Child support is the regular financial contribution by a parent to the maintenance of a child under 18. Child support is supported by the principle that parents should, as much as possible, maintain shared parental responsibility for the child even after separation.
When a parent doesn’t abide by their child support obligations, the other parent could enforce these obligations. The ways a parent could enforce child support will depend on how you have chosen to administer your child support.
Self-managed child support involves the parents determining the amount and method of payment themselves. If you choose to self-manage, the number of enforcement options available to you is essentially zero. Luckily, you can still apply for a child support assessment (and create a private collect child support collect) if the self-managed child support doesn’t work out, allowing for more enforcement options in the future.
A private collect is where an amount is set by a child support assessment, agreement or court order. The payment time and method are then determined by the parents. When using private collect, you should ensure that you keep accurate records of all payments.
If a parent is overdue in paying child support, Services Australia can collect up to 3 months of overdue payments in normal circumstances. If the plan continues to fail, you might consider converting your collection method to Child Support Collect.
Child Support Collect
In this arrangement, a child support assessment, agreement or court order determines the amount of child support payable. Services Australia then determines how and when the payments should be made.
The biggest advantage for this method is that Services Australia has several ways to enforce payment, including intercepting tax refunds, income support payment deductions, employer or bank account deductions, and even litigation and prosecution.
If you are entitled to receive overdue child support payments from a self-managed plan, the options available are minimal and you should consider seeking legal advice to determine your next steps. You can always convert to a private collector child support collect plan to provide several options that enable collection of unpaid amounts in the future.
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This is not legal advice.