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7.2 Change of assessment in special circumstances

The child support formula accommodates the majority of parents’ circumstances and provides flexibility for most changes that affect the assessment. A parent can apply to have their child support assessment reviewed if there are certain special circumstances that the formula cannot accommodate and that significantly affect either parent’s capacity to financially support the child or maintain themselves or a dependant. There are 10 possible grounds for a special circumstances application:

  • high costs of spending time with or communicating with a child
  • high costs of a child’s special needs
  • high costs of education expected by the parents
  • child care costs
  • income, property or financial resources of either a parent or a child
  • costs of supporting another person or child.

In 2018–19, the department received 17,168 change of assessment in special circumstances applications: 46.13 per cent of finalised applications resulted in a change to the rate of child support to better reflect the special circumstances of parents and their children. In 56.86 per cent of cases, the application related to a parent’s income, property, financial resources or earning capacity.