How to know if you’re receiving the right amount of child support

child support south australia

When a divorce or separation occurs, both parents still have a responsibility to support their children financially. In most cases, the parent who has physical custody of the children fulfils this responsibility by being the custodial parent and is entitled to claim child support payments from the other non-custodial parent.

It’s important to make sure you are receiving the right amount of child support so you know the costs of raising your children are covered fairly and evenly by both parents. Read on to find out how you can check if you’re receiving the right amount of child support and what you should do if you’re not.

1. Get a Child Support Assessment

The easiest way to make sure you’re receiving the correct amount of child support is to apply for a child support assessment from the Child Support Agency.  

It’s important to apply for child support as soon as possible after separation because the Child Support Agency may not be able to backdate your child support entitlements.

While you and the other parent can agree to increase the amount of child support you receive, the other parent should not be paying you less than the amount identified in the child support assessment.

The Child Support system exists to provide financial support for children under 18 years of age. Find out what child support is supposed to cover.

After you have a child support assessment, the Child Support Agency will contact the other parent and let you both know how much child support you should be receiving.  

The Agency will want the other parent to pay you directly if possible. Always set up your child support payment by way of direct debit to a bank account so that you and the other parent both have a record as to when and whether you have been paid.  

2. Check the facts are correct

When you first get your child support assessment you should check if the incomes on the assessment are correct for your former partner and yourself. If they are not correct you should contact the Child Support Agency. The Child Support Agency usually uses the last tax return of each person to calculate the child support income.  

If the child support assessment doesn’t properly take into account the actual care arrangements for your children, our lawyers at DBH Family Law can advise you how to get the correct care arrangements taken into account, such as through parenting plans, mediation or, if necessary, court proceedings.

3. Take action if the other parent isn’t paying child support

If the other parent is not paying the whole or any of your child support entitlement, you should contact the Child Support Agency every time they miss a payment. If they are a PAYE taxpayer, the Child Support Agency can arrange for their payment to be taken out by their employers. Sometimes they can also seize a tax refund or bank account if there is a child support debt.

4. Apply for an increase in child support

Child support is meant to cover basic living expenses for the child when they are in your care, such as food, clothing, public school expenses, transport costs and the like. Sometimes children have extra expenses and it’s possible to apply to increase your child support assessment to take them into account.  

Our lawyers at DBH Family Law can advise you about whether you are entitled to apply for an increase in your child support assessment.

You may be entitled to more child support if:

  • Your children were attending private school at separation and the other parent is not now contributing to the school fees, or you cannot afford the school fees yourself;
  • Your children have extraordinary medical expenses such as if they have a disability or require braces; and
  • The paying parent has financial resources or income that does not appear in their tax return, such as the ability to have many of their expenses paid through a small business.

DBH’s Family Lawyers can help you maximise your child support through your application to review your child support assessment. They can ensure all of the information needed is provided to the Child Support Agency, that the forms are correctly filled out and that your case for an increase in child support is made as clearly as possible.

When child support isn’t enough…

Sometimes child support alone is not enough to enable you to manage your living expenses in the period after separation. DBH Family Law can also advise you about your entitlement to spouse maintenance and assist you in negotiating a financial settlement with your former partner.


For more information and to schedule a first, no-obligation interview, call us on 1800 324 324 or send us your enquiry online.

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Can I claim compensation if I contract Hepatitis A from contaminated food?

Blog Post - Hep A

Can I claim compensation if I contract Hepatitis A from contaminated food?

Over recent times, there have been several examples in the media of consumers who have been affected by Hepatitis A, including through the consumption of frozen mixed berries, and more recently, frozen pomegranate seeds which led to the death of a 64 year old Australian woman.

Hepatitis A is one of five strains of Hepatitis (a liver disease), which is contracted when infected faecal matter is ingested.  One of the common ways in which Hepatitis A is spread, is through poor hand hygiene.  Therefore, there are many examples of people contracting Hepatitis A when consuming foods prepared by people with poor hand hygiene.

Although symptoms of Hepatitis A are treatable, they can cause significant pain and discomfort, requiring time off work.  According to the SA Health Topic in relation to Hepatitis A, symptoms can last one to two weeks, or several months in severe cases.  In addition, people who have been infected by Hepatitis A will likely have to pay for treatment expenses.

