It is part of the broader Family Law System, which includes the Family Court and community services, such as the Family Relationship Centres.
Separation is a challenging time for many people and gaining early access to quality resources and support services can make a big difference to how separated families interact over the long-term.
Staff at the Department of Human Services are trained to identify and support at-risk families and refer them to a range of appropriate crisis and support services. These include referrals to local support services, department social workers, legal advice, financial counselling and other crisis support.
Parents don’t have to register for child support, but many do, so they can be eligible for Government assistance such as Family Tax Benefits or to formalise their arrangements.
There are a number of options for parents who register for child support with the Department. These include:
Private Collect where the Department makes an assessment but parents manage the transfer of child support themselves;
Child Support Collect where the Department makes an assessment then collects and transfers child support between separated parents; and
Limited or Binding Child Support Agreements which can be Child Support Collect or Private Collect. These could include provisions where child support is not paid in the form of cash. For example, the liable parent could pay school fees or health insurance, instead of some or all of the assessed liability to the other parent.
Separated parents can find out more about child support options and support services for separating families by visiting humanservices.gov.au/childsupport or calling 131 272.
Please also remind your clients who currently are registered for child support that if they have a child support assessment for a child who is continuing full-time secondary study after they turn 18 years of age, they need to apply to have their child support assessment extended until the end of the school year in which they turn 18.
Your clients must apply for an extension to the child support assessment before their child turns 18, or they will only receive the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A for that child, which may be less than what they are entitled to receive.
Your clients can apply for an extension by completing the child over 18 in full-time secondary education form or calling 131 272 between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.