family, father and children

Enforcement of child support debts

Once the Child Support Agency registers a maintenance liability for collection, the amounts payable are debts due to the Commonwealth by the payer. The debt is enforceable by the Agency and may be recovered through administrative processes or court proceedings (brought by either the Child Support Agency or the payee).

The Child Support Agency can (and prefers to) collect child support as voluntary payments from the payer. However, the Agency has numerous other powers open to it when that process proves unsuccessful.

Those powers include the power to intercept money which would otherwise be payable to a payer (e.g. a tax refund, or from their employer). The involvement of a court is not required for the Child Support Agency to take these administrative approaches to enforcement.

If the Child Support Agency has been unsuccessful in its attempts to recover a child support debt by administrative means, there are a number of enforcement methods still available. The Agency may apply to a court to enforce the debt under either the Family Law Act or may take civil action to recover the debt. Civil action involves obtaining judgment, and then enforcing the judgment through the court.

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