Child support payments are made by people to provide financial support to children from their previous relationship. Child support payments are usually made by the parent with whom the child does not primarily live. The child support scheme is run by the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Payments can be made either privately, from one parent to the other, or via the DHS, who will collect the payment from one parent and transfer it to the other. If the court orders a person to pay child support, they must do so. The DHS can enforce child support payments in various ways, including collecting child support directly from banks, deducting it from other government payments and preventing someone from leaving the country if they have not paid their child support debts. Child support payments are not always cash payments. They may be non-cash items, such as school fees. A formula is used to calculate child support payments.
It is based on both parents’ income and on the cost of raising children in Australia. The formula also recognises the non-financial contributions of both parents through childcare. If a parent feels that the result of the formula is not accurate and does not reflect their specific situation, they can make an application to the DHS to change their child support payment assessment.
To be eligible for a child support assessment from the Department of Human Services, you must either be a legal parent or a non-parent carer of the child. It is possible to arrange and make child support payments without going through the DHS. This is called self-management.
Both people decide how much to pay, when payments are due and how they are made. A parent may still be required to pay child support, or entitled to collect child support, if they live outside of Australia. Australia has international agreements with several countries to help with international child support payments.