Child Support Payment

An amount of money transferred between separated parents used to help raise your children whether you live in Australia or overseas.

Check your Child Support account

The Child Support Info Service is an automated telephone service that gives receiving parents information about their Child Support payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To use this service you need your Child Support Reference Number and your Personal Identification Number. Call 131 107.

You can transfer child support payments privately or the receiving parent can ask us to do it for you, once you have had a child support assessment or have registered an agreement or court order with us.

You need to know

Collection of child support payments privately (Private Collect)

Private Collect allows you and the other parent to work out the most convenient way for payments to be made between yourselves.

Read more about Private Collect payments

Collection of child support payments by us (Child Support Collect)

Once we have made a child support assessment, accepted a child support agreement or registered a court order, we will tell you how much child support needs to be paid. Then we collect and transfer child support payments for you.

Read more about Child Support Collect payments

Managing child support independently (Self Management)

If you arrange child support independently, you and the other parent decide when and how much child support should be paid and manage these payments yourselves.

We have no involvement and you do not have to register with us. However, you can contact us for information and advice if you need it.

Deciding what collection option is right for you

Different collection options will suit different people. If you are unsure whether Private Collect, Child Support Collect, or Self Management is the best choice for you, you can compare your child support collection options or call us on 131 272 for more information.

If you receive Family Tax Benefit payments, it is important you consider the effect each collection option may have on how your Family Tax Benefit is calculated.

Read more about Family Tax Benefit and child support.

If the option you choose does not work out for you, you are not locked in to it forever. You can call us to discuss other child support options. The person receiving child support must agree or request a change in collection methods.

Payment methods for child support

There are a number of ways that a paying parent may make child support payments.

Read more about payment methods for child support

Estimating your income for child support payments

Child support payments are based on an assessment of your adjusted taxable income (last year of relevant income) from a previous year. If your last year of relevant income is no longer an accurate reflection of your current income, you may be eligible to provide an estimate of your income for the current financial year if:

  • you have lodged your income tax return for the previous financial year and the Australian Taxation Office has assessed your income for that year, or
  • you have not lodged your income tax return for the previous financial year but you have declared your income to Child Support for that year, and
  • that income amount is used in your current child support assessment, and
  • your current adjusted taxable income has reduced by 15% or more than the income used in the child support assessment

You can update your estimate of income throughout the year if your circumstances change.

You may not be able to lodge an estimate if your child support assessment is based on one of the following:

  • a child support agreement
  • a determination made under the change of assessment process, or
  • a court order

You can provide an Estimate of income form using Child Support Online Services.

Provisional income and child support

Provisional income is used in the child support assessment if your income for the most recent financial year has not been assessed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). A provisional income will be calculated in one of the following ways:

  • An amount you declare to be your taxable income for the relevant year. If you are unable to provide this information, we will work out a ‘reasonable approximation’ of your income using all available income information for that year
  • If you are unable to provide a declaration of your taxable income for the previous financial year and we do not have the necessary information to calculate an amount for that year, but your income for the immediately prior year has been assessed by the ATO, we will index that year’s income in line with wages growth
  • If your income has not been assessed by the ATO for both of the previous two financial years and you are unable to declare your income for both those years, we will index the most recently available ATO assessed income and compare it to two-thirds of the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings, and use the higher of the two. If no ATO income is available, we will use two-thirds of the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings

Managing your child support

Change of circumstances that affect your child support

It is important you tell us if your circumstances change as soon as possible to make sure your details and child support are accurate.

Read more about how a change of circumstances can affect your child support

Request to pay direct to Child Support instead of by salary or wage deductions

If you make your child support payments directly to us by the due date, you can apply to stop your payments being deducted from your salary or wages.

If you have had a request to stop salary or wage deductions refused in the past 2 months, we are unable to accept your application.

If we have cancelled a previous arrangement to stop salary or wage deductions due to late or incomplete payments, you will not be able to make a new application for at least 6 months from the day we cancelled the last arrangement.

Complete the Application to stop deductions from salary or wages form to apply or contact us.

Lodging your tax return and child support

Lodging your tax return on time will ensure your child support payments accurately reflect your financial circumstances. All parents need to lodge a tax return or tell us their income.

If you do not lodge a tax return and we cannot work out your income from other information, we will use a provisional income to assess your child support.

If you lodge your tax return late and we have used a provisional income to make a child support assessment, we may not be able to backdate some income changes to your assessment if your ATO income is lower than the provisional income.

If you are not required to lodge a tax return, then you must lodge a Request for Taxable Income Details form on Child Support Online Services or contact us to let us know.

Overdue child support payments

There are a number of reasons why a child support payment may be overdue.

Read more about overdue child support payments

Your percentage of care affects your Child Support

Child Support is calculated to recognise shared parenting and the contribution each parent makes towards the costs of the children through direct care.

Collection and enforcement methods for child support

We will enforce the payment of outstanding child support payments when there is little or no evidence of a parent’s commitment to meeting their child support responsibilities or there is evidence of fraud.

Read more about collection and enforcement methods

Child support while living outside Australia

If 1 parent lives overseas, we may still be able to collect and transfer child support payments for their children’s benefit.

Read more about child support while living outside Australia

Compare your child support collection options

A child support payment is an amount of money transferred between separated parents to help raise their children. There are three different ways to manage the transfer of your child support.

Read more about comparing your child support collection options

Resources

The Child Support Guide

The Child Support Guide is our technical resource, which outlines our approach to the administration of the Child Support Scheme.

Estimating your child support payments

We have a range of tools available online to help you estimate what your child support payments might be.

Child support and Family Tax Benefit estimator – can give you an estimate of how much child support you might pay or receive or the amount of Family Tax Benefit you might receive. Or, if you have less than 35% care of your children the estimator can give you an estimate of the amount of rent assistance you might receive.

Child support worksheets - some parents and non-parent carers may not be able to use the child support calculator or the child support and Family Tax Benefit estimator. You may be able to use the following worksheets to estimate your child support payments.

Worksheet for parents who have two or more child support assessments

Follow these steps if you or the other parent have 2 or more child support cases. When you have calculated this amount, transfer it to the basic formula worksheet.

Check your child support account

Receiving parents can use the Child Support Info Service to get information about their child support payments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You will need your Child Support Reference Number and your Personal Identification Number.

Support services for separated families

We provide separated parents with services including support and products to help with their family situation.

Read more about support services for separated families

Payments & services