, which certifies that the advice was provided (section 80C).

There is no requirement for an administrative assessment to be in place prior to the making or acceptance of a binding child support agreement. A child support agreement can only be made between the parents of a child or between the parents and any non-parent carer (section 83). Therefore if there is no existing administrative assessment CSA must be satisfied that the parties to the agreement are parents or eligible non parent carers before a binding agreement can be accepted. See Chapter 2.1.3 for information about when CSA will be satisfied as to parentage or Chapter 2.1.1 for information about eligible carers.
Transitional Agreements

These are child support agreements that were made and accepted by CSA prior to 1 July 2008 and continue to have effect from 1 July 2008. These agreements are considered to be binding child support agreements. However, some different rules apply to these agreements as compared with binding child support agreements discussed above.

Further details about these agreements can be found under the heading Transitional Arrangements in Chapter 2.7.4.

Transitional agreements also have different requirements for termination from other binding child support agreements (see Chapter 2.7.5).
Termination Agreements

A termination agreement is a binding child support agreement entered into by the parties for the specific purpose of terminating the effect of an existing binding child support agreement.
2.Limited Child Support Agreements

Limited child support agreements allow parents flexibility to determine their own child support arrangements. Limited child support agreements do not require the parties to have received legal advice before entering into the agreement.

For a limited child support agreement to be accepted by CSA there must be a child support administrative assessment in place at the time an application for acceptance of the limited agreement is received by CSA. Also, for the agreement to be accepted, the amount represented in the agreement must be at least the annual rate of child support that would otherwise be payable under the administrative assessment. Where an agreement includes the provision of an in kind benefit, CSA may need to assign a value to that benefit in order to determine whether the amount in the agreement is at least the annual rate of child support that would otherwise be payable under the administrative assessment. For further information on the requirements of a limited agreement, refer to the relevant paragraph below.

A limited child support agreement can be terminated by either party in certain situations.

If the circumstances of either party to the agreement change in a way not anticipated by the agreement, so that the notional assessment changes by more than 15% from the previous notional assessment, the agreement can be terminated by either party. This provides a safeguard so if circumstances change significantly the parties will not be locked into an agreement that does not reflect those new circumstances (see Changing or terminating a Child Support Agreement).

Either party can also elect to terminate a limited child support agreement after it has been in place for three years. This recognises that it can be difficult to anticipate what will happen more than three years into the future and provides the parties with the flexibility to elect to end their agreement if it no longer suits their circumstances.

A limited child support agreement must:

(a) be in writing, and signed by both parents or the parent(s) and eligible non-parent carer;

(b) have an administrative assessment in place at the time an application for acceptance of the limited child support agreement is received by CSA;

© meet the conditions set out in subsections 80E(2), 80E(3) or 80E(4):

    if child support is payable under the agreement on the day on which the application for acceptance of the agreement is made to CSA, the annual rate of child support payable under the agreement on the day of the application must be at least the annual rate that would have been otherwise payable on that day (section 80E(2));
    if the child support agreement commences on a day after the application for acceptance of the agreement is made to CSA, the annual rate of child support payable under the agreement on the day the agreement commences must be at least the annual rate that would have been otherwise payable on that day (section 80E(3))  if the agreement commences on a day in the future for which the annual rate is not yet known, the agreement cannot be accepted until the annual rate on that day is known;
    if child support is payable under the agreement for a period of time before the day on which the application for acceptance of the agreement is made to CSA, the amount payable under the agreement for the whole period must be at least the amount of child support that would be otherwise payable for that whole period (section 80E(4)).

Agreements that cover periods both before and after 1 July 2008

(The information under this heading applies to ex-nuptial children residing in Western Australia from a later date than for other cases. See Chapter 1.4.3 for details of the date from which various provisions had effect for WA ex-nuptial cases.)

Some child support agreements lodged with CSA on or after 1 July 2008 will affect child support assessments for periods prior to 1 July 2008, as well as periods from 1 July 2008. In these circumstances, the child support agreement will be treated as two separate child support agreements  one for the period prior to 1 July 2008 and the other for the period from 1 July 2008.

The pre-1 July 2008 legislation will apply to the first child support agreement  for the period prior to 1 July 2008. The current legislation, as outlined in this Chapter, will apply to the second child support agreement  for the period from 1 July 2008 (item 16 of schedule 6 of the FaHCSIA Budget Act 2008). Rules about acceptance of the agreement in relation to the value of the agreement, where applicable, will be applied separately to the two agreements, rather than looking at the value for the entire period.
What can be in a child support agreement?

A child support agreement can only be made in relation to specific matters listed in the Assessment Act.

