3.5.3 Orders Applying the Assessment Formula

Context

A court order or court registered agreement may require payment of child support at a rate worked out using the provisions of the CSA Act.

Act references

CSRC Act section 4, section 17

CSA Act Part 5

Description

A court may make an order under the FL Act that says the periodic amount of child support is to be worked out by reference to the CSA Act. These orders are made in cases where a child support assessment cannot be made under the CSA Act as the parents, non-parent carer, or the child do not meet the eligibility requirements of that Act.

An order which merely states that the CSA Act or Part 5 of that Act is to apply does not contain sufficient information to calculate a periodic amount. Nor does an order which says the Registrar is to work out the rate of child support, but does not specify how the Registrar should do this.

Example: 'M is to pay F such amount as is determined by the Registrar.'
This order does not contain sufficient information to work out a periodic amount payable to the payee and is not a registrable maintenance liability.

'M is to pay F an amount determined by the Registrar using the formula in the CSA Act.'
This order contains sufficient information to work out a periodic amount payable to the payee and is a registrable maintenance liability.

It is important to note that when the Registrar registers a court order that applies the CSA Act formula it is not making an assessment under Part 5 of the Act.

The Registrar will calculate the periodic amount when an order is registered by applying the formula contained in section 35 of the CSA Act. The Registrar will not apply the other formulas contained in Division 2 of Part 5 of the CSA Act (non-parent carer/s and/or multiple child support cases) unless the order specifically requires this. The Registrar will determine the parents' child support income amounts under Subdivision B of Division 3 but the provisions of Division 7 (the estimate of income provisions) cannot apply.

The provisions of the CSA Act that require the Registrar to make new assessments at the start of new child support periods do not apply to orders under the FL Act. The Registrar will only vary the periodic amount if this is specifically required by the terms of the order, and the order states how it is to be done. Otherwise, the amount originally calculated will apply for as long as the order is in force. A parent wishing to change his or her liability due to a change in circumstances must apply to a court for a variation of the order.

Example: M and F separated in 1997. F has a court order made 17 May 2007 which says:
'M is to pay maintenance to F for the child A in accordance with the CSA Act formula.
The liability is to be calculated annually, based on M's income for the last financial year.
Each year the amount payable for the period 17 May to 16 May in the next year is calculated, based on the payer's taxable income for the previous year.'

This is a registrable maintenance liability and the Registrar will review the amount payable each year.

Last reviewed: 1 July 2016