5.1.5 Payment periods & payment of child support debts
This topic covers payment periods and due dates for payment. It applies to periodic enforceable maintenance liabilities.
Periodic maintenance liability
When the Registrar registers a periodic maintenance liability, a daily rate payable under that maintenance liability must be calculated. Depending on the payment period, a weekly, fortnightly, 4-weekly or monthly rate must also be calculated. The child support debt will be due and payable at particular periods, depending on the payment period.
Initial payment period
When the Registrar registers a maintenance liability for collection, an initial payment period must also be entered, if there is one. The initial payment period starts on the day the liability becomes payable to the Registrar and ends the day before the start of the first regular payment period (section 26C).
The Registrar will calculate the amount owing for this period by multiplying the daily rate by the number of days in the initial period. The Registrar will notify the payer of the amount owing.
Calculating payment rates
After the initial period, amounts are payable to the Commonwealth at the payment rate entered in the Register. The payment rate will depend on the payment period determined by the Registrar and can be weekly, fortnightly, 4-weekly or monthly.
The payment rate is calculated by multiplying the daily rate by the following number of days (CSRC Act section 29 and CSRC Regs section 15). The daily rate can be calculated by dividing the period of the liability by the number of days in that period.
|Period||Number of days in the period|
A daily rate is rounded up to 5 decimal places by reference to the value of the 6th decimal place.
Payment periods for voluntary payers
A payer can elect to pay directly to the Registrar rather than having child support debt deducted from their wages. If so, they will have a periodic child support debt for a particular payment period. A payer may make an election to make it a different period. Elections for payment periods to be weekly, fortnightly, monthly or 4-weekly will be accepted if the Registrar is satisfied this will be convenient for the payer (section 26B). Where the Registrar is not satisfied that the elected payment period would be convenient for the payer, the payment period will be determined by the Registrar (section 26B(5)).
Payment periods if child support debt is deducted from salary or wages
If the Registrar uses employer withholding to collect the child support debt, the payment cycle will be the same as the payer's pay cycle (see 5.2.3 on collection from salary and wages). It can be a week, fortnight, 4 weeks or month. The first day of the first payment cycle will be determined by the Registrar and will be the start of the first payment period for which employer deductions will occur (section 26A).
Due dates for payment
A child support debt for days in the initial period are due and payable to the Registrar on the 7th day of the month following that day (section 66(1)). However, if a liability starts, or is varied, on or after the day the Payer Account Statement issues (usually during the second last full weekend of the month, but this can vary), the liability is due and payable on the 7th day of the month after the following month. This takes into account the need to notify the payer of the new or varied liability.
A child support debt for a payment period that is made by a voluntary payer is due and payable on the 7th day after the last day of the payment period (section 66(2)). A late payment penalty (5.1.6) is imposed on a payer when they fail to pay their child support debt by the due date (section 67).
Information about the due dates for payment by employers who have deducted a child support debt from an employee's wage or salary is contained in the topic 'Collection from salary or wages (employer withholding)' (see 5.2.3). The payer is discharged from their liability to make payments directly to the Registrar to the extent of the amounts that the employer has deducted from their wages or salary (section 49(a)). The payer is required to pay any shortfall to the Registrar and this is due on the 7th day after the last day of the payment period (section 66(2)).
If the initial period covers the last 3 days of June and the first 3 days of July, the payer must ensure that payment reaches the Registrar by, or on, 7 August.
If the Register states that the payer must pay $500 for each monthly pay period then the payer must ensure that payment reaches the Registrar by, or on, the 7th of each month.
If the Register states that the payer must pay $250 each fortnight and a fortnightly period ends on the 15 June, then the payer must ensure that payment reaches the Registrar by, or on 22 June.