In Australia, parents bear the responsibility for financial support for their children. This responsibility is met by parents either having their children live with them or, following separation, by providing financial child support to the parent or other family member with whom the children live. Parents are liable to support their children whether or not the parents are or were married, or in a de facto relationship.* The responsibility for financial support still arises even if the parents were never in a relationship or if one or both parents never intended to have a child.
*A de facto relationship is defined in section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975. The law requires that you and your former partner had a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis. A de facto relationship can exist between 2 persons of different sexes and between 2 persons of the same sex.
Child support is a payment made by one parent to the other to help with the cost of looking after children. In some situations, it may be paid by one or both parents to another person who is looking after the children. Child support is usually paid until a child turns 18 but there are some situations where it may be stopped early, including if a child becomes self-sufficient; marries; or enters into a de-facto relationship.
Parents can reach agreement about the payment of child support privately, or they can apply to Services Australia (Child Support) for an administrative assessment. To be eligible for a child support assessment you must: meet residence rules, which requires one parent to be living in Australia; and be the legal parent or non-parent carer of the child/ren.
Services Australia (Child Support) (‘CS’) will only issue a child support assessment if you can prove the paying parent is a biological, adoptive or same-sex parent.