NSW Go to Jail for Falling Behind on Child Support Payments?

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Well-Known Member
10 March 2015
Can a dead-beat Dad go to jail for falling behind on child support payments in any state or territories in Australia? I hear some stories in the states (USA) where dead-beat Dads can do time.

Anyone know if same applies under Australian law?

Tracy B

Well-Known Member
24 December 2014
Hi Steve500,

A breach of child support arrangement, if approved or ordered by the court, will constitute a breach of a court order under Division 7 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). The court can make orders as a consequence of breach. The consequence will depend on a number of factors, including:
  • Whether the breach is proved or merely alleged
  • Whether there is a reasonable excuse for the breach
  • The conduct of the father and other circumstances surrounding the breach
  • Seriousness of the breach
For a proved breach without reasonable excuse and is serious, the court can order under section 70NFB of the Act:
  • Parent enter into a bond with the court
  • Fine
  • Imprisonment of up to 12 months (in accordance with section 70NFG)


Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
As Tracy B notes above, yes, a person can be imprisoned for falling behind on child support payments, but imprisonment is not often the outcome. The court tries to remedy an issue before punishing it in family matters so as to minimise the additional burden on other branches of the justice system. If you're experiencing problems with child support, contact the Child Support Agency and apply to have the other party's child support payments garnished directly from their wages, rather than paid through a private agreement.