Overdue Child Support payments
There are a number of reasons why a Child Support payment may be overdue:
- the payment was late or not paid
- there was a change to the assessment that caused arrears
- the receiving parent has asked us to collect arrears
- a court order
Another reason for overdue Child Support is because you did not tell us about a change to your circumstances, such as:
- your income
- care of your children
- the number of dependent children you have
- payments you made directly to the other parent
- sections in your court order or agreement that affect payments
It is important that you tell us about any changes to your circumstances as soon as they happen because we may not be able to backdate the change.
If you miss a payment, you need to contact us. When we talk to you, we will consider your circumstances and come up with a manageable payment arrangement.
If we cannot come to an arrangement with you, we will actively try to recover the overdue Child Support for the benefit of your children.
We follow this process when trying to recover overdue Child Support:
- Call the paying parent to discuss the outstanding payment, giving them the opportunity to pay outstanding amounts voluntarily.
- Assess the paying parent’s ability to pay and their attitude towards paying the outstanding amount.
- Confirm the arrangements to clear the outstanding payment.
- Discuss options for making ongoing payments and confirm arrangements.
- If the parent refuses to pay, we determine the best enforcement option based on previous behaviour, risk and available data.
Late payment penalties
If payments are not made in full and on time, penalties are applied to the amount of Child Support outstanding. These penalties are paid to the Australian Government—not to us or the other parent. Penalties can be waived in some circumstances if the overdue Child Support is paid in full.
Recovering overdue Child Support
The legislation gives us powers to recover overdue Child Support through a number of ways, including:
- automatically deducting Child Support from your pay or income support payment
- working with banks to deduct money from your bank accounts
- benefit deductions
- working with third parties to pay the money to us on the paying parent’s behalf
- enforcing tax return lodgements
- intercepting tax return refunds
- stopping you from leaving the country
- taking you to court
We also encourage you to get in touch with us if you think you have information that will help us collect Child Support for your children or others. For instance:
If you know a parent who owes outstanding Child Support payments and is planning to leave the country
In some cases, under a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO), we can stop them leaving Australia until they make those payments or come to an arrangement with us.
If you believe the other parent has income we do not know about
We are legally able to investigate a parent’s financial situation. We work with other government agencies to gain additional information.
If you know a person who is avoiding their Child Support responsibilities
Let us know, or you can contact the Australian Government Fraud Tip-off line on 131 524 as they also handle Child Support issues.