A brief summary
Parents are responsible for the financial support of their child/ren.
Parents can agree on child support through an informal agreement, an Administrative Assessment or a Child Support Agreement.
Parents can make a private Child Support Agreements if children attend private schools or have more expensive living costs.
There are two types of private agreements; Limited Child Support Agreement and Binding Child Support Agreement.
In some limited circumstances you can apply to the Federal Circuit Court for a departure from a Child Support Assessment.
We advise on parenting matters, child support, and binding child support agreements.
Child Support Assessment
After separation, parents can reach agreement about the financial support they pay to their child/ren, however regardless of circumstances each parent is responsible for the financial support of their child. Parents can reach an informal agreement as to how much financial support is needed for the child/ren.
Alternatively, parents and non-parent carers can make an application through Services Australia to decide how to manage, receive and pay child support. You cannot apply to the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court for child support. In some limited circumstances a parent can apply to the Federal Circuit Court for a departure from a Child Support Assessment.
Departure from a Child Support Assessment
In some limited circumstances you can apply to the Federal Circuit Court for a departure from an Administrative Assessment made by Services Australia.
A Court may also make an order for child maintenance. For example, the Court can make an order for an adult child who is older than 18 if the adult child has a disability or is seeking further education. The Court order can be registered with Services Australia and they can collect the Court ordered amount.
Child Support Agreement
Parents can reach a private agreement about the amount of financial support to be paid for the child/ren called a Child Support Agreement. This can specify how much is to be paid for each child, and can include for example payment towards private school fees, and private health insurance etc.
Depending on individual circumstances, there are two agreement types that can be agreed to:
- Limited Child Support Agreement; and
- Binding Child Support Agreement.
Binding Child Support Agreement
A Binding Child Support Agreement is registered with Services Australia and require both parents to obtain legal advice prior to signing. It can specific payments for expenses that go beyond what a Child Support Assessment will consider, such as private school fees, extra-curricular activities and private health insurance.
You should seek legal advice before deciding what to do. We can assist you to:
- Understand your legal rights and responsibilities, and explain how the law applies to your case.
- Reach an agreement with the other party without going to court.
Frequently Asked Questions
Parents can still have an arrangement in place for the payment of child support regardless of whether you or the other parent lives overseas. For it to be enforceable, the relevant country must be a country Australia has an agreement with.
Services Australia has an online calculator tool that parents can use to give an estimate of child support payable. You can choose to either privately pay or collect child support payments, or have it collected by Services Australia. If you self-manage child support you will not have a Child Support Assessment.
If the way you share care for your child changes and you receive a Administratively Assessed Child Support, you need to tell Services Australia within 28 days. If you don’t, they may only be able to update your payments from the date you tell them. You also need to update any other relevant detail such as a change of address, bank account or employment/income.
You should contact Services Australia or your solicitor as soon as possible if child support has not been received.