Change of circumstances

We need to know about changes that could affect your child support.

Why you should tell us

You must tell us as soon as possible if your circumstances change. This can include changes to your contact details, care arrangements or income.

If you don’t tell us, you risk:

  • getting paid late
  • paying the wrong amount of child support
  • getting the wrong amount and having to pay it back
  • missing important information from us
  • falling behind with your payments and building up a debt.

Read more about child support overpayments.

Keeping your details up to date will limit how often we need to contact you.

If your contact details change

You must tell us if you change your:

  • postal address
  • phone number
  • email address.

How we contact you

You can request how and when we contact you:

  • through your Child Support online account
  • by calling us to discuss your preferences.

We’ll consider your preferences, but sometimes we may need to contact you using a different method or outside your preferred times. This may happen if:

  • we’ve been unable to reach you through your preferred method
  • you don’t pay on time
  • we need to resolve a specific matter.

If your care arrangements change

We’ve changed the way we use care information in your child support assessment.

Read more about how your percentage of care affects your child support payments.

If your bank details change

If we pay child support into your bank, you must tell us if you change your:

  • account name
  • account number
  • BSB number.

If your income changes

You must tell us any time your income changes. We’ll only update income from before July 2008 in limited cases.

When we work out your child support amount each year we use either your:

If your income is less than your current assessment

Contact us to discuss what you can do.

You may be able to use an estimate of your income for this financial year instead.

If we are using your estimate of income

You need to give us a new estimate of income if your income goes up or down.

How to tell us about income changes

Use your Child Support online account through myGov. If you can’t tell us online you can call us.

Read about how your income affects your payments.

If you are a non-parent carer

You don’t have to tell us about income changes.

Read about child support for non-parent carers.

If you’re in a relationship

If you and the other parent get back together

We can suspend your child support for up to 6 months.

We’ll end it once you’ve been together for 6 months. The receiving parent can ask us to end it sooner, but we may not.

If you have a child support assessment with someone else

If you have children from a new family, we reflect this in your assessment.

When we work out the income to calculate your child support payments we can deduct an amount to support any relevant dependent children. These are children other than the ones in your child support case.

We can do this for either parent. We can’t do it if the child is part of another child support case.

Read about child support and second families.

If you separate again

During the 6 month child support suspension

Either of you can ask us to restart child support.

Payments will start from the new separation date.

After 6 months

You need to apply for a new child support assessment.

You should do this within 13 weeks. If not, you’ll only get the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A.

If you have other changes

You must tell us if:

  • your child is turning 18 this year and will still be in full time secondary school
  • the way you share care with the other parent changes
  • someone else legally adopts your child
  • you and the other parent have another child together
  • you have another child with someone else
  • your child marries or starts to live with their partner

You must also tell us if:

  • you, the other parent or your children move overseas
  • your child, or the other parent or carer dies.

If you have a child support agreement

Your agreement may mean that some changes won’t affect your child support. You should still let us know if your income or care arrangements change. This information is used when we calculate your notional assessment.

You must tell us about any changes to the conditions of your binding child support agreement or limited child support agreement.

For example, if the agreement talks about unemployment you must tell us if you lose your job.

You must also tell us about any changes to your care arrangements as soon as you can. A parent won’t get child support under an agreement if they have less than 35% care of a child.

If you have an Australian court order

Your court order may mean that some changes won’t affect your child support.

Contact us to talk about your options. You may need to seek legal advice about how to change it.

Page last updated: 20 March 2020