Eligibility

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 legal parents of a child. 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.

Read more in chapter 2.1.3 of the Child Support Guide on the Department of Social Services website.

We’re also satisfied you’re a legal parent if there’s an executed legal instrument acknowledging you as a parent. It can be Australian or from a reciprocating jurisdiction. It could be a statutory declaration either:

If there’s conflicting evidence, we’ll investigate who the parent is.

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.

Their relationship breaks down. 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.

Surrogacy

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

How to apply as a parent

The easiest way to apply is online. Read about how to apply, then complete the Application for child support assessment online.

If you can’t apply online, call the Child Support general enquiry line.

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 either:

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

You can apply for non-parent carer child support if both of the following apply:

  • you care for the child for at least 128 nights a year
  • you aren’t the partner of either parent of the child.

You can apply if the people you’re seeking child support from are:

The parents of the child must have agreed you’ll care for the child, unless it would be unreasonable for them to care for the child. For example, if there’s a serious risk to the child from violence or abuse in the home of the parent concerned.

We base your child support assessment on:

  • the incomes of the parents
  • the amount of care you give the child.

We don’t consider your income.

Read about how percentage of care affects child support payments.

Read about managing your child support.

If you’re a non-parent carer, our Grandparent, Foster and Kinship Carer Advisers are here to help you. They support grandparents, foster carers, kinship carers and other non-parent carers. Read about Grandparent, Foster and Kinship Carer Advisers.

How to apply as a non-parent carer

To apply, 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
  • there are special circumstances you can’t, such as the identity of one parent is unknown.

The easiest way to apply is online. If you can’t apply online, call the Child Support enquiry line.

Page last updated: 1 July 2022