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Minimum payments

What the minimum payment for child support is.

Minimum child support payments

When the relevant child support formula is applied to a person's financial circumstances and the results show a result that falls below the minimum annual rate, a minimum assessment will generally be payable. This minimum rate is indexed each year according to the Consumer Price index. Fortunately this amount is also published in the Australian Government Gazette and reproduced in the Child Support Guide (at 2.4.2). The minimum annual rate for child support payments during 2019 is $435. (This is about $8.40 each week)

This minimum payment is usually payable if a person is on an income support payment such as a Centrelink pension, youth training allowance or job search allowance. It will not apply if a person is assessed as liable to pay the fixed annual rate.

See 2.4.2 and 2.4.12 in the Child Support Guide and Australian Government Gazette—C2018G00963(opens in a new window).

Liability for more than one family

The liability for the parent is capped at 3 times the minimum annual rate. This means that a liable parent may have to pay about $8 each week for up to 3 families if they have children from many different relationships. So, if the person has children from 4 different relationships they will have to pay the minimum child support of $8 x 3 or $24 to Services Australia Child support (SA Child support).

Reducing the minimum amount

A low income parent can apply to SA Child support to have the minimum amount of child care reduced to nil for a nominated period. The court may grant this if the parent's income is less than the amount of the minimum assessment multiplied by the total number of child support cases (children).

See s. 66A—Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Fixed annual rate for person on low income but not on income support

If SA Child support believes that liable parents are minimising or under reporting their actual income, they will have to pay more than the minimum amount. This system has been put in place to stop parents from minimising their taxable income in a way that does not fairly represent their true income or their real capacity to pay child support.

This is called a fixed assessment. This amount that a person will have to pay each week is indexed in line with the Consumer Price Index and the annual rate is published in the Australian Government Gazette and reproduced in the Child Support Guide at (2.4.2).

For child support payments in 2019, a liable parent who is assessed as liable to pay the fixed rate will be required to pay $1,443 (approximately $27.75 per week) for each child.

SA Child support will conclude that a parent is minimising or under reporting their income if the parent is claiming that they earn the minimum amount, but they are not receiving income support and they do not have at least shared care of a child. Shared care is between 35% and 65% of care.

See 2.4.11 and 2.4.2 in the Child Support Guide and How care levels affect payments.

More information

Legislation

Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth)

  • s. 66—minimum annual rate of child support
  • s. 66A—SA Child support may reduce an assessment to nil in some cases
  • s. 155—publication of figures in the Gazette for all child support periods in the following calendar year.

See Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Child Support Guide

The Services Australia website has a guide that has been developed for lawyers about Child Support issues. The following information deals with the minimum rates of child support payments:

Reference

Australian Government Gazette

This Gazette is the notice pursuant to section 155(1) of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 - minimum and fixed annual rates for child support periods beginning in 2019.

See Australian Government Gazette—C2018G00963(opens in a new window).

Updated