Get The CSA To Collect Your Spouse Maintenance
Not only does the CSA assess and collect child support, it can also collect spouse maintenance payments. (For more see “The ‘How To’ Of Spouse Maintenance”.) So how does that work?
When a court order provides for the payment of spouse maintenance, the spouse who is entitled to receive the spousal maintenance can enlist the assistance of the Child Support Agency (CSA) to collect the maintenance at no cost to that party.
The CSA legislation provides the CSA with the power to collect ‘maintenance’, not just child support when that maintenance obligation arises under a court order.
A spouse maintenance obligation which arises in a financial agreement is not a ‘court order’ (or court registered agreement) and as such the assistance of the CSA is not available to enforce that payment.
A spouse who wants the assistance of the CSA to collect and enforce a maintenance liability must notify (and request registration from) the Child Support Registrar within 14 days of the court order or the court registering the maintenance agreement. If notification occurs after 14 days the CSA’s ability to enforce the maintenance payments will be limited to the date of registration with the CSA not the date of the order or court registration of the maintenance agreement. Once registered with the Agency the liability is then owed to the Commonwealth (government) and is no longer a liability only between the spouses. However, the spouse to whom the liability is owed maintains their right to return to court to enforce arrears of the maintenance, if they wish.
A further power the CSA can exercise on behalf of someone owed a payment (where there are child support and spouse maintenance liabilities), is to make a departure prohibition order, this order prohibits the spouse who owes the liability from leaving Australia.