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Child support is a payment made by one or both parents to the other to help with the cost of looking after the children. In some situations, it may be paid by one or both parents to another person who is looking after the children.
Parents can make agreements about child support or they can apply to the Department of Human Services (Child Support) for an administrative assessment.
If you have a dispute about child support, get legal advice.
Child support is usually paid until a child turns 18. Some situations where it may be stopped early include:
In some circumstances it can be paid for a child over 18. See Child support for over 18s.
Parents can make agreements about child support or they can apply to the Department of Human Services (Child Support) (DHS) for an administrative assessment .
The DHS uses a formula to work out how much child support you should pay or receive.
The child support assessment takes into account factors including:
The DHS will only issue a child support assessment if you can prove the paying parent is a biological, adoptive or same-sex parent .
The amount of child support to be paid may change depending on how much time the child spends with each parent. Even parents who spend no time with their child are obligated to pay child support.
The DHS will take into account any other relevant dependent children when calculating your child support.
A relevant dependent child includes:
For more information on relevant dependent children, visit the DHS website.
Children from the first and following families will be treated the same when calculating child support payments.
Get legal advice.
Child support assessments can be varied to reflect changes to your situation. You’ll need to tell the DHS about any changes to make sure your child support assessment is accurate.
Changes that may affect your child support payments include:
If you disagree with the child support assessment, you can ask to have it changed.
If you’re unhappy with the DHS decision, you can appeal the decision. Get legal advice.
If you and the other parent agree about the amount, frequency and method of child support payments, you can make a child support agreement.
You may need legal advice if:
We can give legal advice about child support matters.
The following organisations may also be able to give legal advice on your matter.
Caxton Community Legal Centre—give specialist legal advice about child support for both carer parents and liable (paying) parents.
Gold Coast Legal Service— gives legal advice about child support.
Queensland Law Society—can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation.
These organisations may also be able to help. They don’t provide legal advice.
Department of Human Services (Child Support) —administers the child support scheme to ensure parents contribute to the costs of raising children after separation. Gives support and help to parents, including calculating, collecting and transferring child support payments.
Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia—makes decision about issues including child support matters.
Disclaimer: This page is provided as information only, and is not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should contact us or speak to a lawyer. View our full disclaimer.
Last updated 26 October 2021