If you have been infected by Hepatitis A, and if it can be linked to the consumption of food or produce, such as from a frozen foods company, café, restaurant or otherwise, you may be entitled to compensation, which can include for:-

  • pain and suffering;
  • time off work;
  • additional care that you have required; and
  • past and future medical expenses.

If you have been infected by Hepatitis A, or if you have suffered from any other food poisoning, call 1800 324 324 and speak to one of our public liability specialists for expert advice.

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“Non-Seriously Injured Workers” that require surgery after 30 June 2018 may be able to claim compensation.

 

medical assessment advice adelaide

“Non-Seriously Injured workers” are people with a Whole Person Impairment of 29% or less who were receiving weekly payments from 1 July 2015 until 30 June 2017.

Accordingly, their entitlement to medical expenses will expire as of 30 June 2018.

However, if you require surgery after 30 June 2018 for a work place injury sustained after 1 July 2015 (other than a surgery involving the insertion of a therapeutic appliance such as shoulder, knee or hip replacements), you can still claim compensation for the cost of that surgery after 30 June 2018, but you will need to lodge an application with your workers’ compensation claims agent before 30 June 2018.

How do I lodge an application with a workers’ compensation claim agent?

A lawyer can help you with preparation and lodgement of the application to make sure it complies with the Act. Seeking legal advice about this matter is urgent because further information (like a report from your doctor) may be required to complete the application.

Whole Person Impairment Assessment

If you have not already undergone a Whole Person Impairment assessment, you should arrange this as you may be eligible for a lump sum payment for economic loss and pain and suffering.

What do I do about my ongoing medical expenses?

Medical expenses such as medication, physiotherapy appointments and doctors’ appointments will need to be paid for by you (or claimed on Medicare or with your private health insurer, where possible).

We recommend that you meet with your usual doctor as soon as you can for advice in relation to any ongoing/further treatment that you may require so that, where possible, medical treatment (like radiological scans) can be arranged and medication scripts can be filled, before 30 June 2018 (whilst those expenses are still compensable).

DBH are here to help.

If your medical expenses are coming to an end and you need assistance, contact Duncan Basheer Hannon on 1800 324 324 and speak to one of our workers’ compensation specialists for professional advice.

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Combining Family Law Courts could save time & money for Adelaide families

Currently there are two courts where Family Law matters are heard, the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court. 

What is proposed?

Family law matters are generally issued in the Federal Circuit Court unless the matter is considered “complex”. The Federal Circuit Court may order a matter to be transferred to the Family Court on the basis of complexity.

The federal Attorney-General, Christian Porter, expects to improve the efficiency of the Family Law court system in Adelaide by ensuring families don’t have to move between the two courts.

Combining the Courts may help to relieve the very heavy load in the Federal Circuit Courts by opening up the Family Court to more hearings.

Why this has come about?  

Mr Porter wants to improve the efficiency of the Family Court by creating a single entry point to the system.  Around 1200 families a year move between the Family Court and lower level Federal Circuit Court and this can lead to confusion as to where a case should start.  This leads to families being transferred between courts.  The wait time for a trial in the Adelaide Federal Circuit Court can be between 12-18 months.

Family Court filing fees are far more expensive than the Federal Circuit Court fees. Due to the difference in filing fees most matters are commenced in the Federal Circuit Court.

What next and how it will affect people?

Combining both Courts may help to save time and money for people dealing with Family Law matters while alleviating the strain on Family Law judges.  Mr Porter also expects to slash the annual travel expenditure incurred by judges by combining the courts.

For more information click here.

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State of South Australia vs Roberts: When an injury arises in the course of employment

In April 2017, the Full Court of the Supreme Court heard an appeal from TAFE, South Australia’s largest vocational education and training provider, after the Full Bench of the South Australian Employment Tribunal overturned a workers compensation claim rejection by TAFE.

While reviewing the matter, the Supreme Court considered the question of when employment is a significant contributing cause of an injury. The Return to Work Act 2014 requires that the Act only applies to an injury if it arises from employment. An injury arises from employment if the employment was a significant contributing cause of an injury.

What does it mean for employment to be a significant contributing cause of an injury? We review the recent appeal and decision of the State of South Australia vs Roberts in the Supreme Court to explore what it means when an injury arises from employment.

