Parents are responsible for the financial support of their child/ren. The Department of Human Services is responsible for administering Australia’s child support scheme. You cannot apply to the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court for this.

This responsibility is not changed by:

  • separation and divorce
  • where the child live or the amount of time they spend with a parent,
  • the remarriage of one or both parents.

Note: Payments made for the support of your child/ren under the child support laws are known as 'child support'. In some limited circumstances you can apply to the Federal Circuit Court for a departure from a child support assessment made by the Department of Human Services.

What if my child is born before 1 October 1989 or you separated before this date?

If your child/ren were born before 1 October 1989 and you separated before that date, you can apply to the Federal Circuit Court for help in making child maintenance arrangements.

What if my child was born after 1 October 1989 or you separated after this date?

If your child/ren were born after 1 October 1989 or you separated after that date, your child/ren are covered by The Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 and the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 which are administered by the Department of Human Services.

What if you agree about the child support arrangements?

Regardless of when your child/ren was born, if you agree about the child support arrangements, you can make your own arrangements for child support. You do not have to apply to The Department of Human Services or the Federal Circuit Court when making arrangements for child support. You can enter into a private child support agreement and you can also include the agreement in a parenting plan.

If child support payments are not made, can my former partner see the child/ren?

A court considers child support and parenting issues separately. When a court is making a parenting order, the Family Law Act requires it to regard the best interests of the child/ren as the most important consideration. Parents must also use this principle when making parenting plans.

In determining what is in the best interests of the child/ren, a court must consider the benefit of the child/ren having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents.

How is child support calculated by the Department of Human Services?

For further information on child support and how it is calculated by the Department of Human Services, visit the Department of Human Services website or call on 131 272.

Research to support the cost of raising children?

The Australian Institute of Family Studies have produced a paper titled, A guide to calculating the costs of children, to discuss what it costs Australian families to raise their children,

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