Are you an individual in who wishes to collect child support debts?
If so, this can be a real stressor to you and your financial well-being. The other party not paying the money you are rightfully owed for whatever reason can easily influence the financial health of yourself and the contentment of your child/children, especially if you rely on the payments in any way.
If you have found that your consistent follow-ups, calls, messages, etc, requesting that the individual responsible for the debt have deemed no result you may be wondering what else you can do. Well, fortunately, there are several other options you have to collect the funds that you are owed!
In this article our debt collectors will discuss the potential methods of debt collection regarding child support and how you can pursue these routes to collect the child support in question.
What is the Child Support Scheme?
The child support scheme is often mentioned when discussing the legal/civil pursuit of child support.
So, what exactly is it, why is it in place, and how can it help you and your child? The child support scheme, as stated by the Department of Social Services site, is in place to “ensure that children receive an appropriate level of financial support from parents who are separated”.
This can be vital to ensuring a child has a healthy, productive childhood that will assist them in securing the future they wish and keeping them in proper health, especially if the parent they are predominately or solely under the care of is not in the optimal financial circumstances.
It was introduced in the year 1988 due to public concern over the full aspects of a child’s health and well-being when parents choose to separate from one another and the sufficiency of the court orders regarding the maintenance of a child.
What the Law Says About Child Support Debts
You may be wondering, what legislation is in place to protect the rights of children to receive child support from a parent?
All legislation regarding child support is administered by the Department of Social Services, otherwise known as the DSS, which also works to ensure the legislation and scheme for this matter are effective and consistently improved to allow the best results from the scheme.
The most recent piece of legislation in place regarding child support is the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Regulations 2018.
This piece of legislation has a section entitled “payment and recovery of child support debts” which, as the name suggests, regards strictly the laws surrounding the payment and effective recovery of debts of the sort.
Other legislation regarding child support includes the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989, the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988, and the Child Support (Assessment) Regulations 2018.
Section 72A Notices to Collect Child Support Debts
A section 72A notice is an official document that may be issued to a debtor in order to collect the funds owed to an individual.
This form may be of assistance in recovering child support in the case that the opposing party will not pay you the money you are owed.
As stated in the Australian Government Child Support Guide, a 72A notice may be distributed to recover debts including:
- “an overdue child support debt, including an amount equivalent to any child support that the Registrar has already paid to the payee from consolidated revenue because it was expected to have been remitted by the child support debtor's employer, but was not in fact deducted from the child support debtor's salary
- arrears of child support that the Registrar has assessed for a prior period, but which are payable in the future
- carer debts (see 5.5.5 for further information)
- a child support debtor’s late payment penalty (see 5.1.6 for further information)
- a relevant debtor's penalty for underestimating adjusted taxable income (an estimate penalty, see 2.5.1 for further information)
- any court-ordered costs payable to the Commonwealth in respect of an offence committed by a person under the CSRC Act or the CSA Act
- any amount ordered by a court, upon the conviction of a person for an offence against the CSRC Act or CSA Act, payable to the Registrar
- a recovery order which the Registrar has registered for collection as a child support debt.”
How Does DHS Collect Child Support Debts
The Department of Human Services, or the DHS, is another option to assist you with the collection of child support debts you are owed.
The DHS becomes responsible for the pursuit and collection of child support-related debt once you have signed up for their services, or “registered to collect”.
The DHS has a variety of powers and resources that a regular debt collector will not have access to, powers that can be extremely beneficial to your matter and ensure your debt is paid in the most time-efficient manner possible.
These powers include the ability to take salary deductions off of your debtor, meaning a portion of their salary will be taken directly, or regular payments made to them.
They also have higher abilities in the sense of the court system, meaning that if the payments are missed, they can take the opposing party to court to get the payment legally enforced for the amounts not yet paid.
If the DHS has been responsible for the regular collection of child support payments, they will too be responsible for the collection of debts if they are not paid on time or at all.
Private Collection of Child Support Debts
Another route you may elect to take in order to collect your missing child support payments is through various methods of a private collection.
If agreed upon, parents may elect to have the child support payments made personally to the other parent, such as deposited directly into a bank account.
This method can be risky as it involves a level of trust between parents and, especially if there is tension, this trust may be misplaced.
It also posed a risk due to the lack of Government or legal involvement, meaning matters and terms will be discussed privately.
If payments from the other parent become late or missed completely, it is recommended to pursue the advice of a lawyer as soon as you possibly can!
Key Takeaways Child Support Debt Collection
Child support is important!
Not only is it a legal matter, but it can be vital to the health, well-being, and future of the child involved.
If you miss a child support payment, it is wise to immediately speak with the parent, even if you don’t need the money right at the moment, as it halts this behaviour before it develops too much.
If the payments continue to be late, it may be time to employ the help of a legal professional to assist with getting you back on track!
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