Your child support options

You can choose how to manage your child support.

Our services are for both parents and non parent carers. A non parent carer might be a grandparent, legal guardian or other family member. We can help you understand and apply for child support.

Consider your circumstances

The first thing you need to do is consider your circumstances and how they may affect your child support.

When you have a child support case, you’ll need to tell us about any change of circumstances. This is to make sure your child support assessment is correct. It can include changes to your income or care arrangements for your children.

You can update your details with your:

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

If a parent lives outside Australia

You can still have a child support arrangement if you or the other parent live overseas. But it must be in a country we have an agreement with.

Decide how to manage your child support

Once you’ve considered your circumstances, decide how you want to manage your child support. One of our options should suit your situation.

Manage child support yourself

You and the other parent or non parent carer can decide to manage your child support without our help. We call this self management.

You and the other person decide:

  • how much to pay
  • when to pay
  • how to pay.

If you self manage, you don’t have to tell us about your arrangements. You won’t have a child support assessment and don’t need to register with us. You can still call us for information and help.

If you self manage, you can only get the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A. If you want more than the base rate, you need to apply for a child support assessment.

Read more about child support and your Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A.

If asking for child support puts you at risk

Managing your child support yourself may not be right for you if:

  • you’re worried the other parent will make trouble for you or your children
  • the other parent makes you or your children feel unsafe or frightened.

If you don’t want to seek child support because you’re worried about risks to you or your family, call us on the Child Support enquiry line and ask to speak to a social worker.

If you’re at risk of, or affected by, family and domestic violence call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. Or go to the 1800RESPECT website.

You can talk privately on the phone or online to someone who’s trained to help. It’s free and open 24/7. Read more about who else can help with family and domestic violence.

There are other ways to get child support. Read about your collection options or call us on the Child support enquiry line.

Ask us to help manage your child support

We can do a child support assessment to work out:

  • who needs to pay child support
  • how much this will be.

We will work out the amount using a formula. It will consider things like:

  • the amount and type of care parents are providing for their children
  • both parents’ incomes
  • the age of the child or children.

You can estimate how much your child support payments might be. You can also estimate the percentage of care, as this information is used to work out the payment amount.

Make a formal written agreement

You can make a formal written agreement with the other parent or a non parent carer. We call this a Child Support Agreement.

A Child Support Agreement states:

  • how much child support will be
  • who will pay it
  • how they’ll pay it.

There are 2 agreement types that you may enter into depending on your circumstances:

You can only make some agreements if you’ve had legal advice.

Have a court ordered child support

A court may make an order for child maintenance. For example, the court can make an order for an adult child who is older than 18. They can do this if the adult child has a disability or is seeking further education.

If you have a court order, you can ask us to collect the court ordered amount.

Make and receive child support payments

Now that you’ve decided how to manage your child support you’ll need to choose how to make and receive payments.

If you self manage child support, you arrange your payments without us. You can use any method that suits you.

If you don’t self manage and you’re the person who’ll receive child support, you can choose to get it by:

We can decide that child support payments will be Private Collect in some circumstances. If you want to change your collection option, you can:

Private collect may not be right for you. Read more about using Private Collect.

If you’re the paying parent, there are different ways to pay child support.

Getting child support and FTB Part A

If you change how you transfer your child support payments, it can impact your FTB.

Related subjects

Page last updated: 25 August 2021