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Private Collect

This is where you and the other parent make and receive payments directly between you. It’s for parents who don’t need much help from us to agree on a plan.

Comparing child support collection options.

When you can use it

You can use Private Collect if we’ve:

Who it’s right for

Private Collect can be a good choice if you:

  • want flexible payments
  • can talk with the paying parent or non-parent carer
  • don’t need much help to work things out with the paying parent, and
  • can rely on payments being on time and in full

Think about Family Tax Benefit

Private Collect may impact your Family Tax Benefit payments.

Read about child support and Family Tax Benefit.

Who does what

We’ll tell you how much child support the paying parent needs to pay.

You and the other parent work out how and when you’ll make or receive payments.

You can set payments up in a way that works for both of you. You don’t need to tell us the plan.

You both need to understand and agree on the plan. It’s a good idea to put it in writing and both sign it.

Who can apply

You can only apply for Private Collect if you’re:

  • the receiving parent, or
  • applying jointly with the receiving parent

What you need to agree on

How much

Your child support assessment, agreement or court order sets the payment amount. This might be per week, fortnight, month or year.

If you have a court order or agreement, see if it sets any other rules about payments.

How often

You need to agree if the payments will be:

  • for an agreed timeframe such as each week, fortnight or month, or
  • in bigger lump sums that cover a set amount of time

Which method

You need to agree on the payment method. It could be:

  • cash
  • bank transfer
  • salary deduction
  • personal or bank cheque, or
  • money order

Read about payment methods.

Paying someone else

You can agree that some or all payments will go to someone else on behalf of the receiving parent (third parties).

Paying in kind

You can agree on payments that aren’t in the form of money. This is where the paying parent does or gives something that’s worth as much as a payment, such as use of their car or painting a house.

You need to be clear about:

  • what they’ll do or give
  • how much it’s worth, and
  • how often this will happen

It’s a good idea to put it in writing

  • you should write down your payment agreement
  • both read and agree to all the details
  • both sign it, and
  • both keep a copy

Talk to the other parent if you want to change the agreement.

Managing payments

Keep records

Keep records of every payment you make or receive – even if you pay cash.

This will help avoid misunderstandings.

You’ll also want these records if you ever ask us to:

Tell us about changes

Tell us straight away about any changes that may affect child support.

You can do this by:

If there’s a late payment

One late payment doesn’t mean the paying parent has broken the agreement. There could be a number of reasons for the late payment.

If you can, talk to the other parent and try to get payments back on track.

Changing to or from Private Collect

Changing to

You can ask to change to Private Collect by:

Changing from it

Only the receiving parent can ask to change to Child Support Collect. This means we’ll collect the payments for you.

You need to:

After you start Child Support Collect we can collect overdue payments going back:

If you’re worried about safety

Private Collect may not be right for you if:

  • you’re worried the other parent will make trouble for you or your children, or
  • they make you or your children feel unsafe or frightened

There are other ways to receive child support. Read about your collection options or call us.

If asking for child support puts you at risk

Call our families line and ask to speak to a social worker if you don’t want to seek child support because you’re worried about risks to you or your family.

If you’re at risk of, or dealing with, family or domestic violence:

  • call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, or
  • go to the 1800RESPECT website and click on Connect to a counsellor

You can talk privately on the phone or online to someone who’s trained to help. It’s free and open 24/7.

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Page last updated: 21 April 2017

This information was printed Tuesday 22 August 2017 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/collection-child-support-payments-privately-private-collect 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.