Child support: which payment method is best?

by Peter Magee on February 11, 2012

Peter Magee
Many parents don’t know that there are different methods for paying Child Support to the other parent. One method is “Private Collect”. This is where the parents transfer child support payments between themselves. You can choose the private collect payment method when there is a court order that is registered, a child support assessment has been issued and when a child support agreement has been accepted by the Child Support Agency.
It is astonishing to know that more than 62% of newly separated parents in 2008 chose to pay the other parent privately.  Parents chose this payment option if they were able to communicate with the other parent and because it provided them with flexibility.
If you choose the private payment method, from our experience, we would suggest that you put your payment arrangement in writing to the other parent. When you make cash payments to or receive cash payments from the other parent as child support, it is useful to keep written receipts to demonstrate that the payment was child support. It is also important to note that your child support payments may affect your family tax benefit. Therefore, if you keep written records of the child support payments you have paid and received from the other parent, this is useful i.e. if you are asked by the Family Assistance Office or any other government department or agency to provide this information.
Another method for paying and collecting child support is known as “Child Support Agency Collect.” This is when the Child Support Agency collects child support from the paying parent and transfers it to the receiving parent.  The Child Support Agency does not keep any of the money; they are just the vehicle that transfers the Child Support Payment from one parent to the other parent. It is useful to know that under this option, the paying parent can choose to make payments on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.  The Child Support Agency makes payments to the receiving parent at a specific time. You can check when you are due to receive your Child Support payments by contacting the Child Support Agency directly.
A third payment method, known as “Non-Agency Payments,” is useful when parents want to make payments to a third party who is not a parent.  Examples of third party payments are school fees or child care expenses.  For example, when parent A (the receiving parent) wants parent B (the paying parent) to pay the child’s school fees directly to the school. In this situation, the school is the third party. It is essential to remember that parent B’s payment to the school will only amount to a non-agency third party payment if both parents agree that this payment was made in lieu of child support.
For legal advice relevant to your circumstances and information on child support or any other family law issue, please contact us on 02 6288 1100 to speak to one of our qualified and competent family lawyers.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: