2.10.3 Terminating Events

Context

The Registrar must amend or end a child support assessment if a child support 'terminating event' happens.

Act references

CSA Act section 5, section 12, section 22, section 74, section 150E, section 151, section 151D

CSA Regs regulation 4

CSRC Regs Schedule 1

On this page

Definition of child support terminating events

The Registrar must amend or end an assessment to take into account a terminating event (CSA Act section 74). The various 'terminating events' are listed below.

Child terminating event

A terminating event happens if the child of the child support assessment (CSA Act section 12(1)):

  • dies,
  • ceases to be an eligible child because the child is in the care of a person under a child welfare law (CSA Act section 22 and CSA Regs regulation 4),
  • turns 18 (unless the Registrar has accepted an application for the assessment to continue beyond a child's 18th birthday (2.5.5)),
  • is adopted,
  • becomes a member of a couple (2.1.2),
  • is no longer present in Australia, is not an Australian citizen, and is not ordinarily resident in Australia (1.6.2) (and is not subject to an international maintenance arrangement), or
  • a second liability is registered for the same parents and child/ren (CSRC Act section 30AA(1)).

Eligible carer terminating event

A terminating event happens if a parent or non-parent carer entitled to receive child support dies (CSA Act section 12 (2)).

Terminating event in relation to a child

A terminating event happens in relation to a child (CSA Act section 12(2AA)) if:

  • both parents of the child are not eligible carers of the child (2.1.1), i.e. they are determined as not having at least 35% care of the child after a change in care, and
  • there is no non-parent carer entitled to be paid child support in relation to the child (i.e. no non-parent carer is entitled to child support for the child under the child support assessment).

This means a terminating event occurs if the Registrar makes new care percentage determinations after a change in care, neither parent of the child has at least 35% care of the child as a result of the new care percentage determinations, and there is no non-parent carer entitled to child support for the child under the child support assessment. The date of effect for the terminating event is the date of effect for the new care percentage determinations (2.2.2).

Where a child changes care and a parent or non-parent carer continues to provide at least 35% care, a terminating event does not occur and the assessment continues. However, the Registrar may need to amend the assessment (2.9.5).

If a child moves into the full-time care of a non-parent carer who is not entitled to be paid child support for the child under the child support assessment, a terminating event occurs regardless of whether the non-parent carer subsequently applies for a child support assessment.

The paragraphs above also apply if the assessment for a child is determined by a child support agreement. For example, if the child leaves the care of the carer who is the payee under the agreement, a terminating event does not occur if the payer under the agreement has at least 35% care of the child.

Example: M and F have been assessed in respect of the costs of their child A, and M has 100% care of A. On 2 February 2015, A moves from M's 100% care to F's 100% care. M advised DHS of this on 10 July 2015. This is not a terminating event but rather a change in care, as A is in the care of a party to the assessment. As the care change was notified more than 28 days after the date of event, it will only be given effect to from 10 July 2015, the date of notification.

Example: M and F have an agreement for their child A. A is in the full-time care of M, and F is to pay M $200 per week child support under the agreement. On 2 February 2015, A moves from M's 100% care to F's 100% care. M advised DHS of this on 20 February 2015. This is not a terminating event for A as one of the parents (the payer under the agreement) is still an eligible carer of the child. The care change does not modify the terms of the agreement and F must continue paying $200 per week unless the terms of the agreement provide for a change to the liability when care changes.

Example: M and F have been assessed in respect of the costs of their child A, who is in M's 60% care and G's 40% care. G is a non-parent carer and is a party to the assessment. On 3 March 2015, A moved from M's 60% care to G's 100% care. M advised DHS of the care change on 19 April 2015. This is not a terminating event but rather a change in care, as A is in the care of a party to the assessment. As the care change was notified more than 28 days after the event, it will only be given effect to from 19 April, the date of notification.

Example: M and F have been assessed in respect of the costs of their child A, with M and F each having 50% care. A moves to G's 100% care on 19 August 2015. G is not a party to the child support assessment. F advises DHS of the care change on 29 November 2015, more than 28 days after the event. The new care percentage determinations of 0% for M and F take effect from 29 November 2015, the date of notification. This results in a terminating event, as M and F are not eligible carers of A, and G is not entitled to child support for A under the assessment. The terminating event takes effect from 29 November 2015, the date of effect for the new care percentage determinations.

Liable parent terminating event

A terminating event happens if a parent liable to pay child support (CSA Act section 12(3)):

Terminating events in respect of an election to end an assessment & an end date of liability specified in a child support agreement

In addition, a terminating event happens on a specified day if (CSA Act section 12(4)):

  • a parent or non-parent carer entitled to receive child support makes an election to end an assessment (2.10.2) for the child from a specified day, or
  • the Registrar has accepted a child support agreement in relation to the child in which the parents and any non-parent carer agreed that the liability to pay child support is to end from a specified day (see 2.7.1).

Reconciliation

A terminating event happens if the parents of the child, to whom the child support assessment relates, become members of the same couple for a period of 6 months or more (CSA Act section 12(5)). This means that they are legally married to each other and are not living separately or apart on a permanent or indefinite basis; or are living together (2.1.1) as partners on a genuine domestic basis although not legally married to each other; or are in a registered relationship and are not living separately or apart on a permanent or indefinite basis. The terminating event occurs 6 months after the parents reconciled, where the parents have remained reconciled on a continuous basis during the 6 month period (see 2.10.1).

Terminating events & international maintenance arrangements

If an international maintenance arrangement applies in relation to a case, a terminating event happens when:

  • the parent liable to pay child support was a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction (1.6.3) and s/he ceases to be a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction or Australia (CSA Act section 12(3A)),
  • the reciprocating jurisdiction in which the liable parent resides becomes an excluded jurisdiction (CSA Act section 12(3B)),
  • the carer entitled to receive child support was a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction and s/he ceases to be a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction or of Australia (CSA Act section 12(2A)), or
  • both parents cease to be residents of Australia (CSA Act section 12(4B)).

Note: a child support assessment will not end when the carer ceases to be a resident of Australia or a reciprocating jurisdiction if the child is an Australian citizen, present in Australia or ordinarily resident in Australia. In that situation, no international maintenance arrangement applies in relation to the case and therefore section 12(2A) does not apply.

A child support assessment will end pursuant to the Australia-New Zealand Child Support Agreement (see CSRC Regs Schedule 1) if the carer entitled to receive child support becomes habitually resident in New Zealand. Under the terms of the Agreement, the date from which the assessment will end is either:

  • where the carer, the payer or the Central Authority gives a notice in writing that the carer is habitually resident in New Zealand - the day before the receipt by the Registrar of that written notice (Article 5), or
  • where a New Zealand child support assessment is made in relation to the same parents and child/ren - the day before the start date of the New Zealand assessment (Article 7).

Effect of a child support terminating event

The Registrar must amend or end an assessment to take into account a terminating event (CSA Act section 74). The assessment is amended or ended from the date of effect for the terminating event (CSA Act section 12).

Last reviewed: 16 May 2016