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Binding Child Support Agreement
27 May 2024

Tips on Binding Child Support Agreement

By Family Lawyers Mackay, 27 May 2024
Child Support

Divorce or separation of parents can be both emotionally and monetarily exhausting, particularly when children are associated. Services Australia assists with the calculation and administration of child support payments in Australia. Many parents want to personalise their arrangements to fit their particular needs. A legally binding child support agreement is one of the choices readily available.

Our child support lawyers take pride in being experts on Australian family law. Regarding binding child support agreements, we have the expertise and knowledge to offer you the advice and assistance you desire. 

Child Support Agreement

A legal document that enshrines parenting arrangements for children and discusses matters like child support payments becomes a child support agreement. Before creating an agreement, each parent must have acquired independent legal counsel. This requirement is essential because it ensures both parents are aware of the agreement’s potential positive and negative aspects. 

Several parenting-related topics are eligible for covered in an agreement, including:

  • How the parents should divide up their time with the child
  • Travel plans
  • Plans and costs for education
  • Concerning private health insurance
  • medical costs
  • Extracurricular activities

Kinds of Child Support Agreement

There are two agreed types of child support agreements

Limited Agreement

Both parents must sign a written agreement establishing a limited child support arrangement. Before entering into a limited contract, an administrative assessment must be in place, and the agreed-upon amount of child support must be at least as high as the assessment.

Binding Agreement

Unlike a limited agreement, a binding contract may be made and approved without completing a child support evaluation. It can be done for any amount, even after completing an assessment, as long as both parents consent. A legally binding agreement can only be entered into or terminated once both parties have received legal counsel.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

What is a Binding Child Support Agreement?

The Child Support (Assessment) Act deals with child support. A BCSA is a written, signed contract between a parent and their child that outlines the guidelines for child support payments. It is about:

  • the amounts that must be paid, 
  • how often they must be made, and 
  • how they should be made

Whatever payment schedule the parents decide on, a BCSA may be created. Services Australia is optional when conducting a typical child support assessment.

A limited child support agreement (LCSA) and a BCSA are different. A limited agreement is contingent upon the payments matching or exceeding the child support assessment.

What Situations Call for a Legally Binding Child Support Agreement?

You must have sufficient financial support if your child custody arrangements require you to spend more than 35% of your time raising your children. You can work with your ex to negotiate a Binding Child Support Agreement (BSCA), which is a safe option.

Child support aims to give your child regular financial assistance for their basic needs. Consider it a supplement that gives your child the extra financial support that comes with having two parents. Keep in mind that while spousal maintenance is a different issue, child support is intended for your children.

In the following scenarios, a BCSA is advisable:

  • You’d like your kids to attend a private school.
  • You wish to get your child private health insurance.
  • Your child desires to participate in extracurricular activities such as music or sports.
  • Your child requires extensive medical or educational care.

To give you peace of mind while caring for and raising your children, your lawyers will ensure that all these expenses and funding arrangements are accurately detailed.

Creating A Binding Child Support Agreement

Parents and eligible non-parent carers can enter a legally binding child support agreement. The parties must have obtained separate legal guidance before entering or terminating such an agreement. A practising lawyer with a practising certificate can only provide legal advice. The advice must include information about the benefits and drawbacks of entering into a binding child support agreement.

Section 80C of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 specifies the formal requirements for a binding child support agreement to be valid.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

A Binding Child Support Agreement’s Provisions

Section 84 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act enumerates the clauses that may be included in a child support agreement. The agreement may contain multiple provisions about various child support periods and their parts. For the Act, any additional requirements in the contract not mentioned above are null and void.

After the parties mutually understand, a legally binding agreement is filed with the Child Support Agency. The first thing a Child Support Agency Registrar will look at is whether the parties are eligible to agree with parents or non-parent carers. The Registrar might need more details regarding parentage.

Once it is formalised and enforceable, an agreement cannot be altered or modified. If the parties decide to enter into a different agreement, the original agreement must be terminated, and a new agreement must be signed.

Does the Registration of a Binding Child Support Agreement Occur?

Yes, Binding Child Support Agreements (BCSAs) need to be registered with the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) to be enforceable in Australia.

This is an explanation of the how and why:

Why Sign Up for a BCSA?

