2.10.4 Suspension of Liability to Pay Child Support when There is a Change in Eligible Carer

Context

A liability to pay child support can be suspended if there is a delay in DHS being notified when the parties in a child support assessment have swapped eligible carer roles.

Act references

CSA Act section 12, section 54F, section 150F

On this page

Suspension of child support liability when there is a change in eligible carer & notification was delayed

The Registrar must make a suspension determination under CSA Act section 150F that child support is not payable for a child by a liable parent to another person if:

  • the Registrar, or Secretary, is notified or otherwise becomes aware that:
    • all persons who were eligible carers of the child have ceased to be eligible carers of the child (CSA Act section 150F(1)(a)(i)), and
    • a parent who was not an eligible carer of the child would have become an eligible carer, but for care date of effect rules under CSA Act section 54F(3)(b)(i) (CSA Act section 150F(1)(a)(ii)), and
  • the Registrar or Secretary is notified, or otherwise becomes aware, of the matter in CSA Act section 150F(1)(a)(ii) more than 28 days after the relevant change of care day, but before the end of 26 weeks after that day (CSA Act section 150F(1)(b)).

If the Registrar makes a suspension determination, child support for the child is not payable by the liable parent to the other person (CSA Act section 150F(2)):

  • from the change of care day, and
  • until the day before the Registrar, or Secretary, is notified or otherwise becomes aware of the matter in CSA Act section 150F(1)(a)(ii).

If there is a delay in parties notifying of a change of care, there will be some circumstances where all persons are assessed as having a care percentage of less than 35% for a child during the period from the date of the care change until the day before notification of the care change, due to the care percentage date of effect rules (2.2.2) (CSA Act section 150F(1)). Therefore, on the assessment there will be no eligible carer during this period. This can occur when parents swap the eligible carer role for a child - that is, one parent ceases to be an eligible carer at the same time the other parent becomes an eligible carer for the child - and notification of the swap was delayed.

When the suspension determination takes effect

CSA Act section 150F(2) provides that if the Registrar makes a suspension determination, the child support liability is not payable from the change of care day and until the day before the Registrar (or Secretary) is notified or otherwise becomes aware of the change of care day.

For FTB purposes, the actual date of the change in care will be used.

Example: Michael and Fiona have 2 children, Andrea and Bennett. Fiona has 100% care of Andrea and Bennett. Michael advised DHS on 25 October 2018 that the care of their children swapped on 1 August 2018 and that he now has 100% care of Andrea and Bennett.

The care swap notification was delayed and occurred after 28 days but before 26 weeks, and both parents are assessed as having a care percentage of less than 35% for the children, due to care percentage date of effect rules.

Therefore, a suspension determination is made by the Registrar and the child support liability is suspended from 1 August 2018 (change of care day) to 24 October 2018 (the day before the Registrar is notified).

Effect of the suspension determination

During a suspension determination, the assessment is not in force for the child for the period from the date of event to the day before notification.

A terminating event under CSA Act section 12(2AA) would not occur during a suspension determination, subject to a time limit of 26 weeks between the care change and notification of the care change. However, for care swaps (which resulted in no eligible carers on the assessment) that are notified outside of the 26 week time limit will be a terminating event under CSA Act section 12(2AA) (see 2.10.3).

Last reviewed: 2 July 2018