Managing changes to your child support

You need to let us know if your circumstances change. Changes can affect your child support payments. Find out what to tell us and how to let us know.

What to tell us

It’s important you tell us as soon as possible if your circumstances change.

If your contact details change

You must tell us if you change any of the following:

  • postal address
  • phone number
  • email address.

Read our online guides about:

If your care arrangements change

We consider the percentage of care you provide as part of your child support assessment.

If the way you share care for your child changes, you need to tell us within 28 days. If you don’t, we may only be able to update your payments from the date you tell us.

If your bank details change

If we pay child support into your bank account, tell us if you change or update your:

  • account name
  • account number
  • BSB number.

If your income changes

You need to tell us about any changes to your income when they happen. Generally, we can’t backdate changes. So, it’s important you tell us as soon as you can.

If your income has gone down since your last assessment, you should tell us. We may use an estimate of your income for this financial year, not your adjusted taxable income for a previous year.

If we’re already using your estimate of income, and your income changed, you’ll need to give us a new estimate.

If you earn extra income after you separate, you can ask us to exclude it from your child support assessment. For example, if you get a second job.

To apply to exclude income, complete the Application for Post Separation Income to be Excluded form.

You can then either upload it using your:

You can also send it by post or fax.

If you’re a non-parent carer, you won't need to tell us about income changes.

If your relationship changes

You and the other parent get back together

It’s important you tell us if you and the other parent get back together. We can suspend your child support for up to 6 months.

We’ll end the suspension once you’ve been together for 6 months. The receiving parent can ask us to end it sooner. We may do this when you’ve met the reasons for ending an assessment and we can accept the relevant application or agreement.

Read more about ending a child support assessment.

You and the other parent separate again

If you separate during the 6 month suspension, either of you can ask us to restart child support. Payments will start from your new separation date.

If it’s after 6 months, you’ll need to apply for a new child support assessment.

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

You have a child support assessment with someone else

You need to tell us if you have a child with a new partner. We may reflect this in your assessment.

Read about assessments for parents with second families.

If you have other changes

You may also need to tell us if:

  • you, the other parent or your children change or correct names
  • your child is turning 18 this year and will still be in full time secondary school
  • 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, the other parent or your children move overseas
  • your child, the other parent or carer dies.

If you have a child support agreement

You must tell us about any changes to the conditions of your:

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. We may use this information when we calculate your notional assessment.

You must also tell us about any changes to your care arrangements as soon as you can.

If you have an Australian court order or overseas maintenance liability

Your court order or overseas maintenance liability may mean that some changes to your circumstances won’t affect your child support.

Call us on the Child Support enquiry line to talk about your options. You may need to seek legal advice about how to change it.

Why you should tell us

If you don’t tell us when your circumstances change, you might:

  • get paid the wrong amount of child support
  • get paid an overpayment and have to pay it back
  • miss important information from us
  • get behind with your payments and build up a debt.

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

How to tell us

You can tell us about changes using either your:

We have Child Support online guides to help you update your details and manage your payments.

If you change or correct your name

It’s important to tell us if you change your legal name.

To change or correct your legal name, we’ll need:

  • an original document issued by a state or territory Births, Deaths and Marriages registry
  • your consent to verify the document.

You need to bring your document to a service centre so we can update our records.

You can find your state or territory Births, deaths and marriages registries on the Australia.gov.au website.

What other things you should consider

There are some other important things you might want to consider to best manage your child support.

Wills

While it’s a difficult topic to think about, it’s important to make a valid Will. A Will is a document that clearly states your wishes for your estate after your death.

If you have a child support case and die without a Will, this can affect your family. It can impact how the child support is:

  • paid by you
  • disbursed to you.

The Public Trustee in your state or territory can give you more information. Find out more about Wills on the Australian Government website.

Page last updated: 26 October 2021