Your child support options

You can choose how to manage your child support.

We can help you choose and manage your child support. Our services are for both parents and non parent carers. A non parent carer might be a grandparent, legal guardian or other family member. We can help you understand and apply for child support.

Consider your circumstances

The first thing you need to do is consider your circumstances and how they may affect your child support.

When you have a child support case, you’ll need to tell us about any change of circumstances. This is to make sure your child support assessment is correct. It can include changes to your income or care arrangements for your children.

You can update your details with your:

We have Child Support online guides to help you update your details and manage your payments.

Living outside Australia

You can still have a child support arrangement if you or the other parent live overseas. But it must be in a country we have an agreement with.

Read more about child support when parents and children live outside Australia.

Wills

While it’s a difficult topic to think about, it’s important to make a valid Will. A Will is a document that clearly states your wishes for your estate after your death.

If you have a child support case and die without a Will, this can affect your family. It can impact how the child support is:

  • paid by you
  • disbursed to you.

The Public Trustee in your state or territory can give you more information. Find out more about Wills on the Australian Government website.

Decide how to manage your child support

Once you’ve considered your circumstances, decide how you want to manage your child support. One of our options should suit your situation.

Self management

Self management means you and the other person manage your child support. You don’t have to go through us. You decide:

  • how much to pay
  • when to pay
  • how to pay.

If you self manage, you won’t have a child support assessment. You don’t need to register with us. You can still call us for information and help.

If you self manage, you can only get the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Read more about child support and your Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A.

Child support assessment

If you choose not to self manage you can apply for a child support assessment. We’ll tell you and the other parent who needs to pay child support how much this will be. We’ll work out the amount using a formula.

Read more about child support assessments.

You can estimate your child support payments and estimate the percentage of care.

Child support agreement

You can make a child support agreement. This is a formal agreement between parents.

You and the other parent may agree to:

  • cash payments
  • non-cash items, such as health insurance or school fees
  • a combination of cash payments and non-cash items.

There are 2 agreement types that you may enter into depending on your circumstances:

Court ordered child support

A court may make an order for child maintenance. For example, the court can make an order for an adult child who is older than 18. They can do this if the adult child has a disability or is seeking further education.

If you have a court order, you can ask us to collect the court ordered amount.

Make and receive child support payments

Now that you’ve decided how to manage your child support you’ll need to choose how to make and receive payments.

If you self manage child support, you arrange your payments without us. You can use any method that suits you.

If you don’t self manage and you’re the person who’ll receive child support, you can choose to get it by:

We can decide that child support payments will be Private Collect in some circumstances. If you want to change your collection option, you can apply by:

If you’re the paying parent, there are different ways to pay child support.

Child support and FTB Part A

Child support payments and FTB Part A link closely. How you transfer your child support payments, either privately or through us, can impact your FTB. Read more about child support and your Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Page last updated: 22 October 2018