From 1 July 2008, the new Child Support Scheme makes it easier for parents who want to get back together.
Prior to 1 July 2008, if parents reconciled, the receiving parent had to ask the Child Support Agency (CSA) to end their child support assessment. If the couple separated again, the receiving parent had to apply for a new assessment.
Under the new Scheme, when parents get back together they can choose to put their child support assessment on 'hold'. This means that no child support is payable and no debts accumulate. If the parents are still together after six months, the CSA automatically ends the child support assessment. The receiving parent can choose to end the assessment earlier in the reconciliation if they wish.
If the parents separate again:
- within six months - either parent can reinstate the assessment without needing to make a new application
- after the six months - either parent needs to make a new application for assessment within 13 weeks of the new date of separation.
In either case, the paying parent will only start paying child support again from the new date of separation.
If parents would like help with managing family relationships, they can call the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321. This is a national telephone service that provides information and referral to services that can help strengthen relationships, overcome relationship differences and deal with separation.
They can also visit Family Relationships Online, which is a central source of information on family law and family relationship issues.
Please note this fact sheet is for general guidance only. It should not be treated as a complete or authoritative legal statement.
More details about these changes can be found in other fact sheets and on the Child Support Agency website.
More information on the Taskforce and how the reforms started is available on this website under Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support.