The Facts

Mrs Roberts was a full-time lecturer and hairdresser employed by TAFE.  In October 2015 as part of her employment, Mrs Roberts volunteered to teach hairdressing to Aboriginal women at Oodnadatta. Her accommodation was authorised and paid for by TAFE. The accommodation was unsatisfactory as it was not mosquito proof. Mrs Roberts was bitten by mosquitos that carried a virus which caused the contraction of inflammatory polyarthritis. This virus is not common and not all mosquitos carry the virus which caused the inflammation.  

A claim for workers compensation lodged by Mrs Roberts for the aggravation of the inflammatory polyarthritis was rejected by TAFE. Deputy President Judge Calligeros of the South Australian Employment Tribunal overturned the rejection and ordered that Mrs Roberts’ claim be accepted. TAFE appealed to the Full Bench of the South Australian Employment Tribunal and the Full Bench upheld the decision of Deputy President Judge Calligeros. TAFE appealed to the full Supreme Court.  

Supreme Court Decision

On 17 April 2017, the Full Court of the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by TAFE.  

The Court found that being required to live in the accommodation in Oodnadatta was in the course of Mrs Roberts’ employment.  

The Court also had to consider whether the employment was a significant contributing cause and ruled:

  • The illness was caused by mosquito bites.
  • The mosquito bites occurred in unsatisfactory accommodation in a remote location.
  • The accommodation was arranged or paid for by TAFE.
  • Mrs Roberts was present at the remote location for the sole purpose of carrying out her duties.

The Court concluded that employment was a significant contributing cause of the injury.

The Full Court of the Supreme Court ruled that employment will be a significant cause of an injury if it is an important or influential cause.

Importance of the Decision

This is the first decision by the highest court in South Australia on the meaning of the new test for whether work injuries are compensable. This was described by the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Honourable John Rau MP, in his speech to parliament to introduce the Return To Work Act 2014 as:

The gateway provision, which is the provision that gives a person the right to participate in the scheme beyond that point.”

In my view, this decision is a victory for common sense.  

Each case will have to be considered on its own facts but if employment can be seen as one of the important or influential causes of physical injury, the claim should be accepted.  

We will be watching to see how this decision is applied to psychological injury cases where the test is that employment must be “the significant contributing cause” rather than “a significant contributing cause”.

For further information on this decision or an evaluation of your case or any aspect of workers compensation law, please contact Duncan Basheer Hannon.

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Let’s Work This Out: The Collaborative Family Law Process

Divorce is painful but it doesn’t have to be destructive. When it comes to divorce and separation, there are many ways of resolving your family law matter without going through the costly, stressful and exhausting Family Law Court process. Mediation is an excellent alternative to the traditional court-based approach to family law disputes, allowing both parties to reach an agreement they both own quickly, with less tension, and often with lower legal costs.

A Collaborative Approach To Divorce & Separation

There are several sorts of mediation in family dispute resolution. With one type of divorce mediation, the parties see a mediator or, if there are children, a counsellor and the mediator who guide them through the process. It is always best to have legal advice about your likely best and worse outcomes and how to effectively present what you want at mediation before entering the mediation process.

Another very helpful style of mediation is a collaborative approach. With a collaborative divorce, lawyers assist you in negotiating and resolving your family law dispute in a positive and civilised way. With this model:

  • Most contact is face-to-face so productive negotiations can happen quite quickly, with you, your partner and your two lawyers present (although you may choose to negotiate by letter). Occasionally, a counsellor or financial expert may help guide the meetings.
  • You, your partner and both of your lawyers sign a binding agreement that outlines the scope and purpose of the lawyer’s representation: to help both of you reach a negotiated agreement with good outcomes that meet the needs of both parties.
  • You and your partner will agree not to take the matter to court or to make threats along those lines.
  • Your respective lawyers will also agree not to act for you both in court should you be unable to reach an agreement.

collaborative divorce adelaide

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

With a collaborative divorce, everything is on the table for both parties to see. This team approach is best for people who want to act in good faith, who want a good result for both sides, and who are willing to be transparent with their assets.

There are significant benefits to choosing a collaborative divorce over a traditional court-based approach:

1. No winners or losers

In litigation, the focus is on winning but with a collaborative divorce, there are no winners or losers. Instead, the focus is on the preservation of family relationships, and you and your partner work together to come to a solution that is both beneficial to your children and mutually acceptable to both of you.

2. Faster agreements and fewer legal costs

The collaborative process is all managed outside of the courtroom, eliminating the need for expensive and time-consuming hearings. While litigated cases can last from six months to several years, a collaborative divorce can be done far quicker and typically at a much lower cost.

