child support

Equality and feminism: Higher earning Mums paying child support

The rate of growth in the number of women paying child support has outpaced that of men, according to data exclusively provided to Financy.

2043 0

It’s the forces of gender equality and feminism at work. There are more higher earning mums paying child support than there used to be.

The rate of growth in the number of women paying child support has outpaced that of men, according to data exclusively provided to Financy.

According to the latest data from the Department of Human Services the number of mothers paying child support increased from 59,883 to 60,314 or by 0.72 per cent in the 12 months to June 30 2017. 

By contrast the number of fathers paying child support decreased from 531,861 to 525,369 or -1.22 per cent over the same period.

Overall the number of men paying child support represented 87.34 per cent of all paying parents compared to 10.03 per cent of women.

The number of parents who’s gender is marked unknown also increased from 14,438 to 15,820 or 10 per cent higher.

It’s not clear whether the changes in the data reflect the actions of the Department of Human Services’ to encourage parents, regardless of their gender, to make child support payments in full and on time.

Rebecca Bunney principal at Cullen Macleod Lawyers believes the findings are likely to reflect many things but what can’t be ignored is the social trend of men taking a larger role in the care of children, and women returning to work.

What is interesting to note is that the increase in mothers paying child support comes at a time when there is a record number of women participating in the workforce and working full-time.

According to the latest Financy Women’s Index, which will reveal its full report for the June quarter on Wednesday, the female participation rate rebounded to 60.5 per cent, the same as what it was in the December quarter, but up slightly on the 60.4 per cent in the March quarter.

The total male participation rate stands at 70.9 per cent for the June report, down from 71 per cent in December 2017.

Research also suggests that more women (about 40 per cent) consider themselves as the main breadwinners of their household, and that a small but growing number of men are staying home to look after the children.

Just like men, women have to pay child support in Australia if the Department of Human Services determines so.

In Australia, child support is determined by a formula that involves the respective incomes of the parents, nights per care of the children, and also the ages of the children.

For example, if you have a situation where the parents share care of the children (50/50) and the woman earns more than the man, then she will pay some child support to him.

If he earns more than her, he will pay some child support to her. Many men are now staying home to care for the children, so if he is at home and she is out working, then it follows that she will have to pay child support to him.

If you want to look at the child support estimator to play around with nights per care, incomes etc, you can access it here.

Subscribe to Financy®

Get your Financy fortnightly fix with Financy Rewards, content and more. Plus each quarter you'll receive the latest Financy Women's Index, helping you keep pace with women's financial progress.

In this article