FAQ for Child Support in Australia

In order to make Child Support easier to understand, here are some common facts and questions that arise.

How is child support collected?

The Department of Human Services prefers that parents make private arrangements for how Child Support Payments will be collected. If you and the other parent decide this method, it is important that a proper record is kept of the payments to avoid a dispute. This can include depositing payments into the payee’s bank account.


If the parent liable to pay child support will not pay voluntarily, or, if this is the parents’ preference, payments can be collected by the Department of Human Services. The Department can require the employer of the parent who does not voluntarily pay Child Support to deduct payments from the parent’s wages or salary.


How long do I have to pay Child Support?


There are only a few circumstances in which it is legal for Child Support Payments to stop being made. One of the most common circumstances is after the child’s 18th birthday. However, if the child turns 18 during their last school year, you are liable for Child Support Payments until the end of that school year. There are also some circumstances, such as a Child with intellectual or physical disabilities, in which Child Support payments will be extended past the child’s 18th birthday. This is called Child Maintenance.


Other circumstances in which Child Support Payments will cease include:

  • If the child:
  • Dies
  • Gets married or enters into a de facto relationship
  • Becomes adopted by other persons(s) or
  • Is no longer present or ordinarily in Australia or an Australian citizen, provided there is no international maintenance agreement applicable
  • If either parent dies
  • If the parents reconcile and are partners for at least 6 months
  • If neither parent is caring for the child
  • If the parent liable for Child Support moves to another country that is not included in an International Child Support Agreement with Australia


child support is important to understand

What is Child Maintenance?

Child Maintenance is financial support for dependent children over 18 years of age. Adult Child Maintenance is payable is a child (over 18) is studying (including secondary and tertiary education such as a university or an apprenticeship), has a physical or mental disability or suffers from a serious illness.


A Child Maintenance Application must be made before the Child in question turns 18 years old. The Application can be brought by the parent of the Child or the Child themselves.



What can I do if I am unhappy with the assessment made by the Department of Human Services?



The Department of Human Services allows for a number of procedures to challenge their decisions. This includes an internal review process, or a right to apply to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision. Depending on the circumstance, you may even be able to apply to a court.


The options vary depending on your unique circumstances. A lawyer will be able to advise you as to what would be an appropriate action.