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Both parents are responsible for the financial support of their children. This financial support is also known as "maintenance". The responsibility to provide financial support to your children is not changed by:

  • Separation or divorce by the parents.
  • Where or with whom the children live.
  • The remarriage of one or both parties.
  • The financial support necessary for the maintenance of the children.

Reaching agreement about child support

If both parents agree, they can make their own arrangements for child support. The parents can enter into a child support agreement which can be part of a parenting plan. Please note that there are particular requirements involved if one parent is receiving Centrelink benefits.

The parents have a number of options, including:

  • Agreeing on how much child support should be paid, and subsequently arranging for the payments to be made without the involvement of the Department of Human Services (Child Support).
  • Agreeing on how much child support should be paid, and then arranging for the Department of Human Services (Child Support) to register this agreement as a child support agreement. The payments can then be made privately or the Department of Human Services (Child Support) can collect the payment on your behalf.
  • Request the Department of Human Services (Child Support) to use a formula to work out how much child support should be paid and subsequently arrange for payments to be made without the involvement of the Department of Human Services (Child Support).
  • Request the Department of Human Services (Child Support) to use a formula to work out how much child support should be paid, and subsequently request the Department of Human Services (Child Support) to collect and distribute the payments.

Child support scheme - reforming legislation

On 28 February 2006, the then Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Honourable Mal Brough MP, announced that the Australian Government would reform aspects of the child support and family payment systems (the Child Support Scheme) in order to protect the best interests of children, while balancing the interests of parents and reflecting community expectations.

Changes to the Child Support Scheme are being introduced in three stages. These changes and what they mean for your child support assessment are summarised below.

To find out more, please contact our Family Law team.