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The CSA Guide - 2.2.1: Basics of care saidOlder children living away from home
Generally, older children who live independently and separately from their parents (and any non-parent carers) provide for many of their own care needs. This may include meeting their own ongoing daily needs (such as meal preparation, transport, socialising, etc) as well as making their own decisions about their daily activities, schooling and health issues. Therefore, it may be difficult to establish whether a person provides care for an older child who lives separately from that person.
Where a person provides substantial financial support to an older child living away from home, CSA will generally consider that financial support as an indicator that the person is continuing to provide care for the child. The support can be in relation to daily costs such as food, accommodation and transport, and/or in relation to longer term costs such as school fees, paying for airfares home for holidays, clothing, health and dental care, etc.
M and F have one child, A, who is 16 and working part time after leaving school early. M helps A find a suitable flat and pays the bond so that A can move closer to work. M helps A to pay for rent and utilities, and assists with other expenses such as buying work clothes and arranging and paying for medical appointments. M also helps A with decisions about things like finding alternative study options for further education. Every weekend M does A's laundry and provides cooked meals for the week. CSA would determine that M continues to care for A for child support purposes despite A living separately from M.
While financial support is often a key factor in determining whether a person cares for a child who lives away from home, it will not always be the sole determinant. In cases where the financial support provided is limited, and/or where other factors exist that suggest that the person continues to care for the child, CSA will consider whether the person is actively involved in major decisions relating to the child. For example, decisions relating to the child's health, schooling, relationships, career, etc may be indicators that the person continues to provide care for the child.
M and F have one child, A, who is 17 and working as an apprentice. A decides to rent a room in a share house. F helps A move in and pays the cost of petrol on the occasions A comes back for a visit. F also makes deposits into A's bank account every now and then if A needs some extra cash to make ends meet. A pays for rent, utilities and any other expenses, and shares in household chores including meal preparation and cleaning. Unless there were other relevant factors, CSA would determine that A is living independently and F does not care for A for child support purposes.