Child support

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Child support in the AIFS library catalogue

Keeping mum : characteristics and family dynamics of mothers who are liable to pay child support in Australia.

Vnuk M
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 40 no. 1 Mar 2019: 127-142
This article explores the characteristics and circumstances of mothers who pay child support in Australia - a small but increasing population. Data is taken from the Child Support Reform Study, a longitudinal study of separated parents registered with the Child Support Agency, which included a sample of 185 female payers. The article discusses differences between female and male child support payers, amounts of shared time, employment, number and age of children, and the state of their relationship with their former partner. One finding is that mothers with a child support liability tended to be more fearful of their former partner than either mothers who received child support or fathers.

Social policy inquiries in Australia: the Henderson Poverty Inquiry in context

Regan S and Stanton D
Canberra, ACT : Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, Australian National University, 2018.
In 1972, following widespread demand, the Commonwealth Government established a Commission of Inquiry into Poverty, chaired by Ronald Henderson. This paper explores the role of this inquiry in the context of other Australian inquiries, and maps the policy contribution of this type of 'public inquiry' for social policy processes and outcomes. The Henderson inquiry has made a significant and enduring contribution to policy development, and similar inquiries have contributed in diverse ways, sometimes in the short term or sometimes more slowly over decades. Sections include: Public inquiries and their policy contribution; Social policy inquiries from the 1970s to the present day; The Henderson Poverty Inquiry amidst extensive review activity; The 1980s and the Social Security Review; The 1990s, McClure (the first) and 'Welfare Reform'; The Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support; Australia's Future Tax System Review and the Pension Review; Another Audit Commission and McClure (the second); and The diverse contributions of social policy inquiries.

The 2018 child support changes - what family lawyers need to know.

Australia. Dept. of Human Services. Child Support Program Branch
Australian Family Lawyer v. 27 no. 2 Oct 2018: 35-43
The Family Assistance and Child Support Legislation Amendment (Protecting Children) Act 2018 has introduced changes into how child support is assessed, how interim care determinations are made, the methods available to collect child support overpayments, and processes for making applications to set aside a child support agreements. This article details these changes and the implications for family lawyers.

State facilitated economic abuse : a structural analysis of men deliberately withholding child support.

Natalier K
Feminist Legal Studies v. 26 no. 2 2018: 121-140
This article argues that men's deliberate withholding of child support can be a form of economic abuse in separated couples. Drawing on interviews with 37 single mothers, it looks at how the Child Support Program in Australia and its processes can entrench gendered power relations.

The family in law.

Parashar A and Dominello F
Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press, 2017.
This text book provides an analysis of current family law in Australia, with reference to sociological, historical, and economic views of the institution of family and the law's focus on the nuclear family as the default model. Chapters are: Studying family law; Family law and its institutions; Marriage and marriage-like relationships; Divorce and violence in family law; Financial relations; Spousal maintenance; Private ordering of financial relations; Children in family law: child-related disputes under the Family Law Act; Children in court proceedings; Child maintenance and support and the wider social context of Australian family law; Family regulation: abortion and child protection; and Children and family formation: adoption and reproductive technologies.

An evaluation of the Kansas Child Support Savings Initiative

MDRC (Organization)
New York : MDRC, 2017.
"The state of Kansas created the Child Support Savings Initiative (CSSI) in 2013 to help parents who owe child support pay off debt that is owed to the state while also saving for their children's future higher education. The program aims to encourage parents to make qualifying deposits into tax-advantaged college savings plans ... administered by the state. In return, the parents receive matching reductions in their child support debts. Kansas originally created CSSI only for parents who owed child support debts to the state. [Then] Kansas decided it wanted to expand CSSI to debts owed the parents receiving child support ... MDRC applied insights from behavioral science to design and test solutions to address the savings program's primary challenge, which was that very few of the parents invited to participate ever responded or enrolled. Over several years, Kansas and MDRC conducted two randomized controlled trials to test different methods of outreach and engagement, and made significant changes to the program's design and operations. While implementation research suggests that some parents found CSSI appealing, the first round of testing saw largely trivial effects and the second round saw none. These results confirm other research that it is difficult to encourage low- and moderate-income individuals to save money ... Both the state and research team have a clearer understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to addressing child support debt and encouraging savings for education ... The results of this study suggest that there are limitations in marketing child savings accounts to parents in child support debt and, perhaps, to low-income parents in general."

