Enforceability of a Private Child Support Agreement

How do you do a written Child Support Agreement yourselves 

Doing a Child Support Agreement without the Child Support Agency

Many people have a variety of reasons as to why they might want to have their own private written Child Support Agreement in place, rather than having nothing at all, or relying on whatever the regular Child Support Assessments issued by the Child Support Agency might be.

For parents who reach agreement about payment of things such as private school fees, health insurance premiums, extra-curricular activities and medical, dental or other health related expenses, they may wish to have an agreement securing that those things will be paid, how much is paid for such items, and how they will be paid – i.e. to the other parent, or directly to whoever the third party is providing the service.

The Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 provides flexibility for parents who want to make their own Child Support Arrangements and document those arrangements in a Child Support Agreement.

Child Support Agreements include provisions for periodic, non periodic or lump sum payments from one parent to the other.

Periodic payments are payments made on a regular time frame such as weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

Non Periodic payments are payments that will be paid more than once (so not a lump sum) but not on any sort of regular timeframe.

A Lump Sum Payment might be a lump sum payment of cash, or value of an asset such as a house transfered into the name of the receiving parent by the paying parent.

The Child Support Agreement might also make provision about payments by one or both parents to third parties.

Those third parties might include schools (for school tuition fees & associated fees payable to the school), banks (mortgage repayment), insurance companies (private health insurance premiums), medical practitioners and similar items.

Child Support Agreements may be registered or unregistered.

Child Support Agreements recognised by the Child Support Agency


The two types of registered Child Support Agreements which can be entered into by parents and covered by the Child Support legislation – Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 – are:


Both Binding and Limited Child Support Agreements can be registered with the Child Support Agency, the Australian Tax Office and Centrelink.

Parents might agree to enter into one Child Support Agreement which deals with all of their children (two or more children) rather than with one child alone, however consideration should be given to specifying a separate rate for each Child.

Binding Child Support Agreements and Limited Child Support Agreements are different to each other but both can be enforced.  One needs a Child Support Assessment in place and the other does not, but there are many more differences, including about termination of the agreement.

You can read more on our separate more details pages about Binding Child Support Agreements and Limited Child Support Agreements.

Private Child Support Agreements not recognised by the Child Support Agency

If you do not follow all the steps required and necessary in the legislation – Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 – for either a Binding Child Support Agreement (under Section 80C) and Limited Child Support Agreement. (under Section 80E.) then your Private Child Support Agreement might not be recogised by the Child Support Agency.

If you have an informal agreement about how much Child Support will be paid by the paying parent to the receiving parent, this is also not accepted by the Child Support Agency.  This is the case whether your private Child Support Agreement is only verbal, or whether you have actually put in into a written document (unless it meets the requirements of either a Binding Child Support Agreement or a Limited Child Support Agreement.

Child Support: More you need to know

We have a number of pages about CHild Support Agreements. Read more in the following information sheets:

Read about when payment of Child Support will stop.

There is a difference between Child Support and Child Maintenance. If you don’t know what the difference is, you can read more in our information sheet What is Child Support and Child Maintenance.

If you need to know who must pay Child Support, you can read more in our information sheet Who is liable to pay Child Support.

We also have a separate information sheet answering the question Does Child Support have to be paid.

Whether you arrange to have child support paid privately or collected through the Child Support Agency, you will need to know what to do to arrange for Child Support payments to start. This is explained in our information sheet What is the procedure & steps involved for Child Support payments.

How much Child Support should be paid is commonly an issue between parents. There is a method the Child Support Agency use to assess Child Support which is explained in our information sheet How is Child Support Calculated.

If you do not agree with the decision made by the Child Support Agency when they assessed the amount of Child Support to be paid then you should read the information sheet What if I disagree with a Child Support Agency Decision.

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