Enforcement of child support



  1. On 5 September 2017 a child support departure order was made fixing the annual rate of child support payable by the mother to the father for the period 1 August 2016 to 31 December 2017 at $25,000 and fixing the annual rate of child support payable by the father to the mother for the same period at nil.
  2. As a consequence of that order, there is an outstanding debt due by the mother in the sum of $28,400[7] which the father seeks to enforce by way of sale of certain identified property in the possession of the mother.
  3. The mother does not oppose enforcement but seeks an order that her debt be paid by way of her meeting the father’s half of the children’s school fees (in addition to her paying her own half) at D School until the debt is repaid in full.[8] The mother has not been reliable in the payment of any school fees to date.


  1. Where there is a ‘registrable maintenance liability’ registered under the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (Cth) (“the Registration Act”) the amounts payable under the liability are debts due to the Commonwealth.[9]
  2. Relevantly for the purposes of this case, a registrable maintenance liability includes a liability to pay a periodic amount for the maintenance of a child arising from a court order.[10]
  3. A payee (in this case the father) is required to notify the Child Support Registrar of the order within 14 days[11] and the Registrar is required to register the registrable maintenance liability within a further 28 days.[12]
  4. A payee is not entitled to, and may not enforce amounts payable under the liability other than by instituting a proceeding under s 113A of the Registration Act.[13]
  5. Pursuant to s 113A a payee is entitled to enforce the registrable maintenance liability despite it being a debt to the Commonwealth, if notice is given to the Child Support Registrar at least 14 days before instituting proceedings or, in exceptional circumstances, within such shorter period as the court allows.
  6. Any sum recovered must be paid to the Registrar in the first instance.[14]

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Sunshine Coast / Buderim / Maroochydore / Noosa / Peregian / Caloundra


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