Polyamorous relationships and family law in Canada

Boyd J
Calgary, AB : Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, 2017.
"This paper provides a discussion of polyamorous relationships, the legal distinction between relationships that are polyamorous and marriages that are bigamous and polygamous, and how polyamorous relationships are and are not accommodated by the domestic relations legislation of Canada's common law provinces. The paper includes an initial analysis of a study by the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family on perceptions of polyamory in Canada, the demographics of Canadian polyamorists and their attitudes toward their relationships. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations directed to family law lawyers dealing with polyamorous clients, including the establishment of specialized practice associations to share knowledge and develop expertise on the unique legal needs of polyamorous families."

Australian master family law guide.

CCH Australia Limited
Sydney, NSW : CCH Australia, 2017.
Written for lawyers, counsellors, finance industry professionals, and students, this reference guide explains legislation, relevant case law, and legal procedures in Australian family law. Sections include: children; property; financial agreements; financial support for children; de facto relationships; and court processes, evidence and costs - all updated to reflect amendments and case law interpretations since the 2015 edition. Chapters include: Commonwealth, states, family law legislation and courts; Legal practice matters: client interview and drafting affidavits; Divorce; Shared parental responsibility; Dispute resolution and family relationship centres; Parenting orders, plans and guidelines; Principles the court must consider when conducting child-related proceedings; Major long-term issues; Child abduction; Order enforcement and non-compliance in children's cases; Children and relationship factors (including child abuse, drug use, family violence, parental alienation syndrome); Surrogacy; Property; Maintenance; Bankruptcy and third parties; Corporations and trusts; Taxation considerations; Property orders; Superannuation; Financial agreements; Child support and maintenance; De facto relationships; Evidence; Court procedure; and Costs.

Family life.

Wilkins R
The Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey : selected findings from Waves 1 to 15. Melbourne, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2017: 6-26
This chapter looks at four aspects of family life: the changing living arrangements of Australians, as described by the household types in which they live; fertility and fertility intentions, and how well fertility intentions predict actual fertility; receipt and payment of child support for children with separated parents; and child care use for children not yet at school. Data is taken from the first 15 waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, which were conducted between 2001 and 2015. Information is presented on: trends in household types, proportion of people in each household type if the proportion of the population at each age remained as it was in 2001, proportion of individuals for whom the household type changes from one year to the next, number of young adults living with their parents, fertility across the lifecycle, number of children ever had, intended number of children, intended fertility compared with actual fertility 10 years later, child support received and paid by separated parents, number of majority-care and minority-care parents, expected and actual annual child support payments, characteristics of recipients and payers of child support, duration of child support payments, use of paid child care, type of child care used, use by couple and single parents, expenditure on child care by family type and income, and difficulties in accessing or affording quality child care.

What difference do child support payments make to lone-mother poverty?, presented by Dr Christine Skinner and Dr Kay Cook [Seminar report]

Lamont A
Family Matters no. 99 2017: 66
This article summarises a recent seminar held at the Australian Institute of Family Studies: 'What difference do child support payments make to lone-mother poverty?', by Dr Christine Skinner and Dr Kay Cook, held on the 14 December 2016. In this seminar, Drs Skinner and Cook compared findings from two large-scale studies from Australia and the United Kingdom to determine whether receiving child support payments made a difference to lone mother poverty.

The impact of child support on the household income and labour supply of payee lone mothers.