A child support agreement must contain at least one of the following provisions (section 84(1)):

    provisions under which a parent is to pay child support for a child to another person in the form of periodic amounts paid to the other person (section 84(1)(a)) (periodic amounts to be paid to the other person);
    provisions varying the rate at which a parent is already liable to pay child support for a child to another person in the form of periodic amounts paid to the other person (section 84(1)(b));
    provisions agreeing on any other matter that may be included in an order made by a court under Division 4 of Part 7 (section 84(1)©) (See Chapter 4.3. The types of provisions that may be included in such an order are set out at section 118);
    provisions under which a parent is to provide child support for a child to another person otherwise than in the form of periodic amounts paid to the other person and those amounts are to reduce the annual rate of child support payable by the parent under the child support assessment (section 84(1)(d)) (non-periodic payment provisions);
    provisions that a parent is to provide child support for a child to another person in the form of a lump sum payment (including by way of transfer or settlement of property) and that payment is to be credited against the parents child support liability under the child support assessment (section 84(1)(e)) (lump sum payment provisions);
    provisions under which a parent is to provide child support for a child to another person otherwise than in the form of periodic payments that are not non-periodic or lump sum payment provisions (section 84(1)(f)) (other payments and benefits);
    provisions under which a parent's liability to pay or provide child support for a child to another person is to end from a specified day (section 84(1)(g)) (a provision to end a child support liability).

If the agreement contains provisions of a type not set out above CSA will disregard these provisions in making an assessment (section 84(3)).

A document that forms a parenting plan, maintenance agreement, or financial agreement, under the Family Law Act can also be an agreement for child support purposes if it contains at least one of the above types of provisions and complies with the other necessary requirements (section 84(5)).

A single child support agreement can contain different provisions for different child support periods or different parts of child support periods (section 84(2)).
Periodic amounts to be paid to the other person

A child support agreement can provide for periodic amounts (regular amounts payable on a regular basis) to be paid to the other parent or non-parent carer.

These may be paid directly to the other parent or non-parent carer, to their bank account, or to a third party acting as the agent of the payee, such as a solicitor or trustee.

A periodic amount can be adjusted for the costs of living by either the child support inflation factor or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or another adjustment factor identified by the child support agreement.

A provision that requires the payer to make payments to a third party (such as a school) on behalf of the payee is not a provision for a periodic amount to be paid to the other person. A provision of this kind is a non-periodic provision (see example below).
Non-periodic payment provisions

Where a child support agreement provides for child support to be paid otherwise than in the form of periodic amounts it must state that the annual rate of child support payable under the administrative assessment is to be reduced by a specified amount or percentage (up to 100%), which represents the annual value of the child support payable under the agreement (sections 84(1)(d) and 84(6)).

Example

M agrees to pay school fees for C of $5000 per year. The fees are payable to XYZ College. M's annual rate of child support is to be reduced by $2500.

If a child support agreement does not specify how the non-periodic payment provisions will reduce the child support payable, then the non periodic payment provision in the agreement will not have any effect for the purposes of determining the child support assessment (section 84(6)).
Lump sum payment provisions

Where a child support agreement provides for child support to be paid in the form of a lump sum:

    it must be a binding agreement;
    it must state the lump sum payment is to be credited against the amount payable under the administrative assessment;
    there must be an administrative assessment in force prior to the application for acceptance being made;
    the amount of the lump sum must equal or exceed the current annual rate of the administrative assessment;
    the lump sum will be credited at the rate of 100% of the child support payable (unless the agreement specifies a lesser percentage)

Note: the lump sum payment is credited against the payers liability under section 69A of the Registration and Collection Act (rather than reducing the annual rate of child support payable under the administrative assessment). As at 1 July each year, the remaining lump sum credit is indexed in accordance with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). (see Chapter 5.3.3)
Other payments and benefits

A child support agreement may include provision for child support to be provided otherwise than in the form of periodic amounts, but not specify how that payment is to reduce the child support payable (section 84(6)) nor specify that it is a lump sum payment that is to be credited against the child support assessment liability (section 84(1)(e).

An agreement may also include a provision for child support other than in the form of monetary payment, for example, the provision of goods or services.

If the provision does meet the requirements of either a non periodic payment provision (section 84(1)(d) and 84(6)) or a lump sum payment provision (section 84(1)(e) and 84(7)) it may well satisfy the requirements of section 84(1)(f).

If the agreement does specify the provision of goods, services, other payments or benefits then those arrangements will not have any effect on the child support assessment. The goods, services, payments or benefits conferred under the provision of the agreement will be in addition to any administrative assessment.

The additional goods, services, payments or benefits cannot be enforced or collected by CSA. The person entitled to receive the payments or benefits could take court action against the payer to enforce the amounts payable under the child support agreement (section 95(3)(b)).
A provision to end a child support liability

A child support liability, whether started by child support agreement or formula assessment, can be ended by a child support agreement which provides for a liability to end from a specified day. The end date can be express or implied.

When the specified day arrives CSA will end the assessment from that day (a 'terminating event' section 12(4)). (See Changing or Terminating a Child Support Agreement)

A provision to end a child support liability does not prevent either parent from applying for an assessment in the future.
Other requirements of a child support agreement

The parties can sign the same child support agreement, or each sign separate copies of a child support agreement. Where the parties each sign separate copies, the terms of each copy must be identical.

