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.

3 Registrable maintenance liabilities


The CSRC Act provides for various liabilities to be registered for collection by the Registrar. A liability is a registrable maintenance liability if it arises under a child support assessment (section 17(2) of CSRC Act).


The chapters in this part describe the types of registrable maintenance liabilities including:

  • notification requirements
  • how court orders are varied and some hints on how to interpret difficult clauses and commonly used expressions
  • the registration of overseas child support order, court registered agreements and liabilities.

Australian liabilities

The Registrar can register for collection a court order made under section 143 of the CSA Act requiring a former payee to repay to a former payer a specified amount of child support for a child of whom the former payer is not the parent. These registrable debts are called parentage overpayments.

Where parents or children are not eligible for an assessment under the CSA Act, child maintenance in Australia is determined by the courts on a case-by-case basis. Financial support for children in these cases is determined under the FL Act along with other issues arising from family breakdown, including spousal maintenance.

Parties may apply to court for a court order for maintenance or a court registered maintenance agreement.

Overseas orders

The Registrar can register overseas maintenance liabilities made in a reciprocating jurisdiction for collection, in the same way that Australian court orders and child support assessments are registered.

Once the Registrar has registered an overseas maintenance liability for collection, the liability must be administered in the same way that Australian child support assessments and court orders are administered. In most respects the Registrar administers these cases in the same way as Australian court orders or agreements, however, there are some important differences.

WA ex-nuptial cases

The information in this part applies to WA ex-nuptial children. For further information on when provisions apply for WA ex-nuptial cases, see 1.4 for details.

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