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Developments on Backdating Child Support Applications

There has been a recent development in case law following the child support case of Calafiore v Netia [2019] Fam CAFC 132 (2 August 2019).  

The two parties gave birth to a child after separating from each other, however no paternity declaration was made at birth. A paternity declaration is a voluntarily signed document which establishes legal rights and responsibilities to the father. This provides the legal benefits and rights of being the father of the child.

As a result, when the mother went to file an application for child support, it was rejected, as the father’s name had not been included on the birth certificate.

Four years after the application, a paternity test confirmed that the father was the parent of the child. The paternity was confirmed by the Court; however, the judge did not make the order for child support, deferring to the Child Support Agency to make the determination.

A point of discussion faced by the Court was the matter of backdating the payments from the date of the application.  The trial judge was of the opinion that they did not have the power to backdate child support assessments. In addition, the Child Support Agency representative agreed with the assessment.

Despite this opinion, the Court declared that the original child support application should be corrected. The father was then expected to pay back child support since the date of the original application. 

The decision was appealed and ultimately the Court found that the outcome was correct. The Court declared that an application for child support can be approved retrospectively. This is in the specific circumstance where the application was denied on the grounds that the Registrar was not satisfied that the person to be assessed is a parent of the child.

Therefore the father was made liable for child support from the date the application was made by the mother.

Child support matters can be of varying complexity. If you are or believe you will be involved in a matter involving a child we are more than happy to discuss your options. 


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