What proceedings can be taken to recover arrears of child support?

Once a child support assessment is made under the provisions of the Child Support Assessment Act 1989 the responsibility for collection of the payments becomes a matter for the Commonwealth machinery provisions.  This means that the if the payer falls behind in payments and arrears accrue then the child support debt can only be recovered as a debt due to the Commonwealth and not by the recipient of the payments.

In the case of Ignacio & Ignacio [2016]FamCA 50 the wife had applied for payment of arrears.  The judge in fact dismissed the wife’s application for recovery of the arrears on the basis that the wife had no standing to personally recover child support from the husband as any child support debt is due to the Commonwealth and she could only recover the debt if she gave sufficient notice in writing to the Child Support registrar of her intentions to take this step.

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