Child support does not include payment of school fees unless there is a change of Change of Assessment by the Child Support Agency a Child Support Agreement or an order by the Court.
Parents can make a Change of Assessment Application seeking an increase in the amount of the ‘periodic’ child support pursuant to Reason 3 of the Child Support Act change of assessment provisions that make provision for payment of extra costs in educating a child in the way both parents intended.
Parents can also make a Child Support Agreement for the payment of school fees.
Payment of school fees can either reduce the child support assessment or can be in addition to the periodic child support payments assessed by the Department of Human Services. If an agreement does not provide for a reduction of the periodic child support payable, the paying parent will be required to pay the school fees as well as the periodic child support assessed or agreed.
The Child Support Registrar can only collect and enforce ‘periodic’ payments, meaning that the receiving parent must take responsibility for collecting and, if necessary, enforcing the obligation to pay school fees or other non-periodic payments. If the receiving parent anticipates compliance may be an issue, a Child Support Agreement could provide for an increase in the amount of periodic child support to take into account the payment of school fees.
Example: Alice and Oliver have an existing child support assessment of $4,000 per annum. They enter into a Child Support Agreement that Matthew will pay $2,000 per annum directly to their daughter’s school for the payment of school fees. These payments are to reduce the annual child support assessment by $2,000 per annum for the period of the agreement.