Child support

Picture of a young man standing in a doorway

Child support

If you or your partner have a baby you may need to pay child support, or you may be entitled to receive child support.

What is child support?

It's a payment made by a parent who does not live with their child. Our Child Support (external link) area collects this money.

When do you receive child support?

Child support is not paid by the government. Government support for parents with children comes in the form of Working for Families Tax Credits.

Child support is paid by the parents of a child when someone else is caring for them. We collect the payments and pay it to the person who cares for your child, or to the Government if the person looking after the child receives a sole parent benefit (eg the domestic purposes benefit).

Parents who receive a sole parent benefit must apply for child support, by sending in a Child support formula assessment application (IR101) (external link) (external link) but other parents can work out a financial arrangement between themselves if they don't want to pay through us.

When do you need to pay child support?

  • if you and your partner don't live together or you break up, and your partner is looking after your child 
  • if someone else, eg a grandparent, looks after your child full-time.

The person looking after the child asks us to collect child support. We work out the payments, collect the money and pass it on.

How much do you need to pay?

Even if you are at school, or not earning any income, you still need to pay a minimum amount of child support. Check out the amount using the child support liability calculator (external link) .

How long do you pay child support for?

You need to pay child support until your child:

  • starts living with you
  • turns 19
  • gets married or starts living in a civil union or a de facto relationship before they turn 19
  • starts a full-time job, gets a student allowance or a benefit. 

How will this affect you?

Check out Real lives to see Kate's story - she's a young single mum, receiving child support.