The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

1.6.4 Habitual residency under the Australia-New Zealand agreement


The Australian and New Zealand governments entered into an agreement to facilitate the collection of liabilities under administrative assessments of child support from 1 July 2000 (see 1.5.2 for more information about this agreement). Under the agreement, the contracting state where the payee is habitually resident will issue and administer the assessment, and the other contracting state where the payer resides will be responsible for collection.

Habitual residence

Habitual residence is a term used in many international instruments and is used specifically in the Australia and New Zealand agreement to define each country's jurisdiction. It is intended to be a simple non-technical term, applied to the facts of each case. A person's country of habitual residence is the country in which a person usually lives. 'Residence' means more than presence, as it refers to a place where a person resides or lives for a settled period. 'Habitual' indicates that something more than occasional or short-term residence is required, but continuous presence is not required. A person who is present in a country as a tourist or in transit is not habitually resident in that country.


  • Mehrdad arrived in Australia recently and stated on their entry documents that they intended to establish themselves in Australia. Mehrdad is considered to be a habitual resident of Australia from the entry date.
  • Crystal has been living in New Zealand for 8 months and appears to have no immediate intention to leave the jurisdiction. Crystal is considered to be a habitual resident of New Zealand.

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