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.

2.9.4 Private recovery of child support


A payee can take court action against the payer to collect child support payable or to collect a carer liability. The payee can take such action whether the amount is registered for collection by the Registrar or not (that is, private collect or agency collect).

Act references

CSA Act section 79

CSRC Act section 69B, section 113, section 113A

On this page

A payee can privately recover amounts due and payable by a liable parent through court action. These amounts may be due and payable to the payee (private collect), or due and payable to the Commonwealth because the liability is registered for collection by the Registrar (agency collect).

The payee can recover unpaid child support in:

  • a court having jurisdiction for the recovery of debts
    • up to the amount of the child support (CSA Act section 79)
    • up to the amount of the debt (CSRC Act section 113), or
  • a court having jurisdiction under the Act (CSA Act section 79, CSRC Act section 113).

See 5.4 for details of courts with jurisdiction and 5.4.7 for details of a payee's right to enforce debt via Court proceedings if the child support owed is registered for collection with the Registrar.

If child support is registered for collection (agency collect), the payee of the registered maintenance liability or carer liability must first give notice (at least 14 days prior unless there are exceptional circumstances) to the commencement of the intended court action (CSRC Act section 113A).

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