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How do I apply for child support?

An application for child support is made to the Child Support Agency online or by completing a form (available at Centrelink). The CSA makes an administrative assessment and sends the assessment to both parents.

Who can apply for child support?

A parent who is not living with the other parent and who has the care of a child for at least part of the time can apply. In some circumstances, persons such as step parents and grandparents who have care of a child can apply for child support.

Who has to pay child support?

Both parents of the child are liable to pay child support. Biological parents, adoptive parents and IVF parents all have a liability.

How much child support will I receive or have to pay and for how long?

The Child Support Agency (CSA) calculates the amount of child support. The calculation used by the CSA considers parents’ incomes, the percentage of care each parent has and the cost of living.

Child Support is ordinarily payable until the youngest child is 18 years of age. If the child is at school in the year they turn 18, payments continue until the end of the school year.

What children are eligible for child support?

Child support is payable for all children living in Australia whose parents have separated. If a child turns 18 during their last year at school then that child is eligible for child support until they complete the school year. A child who is married or living in a de facto relationship is not eligible for child support.

Usually child support requires both parents to be living in Australia, but there are arrangements with some other countries for collection and payment of child support, if one of the parents or the child is living in that country.

What is child support?

Child support means financial support for children under the Child Support (Assessment) Act. Child support is paid by regular periodic payments, but also may be paid by lump sum payment, payment of specific expenses or by transfer or settlement of property.

Child Maintenance Orders

Today, child maintenance orders are not allowed f it is possible that the Child Support Agency can make a determination for Child Support. Child maintenance orders are only available to children who were born before and whose parents separated before 1 October 1989. Generally, child maintenance orders are no longer available, as all children born before 1 October 1989 would now be over 18 years of age.

When do Consent Orders for Child Support cease to have effect?

Child Support payments are no longer required when a child ceases to be eligible for Child Support.

Modifying the amount of Child Support

Child Support can be determined by a Child Support Agreement between parents or through a Child Support Assessment by the Child Support Agency.

Under a Binding Child Support Agreement, parents cannot vary the amount of Child Support agreed except by mutual agreement or by a Court Order. Each party must obtain independent legal representation for the purposes of drafting, agreeing, terminating or changing the terms of a Binding Child Support Agreement.

If you are not happy with a decision made by the Child Support Agency, it is possible to challenge the decision.

Considerations for determining the contribution of each party to the care of the child

The Child Support Agency Assessment uses a formula which takes a variety of factors into account.

Parents can agree to a private Child Support Agreement. A Binding Child Support Agreement may stipulate an amount of Child Support that is less than the Child Support Agency Assessment amount. A Limited Child Support Agreement must provide for a Child Support Amount that is at least equal to the Child Support Agency Assessment amount.

Considerations for determining the amount of Child Support

Child Support can be determined by a Child Support Agreement between parents or through a Child Support Assessment by the Child Support Agency.