can you apply to a court for orders in a child support matter?
the court only has the power to hear certain types of child support applications and appeals. in most situations, parents or eligible carers must first satisfy all administrative requirements with the department of human services (child support) (dhs(cs)).
A parent or eligible carer who disagrees with a DHS(CS) decision must lodge an objection with the DHS(CS). An application can then be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of an objection* decision. The AAT cannot, however, review all objection decisions of the DHS(CS).
Court proceedings may be commenced for the following child support related actions:
- Seek leave to apply for a change to a child support assessment for a period greater than 18 months ago and up to 7 years ago;
- Seek a declaration that a person is a parent of a child or vice – vers a for child support purposes;
- Apply for a departure order to change a child support assessment where there are other related court proceedings and the Court determines it appropriate to hear the child support matter at the same time;
- Apply to discharge, vary, suspend or revive a child support agreement;
- Appeal a Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) decision.
If the party goes to court, he would need to file the following documents with the court registry:
- Application setting out the orders being sought.
- Affidavit stating the evidence being relied upon.
- Financial Statement (not available if a party is seeking a declaration for paternity).
Some of the aforementioned documents are available in Court and may be downloaded from www.familylawcourts.gov.au
There are certain annexes that need to be attached to the affidavit which depends on the nature of the application:
- Copy of the child support assessment or agreement;
- Copies of any relevant “change of assessment” decisions and objection decisions made by the CSA.
- If an SSAT decision is being appealed, a copy of the SSAT decision and the transcripts of the SSAT hearing.
The party must prepare and file with the Court the original and three copies of the documents together with the annexes. The three sealed and stamped copies will be returned by the Court.
One copy must be retained by the party while the two copies must be served to the other party and the CSA. Serving copies must be done through a process server who will execute an Affidavit of Service.
Once the Court receives the documents it will then set a court date. During the scheduled court date the interested party must bring all the necessary documents. It is possible that the Court will not issue the orders on the first court date but may adjourn to another date. It is also possible that the Court may ask additional documents.
A date may be set for the parties to attend a conciliation conference for the parties to reach an agreement but if the parties fail to agree the Court will schedule the case for a hearing. If a party is seeking a stay order, such prayer may be manifested to the Court on the first court date.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.