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.

1.1.G.80 Guardian


This definition applies to all payments.


The term guardian was used in custody orders (1.1.C.380) prior to the Family Law Reform in June 1996. The term was defined the in Family Law Act 1975 subsection 63E(1).

A person who is the guardian of a child has the responsibility for the long term welfare of the child and has all the powers, rights and duties of a guardian EXCEPT:

  • the right to have daily care and control of the child, AND
  • the right and responsibility to make decisions concerning the daily care and control of the child.

Dependent child (1.1.D.70)

A guardian of a child does NOT have the legal responsibility for the day-to-day care and welfare of the child. The child can ONLY be considered to be a dependent child of the guardian IF the child is wholly or substantially in the guardian's care AND no other person who has the legal responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child is caring for the child.

Exception: A child can be a dependent child of a person who has been given guardianship of the child AND also legal responsibility (1.1.L.33) or custody by the court.

Act reference: SSAct section 5(2) Dependent child-under 16

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