From 1 July 2008, paying parents who would otherwise pay less than the minimum rate, because of their low income, will pay the minimum amount of child support of around $6 per week per family. This minimum rate will be indexed annually, and the Child Support Agency will tell you when it changes. If you find work, you will continue to pay the minimum amount for 28 days before your child support payments increase.
If you are liable to pay the minimum rate and have at least regular care of your child, (between 14 and 34 per cent
or 52 and 127 nights a year), you won't need to pay the minimum to that family because you'll meet some of the child's costs directly through care.
If you pay child support to more than one receiving family, you will pay the minimum amount of about $6 per week to each family. This ensures that children get some child support and won't miss out because of a parent's other child support cases.
If you pay child support to more than three families, or have a child support debt, the total amount you'll pay will be limited to three times the minimum amount, around $19 per week, which will be divided equally between the families.
If you report a very low income and don't receive income support
If a paying parent reports a low taxable income–below the maximum level of Parenting Payment-Single (currently about $14,600)–and is not receiving income support, they will be required to pay around $20 (indexed annually) per child per week. This is called a fixed assessment. Where there are more than three children, the amount will be capped at three times the fixed assessment rate.
Fixed assessments will address parents whose reported taxable income does not reflect their real capacity to pay. Most parents with genuinely low income receive income support. Only those who don't will pay the fixed assessment.
This $20 per child amount will still be payable if the parent has regular care of the child (14 to 34 per cent - between 52 and 127 nights a year). If a parent has a higher level of care, this amount will not be payable because the parent will be directly contributing to the child's support through care.
If your income is genuinely low
If you don't claim income support–for example, because your new partner or parents support you–and your income is genuinely low, all you need to do is show us that your income is genuinely low and you may be assessed on the minimum payment.
A better balance for separated parents
For the first time, both parents' incomes will be treated in the same way when working out child support payments. An amount called the self-support amount will be set aside from your adjusted taxable income to allow for general living expenses. From 1 July 2008, this amount is the same for both parents.
The Chils Support Agency will deduct the self-support amount from your adjusted taxable income to get your child support income. Your child support assessment is based on your child support income.
Each parent's child support income is then combined and your share of the total income is how much of the children's costs you should meet.
The new child support formula starting on 1 July 2008 doesn't trigger a new child support period. If your child support period started during 2007 your self support amount will be $17,358. If your child support period starts during 2008 your self support amount will be $18,252.
The self-support amount is indexed every year and the Child Support Agency will tell you when it changes.