CSA complaint.

CSA Child Support Complaints Forum

Do you have a complaint about the CSA and child support? Make your thoughts known in this CSA and child support complaints forum.

The forum is a place for parents to voice their problems and issues. You can learn from the experiences of others, and let others know what happened to you.

You are on the Child Support Australia site. The goal here is to change the child support formula and system. By participating in the forum, you can help reform child support. Your views will be read by others and may contribute to future policy.

Note that comments are moderated and non-constructive entries may be hidden from view.

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From the Child Support YouTube Channel:

When parents ignore court orders

When parents don’t lodge tax returns

50:50 shared care

“Extra Care” formula

785 Responses

  1. Kal
    | Reply

    Hi,
    We are from another country (say SL) and got Citizenship in Australia. We are separated since 2015 and now divorced. I am paying child support to my ex-wife. I have mentioned on my previous applications to CSA that I believe my ex-wife misuse my child support money and sending to her brother who is living in SL. Few weeks ago I got a trustworthy news from my Sister-in-Law who is living in SL and she said that my ex-wife is sending lots of money to her brother.
    I don’t want my child support money to misuse. I want those money exactly to go towards my kids.
    1. So, is there any way to check my money spend on my kids or not?
    2. Is there any organisation that I can complaint about this?
    3. What is the evidence that they need if any organisation can investigate this?
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sorry- Nothing you can do. Child Support do not monitor how child support payments are used.

  2. Kylie
    | Reply

    My ex had his wages garnished for years as he refused to pay child support for his eldest child. About six months ago I received a letter saying he had elected to pay child support himself and they had approved this, I let this go as he had a child support amount of $0 per month due to him reporting his income as being extremely low and child support could not prove otherwise. He has now done his tax return and has to pay back pay which is good but he has told me he wont be paying any further payment until he is forced due because I cut contact with him after death threats were made and waited for a court order to let them resume and as such He said that I don’t deserve child support, His child support assessment not only reduces my family tax benefit but also increases my rent. Is there anything I can do to convince csa to garnish his wages as he was already being garnished when the child support assessment for my eldest child he has never defaulted a payment to me, and the child he was initially garnished for an away from home at 14 interstate to get away from the abuse from both her parents he no longer pays child support in that case

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ultimately, no-one has a choice about whether they pay their child support debts. They never go away. You need to speak to Child Support about whether garnishing his wage is do-able and appropriate. Garnishing just means they take the money directly from his pay rather than waiting for him to pay voluntarily.

  3. Jessica R
    | Reply

    Can my husband be made to pay for private schooling on top of his legal CSA payments? The school requires him to sign the form to enrol the child but he does not agree to pay for this especially since he pays $650 a fortnight in CSA, leaving his current family quite short on money.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – He can be made to pay for 50% of private school fees. I would have thought that signing to enrol indicates agreement for private schooling to happen. He would need written confirmation, before signing the form and possibly with a legal witness, that the other parent is assuming responsibility for fees.

  4. Mary -Anne
    | Reply

    Morning my son lives overseas in USA since 2016 wasn’t working for a year I was supporting him 100% from australia and now has arrears and late penalty payments of $17k to DHS dating back to this time frame, x decided to register it with DHS to collect despite the fact that payments have been made direct to x for a year, theres no record of payments with DHS, so at great time cost my son will now have to produce evidence of same and his 2016/17 tax return says he earned zero income and stuff all in 2017, now he has a new family and a house cars bills etc, getting run around from DHS they say to me he can only claim for his American biologicial 2 year old child and not his step child who he gets no support from the step childs father … how unfair is thatnot to include that in his assessable income??? and if a reason 10, CS4565 form?? was submitted would it be sufficient to reassess. seems x wifes have the power to abandon dhs collecting to go private, but getting that happening is like herding cats, ……………..now here’s the question, I know USA is a reciprocal country , there is no limited or binding child support agreement or parenting order through the courts here, can this assessment be transferred to his resident state in USA and a new order be made over there(their laws are savage) what powers do the resident courts in USA have to enforce this and how long does this take?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’m doing this voluntarily. Maybe have some consideration and present the facts simply. I’m not an expert on overseas arrangements anyway.

  5. Jaime
    | Reply

    Hi,

    My ex is not currently paying the required child support and is acfruing a debt – what actions are available to ensure this is collected?

    Thanks,

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The debt will be paid eventually. Child Support can do many things, though it depends on what information they have about the parent. For example, they can garnish wages via an employer and even raid bank accounts.

  6. Jason
    | Reply

    Overall I think the proposed system changes you are suggesting are great. It should also assume that costs for parents to maintain a relationship with the children is shared.

    In my case, my ex lives 3000 km away, and is making a good cash income working for her wealthy parents, who also supply her with a house. I have no problem with that, except that she claims she has no income and pays a high level of rent.

    The courts have given interim orders where I must pay virtually all travel and accomodation costs, and must accompany the children every school holidays to visit me (even though they are old enough to travel unaccompanied on airlines). This means I pay 8 airfares each school holidays.

    I travel every month to spend a week with them as well, and must pay airfares, an extra car, storage costs and accomodation.

    My ex even flew through the airport 2 days prior to handover day with the children and insisted that I pay to fly up to collect them 2 days later, rather than making more sensible arrangements.

