By Peter Hooper, Brisbane Family Lawyer

Most people are familiar with the idea that when parents separate “non-residential” parents may have to pay child support.

What most people don’t know however is how much child support they may be eligible to receive or liable to pay?

Well…keep reading because I can show you exactly how to work this out for yourself, quickly and easily…

The Child Support system

Child support in Australia is determined by an administrative assessment. For those of you young enough to remember, it started with Bob Hawke announcing in the late 1980’s that “By 1990 no Australian child will live in poverty”.

Effectively the legislation took the responsibility for determining how much child support should be paid away from the courts; and created a formula to be administered by the Child Support Agency (now Department of Human Resources).

Child support calculator – the child support formula

What makes up the child support formula then?

The following sets out how child support is calculated using the basic formula in the legislation:

  1. Each parents taxable income minus a “self-support” amount;
  2. Add both parents incomes together (minus self-support) to arrive at the “combined child support income”;
  3. Divide each parent’s individual child support income by the combined child support income to get an income percentage for each parent
  4. We work out each parent’s care percentage of the child using the care and cost table. The care costs table is set out below.
  5. Then work out each parents cost percentage using the same table, and subtract the cost percentage from the income percentage for each parent to arrive at the child support percentage.
  6. If the result is a positive percentage, child support is payable.
  7. If there is a positive percentage then the Department will work out the costs for each child based on the parents’ combined child support income using the cost of children The costs depend on the age and number of the children and are set out below.
  8. The final amount payable is then calculated by multiplying the positive child support percentage by the costs of the child. This final figure is the child support amount the paying parent needs to transfer to the other parent.

Do you need to be a family law lawyer to work this out?

No you don’t.

All you need to do to estimate the child support you are eligible or liable for is CLICK HERE

The link is to the Department of Human resources child support estimator. The estimator will work out the basic formula for you however there can be circumstances where the basic formula won’t apply and a change of assessment is necessary.


Peter Hooper is an accredited specialist family lawyer in Brisbane.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2024 Hooper & Mill Family Lawyers. All rights reserved. Website Designer