Fisher H
Economic Record v. 93 no. 301 Jun 2017: 189-213
This article estimates the impact of child support receipt on lone mothers' income and labour market activities, using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. Overall, the findings show that receiving any child support reduces government transfers, increases labour force participation, and increases household income - in excess of the amount of child support received. Furthermore, increasing the amount of child support received does not impact upon lone mothers' labour force participation or hours worked.

The potential of child support to reduce lone mother poverty : comparing population survey data in Australia and the UK.

Skinner C, Cook K and Sinclair S
Journal of Poverty and Social Justice v. 25 no. 1 Feb 2017: 79-94
This article investigates the contribution of child support to the income of lone mothers, comparing the situations in Australia and the United Kingdom. Overall, the findings indicate that child support payments are more likely to be paid and more likely to reduce lone mothers' poverty rate in Australia than in the United Kingdom, with implications for how child support systems are designed and enforced. Data for Australia is sourced from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey.

Gender and evidence in family law reform : a case study of quantification and anecdote in framing and legitimising the 'problems' with child support in Australia.

Cook K and Natalier K
Feminist Legal Studies v. 24 no. 2 2016: 147-167
This article explores gender bias in how evidence is valued in family law. It presents a case study of the report 'Every Picture Tells a Story', which made controversial recommendations that led to reforms to the Australian Child Support Scheme. It considers how the report legitimises different kinds of evidence, finding that both quantitative and qualitative data were used to privilege fathers' interests at the expense of mothers' interests.

Nudges for child support: applying behavioral insights to increase collections.

MDRC (Organization)
New York : MDRC, 2016.
"The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and led by MDRC, is the first major opportunity to use a behavioral economics lens to examine programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States. This report presents findings from four tests of behavioral interventions intended to increase the percentage of parents who made child support payments and the dollar amount of collections per parent in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Parents who owe child support and do not have their payments automatically deducted from their paychecks through income withholding typically need to actively initiate a new payment each month. The BIAS team examined the payment process in Cuyahoga County and diagnosed a number of behavioral factors potentially impeding collections. The team collaborated with the Cuyahoga Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) to design a number of behavioral interventions intended to increase collections and evaluate them using randomized controlled trials. These tests replicated and extended previous BIAS research on child support payments in Franklin County, Ohio ..."

The practice of family law in Canada: results from a survey of participants at the 2016 National Family Law Program

Bertrand L, Paetsch J, Boyd J and Bala N
Ottawa, On. : Dept. of Justice Canada, 2016.
"This study analyzes the results of a survey of more than 200 lawyers and judges attending the 2016 National Family Law Program, a high-profile, four-day biennial conference organized by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, on current issues in the practice of family law in Canada. Subjects addressed in the study include participants' views of and experiences with: court-attached family justice programs; hearing the views of children; issues in custody and access disputes; issues in disputes about child support and spousal support; family violence; unified family courts; and, the use of limited scope legal services in family law disputes."

Family law in Australia.

Young L, Sifris A, Carroll R and Monahan G
Chatswood, N.S.W. : LexisNexis Butterworths, 2016.
This book examines the social, historical, and legal context of the family law system in Australia and discusses recent changes. Chapters are: Law, society and the family; Dispute resolution in family law; Violence and abuse; Constitutional powers and the family courts; Marriage and de facto relationships; Nullity, divorce and termination of de facto relationships; Parentage; Child related disputes: the legislative framework; Children and parents: the exercise of discretion in reallocating parental responsibility; Financial support of married and de facto partners; Financial support of children; and 4 chapters on property proceedings: preliminary issues, the legislative framework, the exercise of the discretion, and specific issues.

What difference do child support payments make to lone mother poverty?

