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Video Transcript:

Hi and welcome to Video 2 of Module 4; Child Support, Part One.  My name is Joe Schepis.  I am a director of Pearsons Family Lawyers.  If this is the first YouTube that you have seen, I highly recommend that you visit Module 1.

Module 1 contains two videos of important actions and things that you need to do right now before proceeding any further. To do that, go to the Pearsons' YouTube Channel or visit our webpage and follow the links from there.

If you are ready to proceed, let's go.

You may remember, way back in the 1970s and '80s, that child support, or child maintenance as it was known in those days was very minimal, if collected at all.  Bob Hawke famously made the promise that by 1990, no child will live in poverty.  As a result of that, the child support scheme was set up and it began in 1989.

The Child Support Agency was set up and is connected to the Tax Office and to Centerlink.  The way that child support worked out is that the Child Support Agency has a formula.  It's a very complicated formula but essentially it looks at the income of both parents and also the percentage of nights that the children spend with each parent.

As a result of looking at those factors, the Child Support agency calculates an amount of child support which has to be paid by one parent to the other.  The eligible parent which is a parent that is eligible to collect child support can apply to what is called opt-in to the scheme; that means that the agency will collect child support on their behalf.

Once an assessment happens, there is usually nothing wrong with the amount of child support.  But sometimes things go wrong.  There are internal mechanisms set up within the agency where either parent can apply to have
the agency re-look at it, by way of an assessment or a review. There all dealt with internally; the whole system's set up so that lawyers don't get involved.

If at the end of the internal review and re-assessment process one party is still aggrieved, they can go to what is known as the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, again, without lawyers, to have them investigate and look
at the whole situation afresh.

The avenues to go to court are extremely limited.  They're limited to cases where there are already proceedings on foot, in which case, one parent can ask the court to also deal with child support matters.  The other one is
that there are questions of law, which are extremely rare.

Now, at the end of all the child support scheme, the end result is that parents receive a lot more child support than they used to both by way of the number of parents that are paying and the amount that's being paid.
Which means that there is a lot less reliance on the public purse and taxpayers to support children.

There are two other aspects of child maintenance and child support which may not fall within the child support scheme and that is adult child support maintenance and step-parent maintenance.

The child support scheme comes to an end when children turn 18 years of age and complete their secondary education.  In that case, a parent can apply to the courts and seek that the other parent continue to provide financial
support for the adult child and that is called Adult Child Maintenance.

Typically the court will look at what the needs of the child are, which I call 'The black hole', and then they will look at each parent to see what their respective abilities are to contribute towards the financial support
of the child and fill the black hole. Typically the court makes an order for a payment of an amount of money on a weekly or monthly basis until the child completes their first degree.

The other situation is where there is a step-child and a step-parent has maintained, supported, and raised that child as if it's their own. In that case when those parents separate, then the step-parent doesn't see if
they've got an obligation to maintain that child.

But that's not necessarily the case. The legislation provides that in certain circumstances, a step-parent can be declared to have an ongoing obligation to support the child and to pay maintenance for that child
despite the fact that it's not theirs.

That's the end of Video 2. If you're ready to proceed, go to Video 3: Child Maintenance, Part 2.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at http://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may
not be able to talk to you.

Whatever it is that you choose, its our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you know where you stand.

 

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