  • Enforceability: Registration officially recognises the agreement. Therefore, if necessary, the terms could be enforceable in court or by a child support agency. 
  • Change in circumstances: Registration assists in modifying the agreement if a parent’s circumstances—such as their income or childcare arrangements—materially alter.
  • Government benefits: Eligibility for some government assistance programmes and benefits is impacted by registration.

How to Sign Up for a BCSA?

  • Fulfil the requirements: Make sure the contract complies with these legal requirements:
  • Both parents signed and wrote the letter.
  • Certificates attesting to the independent legal advice both parents received are attached.
  • Present the contract: Send the agreement and the legal advice certificates to the Department of Human Services (Centrelink). This can be completed in person at a Centrelink office, by mail, or online.

The Critical Elements of a Binding Child Support Agreement

To be considered valid, a binding child support agreement requires the receiving parent to provide at least 35% of the child’s care.

Additionally, both parents must seek independent legal advice and obtain a legal certificate.

Failure to comply with this legal requirement renders the binding agreement invalid. However, it is essential to note that an alternative option, the limited child support agreement, is still available in such cases.

Parents who receive support may receive payment receipts for child support collection or private collection after the binding agreement is accepted. 

In addition, both parents have financial responsibilities, such as paying child support on time, disclosing care arrangements, filing tax returns on time, accurately reporting income, and notifying the appropriate authorities of any changes in circumstances.

These responsibilities are essential to properly and successfully implementing the binding child support agreement.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

Alternatives for Payment in a Binding Child Support Agreement

Periodic or Non-Periodic Payments: A legally binding agreement may designate different payment amounts for non-periodic or periodic items, such as school fees or health insurance. 

Lump Sum Payments: Making lump sum payments in cash or the equivalent of a transferred asset is acceptable. However, these require an evaluation of child support, and the sum must equal or surpass the annual child support rate.

Credit System: To fully utilise the credit system, lump sum payments get subtracted from the annual child support rate. 

A Binding Child Support Agreement: Why Use One?

If you want to alter the standard child support assessment, consider using a Binding Child Support Agreement.

Child support can be negotiated between parents to meet the child’s needs best, instead of using the Assessment Act’s formula.

For instance, the BCSA will specify who pays for education if your child attends a private school.

A legally binding child support agreement can also avoid disagreements about how much support should be given to a child or children.

With this agreement in place, neither party has to worry about disagreements, as they can plan for their financial obligations by the specified terms.

Benefits of a Binding Child Support Agreement

Entering into a BCSA can be advantageous when the parties are in good standing and can agree upon the agreement’s essential terms. It can be tailored to each party’s specific circumstances, provide certainty to each party, and be less expensive than going to the Family Court for Consent Orders. 

However, it might be better to outsource child support to the CSA if there is a history of domestic abuse.

A Binding Child Support Agreement’s Cons

A BCSA may be inflexible and challenging to escape. It can be changed, but only with both parties’ consent or by requesting a court order to have it set aside or altered.

The drawback is that, in contrast to a child support assessment conducted by the Child Support Agency, it cannot unilaterally become different.


When parents separate, a Binding Child Support Agreement is a crucial component of Australian family law that ensures the kids have enough money. When creating these agreements, it is essential to consider all pertinent factors and consult legal experts. With the experience and knowledge that Family Lawyers Mackay possesses, we can help you ensure that your agreement is legally binding and serves the best interests of the parents and the children.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.


For an eligible carer, what is a binding child support agreement?

A legally enforceable child support agreement is a contract between one or both parents and a non-parent carer who meets the requirements to be paid child support.

This agreement is subject to the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989. It is only enforceable in writing, with signatures from all parties, and with legal advice certificates included. 

How can I end a Binding Child Support Agreement?

For the existing agreement to end, a new binding agreement must take its place or supersede it. 

If the parties cannot agree regarding termination, a complicated and expensive court application may be necessary.

In Australia, how can I legally cease making child support payments?

Specific procedures must be followed in Australia to stop paying child support legally.

If both parents consent, a new legally binding child support agreement can replace the current one, ending the obligation.

Alternatively, the parties may ask the court to set aside the agreement; this is a complex and possibly costly procedure. Getting legal counsel is essential to recognising your legal options.

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