Victoria Legal Aid

Child support payments

How child support payments are paid by one parent to the other to help with the costs of a child.

There are three different ways to collect and transfer child support payments:

  • Child support collect
  • Private collect
  • self management (this is not suitable if you receive more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit).

For information about different ways to receive or pay, read child support collection optionsExternal Link .

When to get Services Australia to collect payments

Ask Services Australia (Child Support) to collect your child support if there has been family violence, you receive Family Tax Benefit, or the person paying:

  • does not have a good payment history
  • does not lodge tax returns on time
  • is not likely to pay.

Private arrangements

Private child support arrangements are not suitable for anyone receiving Family Tax Benefit payments.

If payments are not made

Private collection of child support payments can affect your Family Tax Benefit paymentsExternal Link . If child support payments are not being made, ask Services Australia (Child Support) to collect overdue payments going back up to:

  • three months in normal circumstances
  • nine months in exceptional circumstances.

For more information about what to do if payments are not made, go to Recovering child support paymentsExternal Link .

Non-agency payments

The person paying child support can make other payments directly to the other parent or to a third party. These are called non-agency paymentsExternal Link . You should keep proof of payments and send this to Services Australia (Child Support), or these payments may not be taken into account. Examples of proof may be bank deposit records, receipts or a bank statement.

Some types of payments can only be paid by Services Australia (Child Support) if both parents say that it is a child support payment.

If both parents do not agree that the payment was meant as child support, Services Australia (Child Support) can only pay the amount:

  • if it falls under a special type of non-agency payment (known as a prescribed payment), and
  • at the time the payment was made, the person who paid has less than 14 per cent care of the children.

Prescribed non-agency payments are:

  • childcare costs
  • pre-school or school fees
  • school uniform and book fees
  • essential medical and dental items
  • the receiving parent's share of rent, security bond or mortgage payments
  • the receiving parent's share of home utilities (eg gas and electricity), rates or owner corporation charges
  • purchase, running or repair costs of the receiving parent’s motor vehicle.

Non-agency payments are credited at the rate of 30 per cent of the assessed child support each payment period if the balance of child support is paid on time.

Read more about these payments on the Child Support GuideExternal Link .

Receiving parents need to be aware that Centrelink is notified of prescribed payments, and they are included in the maintenance income test used to calculate Family Tax Benefit.

More information

Child support agreements

Child support assessment

Family Tax Benefit and child support

Disagreeing with a child support decision

Adult child maintenance for over-18s

Proving who the other parent is

Childbirth expenses

Other support

Find out how you can get other support for parenting arrangements, child contact and child support.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 12 April 2022

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