Receiving child support when you live overseas

When you live overseas excluding New Zealand, and receive child support from a parent who lives in Australia and the amount was established in Australia or the overseas country.

If you live in another country we may be able to help you with your child support arrangements.

The following information applies if you live overseas, excluding New Zealand, and:

  • you receive child support from a parent who lives in Australia, and
  • the amount was established in either Australia or the overseas country

If you live in a country we have an international maintenance arrangement with, you can apply for our help even if your children are not Australian citizens. You must apply for child support through the overseas authority in your country and, depending on their rules, they will forward your application to us.

We are only able to send money collected from the other parent and do not pay child support in advance.

Timing and minimum payment

All payments collected in a particular month are sent the following month as a single payment to you or the overseas collection authority - for example, money we receive in July will be issued by cheque in mid August. 

If you have an existing Australian bank account, we can transfer payments electronically into that account. Otherwise, payments are sent to you by cheque in the currency of the receiving country, not in Australian dollars.

The time it takes for the cheque to reach you depends on the postal system in your country of residence. Currently, we cannot issue funds directly to a customer's overseas bank account.

We are unable to disburse funds less than A$50.00 as they attract additional bank fees for the paying parent. The only exception is when a case has ended and the final payment is less than A$50.00. 

We are unable to issue any form of emergency disbursement to our international customers.

If the parent does not make their payments

If the paying parent in Australia refuses to make voluntary payments, fails to meet their commitments or cannot be contacted, we can use a range of administrative powers to collect the child support for your children.

These include:

  • compulsory enforced salary deductions
  • deductions from bank accounts, and
  • Australian tax refund intercepts

If we have taken all reasonable steps to collect payments but are unable to do so, we may not be able to take further action unless new information becomes available. We will contact you to ask if you have any new information that might help us. We will also notify you in writing of any decisions we make.

If the paying parent leaves Australia, we will assess whether they are still an Australian resident for tax purposes. We will end your child support case if the paying parent is no longer a resident. We will contact you to discuss any outstanding amounts and what should happen to them.

Important information about your income

If you have an Australian child support assessment, you need to provide us with details of your overseas income.

When you provide us with your overseas income, you need to include:

  • your income in the foreign currency in which you were paid, not in Australian dollars
  • the income you earned during the overseas financial year, not the Australian financial year, and
  • documentary evidence of that income

You can declare this information by calling us on +61 131 272 or +61 3 6216 0864. International call charges apply. We will apply the appropriate average exchange rate to convert foreign income into Australian dollars.

If you do not provide income information and you live in a reciprocating jurisdiction, we may ask for information about your income from an overseas authority.

Regular reviews

Child support assessments are reviewed regularly to make sure the amount payable reflects the circumstances of both parents.

If we do not have your correct income, you may end up receiving the wrong amount of child support and you may build up a child support overpayment, which you will have to repay.

Page last updated: 25 January 2016