Collecting Child Support When One Parent is Living Overseas

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Where one parent lives and works overseas and the other parent lives in Australia with the children, the rules about collecting child support vary and depend on whether the other country is a “reciprocal” jurisdiction. Here we discuss some aspects about overseas child support.

How is child support assessed?

Where both parents live in Australia, the amount of child support payable for children can be determined through an administrative assessment arranged through the Child Support Agency, or by an agreement between both parents, or by Court Order. An administrative assessment which is determined by the Child Support Agency is based on a formula which accounts for differing family circumstances.

What if the other parent lives overseas?

Some countries assist Australia in collecting child support. These countries are called “reciprocal jurisdictions”. A parent living in Australia can apply for an administrative assessment, where the other parent lives in a reciprocal jurisdiction. This then means that the assessment can be enforced.

What if the other parent does not live in a “reciprocal jurisdiction”?

An overseas parent can also live in an “excluded jurisdiction” or a “non-reciprocal” jurisdiction. An “excluded jurisdiction” will not accept an administrative assessment through the Child Support Agency but will accept a Court Order for child support made under the Family Law Act. If the other parent is living in a “non-reciprocal” jurisdiction, other rules apply but the Agency will not accept an application for child support by the parent living in Australia and a Court Order is required.

If the Child Support Agency refuses to issue a child support assessment because the other country is not a reciprocal jurisdiction, you should seek legal advice, as you may be eligible to make an application to the Court under the Family Law Act for orders providing for the financial support for your children.