Child Support Agreement
Applying for a child maintenance court order through the Family Court
For more information about applying for a child maintenance court order through the Family Courts, call the Family Law Courts National Enquiry Centre on 1300 352 000.
If you can agree with the other parent on how your children should be supported financially, you can make a Child Support agreement and ask us to accept it.
There are two types of agreements:
Limited agreements are formal agreements that must be in writing and signed by both parents. Legal advice is not needed before entering into a limited agreement. Before we can accept a Child Support agreement:
- there must be a Child Support assessment already in place
- the annual rate payable as set in the agreement must be equal to or more than the annual rate of the Child Support assessment.
Binding agreements must also be in writing and signed by both parents. They are different from limited agreements in that the parents must seek independent legal advice to enter into or end the agreement.
Binding agreements can include lump sum payments (including transfer of property) to be credited as Child Support instead of monthly cash or electronic payments.
Where we cannot assess Child Support, a court order may apply.
You need to know
Limited agreements for Child Support
Limited agreements are formal agreements for Child Support that are in writing and signed by both parents.
Binding agreements for Child Support
Binding agreements are written agreements for Child Support signed by both parents after getting legal advice.
Court orders for Child Support
The Family Courts deal with child maintenance for children whose Child Support we cannot assess.
Making a limited agreement for Child Support
To make a limited agreement, you can complete a Child Support agreement form. You can use the form as a guide to help you draw up an agreement, or ask for help from a solicitor or Legal Aid.
If you need help or information to resolve issues about children, money and property you can also call the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321.
Making a binding agreement for Child Support
To make a binding agreement you must get independent legal advice to make sure you understand the consequences of the agreement. This legal advice must be provided by a legal practitioner who has been admitted by the Supreme Court of a state or territory of Australia and holds a current practicing certificate. Your legal practitioner will provide you with more information about this type of agreement.
Lodging a limited or binding agreement for Child Support
To apply for acceptance of a limited or binding agreement for Child Support, you can complete the application for acceptance section in a Child Support agreement form, lodge your application in writing or call 131 272.
Applying for a court order for Child Support
To apply for a child maintenance court order, contact the Family Courts. For more information about applying to the Family Courts, call the Family Courts National Enquiry Centre on 1300 352 000.
Managing your child support
Ending a limited agreement for Child Support
A limited agreement for Child Support can be ended if both parents agree.
Parents can also end a limited agreement if:
- more than three years have passed with the existing agreement in place and written notice is provided by the parent who wants to end it
- there is a court order that sets aside the agreement
- a new notional assessment (an assessment made by us using the Child Support formula) varies by more than 15 per cent from the previous notional assessment, in circumstances not anticipated in the agreement, and one of the parents wants to end it, or
- a new agreement replaces the existing agreement.
Meeting your Child Support responsibilities
As a parent, you have responsibilities and rights. You also have choices in arranging your Child Support in a way that works for both parents.
As a parent with a Child Support case or agreement, you are responsible for making sure:
- the agreed shared care arrangements of your children are met
- you lodge your tax return on time
- you report your income accurately
- you inform us of any changes as soon as possible, including:
- if you have not received a payment
- if you cannot make a payment
- if the agreed care arrangements for your children are not being met
- a change to the number of dependent children you have
- your employment status
- your address and contact details
- changes to your bank account details
- if you, the other parent or a child intend to move overseas
- if you are trying a reconciliation with the other parent
- if a child you make payments for is turning 18
- if a child is adopted, marries or starts to live in a defacto relationship
- if a parent or child included in the assessment dies.
The Child Support Guide
The Child Support Guide is our technical resource, which outlines our approach to the administration of the Child Support Scheme.
The Parent’s Guide to Child Support
The Parent’s Guide to Child Support has relevant and important information to help you understand Child Support, your rights and responsibilities and the services we offer.
Me and my changing family
The Me and my changing family booklet provides tips on building healthy relationships after separation.
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