Child support debts stop parents from travelling

11th April 2019

Posted in: Family Law News

Do you have child support debt but still want to travel outside Australia?

Record numbers of travelling parents with outstanding child support debts are being stopped at the airport and prevented from leaving Australia.

If you do not pay your child support debt, the Australian Government can issue a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO) to stop you from leaving Australia. Generally speaking, this travel ban will be issued when there is a debt owing and there have not been satisfactory arrangements to discharge all debts.

A DPO places significant restrictions on the freedom of movement of citizens and residents of Australia. Travel bans issued against parents that attempt to travel, with overdue child support payments will be forced to submit a lump sum before being allowed to board their flight.

The Human Services Minister, Michael Keenan, recently announced:

  • From June to December 2018, 1,067 travel bans were issued to parents who tried to leave Australia with outstanding child support debts. Nearly 50% more than the previous 6 month period the year before.
  • The largest lump sum payment ever recorded in Australia was $350,000, which was paid by a parent at the airport in late 2017.
  • The travel ban restrictions have resulted in $15 million being recovered between 1 July and 3 December 2018.

If you have no plans to leave Australia and you have outstanding child support debt, you will not be affected by these restrictions. However, the Government can attempt to recover overdue child support through other means, such as:

  • Income support payment deductions
  • Enforcing tax return lodgment, or intercepting tax refunds
  • Working with third parties
  • Employer or bank account deductions
  • Issuing overseas travel bans
  • Litigation
  • Prosecution payments

The Government have warned that parents who do not keep up-to-date with their child support payments may end up paying more in the long run, through interest and late payment penalties.

Late Payment Penalties

If you do not pay your child support in time and in full, then penalties may be applied to the outstanding amount. This penalty amount will need to be paid to the Australian Government, not the receiving parent.

If you have an overdue child support payment and you pay it, the Government may be able to reduce or completely remove the penalty from your account.

Missed Payments

If you have missed a payment due date, then you must catch up as soon as possible.

However, if you are unable to pay in full, then you can make payment arrangements with the Government and begin paying back the debt through instalments.

You must make a statement of your financial details for debt repayment, that provide details of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities to the Government, so that they can decide what the most appropriate debt repayment amount should be. Please contact CSD Law if you need help with your statement of financial details.

If you believe your child support arrangements are unfair or miscalculated, CSD Law can assess your situation and find the right solution for you.

If you need further advice or information regarding your child support obligations, please contact the team at CSD Law on 1300 383 486 or email us at