Child Support - Team Pitt or Team Jolie?

shutterstock_476491558 Child Support

Team Pitt or Team Jolie?

Remember when Hollywood's newest couple brought the great debate of Team Aniston or Team Jolie? Well, now there is Team Pitt or Team Jolie.

Since the couple announced their split in September 2016, various articles about the state of their relationship have flooded media sites.

It has recently been reported that Pitt has not been paying his child support to Jolie. Whilst precise terms of their arrangement are not known, what actually happens when a parent stops paying their child maintenance, or just refuses to even start?

Child support is an ongoing periodic payment which is made by one parent for the financial benefit of their child or children. If both parents are amicable and can openly communicate with each other about financial issues, they may self-manage their obligation. The disadvantage to this is when one parent disagrees with a financial contribution or they are not in agreement as to what the contribution actually is. Jolie is reportedly saying that the $9 million US Dollars Pitt paid her, was actually a loan and not child support.

Parents can also apply for an administrative assessment from the Child Support Agency (“CSA”) or have their lawyers draft a child support agreement.

In Australia, powers are given to the CSA to recover any overdue child support through a number of avenues. Money can be recovered by:

Employer deductions

If a parent is refusing to pay their child support, the CSA can make their employer deduct amounts from their pay. This can also be used when a parent is refusing to agree to a suitable payment arrangement.

Intercepting tax refunds

As most parents pay tax in Australia, the CSA can use a tax refund to meet any outstanding child support payments.

Issuing overseas travel bans

The CSA has the power to stop a non-paying parent with a Departure Prohibition Order if they have an overdue child support, refuse to work with the CSA to pay it and are planning to travel abroad. This will prevent the parent from leaving Australia until they pay the overdue child support or agree to a suitable payment plan.

Bank account deductions

If a parent refuses to pay, the CSA can make their bank deduct lump sums from their accounts. The CSA will also do this if the parent refuses to agree to a suitable payment arrangement.

Income support payment deductions

The CSA can recover overdue child support from an income support payment.

Litigation and/or prosecution

The CSA can take the non-paying parent to court in order to collect outstanding child support if other enforcement methods do not work. The CSA may also prosecute the parent for serious actions or omissions involving criminal behaviour.

If the CSA believes that a parent’s declared income does not match their lifestyle, they will investigate further and can resort to the use of optical surveillance in complex cases.

If a parent is facing financial difficulty in paying their child support, it is always advisable to let the CSA and the other parent know.

Contact us, for further information or to enquire about your rights.

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Monday, 10 December 2018