Child support agreements

Child support agreements

Parents can make their own agreements about child support. The agreement can be about how much, and in what form, child support should be transferred. There are two legal types of child support agreements:

  • limited child support agreements
  • binding child support agreements.

You should always get legal advice before making a child support agreement. You must also give a copy of the agreement to the Department of Human Services (Child Support).

Limited child support agreements

A limited agreement can only be made if there is a child support assessment already in place with the Department of Human Services (Child Support). The child support amount in your agreement must be equal to or more than the formula amount.

The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. Department of Human Services (Child Support) has a template agreement you can use.

The law does not say you must get legal advice before making a limited child support agreement. However it is highly recommended that you speak to a lawyer before making any child support agreement.

You must register the agreement with the Department of Human Services (Child Support).

The court can find that a child support agreement is not legal if it was made using threats or pressure.

Binding child support agreements

A binding agreement is a written and signed agreement that has been made after each parent has received independent legal advice. Your lawyer must attach a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice to the binding child support agreement after giving you legal advice. You must get legal advice from a different lawyer than the other parent.

You can make this agreement for any child support amount, including amounts that are less than the Department of Human Services (Child Support) would calculate.

If you agree to receive less child support, your:

  • Centrelink benefit will not be increased to make up for the smaller child support amount you have agreed to
  • Family Tax Benefit Part A will be paid at the same rate as if you were receiving a Department of Human Services calculated amount.

Find out more about the link between Family Tax Benefits and Child Support at the Department of Human Services website.

You can only end a binding agreement by making a new one if both parents agree, or by going to court. The court will only discharge (end) a binding agreement in exceptional circumstances.

Changing your child support assessment

You can ask the Department of Human Services (Child Support) to review the amount of child support at any time, especially if:

  • your financial circumstances change
  • the financial circumstances of the other parent change
  • a new child is born
  • care arrangements change.

You should notify the Department of Human Services immediately of any change in circumstances that may affect your assessment, as some decisions cannot be backdated. Make sure that they have both parents’ current contact details at all times.

More information

Child support assessment

Child support payments

Family Tax Benefit and child support

Disagree with a child support decision

Adult child maintenance for over-18s

Proving who the dad is

Get help

Find out how you can get help with child support.