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The family law system in Australia is groaning under the weight of a vast backlog of more than 20,000 cases and families are waiting up to five years for bitter child custody and property disputes to be resolved. 
Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 2018

What is Child Support Dispute Mediation?

When it comes to the assessment of child support, there are two ways you can handle it. Come to an agreement with your ex-partner and have that agreement registered by the Child Support Agency, or alternatively hand control to the Child Support Agency to undertake their own assessment and then act accordingly.

In relation to the former, if there is a willingness by you both to have this issue resolved through mediation, then the outcome may well be more favourable than surrendering the issue to the Child Support Agency.

So, If We Mediate and Agree, what Happens if My Ex-Partner Breaches the Agreement?

Importantly, the agreement that derives from the mediation should be in the form of what’s called a Binding Child Support Agreement or a Limited Child Support Agreement. Both of these agreements can be registered with the Child Support Agency. In the case of a breach of a term within these agreements, you can report it to the Child Support Agency.

What is a Limited Child Support Agreement?

– Must be in writing and signed by both parties.
– Does not require the parties to obtain independent legal advice.
– A child support assessment must be in place.
– Agreement must be accepted by a Child Support Registrar.
– Amount of child support must be equal to or greater than the CSA’s child support
assessment.
– Child support payments must be made periodically (not possible to make lump sum
payments).
– Have a “sunset” clause of three years, after which either party can give written notice to the CSA to have the agreement terminated.
– Can be terminated at any time or replaced by a new agreement.

What is a Binding Child Support Agreement?

– Must be in writing and signed by both parties.
– Parties must both obtain independent legal advice regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the agreement and a solicitor’s certificate must be attached.
– Does not require a child support assessment by the CSA.
– Amount of child support can be greater or less than the amount that would be determined by the CSA.
– Possible for a parent to pay child support periodically or in a lump sum.
– Does not automatically expire, but parents may choose to include an expiry date in their agreement.
– May be replaced or varied but only in very limited circumstances.

How Can Mediations Australia Help Me?

If there is a willingness to negotiate and agree on child support arrangements, we can assist in both the mediation, agreement and lodgement.

What Should I Do Now?

Simple! Call family law mediation at Mediations Australia or make a time that suits you to talk with one of our team. There is no cost for the call.
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