2.10.2 Electing to End an Assessment
A carer entitled to receive child support is able to end an assessment for a child by electing to end the liability from a specified day in the future. However, if the carer is entitled to receive FTB Part A at more than the base rate, Centrelink must first decide whether, if the carer's election is accepted, the carer will have taken 'reasonable action to obtain maintenance' for the child.
In some circumstances, the parent liable to pay child support under a child support agreement may also elect to end the liability.
CSA Act section 12(4), section 86, section 93, section 151
When can a carer elect to end an assessment?
A carer entitled to receive child support can elect to end an assessment for a child from a specified day (CSA Act section 151). The specified day must be a day after the election to end the assessment is made (CSA Act section 12(4)).
It should be noted that when an assessment is ended on a certain date any assessments for periods before that date remain in force. If the Registrar amends the assessment/s that apply to any of the days before the date the carer specified, this may result in an overpayment or underpayment of child support.
An election to end an assessment for a child under CSA Act section 151 is a 'terminating event'. When an election to end an assessment has been approved and the Registrar ends the assessment, the 'terminating event' cannot be reversed. However, either parent or any eligible carer is entitled to make a new application for an assessment.
Electing to end an assessment & child support agreements
No unilateral termination of child support agreement
An election to end an assessment for a child under section 151 of the CSA Act is a terminating event and child support ceases to be payable under a child support agreement. However, when the person who elected to end the assessment applies for an administrative assessment of child support before the liability under the child support agreement would have otherwise ended, the child support agreement revives and any new assessment must be based on the child support agreement (see 2.7.5).
A reference in a child support agreement made after 23 May 2018 is taken not to include a child support terminating event under section 12(4)(a)(i) of the CSA Act. This ensures a child support agreement made after 23 May 2018 cannot enable a termination of the agreement via a unilateral election by a payee under section 151 of the CSA Act to end the administrative assessment. If a child support agreement made before 23 May 2018 states the agreement will end if a terminating event occurs, depending on the wording of the agreement, the child support agreement will end and will not be revived under a new assessment.
Electing to end a section 93 assessment when child support agreement is suspended
From 1 July 2018, any party to a child support agreement which has resulted in an assessment under CSA Act section 93(2) may elect to end that assessment during a period when the agreement is suspended. When a child support agreement is suspended (CSA Act section 86) and child support is not payable because of the suspension (CSA Act section 93(1A)), any party to the agreement may give notice to the Registrar to elect to end the liability to pay child support (CSA Act section 151(1A)).
In situations where a parent liable to pay child support under the agreement becomes an eligible carer, the parent may elect to end the section 93(2) assessment where the other parent in the agreement is not an eligible carer (CSA Act section 151(1A)).
If the liable parent in the agreement applies for a new formula assessment under CSA Act section 31, the child support agreement revives (CSA Act section 142(1B)). As soon as the agreement revives, the agreement is suspended under CSA Act section 86 since the parent entitled to be paid child support is not an eligible carer. As the agreement has no effect on the formula assessment under CSA Act section 35C(c) because of the suspension, the liable parent under the agreement, who is now an eligible carer, can be assessed and potentially receive child support payments under child support formula provisions during an agreement suspension period.
In order to end the agreement, the liable parent must use the termination methods in 2.7.5. If after a 28 day suspension period, the former eligible carer does not become an eligible carer again, or there is no extended suspension period elected or provided for in the agreement, the agreement will terminate.
WA ex-nuptial cases
The information on this page may not apply to WA ex-nuptial children.