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04 November 2014

Child Support and Child Maintenance: What happens when a parent moves overseas?

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Collecting Child Support

Parents who are separated may apply to the Department of Human Services (“Child Support Agency”) for a child support assessment, so that the child support payable in respect of their child(ren) can be determined.

If requested, the Child Support Agency will collect periodic child support payments on behalf of the parents.

The Child Support Agency will collect child support payments as long as the paying parent resides in the Commonwealth of Australia or in a reciprocating jurisdiction.  If the paying parent lives in a reciprocating jurisdiction, the Child Support Agency will liaise with that country’s equivalent authority to set up child support payments.  A list can be found on the Child Support Agency website under the heading Reciprocating Jurisdictions.

If you are a parent to whom child support is payable, and the paying parent is moving overseas, make sure that you check whether the paying parent is moving to a reciprocating jurisdiction.

What if the paying parent moves to an “Excluded Jurisdiction”?

If the paying parent moves to an excluded jurisdiction and is no longer a resident of Australia for the purposes of child support, the Child Support Agency cannot collect child support payments on the recipient parent’s behalf.  Excluded jurisdictions are countries that will only deal with child support if there is a Court Order regarding same.

The excluded jurisdictions are also listed on the Child Support Agency website, and (as at 3 November 2014), are as follows:-

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Yukon (Canadian territory)
  • Cook Islands
  • Israel
  • Niue
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa

If the paying parent has relocated to an excluded jurisdiction, you will need to apply to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia for a Child Maintenance Order.

Your application to the Court must set out the Orders you are seeking (for example, the amount you seek in payment of periodic child ‘support’ and any other payments you seek towards the child’s maintenance, such as school fees or health insurance premiums).  You are also required to file an affidavit setting out the facts and circumstances relied on in support of your application and a completed financial statement or affidavit of financial affairs.

Importantly, you are also required to serve a copy of your proceedings on the paying parent.

(Unless you reach agreement with the paying parent), the Court will determine what Order is appropriate and proper in the circumstances of your case.  Child Maintenance Orders, including the matters which will be taken into account by the Court, are set out in Part 7, Division 7 of the Family Law Act 1975.

If you would like more information about Child Support or applying to the Court for a Child Maintenance Order, please contact our office and talk to one our solicitors today.

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