Child Support

Child SupportChild support is always an area of contention. Here is some general information to help through the process, when you need some professional and personal advice just give us a call 08 6389 0305

Applications for child support assessments are usually made under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (“CSA”).

Who can make an application for child support?

A carer of a child may apply for child support if they meet the following
requirements: —

  • The carer is either a parent of the child or a relative of the child who is not
    living with a parent of the child; AND
  • The carer has care of the child for more than 35% of the nights of the year.

Liability to pay child support

A person will be liable to pay child support if that person is:

  • A legal parent of the child; AND
  • A resident of Australia for tax purposes.

A good first step is to use the child support online calculator on the Child Support Agency website. Provided you have the necessary information (e.g. earnings, how much time the child spends with either parent), you will be able to obtain an estimate of how much child support you are likely to receive or have to pay.

If, however, there are special circumstances (e.g. if the child has special needs, or if a parent has many assets but low income) the formula may be too high or too low. In this situation, an application may be made for a departure from the usual formula due to special circumstances. 

If you are applying for child support, the next step would be to make an application for administrative assessment of child support to the Child Support Registrar. Applications can be made at any time, provided the applicant and the party against whom the application is made are separated.

Child support agreements 

Parties may wish to enter into a written child support agreement as an alternative to applying for administrative assessment. Though not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that such an agreement be registered under the CSA, as an unregistered agreement is unlikely to be enforceable as a contract. 

Conversely, a registered child support agreement is enforceable and its terms cannot be varied, though it can be terminated by subsequent agreements. Further, the Court only has limited powers to set aside or vary a registered child support agreement.


The information contained on this website cannot be regarded as legal advice. Although all care has been taken in preparing the information provided on this website, readers must not alter their position or refrain from doing so in reliance on this website. Where necessary advice should be sought from competent legal practitioners. The authors and O’Sullivan Law do not accept or undertake any duty of care relating to any part of the information provided on this website.

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