If a child support agreement deals with more than one child, CSA will treat it as if it contains separate agreements for each of the children (section 87(1)).

If a child support agreement provides that child support is to be paid by both parents, CSA will treat it as if it contains separate agreements by each of the parents (section 87(2)).
Alterations to a limited child support agreement

Parties must sign identical documents to make a valid child support agreement. Any alterations must be initialled by both parties to show that they were made before the agreement was signed.

If an alteration is not initialled, or is only initialled by one party, and the parties confirm the alteration was made before the agreement was signed, then the parties have signed identical documents and the altered agreement is valid. If an alteration was made after one, or both parties signed the agreement and they want the altered agreement to have effect, any alterations must be initialled by the parties and the agreement signed again for the altered agreement to be valid.

If an alteration is not initialled, or is only initialled by one party and there is a dispute between the parties as to whether the alteration was made before or after an agreement was signed, CSA must decide whether they signed an identical document. If both parties signed an identical document before an alteration was made, CSA can accept the original agreement without taking account of the alteration. If the alteration was made after the agreement was signed by one party but before it was signed by the other, the parties did not sign the same document and there is no agreement between them.
Alterations to a binding child support agreement

Alterations to a binding child support agreement can only be made with legal advice, statements and certificates being obtained by both parties before they initial any changes.
Child Support Agreements and notations

An order for a change to the assessment made by consent under Part 7 of the Assessment Act can sometimes contain notations, notes or annotations to draw attention to actions the parties have taken or will take in the future. Notations are not orders and cannot be registered as court ordered variations to an assessment. However, they can form a child support agreement if:

    they are signed by both parties (the usual provisions for limited and binding agreements apply), and
    the wording of the notation expresses an agreement that child support of a kind listed in section 84 is payable to the other person.

A notation that says the parties intend to make a child support agreement is not a child support agreement.

Example

A notation that says 'the parties intend to enter into a child support agreement whereby M will meet all the costs of schooling for A and B and the annual rate of child support is to be reduced by 100%' is not a child support agreement, even if M and F both sign it.

A notation that says 'the parties agree that M will meet all the costs of schooling for A and B and the annual rate of child support is to be reduced by 100%' can be a child support agreement if M and F both sign it.
Recitals

A child support agreement may contain information in the form of recitals. Recitals are usually statements setting out the facts and background to the making of the agreement and often include a statement indicating the intention of the parties. Recitals are often helpful when interpreting the agreement if there is any ambiguity in the clauses and words used in the operative clauses. While recitals do not form part of the operative clauses of an agreement, the agreement can state that they are to form part of the agreement.

If you do wish to consider this as an option, then perhaps you should have a look through the whole of section 2.7 of the CSA Guide. Here's a link to this section (it's easy to navigate to other sections from here). The CSA Guide - Chapter 2.7: Agreements

With regards to household incomes I personally can't see this a good way to go.  In theory your situation could be catered for by a what is termed as a change of assessment (legislatively called a departure from formula assessment), perhaps under reason 7 or reason 9 (there are 10 reasons). However, liable parents are very frequently hammered by the SCO's who make such determinations. The change of assessment process has been called "Deem and Destroy" by some. The ombudsman in 2010 found that the CSA act with bias against the liable parent.

I personally advocate for a balanced approach to financial responsibility (i.e. imposition of measures regrading the financial responsibility to spend child support monies properly, rebuttable by agreement of the liable parent). Such measures, if well implemented could be used to determine accurate costs of children, as well as protecting children from abuses such as neglect one of the major abuses suffered by children of separation. I advocate for a realistic cost of children. I advocate for a fully progressive consideration of compensation for the level of care (the current staggered method can result in a single night/percentage of care resulting in a CS change of over $10,000). I advocate for the CSA not being able to make what are really judicial determinations and that they simply act as administrators for an automated decision making system (i.e. the CSA basically rubber stamp documents received and a computer based system then determines the resultant CS). I also like Craig's idea of getting shot of the CSA and using the savings (the collection of $1 of CS has been shown by PIR to cost well over $5, likely well over $10 now) and other funds/measures to ensure children of separation are properly supported. Certainly the current system is still very fundamentally flawed, largely because so many children suffer due to the the acrimony introduced by the clear unfairness of the system and also largely as previously explained. Not that I have comprehensively covered such topics in this post.
The easiest way to go would be for a binding agreement which sets your annual rate of child support at $0.

You will both need independent legal advice from a solicitor as outlined in 2.7.1 of the guide which MikeT helpfully posted above. This is to ensure that you don't enter into anything too crazy without having a good hard think about it. The upside is that CSA will be able to accept the agreement without too much hassle - downside is that it will cost $$ for legal advice, but hopefully not too much.

If you are concerned about CSA accepting the agreement, your solicitor can fax a draft of it for their comments prior to signing. They can't say they will definitely accept it, but they should be able to say if it meets the legislative requirements.
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