The Family Law and Child Support legislation has processes to enable child support assessments and agreements to be honoured even where one party lives overseas. Binding Child Support Agreements can be registered with Services Australia Child Support and filed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.  Orders for child support can be made in certain circumstances and can be registered with Services Australia Child Support. 

If one party has moved overseas, child support liabilities can be enforced, as long as the paying party moves to reside in an overseas ‘reciprocal jurisdiction’. A reciprocal jurisdiction means a country that accepts and enforces Australian assessments for child support and Australia accepts and enforces theirs. 

Moving overseas does not cancel child support obligations or agreements.  To enforce child support liabilities against the paying party living overseas, the Australian resident must submit an application to the Child Support Registrar. The Registrar will assess the application. If it is accepted, the Registrar will then collect and manage payments from the individual living overseas in a reciprocating jurisdiction or a country with whom Services Australia has reciprocity. These are usually ‘reciprocating jurisdictions’.   

Similarly, people living overseas in a reciprocal jurisdiction may enforce child support liabilities, whether they be administrative assessments of Court orders against the paying party living in Australia by applying to the maintenance authority in their country.  Provided the overseas party lives in a reciprocal jurisdiction, the maintenance authority in their country will be able to enforce the orders here in Australia.

If a paying party is moving/traveling overseas and has child support obligations, they may be prevented from leaving the country by a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO). DPOs may be granted by Services Australia child support where the moving party has a child support obligation but has not made satisfactory arrangements for payment or has continually failed to pay child support. 

For a confidential discussion about circumstances or for any other Family or Relationship Law matter, please contact our Family Law team.