Skinner C, Cook K and Sinclair S
14 December 2016
This seminar investigates the contribution of child support payments to the total income of one parent families, and whether they help reduce poverty in these families. It compares data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey dataset with those from a similar study conducted in the United Kingdom. The findings indicate that child support is an important source of household income and one that plays a key role in reducing child poverty in the poorest lone mother-headed households. The presentation concludes with a discussion of changes to the UK and Australian systems that will shape the poverty reduction potential of child support going forward.

Australian Government response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs report 'From conflict to cooperation - Inquiry into the Child Support Program'

Australia, Australia. Parliament. House of Representatives. Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs
Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian Government, 2016.
In 2015, an inquiry was conducted into Australia's Child Support Program (CSP), which provides administrative support and financial adjudication for separating parents. The inquiry investigated the processes of the Program, including how overpayments and arrears are managed, accommodating changing family circumstances, the alignment of the child support and family assistance frameworks, linkages between Family Court decisions and child support policies, and support for high conflict families. This document presents the Australian Government's response to the recommendations presented by the inquiry. The Australian Government welcomes the report and is committed to helping families manage their responsibilities for their children following separation. It agrees - or agrees in principle, or in part - with 18 of the 25 recommendations.

New Zealand's Child Support Amendment Act 2013 : some likely short-term effects of the new liability assessment formula.

Fletcher M
Australian Journal of Family Law v. 30 no. 1 Jun 2016: 28-50
The Child Support Amendment Act 2013 introduced into New Zealand's child support scheme a completely new formula for assessing liability. The formula, intended as part of an 'updating' of the scheme, is very similar to that introduced in Australia in 2008. It lowers the threshold for recognition of shared care, takes both parents' incomes into account and is based on empirical estimates of two-parent families' expenditure on children. This article examines the implications for both paying and receiving parents of each element of the changes to the formula, uses officials' modelling of the changes to analyse the likely static impacts of the changes and compares these to the changes predicted by the Australian child support department ahead of the reforms that occurred there. A central finding is that, despite the close similarity in both pre- and post-reform formulas, a few key differences in policy design between the two countries' systems result in very different outcomes.

Payee mothers' interactions with the Department of Human Services-Child Support : a summary of recent qualitative findings.

Natalier K, Cook K and Pitman T
Family Matters no. 97 2016: 30-40
This article explores mothers' experiences with the child support scheme in Australia, highlighting how interactions with the Department of Human Services-Child Support (DHS-CS) agency can facilitate or undermine the receipt of child support. It summarises findings from a recent qualitative study with 37 payee mothers, regarding the key institutional and interactional processes that create barriers to the receipt of expected and useful amounts of child support, the way the costs of children are calculated, DHS-CS approaches to enforcing payer compliance, and agency and worker communication practices. The impact on mothers in fearful or high-conflict relationships with their former partners is also discussed.

Institutional processes and the production of gender inequalities : the case of Australian child support research and administration.

Cook K, McKenzie H, Natalier K and Young L
Critical Social Policy v. 35 no. 4 2015: 512-534
This article highlights how low-income women disenfranchise themselves in child support calculations through the data they provide. The article draws on interviews with 19 single mothers, and also highlights how institutional data collection processes can entrench gender inequality.

Family law principles.

Harland A, Cooper D, Rathus Z and Alexander R
Pyrmont, N.S.W. : Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia, 2015.
This text book on family law focuses on issues of practice. Chapters include: the many meanings of family and family law; family court and jurisdictions; marriage, nullity and divorce; the family law dispute resolution system; legislative obligations in family dispute resolution; violence in the family; parenthood, parentage an parental responsibility; children and the family law act; relocation of children; family violence and child abuse in parenting cases; expert evidence and the role of social science in family law; alteration of property interests; advanced property topics; financial aspects of de facto and other formalised relationships; maintenance; financial support for children: child maintenance and child support; family lawyers: ethics and values; international family law issues; Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Australian family law in context : commentary and materials.

Parkinson P
Pyrmont, N.S.W. : Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia, 2015.
This text book for law students examines the operation of family law in Australia. Featuring notes and questions for discussion, it examines the context of families and family law, the resolution of family disputes, the formation and dissolution of marriage, economic aspects of relationship breakdown, and children in family law.

