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Tribunal: Member P Sperling

A child support decision that the mother of a 17-year-old had 100 per cent care of her daughter was affirmed under review by the AAT.

In early 2019, a delegate of the Department of Humans Services – Child Support (the Department) increased the mother’s care percentage from 86 per cent to 100 per cent after she notified the Department of a change of care. The mother and daughter had relocated interstate and the daughter lived with her fulltime.

The father objected, asking the Department to review its decision, arguing he had maintained the existing pattern of care despite the distance. He described having regular care of his daughter through a combination of her overnight visits to his house and travelling to visit her in her new home. However, an objections officer disallowed his objection upholding the original decision. The father sought a review in the AAT.

The legal issue for the AAT, in this case, related to the existing determination of care in place from 2017 that the mother had the child 86 per cent of the time and the father 14 per cent. The legislative test on review is based on what happened up until the change in care and what is likely to happen thereafter. This is known as the point-in-time approach.

The AAT found, while the father might have been somewhat involved in the child’s life since 2017, it was not sufficient for him to be determined to have regular care.

Read the full decision