To be eligible for a child support assessment you must meet residence rules. You also must be the legal parent or non-parent carer of the child.

Legal parents

You and the other parent in your application must both satisfy us that you are the child’s legal parents. We can be satisfied you are a legal parent of a child if at least one of the following applies:

  • you were married to the other parent when the child was born
  • you’re named on the child’s birth certificate as a parent, it can be Australian or from a reciprocating jurisdiction
  • you’re named in adoption papers as a parent
  • you’re male and lived with the mother any time between 20 to 44 weeks before the child’s birth
  • a clear statement from a relevant court identifies you as the child’s parent
  • you’re a parent under the Family Law Act 1975 - this covers artificial conception and surrogacy.

We’re also satisfied you’re a legal parent if a current instrument names you as a parent. It can be Australian or from a reciprocating jurisdiction. It could be a statutory declaration either:

We’ll investigate if there’s conflicting evidence about who’s the parent.

Artificial conception

Parents must have been married or in a de facto relationship at the time of the artificial conception procedure and both agreed to the procedure.

Case study

Nicole and Samantha are in a de facto relationship. They decide to have a child together and agree Nicole will be the birth mother. Nicole undertakes an artificial conception procedure. She gives birth to their daughter Louisa.

They break up. Nicole has full time care of Louisa. She applies for a child support assessment.

We decide Samantha has to pay child support as the other legal parent.


You’re both the child’s parents if an Australian court order says you are.

Non-parent carers

If you care for a child and you’re not their parent, you may be able to receive child support from one or both parents. You may be able to:

  • apply for a child support assessment
  • make a child support agreement.

Read about your child support options.

If you’re a non-parent carer, our Grandparent Advisers are there to help you. They support grandparents, other family members, legal guardians and others who care for someone else’s children. Read about Grandparent Advisers.

You can apply for non-parent carer child support if all of these things are true:

  • you care for the child for at least 128 nights a year
  • you aren’t the partner of either of the child’s parents
  • you don’t have joint care with either of the child’s parents.

You can also apply if the people you’re asking for child support from are:

The child’s parents have agreed to you caring for the child. They don’t need to agree to this if it would be unreasonable for them to care for the child.

We base your child support assessment on:

  • the parents’ incomes
  • who cares for the child.

We don’t consider your income.

Read about how percentage of care affects child support payments.


You can call us on the Child Support enquiry line or you can fill in an Application for child support assessment - Non-parent carer.

You may also need to fill in a Child Support statutory declaration – Non-parent carer form to support your application.

You must apply for child support from both parents unless:

  • one parent doesn’t live in Australia or a reciprocating jurisdiction
  • one parent has died
  • we’re satisfied there are special reasons you can’t, such as not knowing who the other parent is.

Page last updated: 10 December 2021