We all know when it comes to child support payments and non-agency child support there can often be some confusion. So, what is classified as a "non-agency payment"? If you don't have an agreement, what is a "prescribed payment"?
Consider the following:
An administrative assessment is currently in place for Peter to pay Lucy child support of $1,500.00 a month. Lucy drives a car that is legally registered in Peter's name, which she uses to transport the child of her relationship with Peter, to and from school.
The car is subject to finance and Peter has continued to pay the monthly instalments towards the finance secured against that car, since separation. The finance is $800.00 a month.
The answer may be that the $800.00 paid by Peter towards the finance secured against the car could be regarded as a "non-agency payment"; for the purposes of his existing child support liability.
Payments made to, or on behalf of, a party to whom child support is owed, in lieu of making a payment towards child support may be recognised as a "non-agency payment"; and credited against an existing liability for child support.
Parties may agree for the party who is making child support payments, to meet the cost of other expenses, in lieu of all or part of the assessed amount of child support. It is important that any agreement reached is formally and legally provided for in writing and receipts or other evidence of the non-agency payments, are retained.
In the absence of agreement, there are "prescribed payments"; that are recognised under the Act. These include:
- childcare costs and fees charged by a child's pre-school or school;
- payments for uniforms and books prescribed by a child's school or pre-school;
- necessary medical and dental services for a child;
- the share paid by the party who is liable for child support, towards any bond, rent, utilities, rates and/or mortgage repayments in respect of the recipient-party's home; and,
- costs associated with obtaining and maintaining a motor vehicle, including, repairs and standing costs.
However, certain conditions must also be met including but not limited to:
- the total of the payments made exceeds the total of all payments previously credited against the child support liability for all past periods;
- at the time the payment was made the payer cared for the children for not more than 14% of the time, during the relevant payment period;
- at the time the payment was made the child support liability was not met, fully or in part, by a lump sum credit; and,
- the child support liability is not an overpayment order, spousal maintenance or de facto maintenance order, or, a registrable overseas maintenance liability.
If a payment is made that falls into a category of prescribed payment, then this will be credited by the Child Support Registrar, up to an amount equating to 30% of the amount of child support payable.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.