Child Support

The department assists separating and separated families to ensure their children are supported through the Child Support Scheme.

This includes working with other government departments and community agencies to make sure that separated parents have access to the range of support services available.

Child support assessment, registration, collection and disbursement services are provided to parents and non-parent carers such as grandparents, legal guardians or other family members. We also provide separated parents with a range of referral services and products to help them with their child support needs. The person entitled to receive support payments can elect to transfer child support privately (Private Collect) or ask the department to transfer the payments (Child Support Collect).

The percentage of domestic active paying parents with no outstanding child support debt increased to 77.4% in 2014-15 compared to 75.7% in 2013-14.

Although most parents pay their child support on time, with more than half of parents using Private Collect arrangements, early intervention and enforcement measures are still needed for parents who fail to pay their child support. The department uses various means to collect ongoing and overdue child support—see Child support customer compliance on page 116.

Child Support transfers

In 2014-15 the department worked with separated parents to transfer $3.5 billion to support approximately 1.2 million children. This is the same as in 2013-14.

Table 36: Amount of child support transferred between parents
Total child support transferred 2012-13
$ billion
2013-14
$ billion
2014-15
$ billion
Child Support Collect 1.4 1.5 1.5
Private Collect1 2.0 2.0 2.0
Total 3.4 3.5 3.5

1. The amount of Private Collect transferred assumes 100% of Private Collect is collected and transferred.

Private Collect

The department encourages separated parents to manage their child support responsibilities independently through Private Collect arrangements.

In 2014-15, 53% of cases used Private Collect arrangements. This compares to 53.3% in 2013-14 and 53.7% in 2012-13.

Child Support Collect

Parents can ask the department to collect and transfer their child support.

In 2014-15, $1.5 billion was collected, the same as in 2013-14—see Table 36 on page 55.

Table 37 outlines the percentage of child support debt under a payment arrangement. 

Table 37: Percentage of child support debt under an arrangement
  2012-13
%
2013-14
%
2014-15
%
Child support debt under an arrangement 41.8 40.5 39.1

Active paying parents with debt under arrangement and without debt

Active paying parents are those with a role in at least one active child support case, not including cases that ended with arrears. Of all active paying parents 75.8% had no debt at the end of June 2015 compared to 75.7% at the end of June 2014.

The remaining active paying parents had an outstanding child support debt. Of these 51.9% had a payment arrangement in place in 2014-15 compared to 51.1% in 2013-14.

Table 38 on page 57 shows the percentage of active paying parents who do not have a child support debt, as a proportion of all active paying parents. It also shows the percentage of active paying parents with a child support debt and a payment arrangement in place, expressed as a proportion of all active paying parents with a child support debt. The department focuses on reducing debt through its compliance and enforcement programmes.

Table 38: Active paying parents with debt under arrangement and without debt
  2012-13
%
2013-14
%
2014-15
%
Active paying parents without debt 75.3 75.7 75.8
Active paying parents with a child support debt which is under a payment arrangement 51.7 51.1 51.9

Change of assessment and objections to child support decisions

In 2014-15 the number of parents applying for a change of assessment fell by 0.4% from 18,169 change of assessment applications in 2013-14 to 18,092 in 2014-15.

The number of objections to change of assessment decisions increased 10.3% from 2,770 in 2013-14 to 3,056 in 2014-15. Parents who object to child support decisions, including change of assessment, can expect to have a final decision within 60 days for domestic customers and 120 days for international customers.

Page last updated: 5 February 2016

This information was printed Saturday 1 October 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/corporate/annual-reports/annual-report-2014-15/part-2/child-support It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.