Can Child Support Payments Be Enforced? Departure Prohibition Orders (“DPO”)

Following the reports of an Australian dad who was confronted by authorities to pay $350,000 in child support while trying to board a flight overseas –many Australians are curious as to how exactly this has happened and the answer is a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO)!

What is a DPO?

In a nut shell, a DPO is an administrative order made by the Child Support Registrar (pursuant to Part VA of the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988) that prevents a person who has persistently failed to meet their child support commitments from leaving Australia while they have unpaid child support.

Therefore, the purpose of such an order is to secure payment of a child support debt.

How can I obtain a DPO?

If you are in receipt of child support, you or your lawyer can contact the Child Support Agency (CSA) with information regarding a payer’s travel plans and specifically request that the Registrar consider making a DPO.

The Registrar will consider, among other things, the following:

Is there an unpaid debt?

Has the debtor not made satisfactory arrangements to pay that debt in full?

The number of overdue payments without reasonable grounds;

The number of times action has been taken to recover the debt;

The person’s capacity to pay the debts when they are due;

Proof that the payer is seeking to leave Australia; and

grounds for the reasonable belief that making the order will make payment of the debt more likely.

It is therefore recommended that legal advice is sought and your lawyer assists you with the process to ensure that you have the best chance.

If a DPO is made, the Registrar must notify:

the person to whom the order applies;

the Australian Border Force;

the Australian Federal Police, and

where the person is not an Australian citizen, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

If you think that you may be eligible to seek a DPO, don’t take the risk in not securing monies your children are entitled to! Contact us at Argent Law for more information.

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