Child Support Scheme Needs a Major Overhaul to Stop Sponsoring Parental Alienation

If you have been one of the countless victims of parental alienation in Australia, this is an unique opportunity for you to demand a radical change of the system.

Please demand from the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System a complete overhaul of the child support scheme.

Submissions to the joint committee are due 18 December 2019. To send your submission, email

You can also email the committee and ask for an extension to 31 January 2020 due to other commitments. Make sure they respond in writing for your records.

The Child Support Agency was established in 1988 and legislation passed in 1989 imposed a mandatory formula for all parents who separated.

Contrary to popular belief, child support payments have nothing to do with irresponsible parents abandoning their children. Rather, such payments have been transformed into a perverse incentive to parental alienation.

Due to the obvious financial advantages available, child support payments have become a lucrative reward for those who make it extremely difficult for the other parent to develop any meaningful relationship with their children.

According to law professor Patrick Parkinson, an internationally renowned expert on family law, the current scheme provides “perverse incentives … for primary caregivers to resist children spending more time with the other parent to avoid a reduction in the child support obligation.” 

As far as possible, these “perverse incentives need to be avoided, and legislative policies in these areas should be in harmony rather than conflict”, Parkinson says.

There are numerous cases of parents who have turned child support payments into their only source of income – as a means to live at the expense of others. Such parents have no other form of income apart from the money arbitrarily extorted from the alienated parent.

Above all, it is important to consider that maliciously separating an innocent parent from his or her children so as to obtain undue financial advantage constitutes an extremely serious form of child abuse and neglect.

Perpetrators of alienation for the purposes of obtaining undue financial gain should not go unpunished, as is so often the situation now.

Once it is possible to testify beyond reasonable doubt that malicious alienation has actually occurred, such behaviour should be approached as an extremely serious form of child abuse and give rise to the loss of custody to the parent who has been alienated.

Please consider to write your submission to the joint committee, demanding a complete overhaul of the child support scheme.

Above all, it is fundamental that we demand the end of the perverse link between child support payments and the epidemic of parental alienation in Australia.

Prof Augusto Zimmermann