Private Child Support Agreements

There are two types of private child support agreements that parties can enter into as follows:

  1. Limited Child Support Agreements (section 80E)

Some of the features of a Limited Child Support Agreement are as follows:

They only last for a maximum period of three years.

There needs to be an administrative assessment by the Child Support Agency which is already in place and the Agreement cannot provide for payments of periodic child support which are less than the assessed amount.

The Agreement must be registered with the Child Support Agency.

A party can at any time obtain a notional assessment of child support and if the notional assessment changes by more than 15% from the provision of periodic child support in the Agreement, then the Agreement can be unilaterally terminated.

You do not require legal advice prior to entering into the Agreement, although we strongly recommend that you do as there can be long reaching (and sometimes unanticipated) implications of entering into the Agreement.

  1. Binding Child Support Agreements (section 80C)

Some of the features of Binding Child Support Agreements are:

They can last for the duration of the period that there is a child support entitlement/liability for the relevant child.

The Agreement can specify any amount that the parents agree will be paid by way of child support, including if that amount is below the amount that the parent would otherwise be assessed to pay.

The Agreement cannot be varied (section 80CA). It can be terminated in limited circumstances (section 80D), including:

By agreement between the parents and a termination agreement is entered into;

if there is a terminating event as set out in the Child Support Assessment Act 1989; or

by Court Order (see section 136 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.

The Agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties as well as meet certain other requirements as set out in the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.

Both parents need to obtain independent legal advice and each parent’s lawyer needs to sign a statement which says that the requisite advice has been provided.

There is no need to register the Agreement with the Child Support Agency if you do not want to.