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.

2.7.3 Making a decision on an application for acceptance of a child support agreement

Context

The CSA Act sets out how the Registrar makes a decision to accept, or to refuse, a child support agreement or termination agreement. The Registrar can only accept an agreement where certain requirements are met.

Act references

CSA Act section 29B, section 91, section 92, section 96, section 98T, section 98U, section 119, Part 6A, Part 7

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008 Schedule 6 item 16

On this page

In deciding whether an agreement is a child support agreement, the Registrar may act on the basis of the application, any documents accompanying the application, and the agreement itself. The Registrar is not required to conduct any inquiries or investigations before making a decision (CSA Act section 91).

An agreement or a consent order?

Orders for a change to the assessment, which are made by consent under Part 7 of the CSA Act, may be signed by both parents and contain provisions that can be in a child support agreement. A court order, however, is not a child support agreement. A parent does not have to apply to the Registrar for acceptance of a court order. When notified that a court has made a departure order changing the assessment, the Registrar is obliged to amend the child support assessment to give effect to that order (CSA Act section 119).

An agreement during a change of assessment process

If a parent or non-parent carer has applied for a change of assessment, under CSA Act Part 6A, and the parties enter into a child support agreement before the change of assessment decision is made, then the Registrar must decide to accept or refuse the agreement (CSA Act section 98U). See 2.6.5 for details of how the Registrar will make this decision.

Making a decision to accept or refuse a child support agreement

If a parent or non-parent carer applies for the Registrar to accept a child support agreement outside the change of assessment process, the way the Registrar will make a decision will depend on whether the application relates to a binding or limited agreement (CSA Act section 92).

The requirements for a binding child support agreement and a limited child support agreement are set out in 2.7.1.

If the agreement is properly made, the Registrar must accept the agreement (CSA Act section 92(1)).

Note: The Registrar must refuse to accept an agreement where the assessment commenced with an application from an overseas authority of a reciprocating jurisdiction (CSA Act section 29B(1)(b)) and that authority does not approve the acceptance of the agreement (CSA Act section 92(5)).

Notification of the decision

Once the Registrar has decided to accept, or refuse, an agreement the Registrar will notify both parties and advise them of their objection and appeal rights (CSA Act section 96).

Agreements that cover periods before & after 1 July 2008

Some child support agreements lodged with the Registrar on or after 1 July 2008 will affect child support assessments for periods prior to 1 July 2008, as well as periods from 1 July 2008. In these circumstances, the child support agreement will be treated as 2 separate child support agreements - one for the period prior to 1 July 2008 and the other for the period from 1 July 2008.

The pre-1 July 2008 legislation will be applied in determining whether to accept the first child support agreement - for the period prior to 1 July 2008. The current legislation, as outlined in this page, will be applied in determining whether to accept the second child support agreement - for the period from 1 July 2008.

This may mean that one of the agreements is accepted and the other is not accepted (Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008 Schedule 6 item 16).

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