If you disagree with the amount of child support you have to pay, and you have applied to change this amount by:
- Change of Assessment application to the Child Support Agency - see What is child support?, or
- A written Objection to the Child Support Agency's decision - see What is child support?, or
- Asking for a review by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal - see Appealing a Child Support Agency decision, or
- Applying to court for a review - see Appealing a Child Support Agency decision
and it is financially hard for you to keep paying the required amount of child support, you may be able to apply for a stay order.
What is a stay order?
A stay order is a temporary court order that may:
- stop the Child Support Agency enforcing child support debts against you, or the accumulation of penalties for a particular period and/or
- sets a reduced rate of child support to be paid, or leave an amount at the current rate where there has been an assessment for an increase
until a decision is made by the Child Support Agency, Administrative Appeals Tribunal - Social Services and Child Support Division or court about your application to change the amount of child support to be paid by you.
The stay order does not stop your legal obligation to pay the amount of child support assessed by the Child Support Agency. If the court makes a stay order, and you are unsuccessful in lowering the amount of child support you are to pay, you must pay what was required under the administrative assessment less the money you paid during the period stay order.
What happens when a stay order is made?
When a stay order is made, you will receive these orders from the court by post.
Within 14 days of the date of the order, you must:
- Serve a copy of the order on the Child Support Agency, and
- Complete the Child Support Agency form 'Child Support or Maintenance Change'.
This form can also be found on the Child Support Agency's website.
The stay order will have effect until either:
- the date stated in the stay order, or
- If no date is given, until your application to change the administrative assessment has been finalised.
To find out if a stay order is the best option for you, you should get legal advice.