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What is Centrelink?

Centrelink is part of the Department for Human Services.  They provide payments, including social security and child support.

Can my son/daughter receive child support now that they are at university?

If a child is over the age of 18 and engaged in tertiary study it is possible to seek Adult Child Maintenance. A mental or physical disability of the child can also require such payments.

Orders for Maintenance need to be sought from the Court or it is possible to obtain these Orders by consent.

What about children with disabilities?

Child support lasts until your children are 18. The Court may order payments after the child turns 18 for educational expense or if there is an ongoing disability. You will need to get legal advice.

I have a child support assessment. My child turns 18 this year and is still at school. Can I do anything?

Child support lasts until your children are 18. The Court may order payments after the child turns 18 for educational expense or if there is an ongoing disability. You will need to get legal advice.

I have lost my job and cannot afford to pay child support. What are my options?

It is possible that you will have less child support to pay. You can contact the CSA online.

The CSA will not give me a child support assessment because I do not have proof my ex-boyfriend is the father of my child. What can I do?

The CSA requires proof that a paying parent is a biological or adoptive parent of a child. Proof could be the parents name on the child’s birth certificate. The CSA will only issue a child support assessment to a person if proof can be provided that the paying parent is a biological or adoptive parent of the child.

If you cannot provide acceptable proof, you may need to take court action and have DNA testing done. Seek legal advice if you need proof of parentage.

What if there is a dispute about parentage of a child?

If there is a dispute about liability to pay child support, a court can make an order for parentage testing. The court can order repayment of the child support if parentage testing shows a person is not the child’s parent.

How is child support collected?

Parents can make their own private arrangements for the payment of child support if they can agree. However, private collection is only recommended in cases where the payer is likely to pay or has a good payment history. Private collection of a child support formula assessment can affect FTB(A) entitlements.

A payee can request payment liability is enforced by the CSA. The Child Support Agency can collect periodic payments of child support or maintenance payable under a child support assessment, a child support agreement or a court order. The Agency has broad powers to collect child support debts including collecting from wages, intercepting tax refunds and collecting money from bank accounts. If payments are not made on time and in full, late payment penalties can be charged.

Can parents make their own agreement about child support?

An administrative assessment of child support by the CSA is not compulsory. Parents can have their own arrangements they might have a private arrangements or they may have a written child support agreement registered with the CSA.

What if the administrative assessment is unfair?

The assessment might be unfair because a parent has lost their job, the child has special needs or because the child is attending a private school. The CSA considers each parents point of view and then decide whether the assessment should be changed.

How is child support calculated?

A formula is used. The formula incorporates the obligation of both parents to contribute to their children to the extent that they are able to do so. The results of research on the costs of raising children are also included. For a detailed explanation of how child support is calculated in Australia, please read our extensive article on Australian child support calculations.