About limited child support agreements

A limited child support agreement is an agreement between parents or carers about child support payments and how to make them.

The agreement can include payment of cash or non-cash items, such as school fees and health insurance.

There must be a child support assessment in place before the agreement can be accepted. The payments set out in the agreement must be equal to, or more than, the annual rate in the assessment. We don’t require you to get legal advice before making your agreement, but you can choose to do so.

A parent must have at least 35% care of a child to get child support under an agreement. Read more about how your percentage of care affects your child support payments.

When we’ve accepted a limited child support agreement, receiving parents can choose between either:

As a parent, you must do all of the following:

  • pay your child support in full and on time
  • make sure care arrangements are in place for your children
  • lodge your tax return on time
  • report your income accurately
  • tell us about any changes of circumstances.

If your child’s care changes, or your new circumstances affect your agreement, the amount payable may change. 

If you can’t agree to make a limited agreement with the other parent, you can seek legal advice about a binding child support agreement.

How limited child support agreements affect your family payments

We’ll make a notional assessment after we accept your agreement. The notional assessment is the child support that would apply if you didn’t have an agreement. We use it to assess the Family Tax Benefit Part A you get. Read more about notional assessments.

How to end a limited child support agreement

You or the other parent can end a limited agreement if:

  • both of you agree in writing to end the agreement
  • you make a new limited or binding agreement that reflects new arrangements
  • it was made over 3 years ago, and a parent asks to end it in writing.

You or the other parent can also end it if the notional assessment:

  • varies by more than 15% from the previous one because of circumstances not included in the agreement
  • a parent asks to end it in writing.

A court may also make an order that sets aside the agreement.

If your care arrangements change

If the way you care for your child changes, contact us as soon as you can. Child support won’t be paid to a parent under an agreement if they have less than 35% care.

We’ll end or suspend a child support agreement for a child when both of the following apply:

  • the receiving parent under the agreement has less than 35% care
  • the other parent has at least 35 per cent care of the child.

An agreement may be suspended after a care change for either:

  • 28 days
  • up to 26 weeks.

The length of the suspension will depend on your circumstances. For example, your limited agreement may say that it will be suspended for 26 weeks if care changes.

If care changes back during the suspension period, the agreement will restart. If the parent still doesn’t have care at the end of the suspension period, that child’s agreement will end. 

Read more about how changes to your care arrangements can affect your child support.

If an agreement is ended or suspended

Child support will still be payable for the child under your formula based assessment.

If we suspend or end your agreement, we’ll tell you how this will affect you.

Page last updated: 16 August 2019

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