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 from a Private Collect period
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 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’re a paying parent and you miss a payment, you need to contact us. We will consider your circumstances and come up with a manageable payment arrangement together.
If you do not contact us or we cannot come to an arrangement with you, we will actively try to recover the overdue child support for the benefit of your children.
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 the other parent. Penalties can be remitted 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 the paying parent’s pay or income support payment
- working with banks to deduct money from the paying parent’s bank accounts
- deductions from income support or veteran’s affairs benefits
- 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 the paying parent from leaving the country
- taking the paying parent 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, 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 to support the collection of child support.
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.