First, let me make clear a few assumptions that I've made in answering
I'm assuming that the father in this case is living in the UK, as
you've asked about agreements between the UK and Australia, and you've
said that the mother and children are living in Australia. You don't
state whether the original child support agreement was a legally
binding one, or in which country it was originally set. I'll assume
that it was a legally binding agreement, although I won't make any
assumptions about which country's court set the support agreement.
The relationship between Australia and the UK is a close one, and
their coordination of child support enforcement follows the generally
cooperative tone. The short answer to your overall question is "yes",
a father living in the UK *can* likely be compelled to comply with a
legally binding support agreement, financially supporting his children
who live in Australia with their mother. That compulsion would
probably not come, however, from either the Australian court or the
CSA (UK's Child Support Agency), as I'll explain below.
There are a number of bases in law and international convention for
the reciprocal enforcement of support agreements.
First, both the UK and Australia have consistently agreed to
international legislation and conventions that support the reciprocal
enforcement of maintenance and support agreements. They both placed
into force the United Nations' conventions -
"United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance" and
"Convention on the Rights of the Child." This international agreement
states in part:
Article 27 part 4 mandates child maintenance / support:
'States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to secure the
recovery of maintenance for the child from the parents or other
persons having financial responsibility for the child, both within the
State Party and from abroad. In particular, where the person having
financial responsibility for the child lives in a State different from
that of the child, States Parties shall promote the accession to
international agreements or the conclusion of such agreements, as well
as the making of other appropriate arrangements.'
(A United Nations Human Rights link to the text of the convention)
Both nations have also signed the "Hague Convention on the Recognition
and Enforcement of Decisions Relating to Maintenance Obligations". A
helpful comparison of both countries' related laws and conventions
placed in force can be found here:
In your question title, you mention support enforced by the CSA. In
your question, you also ask if an Australian court can enforce the
agreement. While such an agreement can likely be enforced, neither of
these would, in fact, be the enforcing agency for such an
international situation. In order to compel a UK resident to pay
support, the UK authorities would have jurisdiction. The Australian
courts would have no legal power. And, within the UK, the
"appropriate measures" taken to "secure the recovery of maintenance
for the child" are not under the jurisdiction of the CSA - the Child
Support Agency. They are arranged, instead, through the UK courts.
From the CSA itself:
"The CSA is able to assess and collect child maintenance only where
the person with care and qualifying child are habitually resident in
the United Kingdom the 1991 Act, s44)."
This guidance is found in a CSA booklet "Child Support, a technical
guide." The booklet can be found online at:
Also see this broader website: (note - the following link is long - it
may wrap in your browser)
FYI, this URL also gives a long list of the international statutory
instruments that apply to international support enforcement.
Even though the CSA is not the governmental agent to enforce the
international support agreements, they do provide some very helpful
information regarding the process of enforcing those cross-border
agreements. The process is called "REMO" - Reciprocal Enforcement of
The legal authority within the UK for REMO comes from the "Maintenance
Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972."
The CSA explains that REMO is "the process by which maintenance orders
made by UK courts on behalf of UK residents can be registered and
enforced by courts or other authorities in other countries against
people resident there. This is a reciprocal arrangement governed by
international conventions, which means that foreign maintenance orders
in favour of individuals abroad can likewise be registered and
enforced by UK courts against UK residents."
Australia is one of the reciprocating countries recognized by the REMO
The CSA website details these issues and others in the REMO process
It is a court-based process, and for a parent living in Australia, it
is the Lord Chancellor's department that would be the authority. "The
REMO Section of the Lord Chancellor's Department [that] is the
authority in England & Wales for transmitting and receiving
applications for maintenance enforcement if the absent parent lives
abroad." (Quoted from the above referenced CSA URL.)
The CSA gives the following British phone number contact information
for the Lord Chancellor's department:
"The REMO Section of the Lord Chancellor's Department can be contacted
on the following numbers:
020 7210 0600
020 7210 1416
020 7210 0652
020 7210 8561
020 7210 8635
020 7210 8795"
A physical address is given as:
Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance
Lord Chancellors Department,
3rd Floor, Southside,
105 Victoria Street,
London SW1E 6QT
(Again, from the CSA technical guide, referenced above.)
All of this depends on the original support agreement having been made
in a legally enforceable form - informal agreements are much less
likely to be enforced.
I hope this answers your question adequately; I enjoyed researching
the topic for you.
Generally helpful websites regarding child support issues in the UK:
Search terms used:
"child support" UK Australia
enforce treaty "child support" UK Australia
"Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions
Relating to Maintenance Obligations"
REMO UK "child support"