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What a maintenance liability is
A maintenance liability can be for child support or spousal support. Spousal support includes spousal and de facto maintenance. We may be able to register a spousal maintenance liability made overseas. However, we can’t register a de facto maintenance liability made outside Australia.
A maintenance liability can be any of the following:
- a court order
- an agreement
- an assessment.
When a maintenance liability is registered with us, we can collect and transfer child support or spousal support.
Who can apply
You can apply to register a maintenance liability made in a reciprocating jurisdiction if you’re any of the following:
- a receiving parent or person who lives in Australia
- a person who lives in a reciprocating jurisdiction and the other person lives in Australia
- a maintenance authority applying on behalf of a receiving parent or person who lives in a reciprocating jurisdiction and the other person lives in Australia
- a paying parent or person who lives in Australia and the other person lives in a reciprocating jurisdiction.
How to apply
If you live in Australia, call the Child Support enquiry line to apply to register a maintenance liability.
If you’re a receiving parent and live in a reciprocating jurisdiction, contact the maintenance authority in your country to apply.
If you’re a paying parent and live in a reciprocating jurisdiction, call one of our Child Support international lines to apply. You can also contact the maintenance authority in your country who may help you apply.
What we need
For us to register a maintenance liability it must include an amount of any of the following:
- periodic child support
- periodic spousal support
- unpaid amounts of periodic child or spousal support.
You’ll need to provide us with a copy of the court order, agreement or assessment.
What we’ll do next
We’ll contact you or the maintenance authority to let you know if the liability is registered.
We’ll convert the amounts in the maintenance liability into Australian dollars.
The paying parent or person then has to pay us. If they don’t, we have options to collect overdue payments. Read more about paying child support when you live outside Australia.
We’ll send the payments we collect to the receiving parent, person or maintenance authority. Read more about receiving child support when you live outside Australia.
How to change a maintenance liability
If you live in Australia you can change a registered maintenance liability any of the following ways:
- through an Australian court
- directly through the overseas maintenance authority if the liability is an assessment made outside Australia
- directly through the relevant overseas court if the liability is a court order or court registered agreement. We might be able to help you with this.
We recommend you seek legal advice if you are considering court action. If you live outside Australia, contact the relevant court or maintenance authority in your country.