Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Divorced Fathers Come in From the Cold

A significant change in Australia’s child maintenance policy is in the offing, according to the recent proposal. The big news in town is that almost two-thirds of the long-suffering divorced fathers would pay less in child support.

But there is a sting in the (de)tail.

Under the new dispensation, the cost of supporting children will be determined on the basis of the parents’ combined income. And the total cost of maintenance will be distributed between the parents according their capacity to pay and the time they spend with the children.

Thus, for the first time, overtime payments and income from second jobs are exempted from the assessment of the father’s income. Furthermore, divorced fathers who have a new family will be able to set aside a portion of their income for the new child before being forced to pay maintenance.

This, indeed, is a clear win for the divorced father’s. But the big brother is watching!

Nevertheless, in the new formula, custodial parents - mostly women – would keep all the family tax benefits; unless the father has the child more than 35 per cent of the time. A big win for the hard-working mothers!

But, in the final analysis, divorced fathers still have more reasons to celebrate. They will pay less in child maintenance and still manage to keep some cash for their new families.
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