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 6

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 6),
  • 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 (CSA Act section 12(2AA)(a)), 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) (CSA Act section 12(2AA)(b)), and
  • if paragraphs (a) and (b) are met because:
    • all persons who were eligible carers of the child ceased to be eligible carers of the child, and
    • a parent who was not an eligible carer of the child would have become an eligible carer of the child but for CSA Act section 54F(3)(b)(i)

and the Registrar or Secretary is notified or otherwise becomes aware of the change of care more than 26 weeks after the relevant change of care day (CSA Act section 12(2AA)(c)).

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).

A terminating event also occurs where all persons who had at least 35% care of the child have ceased to be eligible carers of the child, and a parent who was not an eligible carer of the child would have become an eligible carer of the child, but for the Registrar or Secretary being notified or otherwise becoming aware of that matter more than 26 weeks after the relevant change of care. Therefore where notification of the change of care event has been delayed and occurs after the 26-week time limit, a terminating event would occur with effect from the change of care day. A suspension determination applies in these circumstances where notification of the event occurs within 26 weeks (see 2.10.4).

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: Arnold and Paula have been assessed in respect of the costs of their child Felicity, and Arnold has 100% care of Felicity. On 2 July 2018, Felicity moves from Arnold's 100% care to Paula's 100% care. Arnold advised DHS of this on 10 January 2019. This is a terminating event as the care change was notified more than 26 weeks after the date of event.

Example: Yael and Petru have been assessed in respect of the costs of their child Hilargi, who is in Yael's 60% care and Dianne's 40% care. Dianne is a non-parent carer and is a party to the assessment. On 3 September 2018, Hilargi moved from Yael's 60% care to Dianne's 100% care. Yael advised DHS of the care change on 19 October 2018. This is not a terminating event but rather a change in care, as Hilargi is in the care of a party to the assessment. As the care change was notified more than 28 days after the event, Yael's decrease in care will be given effect to from 3 September 2018 (date of event) and Dianne's increase in care will be given effect to from 19 October 2018 (the date of notification).

Example: Olga and Patricia have been assessed in respect of the costs of their child Jeff, with Olga and Patricia each having 50% care. Jeff moves to Scarlet's 100% care on 19 August 2018. Scarlet is not a party to the child support assessment. Patricia advises DHS of the care change on 29 November 2018, more than 28 days after the event. The new care percentage determinations of 0% for Olga and Patricia take effect from 19 August 2018, the date of the care change. This results in a terminating event, as Olga and Patricia are not eligible carers of Jeff, and Scarlet is not entitled to child support for Jeff under the assessment. The terminating event takes effect from 19 August 2018, 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 carer entitled to receive child support or the liable parent 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: 2 July 2018