Child Support Matters

Child Support – Taking Action to obtain child support:

Unless you take reasonable action to obtain child support from the other parent of your child, your Family Tax Benefit (“FTB”) can be reduced. You may take the following steps to seek to obtain child support:

 

Making an application

1. Lodge an application with the Department of Human Services: Child Support online at www.humanservices.gov.au or by contacting them via telephone on 131 272. You must provide the following to do so:

a. If the person is named as a parent on the child’s birth certificate;

b. If you and the person were married when your child was born;

c. If you were living with the person when your child was conceived;

d. If the person has sworn a statutory declaration that they are the parent;

e. If there is a court order to say that the person is a child’s parent; and

f. If the person has legally adopted the child.

2. If the Department of Human Services: Child Support refuse your application they will send you a letter advising you of this. Once you receive this letter advising you about the refusal, you only have 56 days of when you received the letter to make an application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or a Local Court

 

Applying to a Court for a Child Support Parentage Declaration

An application for a child support parentage declaration can be made in the:

a. Federal Circuit Court of Australia; and

b. The Local Court.

The following documents must be prepared and filed with the court:

· An Initiating Application

· An affidavit in support of your application. You should attach to the affidavit a copy of your child’s birth certificate and the letter that you received from Child Support as well as any other supporting evidence.

Both forms can be found on the Family Court website.

 

 

What order to seek

You should make an application for an order under section 106A of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 that the “other party” is a parent of the child.

a. Once your court documents have been prepared, you must file the documents at the Court. You must ensure that you have the original and two copies when filing.

b. Once the Court has given you a Court date and has sealed the documents with a stamp, you must serve the application on to the other party. You are unable to do this on your own and would therefore require a process server or any other person who is able to complete an “Affidavit of Service” which is to be filed with the court.

 

Child Support – Disputing Paternity

If you are currently being assessed to pay child support for a child or children but believe that you are not the father of that child, you may be able to take legal action to resolve the issue. If the Department of Human Services: Child Support are satisfied that you are the father of the child/ren, then an application made to them will be accepted leading you to be assessed to pay child support.

Child Support matters are heard in the Federal Circuit Court, however, some matters may be dealt with by a Local Court. To make an application to the court, you must complete and file the following documents:

· An initiating application

· An Affidavit supporting your application

 

Applying for a Stay Order

If you are currently paying child support which is being collected by the Department of Human Services: Child Support, you may be able to apply for a stay order to suspend or reduce child support while the Department of Human Services: Child Support, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or a Court makes a decision in relation to your child support.

In the event of applying for a stay order, the Department of Human Services: Child Support may still continue to collect money from you, but they are not to pay the mother any money until the paternity proceedings have been finalised. The money that is collected is held in trust during this time.

 

Where to apply and how to apply

Stay order matters are dealt with by the Federal Circuit Court however, may be dealt with in the Local Court. You can apply for a stay order if:

· You have made an application to the Department of Human Services: Child Support for your assessment to be changed;

· Made an application to the AAT about your child support matter;

· Have lodged an objection to a decision for your child support; or

· If you have any other child support matters before a court.

In order to make a stay order application, the following documents are must be prepared:

1. Initiating application;

2. The affidavit supporting your application;

3. Financial statement.

 

Once the matter is before the court, you must take all documents with you including the Affidavit of Service (which proves that you have served the application on the other party).

In the event that the court grants the stay order, it is recommended that you advise the Department of Human Services: Child Support immediately.

It is important to keep in mind that a stay order is temporary.

Sandy Chehade
Principal Lawyer
LLB, GDLP, M.App Law (Family)

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