3. Less stress and anxiety

A collaborative divorce or separation is private and focused on helping you and your partner communicate effectively with one another, as opposed to attacking each other. Your lawyers will work with you to address legal, financial, emotional and parenting aspects of divorce in a healthy way, saving you and your family a lot of grief and stress.

4. You both own the agreement

Not only will you and your partner have more control over the outcomes of the process, but you’ll decide on the terms of your agreement and settle issues based on compromise and fair play, rather than having a judge pass down the final decision.

How can DBH help with your divorce or separation?

Duncan Basheer Hannon’s team of experienced family lawyers can help you through all stages of the mediation process. We can advise you about the process and which approach is best for you. We can also assist you with strategies going into mediation, advice during the mediation process, and with recording the agreements reached at mediation in a legally binding way.  

If you’re frustrated with the idea of lawyers negotiating through letters without a chance to move things forward by meeting with your spouse, collaborative mediation may be an excellent option to help you resolve your matter.  

A collaborative mediation process allows you to own your agreement and build better communication as separated parents or partners to move forward productively.  

Schedule a free initial consultation with a DBH family lawyer for a no-obligation chat to discuss your options to resolve children and property matters using a collaborative process.

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Max Basheer: Celebrating 91 Years

DBH Consultant Max Basheer will celebrate his 91st birthday on 9th May 2018. The longest serving former SANFL President continues to work five days a week with the DBH Commercial Law team because “it’s good to keep the mind active”.

Max was born on the day that Canberra became the capital of Australia, 9th May 1927. His parents, Archie & Labeebee Basheer were of Lebanese descent, living in Kalangadoo South Australia.

young max basheer

“My mother was a magnificent woman. A smart business person. She saved for me to go to college.”

Labeebee, along with her husband and six children ran the Kalangadoo Hotel although Max admits his duties were kept to a minimum.

When Max was 16 years old he moved to Adelaide and attended boarding school where his good memory allowed him to coast through study while sport took centre stage.

“I was not a good student. I concentrated on sport. Football, cricket, tennis… I was named ‘best man on the ground’ playing football for the Intercollegiate side against St Peter’s College at Adelaide Oval. I was presented with the match football at morning assembly in front of the whole school… the biggest thrill of my life that one…”

In 1947 Max began a law degree at the University of Adelaide and worked part-time at Povey & Waterhouse.

“I was quite intrigued by law cases. Even at boarding school, I had a hankering that I wanted to do law. My parents wanted me to study medicine… Law was a very small profession in Adelaide in the 50s.”

Max played football for North Adelaide but retired when the club would not grant him permission to be cleared for the Sturt Football Club.  His inability play for Sturt prompted Max to end his career.

“In 1997, for my 70th birthday, I had a big party at home and invited all the people from the league clubs and North Adelaide came along. Their chairman presented me with a plaque… it was a clearance from North Adelaide to Sturt. Brought the house down.”

He chuckles.

In 1954 Max began representing players that were reported in matches and was later appointed the South Australian Amateur Football League’s honorary solicitor.

Eight years later Max became the President of the SANFL, ultimately serving a record term of 25 years. During this time Max worked tirelessly to ensure that decisions about our local clubs were carefully considered.

“It was a very traumatic time in the league, I’d done a lot of work to establish Football Park with no help from the government. I had to fight very hard for every football match in South Australia to be played at Football Park so that the future of the sport in our state was assured… I always had the interests of the South Australian National Football League at heart… to secure its future so it could not be taken over by another state.”

In 1990 Max negotiated the first AFL license for an SA team, the Adelaide Crows and later, The Port Adelaide Power. He was committed to ensuring that the timing and conditions were right for South Australia to join the national league.

max basheer

It is not surprising that Max was awarded a Member of The Order of Australia in 1988 for services to the game of Australian football although it is clear Max always put South Australia first.

Like Max, DBH remains proudly and firmly South Australian. An invaluable trait in a world, where the local has been flooded by the global.

Max enjoys his work as a Commercial Law Consultant because it allows him to continue to serve others. He is known for being clever and kind with a winning personality, a story up every sleeve.

He asked me to ensure that I did not write anything ‘flowery or overly complimentary’ to which I replied:

“That may be difficult Max”.

Portrait (left) by Matt Loxton.

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