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 social security payments. 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.

2.3.1 What is a child support period?


A child support period is a period of time to which a child support assessment applies. The date of the start of the child support period determines which financial year of income the Registrar uses to make the assessment.

Act references

CSA Act section 5, section 7A, section 31, section 34A, section 34B, section 34C, section 43, section 93

Child support periods & assessments

Each child support assessment applies to a separate child support period. This does not mean that the rate of child support will stay the same for the whole period as the assessment may be amended to replace default incomes or to take account of various changes such as relevant dependent children, changes in levels of care, or estimates of income. These amendments may apply to the whole child support period or just part of the child support period, depending upon the nature of the change, when it occurred, and when the Registrar was advised of the change.

How long is a child support period?

A child support period is a flexible period of time, which cannot exceed 15 months. The length of the child support period for any assessment will vary according to the individual circumstances of the child support case. These circumstances will determine when the child support period starts and ends (section 7A). The Act also requires the Registrar to make new child support assessments in various circumstances (sections 31, 34A, 34B, 34C and 93).

Last relevant year of income

The Registrar makes child support assessments using the last relevant year of income for the child support period to which the assessment will apply (section 43). The last relevant year of income for a child support period is the last year of income that ended before the start of the period (section 5).

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