18.104.22.168 Changing the method of collection
Changing from private collection (1.1.P.130) to Child Support collection
Previously Child Support was not able to collect arrears for payments that were due, but not paid, during a period of private collection. From 29 May 1995, a change in legislation allows a payee to request Child Support to collect arrears of child support amounts that were unpaid during the period of private collection. Child Support collects arrears of up to 3 months, or up to 9 months in exceptional circumstances. Arrears in excess of this would have to be collected privately by the payee.
Note: Child Support decides what constitutes exceptional circumstances.
From 1 July 2012, if a deemed amount of child support is included in the maintenance income test for a payee privately collecting less than the full child support entitlement, and the payee swaps to collection by Child Support, the use of a deemed amount would cease on the day from which Child Support collection applies, or 1 July 2012, whichever is later. This includes an earlier period of underpaid private collection which is able to be collected by Child Support (generally limited to 3 months). The actual amount collected by Child Support will then be included in the maintenance income test when received. Any arrears privately collected in a future year that related to the deemed amount would be excluded from FTB calculations in the future year to prevent double counting.
Changing from Child Support collection to private collection
The payee (or the payee and payer jointly) can elect to opt out of Child Support collection. In certain circumstances, the Child Support Registrar can make a case private collect. A payer cannot make an election that Child Support cease collecting child support for the payee.
When a payee (or payer and payee jointly) elects for Child Support to end collection of child support, they can also elect for Child Support not to collect any unpaid amounts (arrears), refer to 22.214.171.124.
When individuals change from Child Support collection to private collection, they are not ending a child support assessment but stopping collection of payments by Child Support.
Child Support decides whether the individual is eligible to change from Child Support collection to private collection, and informs the individual of this in writing. Individuals may lodge an objection with Child Support against a decision not to allow them to change to private collection.
Act reference: Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989
Policy reference: FA Guide 126.96.36.199 Taking reasonable maintenance action, 188.8.131.52 Reasonable maintenance action completed - Child Support collect, 184.108.40.206 Reasonable maintenance action completed - private collect, 220.127.116.11 Appeals & reviews of Child Support decisions