The impact of child support receipt on household income and labour supply

Fisher H
Indooroopilly, Qld : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2015.
Though child support schemes contribute to the household income of lone parents and the reduction of child poverty, there are concerns that it discourages labour force participation. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, this paper estimates the effect of receiving child support on single mothers' government transfer receipt, earned income, hours worked, and labour force participation. Contrary to the concerns, the findings show that mothers receiving child support are more likely to be in full time employment, work more hours per week, and are less likely to be out of the labour force. The implications for the design of child support and government transfer systems are also discussed.

Annual report 2015-15.

Australia. Dept. of Human Services
Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Human Services, 2015.
This annual report provides information on the performance and finance of the Australian Government Department of Human Services for the 2014/15 period. The department serves nearly all Australians through the delivery of health and welfare payments and services, including Medicare, Centrelink, and the Child Support Scheme. This report includes information on the role and structure of the department, key performance indicators, social security and welfare, health, child support, support for vulnerable populations, service delivery improvements, collaboration and community engagement, compliance and business integrity, and staffing and resourcing.

Comment on the 2015 report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Support Program.

Vnuk M, Smyth B and Archer T
Family Law Review v. 5 no. 3 Dec 2015: 155-167
This article critiques the recommendations of the recent Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Support Program and considers its background, political context, and scope. The inquiry was conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs and their findings tabled in July 2015 in the report 'From conflict to cooperation'.

The Australian child support reforms : a critical evaluation.

Smyth B, Rodgers B, Son V and Vnuk M
Australian Journal of Social Issues v. 50 no. 3 2015: 217-232
Sweeping changes to the Australian Child Support Scheme were introduced between 2006 and 2008, featuring a dramatically different system for the calculation of child support. Using data from the longitudinal Child Support Reform Study, this article evaluates the impacts of these reforms on separated families. It presents key findings regarding: parents' policy knowledge; strategic bargaining over child support and parenting time; shared-time parenting; pre- and post-reform financial living standards; and child support compliance.

Experiences of Separated Parents Study

Kaspiew R, Carson R, Dunstan J, De Maio J, Moore S, Moloney L, Smart D, Qu L, Coulson M and Tayton S
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2015.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has been commissioned to evaluate recent reforms that aimed to improve the family law system's response to disclosures of family violence, child abuse, and safety concerns. The report presents findings from one component of the evaluation - the Experiences of Separated Parents Study - which compared the experiences of parents who had separated either before or after the reforms were introduced. The parents were asked about their experiences of different types of abuse and violence, experiences of coercion and control, safety concerns for family members, use of protection orders, use of family law services for sorting out parenting arrangements, disclosure of violence or concerns to police or other services, consequences of disclosure, child wellbeing, child support compliance and fairness, and whether the family law system meets the needs of parents, addresses family violence, and protects the safety of children. The findings highlight that the majority of separated parents do not use family law system services to any great extent, resolving their parenting arrangements with little or no assistance. However, the parents who do use services are those affected by complex problems - emphasising the challenges faced by the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 reforms.

'It should be a big responsibility' : separated low-income mothers' evaluation of child support arrangements and the conduct of fathers.

Mackenzie H and Cook K
Australian Journal of Family Law v. 29 no. 2 Aug 2015: 135-156
This article explores mothers' experiences with child support in Australia, drawing on interviews with 20 separated low-income women receiving child support payments. It looks at how the mothers evaluate the value and fairness of the arrangements, and their expectations and actual experiences of child support receipt.

'Earning capacity' and maintenance in Anglo-Australian family law : different paths, same destination?

Young L and Wikeley N
Child and Family Law Quarterly v. 27 no. 2 2015: 129-150
This article compares how earning capacity is treated in Australian and British child support and spousal maintenance law and argues the case for reform.
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