Mobbs and Marr

Private School Fees – Are they part of child support payments or are they the basis for re-assessment.

Private School Fees – Are they part of child support payments or are they the basis for re-assessment.

There is no definite answer to the above question and it very much turns on the facts. The intention of the parties is a significant factor in deciding that question. If both parents have a common intention that their children attend a private school, then child support may include a proportionate amount of the school fees in a “re-assessment”.

Intention may be evidenced by the completion and signing of a school “enrolment form” by both parents. Importantly child support consider the type of education intended by both parents for children rather than any particular school intended by the parents.

If both parents agree that the payment of school fees was made for the purpose of child support the payment can be credited as a third party payment. Where the parent receiving child support does not agree that the payment of school fees was meant to be part of the child support assessment, the paying parent may still able to have some of the payment credited as child support. This is only available in certain cases and is often referred to as “non-agency” payments and this may apply to you but to claim a non-agency payment only if you have 14% (“regular care) or less, of the “time spent” with the children are able to claim a “non-agency payment”.

If a paying parent is unable to apply for the “non-agency payment” because of a level of care higher than 14%, that parent can apply to the CSA for a “change of assessment”, this procedure also applies if the cost of maintaining the child is significantly affected by the higher costs of education in the way that both of the parents intended.

Issues in relation to child support and school fees is a tricky question and if you are faced with this situation you can contact us for assistance on 4721 4638

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