Recent amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act are retrospective

Recent amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act are retrospective

On 1 July 2018, amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 were made via the enactment of the Family Assistance and Child Support Legislation Amendment (Protecting Children) Act 2018. Among those were a series of changes affecting Binding Child Support Agreements. 

WHAT ARE THE NEW AMENDMENTS TO THE CHILD SUPPORT (ASSESSMENT) ACT 1989?

In summary, from 1 July 2018 onwards, agreements will be suspended where:

  1. a parent previously entitled to child support pursuant to the agreement (the eligible carer) now cares for the child for less than 35% of all overnights (the former carer); and
  2. the period the former carer has not been an eligible carer is:
    • 28 days or less; or
    • 26 weeks, where:
      • the agreement provides that it may be suspended if a parent ceases to be an eligible carer for more than 28 days; or
      • both parents advise the child support registrar that they want the agreement suspended for more than 28 days before the end of the 26 week period; or
      • the child support registrar is satisfied that there are special circumstances in relation to the change in the care of a child.

If a former carer becomes an eligible carer again within the 28 day or 26 week timeframe (whichever applies) before the suspension ends, the agreement is no longer suspended.

The agreement terminates if the suspension period ends (whether it is 28 days or 26 weeks) and the former carer has not returned to being an eligible carer.

If the agreement is suspended or terminated in relation to one child, it may continue in relation to other children; if the parent continues to be an eligible carer of those other children.

WHY ARE THE NEW AMENDMENTS SIGNIFICANT?

The new amendments are retrospective. This means they affect all agreements; regardless of whether they were signed years before the new amendments came into effect.

If a previous eligible carer for child support is now a former carer, it is possible their agreement is now suspended given the new amendments. Further, if the former carer does not return to being an eligible carer before the end of the suspension period, the agreement will be terminated and child support will be paid as assessed or the parties will need to enter a new agreement.

If you think that your Binding Child Support Agreement may be affected by the recent amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act, and you want more information on how we can help you, contact our family law team on (02) 8987 0000 or by email at ajenkins@aitkenlawyers.com.au.

This article contains general information and is prepared without taking into account your specific objectives.  Before acting on the contents, you should obtain the specific legal advice in relation to your own circumstances.

 

How to get the most out of your Family Law Representation

How to get the most out of your Family Law Representation

Family Law Representation can be complicated enough without back and forth communication with your lawyer. You are entitled to high standards of legal advice and your solicitor must act in accordance with a range of legal duties to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. At the same time, a successful solicitor/client relationship requires cooperation on both sides.

To get the most out of your family lawyer, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Give full and clear instructions – It is important for a solicitor to know all details as soon as possible so he or she is not surprised, especially if a court case is involved.
  2. Be honest and lawful – It is unwise to lie to your solicitor or to expect your solicitor to uphold a mistruth, particularly if you are involved in a court case. Solicitors have a duty not to mislead the Court.
  3. Be prepared – Before you speak with or visit a solicitor, it is a good idea to write down a summary of your matter, including questions and the contact details of all persons involved.
  4. Follow instructions – So that your solicitor can serve you efficiently follow his or her instructions as quickly as possible. For instance, your solicitor may request more information or documentation. Use or ask for a checklist of what you need to provide along with a reasonable timeframe to provide your solicitor with those documents.
  5. Understand the fees and costs – Solicitors are required by law to tell you about their fees and other expenses before they start working for you. Ask questions at the beginning so conflict does not arise about fees down the track.
  6. Ask questions – The law is complex with lots of unfamiliar words and processes. If you are confused or have any questions, ask your solicitor for an explanation as soon as possible.
  7. Keep in contact – Legal issues can take a long time to resolve. Your solicitor should keep you up to date with the progress of your matter. Agree on how frequently you will be informed and by what method, such as telephone or letter.
  8. Trust your solicitor – Carefully consider what your solicitor advises you to do. Their advice is based on years of experience and training. Sometimes the best course of action may not be what you want to hear, but your solicitor, as your advocate, is obliged to have your best legal interests at heart.

Help us to help you

We want our clients to get the best service from Aitken Lawyers and we have prepared a few tips to help you to help us: –

  • Try not to listen to “advice” from friends and family– They are often too emotionally involved, and their experiences are usually not exactly the same as yours.
  • Be open to negotiation – It is a very rare case that is settled without negotiation.
  • If possible, try and settle out of court– Court proceedings can be expensive, lengthy and emotionally draining.
  • Consider mediation– Mediation puts you in control and can often be a more economical way forward. Aitken Lawyers can make referrals to Mediators on your behalf.

If your relationship has broken down, and you want more information on how we can help you, contact our family law team on (02) 8987 0000 or by email at ajenkins@aitkenlawyers.com.au.

This article contains general information and is prepared without taking into account your specific objectives.  Before acting on the contents, you should obtain the specific legal advice in relation to your own circumstances.

 

 

 

Could you be in a de facto relationship and not even know it?

Could you be in a de facto relationship and not even know it?

The Family Law Act contains provisions which set out the requirements for a de facto relationship by law.  De facto relationship laws in NSW cover a range of family law issues including the division of property, maintenance, financial agreements, and the superannuation of individuals in these relationships.  The provisions of the Family Law Act apply to both heterosexual and LGBTQI relationships. Also, The Child Support (Assessment) Act applies to same-sex couples.

Who is in a de facto relationship?

You can apply for a de facto property settlement in the Family Court if any of the following applies:

  1. That the period, or the total of the periods, of the de facto relationship is at least 2 years; or
  2. That there is a child of the de facto relationship; or
  3. That:
    • If one party has made significant contributions; and
    • A failure to make the order would result in serious injustice to applicant party; or
  4. The relationship was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory.

What is a de facto relationship?

If a dispute arises about whether a two people are in a de facto relationship, the court will make the decision based on several factors including:

  • How long the relationship has lasted;
  • Your living arrangements;
  • Whether a sexual relationship existed or exists;
  • The arrangement of the finances;
  • Whether you owned property together;
  • How you purchased any property you owned jointly;
  • Whether you registered your relationship under state or territory law;
  • Whether you have children together; and/or
  • How your relationship was presented in public.

 Often, couples can reach an agreement on their own about property division without seeking the advice of family law lawyers. However, even if you do reach an agreement – and especially if you don’t – it’s a smart idea to talk to a family lawyer to guide you in the right direction when it comes to protecting your legal rights.

If you are dissolving a de facto relationship and need the services of our solicitors, contact our family law team on (02) 8987 0000 or by email at ajenkins@aitkenlawyers.com.au.

This article contains general information and is prepared without taking into account your specific objectives.  Before acting on the contents, you should obtain the specific legal advice in relation to your own circumstances.