Receiving child support when you live outside Australia

We may be able to help you with your child support arrangements if you live outside Australia.

Who this applies to

There are different arrangements if you live in New Zealand. Read about receiving child support in New Zealand.

We may be able to help you with your child support arrangements if:

  • you live outside Australia
  • you want to receive maintenance from a parent who lives in Australia
  • your maintenance liability was made in:
    • Australia, or
    • the country you live in

A maintenance liability can be a court order, agreement or assessment made by the child support authority in that country.

If you live in a country we have a child support arrangement with

We can help with child support arrangements if you live in a reciprocating jurisdiction.

How to apply

You have 2 options:

  • if you already have a maintenance liability made in a reciprocating jurisdiction you can apply for registration of this in Australia, or
  • you can apply for an Australian child support assessment

You must make these requests through the maintenance authority in your country.

Sometimes the maintenance authority in your country may apply on your behalf.

If your request meets our requirements we will register the liability in Australia.

If you live in a non-reciprocating jurisdiction

We may be able to help you if you live in a non-reciprocating jurisdiction if your children are Australian citizens.  You can apply for an Australian child support assessment.

If your application meets our requirements we’ll register the assessment in Australia.

Collecting from paying parent in Australia

Once we have registered the liability, we will try to collect payments from the other parent in Australia.

We will then use a range of options to collect payments, including:

  • contacting the paying parent to negotiate a payment arrangement
  • if payments are not made, taking enforcement action, which may include:
    • salary deductions
    • deductions from bank accounts
    • intercept tax refunds
    • departure prohibition orders

Payment method

We’ll either make payments:

  • to the maintenance authority in your country, who’ll then forward the amount owing to you
  • directly to you

If we pay directly to you, we’ll pay:

  • into an Australian bank account if you have one, in Australian dollars
  • by cheque in the appropriate currency for the country you live in

We can’t pay into a bank account outside Australia.

If we collect payments we’ll send them each month in a single payment. You’ll receive this the month after we collect the money. For example, money we collect in July goes to you in August.

Minimum amount

Normally we can’t pay amounts less than AU$50.00. This is because of extra bank fees. We can only do this when your child support is ending and the final payment is less than AU$50.00.

If we can’t collect payments

If we’ve done our best to collect payments but can’t do so, we may not be able to do anything else unless we receive new information.

We’ll ask you if you have any new information that might help us. We’ll also tell you in writing about any decisions we make.

If the paying parent leaves Australia

We’ll check if they are still an Australian resident under our rules.

If they are, we’ll do our best to collect payments.

If they’re not, we’ll end your child support case and do our best to collect any overdue payments

Changing your Australian assessment

You must tell us your income details if you live outside Australia and have an Australian child support assessment.

Australian assessments take into account the individual circumstances of both parents, including incomes. We update assessments regularly to reflect changing circumstances. Because of this, you must tell us your income.

What to tell us

Tell us:

  • your income in the currency you earned it in - not in Australian dollars
  • what you earned in the financial year where you live - not the Australian financial year
  • about documents you have to prove that income
  • about any other changes that may affect your assessment

We use average exchange rates to convert your income into Australian dollars.

How to tell us

Call us from outside Australia.

If you don’t tell us

We may ask the maintenance authority in your country for that information.

Changing your overseas liability

If you have a change in circumstances you should contact the maintenance authority in your country.

If the liability changes, for example you obtain a new order, please forward a copy to us. You also need to tell us about any circumstances that may affect the amount payable, for example a child turns 18.

Page last updated: 27 August 2017