Child Custody and Support in Divorce: A Guide for Parents in Australia

Divorce can be an emotional and stressful time for everyone involved, but it can be especially difficult for children. In Australia, when a couple with children decides to divorce, they will need to make arrangements for child custody and support. This process can be complex, and it is recommended to seek the guidance of a child custody lawyer to help navigate through the legal system. 

Child custody

Child custody refers to the legal and practical responsibility for a child. In Australia, child custody is divided into two types: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child's upbringing, such as education, religion, and healthcare. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to the actual physical care and supervision of the child. 

When it comes to child custody, the best interests of the child are the primary consideration. In making decisions about custody, the courts will take into account a variety of factors, including the child's age, health, and emotional well-being, the parents' ability to provide for the child, and the child's relationship with each parent. The court may also consider the child's wishes, although this will depend on the child's age and maturity. 

If the parents are unable to agree on custody arrangements, they may need to attend mediation or seek the assistance of a child custody lawyer. A lawyer can help negotiate a custody arrangement that works for both parties and is in the best interests of the child. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court may need to make a decision for the family. 

Child support

Child support is another important consideration in divorce cases involving children. Child support refers to the financial support that a non-custodial parent provides to the custodial parent to help cover the costs of raising the child. In Australia, child support is determined by a formula that takes into account the income of both parents, the number of children involved, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. 

In Australia, child support is calculated using a formula known as the Child Support Formula. The amount of child support can be adjusted based on various factors, such as the child's special needs, the cost of childcare, and the parents' financial circumstances. If the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, there may be legal consequences, including wage garnishment, seizure of assets, or even imprisonment. The Child Support Agency can provide parents with an estimate of their child support payments based on their individual circumstances.

Shared Custody and Child Support 

When parents have shared custody of their children, the Child Support Formula takes into account the number of nights each parent has care of the children. This means that the parent who has the children for more nights may receive less child support than the other parent. It is important to note that shared custody does not necessarily mean that the child support obligation will be divided equally between the parents. 

Parenting Arrangements and Child Support 

Parenting arrangements can have a significant impact on child support payments. If one parent has the children for the majority of the time, they may be entitled to receive more child support than the other parent. It is important to ensure that any parenting arrangements are legally binding and enforceable, to avoid disputes over child support payments. 

Legal Assistance with Child Custody and Child Support 

When it comes to child custody and child support, it is important to seek legal advice from a lawyer for child custody. A lawyer can provide guidance on your legal rights and responsibilities, and help you negotiate a fair agreement with the other parent. If necessary, a lawyer can also represent you in court and ensure that your interests are protected. 


Child custody and support can be complicated issues in divorce cases, especially when emotions are running high. child support and shared custody are two important issues that parents may encounter after separation or divorce. It is essential to understand how child support works and how it is calculated, particularly when parents have shared custody of their children. It is important for parents to prioritize their child's best interests and seek the guidance of a child custody lawyer when necessary. A lawyer can provide valuable advice and advocacy to ensure that custody arrangements are fair and in the best interests of the child, and that child support obligations are met. 

Disclaimer: Any advice contained in our articles is general in nature based on information as at the date of publication and should not be acted upon without first obtaining professional advice on your particular circumstances.

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