In general, the child support scheme is an administrative scheme which is designed to operate without the need for court applications. However, there are some circumstances in which a party may make an application to a court in relation to child support matters. The most common situations are listed below:
Child Support Legislation and Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
Paternity Matters: either parent can apply to a court to resolve disputes involving paternity of children and entitlement to child support. The court may order DNA parentage testing in these cases. If a payer is excluded from paternity, a court may order the payee to repay child support paid by the payer.
Application for Leave to Change an Assessment that is more than 18 months old: a Court can give leave or permission to change an assessment that is more than 18 months old, but not more than 7 years old.
Court Review of AAT Decisions: Where a parent is dissatisfied with a decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, an appeal can be made to a court but only on a question of law.
Child Support Agreements: Applications can be made to set aside child support agreements.
Lump Sum Applications: In limited circumstances, a court may order the payment of child support in a lump sum.
Stays Orders: An order to stay (or suspend) collection of child support can be sought from the court in limited circumstances. Alternative administrative remedies apply in some circumstances.
Maintenance Orders: Court orders and agreements can be made under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) for various types of maintenance payments, including maintenance for:
- Adult children (over 18) who are studying or have a mental or physical disability
- Children (under 18) who are living independently and applying for maintenance in their own right
- Step-children (step child maintenance)
- Spouses (spousal maintenance)
- Some cases where the payer is overseas
Enforcement Proceedings: A court can make orders to enforce the payment of a child support or maintenance debt.
Legal advice should be sought before making an application to a court. Applicants should seek advice about the relative merit of their case, and the risk of having a costs order made against them if their application is unsuccessful.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.