3.1.6 Court registered agreements, financial agreements & parenting plans
The FL Act provides for a court to register agreements for spousal or child maintenance.
The CSRC Act provides that court registered agreements for spousal maintenance (section 18) and child maintenance (section 17(1)) are registrable maintenance liabilities.
FL Act Part VII Division 4 Parenting Plans, Part VIIIA, sections 63A to 63H, section 66S, section 86, section 87
CSRC Act section 17(1), section 18
On this page
- Child maintenance agreements
- Parenting plans
- Spousal maintenance
- De facto financial agreements
- How can an agreement be changed?
- When does a court registered agreement end?
Child maintenance agreements
Before 27 December 2000, parents who were not eligible for an assessment of child support could make an agreement for child maintenance and register this in a court. Court registered maintenance agreements have effect as if they were court orders made by consent (FL Act sections 86 and 87).
Parenting plans were introduced on 27 December 2000. A parenting plan is a written agreement between a child's parents about any aspect of their parental responsibilities. A parenting plan can contain provisions about child maintenance (FL Act section 63C) and can be registered by a court (FL Act section 63E).
Child maintenance provisions in a court registered parenting plan have no effect if the Registrar could make a child support assessment for the payer, payee and child involved. However, the parents can apply to the Registrar for acceptance of the written agreement as a child support agreement (FL Act section 63CAA) (2.7).
If the Registrar cannot make a child support assessment for a case, the child maintenance provisions in a court registered parenting plan have effect as if they were a child maintenance order made by the court (FL Act section 63G).
Before 27 December 2000, parties to a marriage could make an agreement for spousal maintenance and register this in a court. Court registered maintenance agreements have effect as if they were court orders made by consent (FL Act sections 86 and 87).
From 27 December 2000, a spousal maintenance agreement must also comply with the requirements of a Financial Agreement (FL Act Part VIIIA). A court must approve the provisions of the agreement before registering it.
De facto financial agreements
De facto financial agreements (FL Act Part VIIIAB) are not court registered maintenance agreements and are not registrable maintenance liabilities (CSRC Act sections 17(1) and 18). If a de facto financial agreement contains provisions relating to child maintenance, the parties to the agreement can apply to the Registrar to have the agreement accepted as a child support agreement (2.7).
How can an agreement be changed?
A child maintenance agreement can be varied by:
- the parents making a parenting plan that includes child maintenance provisions, and applying to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) for it to be registered, or
- one of the parents applying to the court for a variation (FL Act section 66S).
A parenting plan may be changed:
- by revoking the existing parenting plan and making a further agreement which comes into effect when it is registered as a parenting plan (FL Act section 63D), or
- by applying to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) for variation to provisions of the parenting plan that have effect as if they were a child maintenance order (FL Act section 63H and 66S).
A spousal maintenance agreement may be changed by:
- making a new agreement which must be approved by the court, or
- one of the parties to the agreement applying to the court under FL Act section 83 .
When does a court registered agreement end?
A spousal maintenance agreement ends at the same time as a spousal maintenance order (3.1.5).
A child maintenance agreement ends at the same time as a child maintenance order (3.1.3).
The child maintenance provisions in a parenting plan will end at the same time as a child maintenance order (3.1.3).