Family Law: 23 March 2019
Recently there have been complaints in the news from a mistress who is disputing with a well known former cricketer how much child support he should be paying. According to newspaper reports he says he is paying the assessed amount and she says he should be paying her more. How can this happen?
The Child Support Agency has a set formula for child support payments. It is based on a number of variables, including a party's tax return. It is well known that tax returns may not be the final say in how much money a person takes home.
The good thing about the formula is it sets a clear amount that should be paid. There is no requirement for long or expensive court proceedings to determine this base amount. But this need not be the end of the story. If one parent is actually taking home far more than their tax return shows, or is doing nothing with a large asset that could be producing incoming, or is not working when they could be, the other parent can apply for a re-assessment taking into account many factors, including the parent's capacity to earn. Other issues can also be considered, such as expenses in caring for an unhealthy child.
The laws in these areas change subtly from time to time. Although lawyers do not represent parents in the early stages of disputes in these areas (with some exceptions), important advice on the merits and weaknesses of arguments to change child support.
So it is not unusual for a person to be paying the assessed amount of child support and yet be open to a claim that this is not enough. On the other hand, if a parent receives a large lump sum to sell an interview regarding the other parents failure to provide child support, this could also be a factor in considering the relative finances of the two parents.