The Role of Lawyers in Child Support: A Practical Guide

It may appear that lawyers have a limited role in child support matters. However, lawyers are able to help you behind the scenes to ensure you are paying the right level of child support. The maximum child support income which can be assessed is currently $121,833 as of April 2015, unless exceptional circumstances are established through administrative review. If one party believes that there are exceptional circumstances which warrant a departure from this amount, they can apply for administrative review. How lawyers can help:

  • Assist you with drafting your application or response for administrative review.
  • Provide advice on the prospects of success of your administrative review based on relevant case law.
  • Provide advice on what financial information you need to request or provide for administrative review. Providing information is voluntary and you may need to be careful in providing information about what will strengthen your case. Lawyers can give you advice on this.

Administrative Review This is a free service in which an independent person called a review officer will assess your grounds for a departure from the child support assessment. Your application must firstly be accepted by the review officer with substantial evidence and reasoning for the grounds you are disputing. The review officer must decide:

  1. A ground for a departure exists (IRD - 10 grounds to establish your special circumstances)
  2. The departure be just and equitable to both parties; and
  3. The departure is otherwise proper.

This will then go to a hearing in which the parties can attend in person, by phone or on their written papers. Lawyers are not able to attend the administrative review. However, this does not mean they cannot assist you with the process. *Legal aid applicants should bear in mind that administrative review is not funded by Legal Services. Your options if the administrative review is unsuccessful: If you lose your administrative review you can apply to the Family Court for a Departure Order. You can engage a lawyer to represent you in these proceedings. However, when applying to the Family Court, you can only rely on the grounds put forth in your administrative review. If there are new matters which were not considered in the administrative review then you can apply for another administrative review. Jeremy Sutton is highly experienced in assisting and advising people on child support. Child support is a big part of many peoples' lives and it is therefore important that it is done right. Call Jeremy Sutton Barrister to make your appointment today.

"The information posted on this website is prepared for a general audience, without investigation into the facts of any particular case. This information is no substitute for legal advice and does not create a lawyer-client relationship; you are advised to consult with a lawyer on any legal issue."

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