    She is now wanting to move interstate where it will be even more difficult and expensive for me to visit them, meaning that I will no longer afford to be able visit them as often. This will further increase my child support payable, and I’m already paying over $2300 per month.

    She will not do disclosure to the family court for property settlement, and the case has dragged out for 3 years so far, she has lied to the ATO, and she continues to ignore orders. Because she lives in a rural area, she does not come down to court, but can afford a lawyer to represent her, and want to enrol the children in private schools at $40,000 per year, despite apparently earning less than $5000 per year.

    I have provided payroll reconcilliations demonstrating that she works, but get’s paid in kind (spends money on the company credit card, instead of getting paid wages), but she claims that I made them up, so child support and the AAT have dismissed them as evidence.

    I have been left with 100% of the marital debt, and have banks chasing me for a shortfall in the sale of the marital home.

    If she lived in the same city, I would welcome 50:50 care of the children (I now have about 35:65), but if she really is struggling (which she claims she is), would care for them full time.

    She prevented me from seeing the children for 9 months until I got court orders and threatened to have them enforced by the police.

    The system is broken, and rewards those not doing the right thing.

    In cases where there are high costs of contact with the children, your policy should ensure that there is equal contribution to the contact somehow. The high costs can still be used as a tool to manipulate care percentages as it stands.

  7. Molly
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    My partner is now divorced and the child with his (ex) is now 6, he has had no contact whatsoever during this time as they separated before she announced her pregnancy.
    He is having his wages garnished to the tune of $500 per week which means we cannot afford to save or think about a house.
    She wants to legally get 100% sole custody of the child but will that stop child support? Can she actually stop it? He went to mediation and got the certificate to attempt to make contact etc and now she is asking to get solicitors involved so that they can agree legally on him relinquishing his rights as a parent and not have any future contact yet she is happily taking the money each week.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Molly,

      Legal custody, etc doesn’t normally affect child support. Payments just depend on the percentage of nights of care provided by each parent.

      With sole custody, however, there is a danger that the custodial parent makes choices such as private schooling and the payer has no choice but to contribute to that as well (on top of normal payments).

      Child support amounts can be agreed between parents. You need legal sign-off for it to be binding.

  8. Ripped Off
    | Reply

    I have 100% care of the children in our CSA assessment, my ex has a debt of almost $30000, he clearly doesn’t pay 🤦‍♀️
    He grossly underestimated his income in the previous financial year so, as advised by CSA, I applied for a change of assessment. CSA raised his assessment to $45000. He has recently completed his tax return, income of $97000, however CSA claim they can’t back date because they actually made the assessment. They will project forward, however the 2018/2019 financial year is based on an income of $52000 less. One of my children is turning 18 during the next financial year so she drops off CSA and his support also drops. Is there any way that CSA can backdate their poor decision?
    It’s just paperwork anyway, I don’t see any support, the ATO takes any refund for his unpaid taxes, the decision just doesn’t seem right when CSA themselves also grossly underestimated his earning capacity even though I told them what it would be.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The issue here is about paying debts rather than income estimates, or at least it was.

      Underestimating income offers no advantage to a payer when their tax return comes in with a higher amount. So you shouldn’t have applied for a Change of Assessment in the first place.

      Change of Assessments are locked in for a prescribed amount of time, as defined in the decision. But you can appeal against them.

  9. Shea Moran
    | Reply

    Hi there.
    I pay child support to my ex for our 16 year old son who decided to go live with Dad 2 years ago. An area of particular angst for me is that the CSA fail to take into account when Dad artificially reduces his income by taking leave without pay for extended European holidays and I wind up effectively paying for it. There should be some rule about unpaid leave for both persons making or in receipt of CSA payments. It’s immoral and very unfair. This year he has decided to only work 4 days a week. He can afford to as his mother left him lots of money in her Will. So even more CSA for me to pay. Capacity to pay or receive should be taken into account, not just taxable income.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      We would go a step further and take receiver income out of the equation altogether. See the “Extra Care Formula” video above.

  10. Matt
    | Reply

    Hi
    Last year my ex gained extra money for holiday care when it was proven even in the information she provided that it doesn’t exist to the extent that she claims .
    She claims they are in it at minimum 4 weeks a year and it was proven that they had only been in care 3 days yet child support still granted it to her .
    She is trying it again this year if they grant it to her again is there anyway I can take it higher as I’ve proven again that it’s completely false claims

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Suggest you try a positive approach. Get in early with a simple statement about the care levels. Include any relevant evidence.

  11. Steve
    | Reply

    Hi, I have been in a private collection agreement, all payments advised by CSA had been adhered to in terms of information they had. Issue is they had me down as a regular care category when it should have been shared , incomes taxes have now all been submitted and adjustments have been made so I am left with an outstanding $940 debt which I am happy to pay but have been given a request of payment for $18k. Orders state shared care, child has been living under those arrangements with evidence… what am I liable to pay ? The fairness of $1k or the $18k claim which is based on wrong care arrangements … what are my rights

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I can’t comment in detail because this depends on case evidence. Child Support may have provisions that require you to notify them if the care level they are using is incorrect. You may be in a tough spot if they advised you of the care level some time ago and you didn’t tell them that it was incorrect until recently. Suggest you gather the evidence (especially correspondence with Child Support) and present your case succinctly to them. You can formally ask for a review (which they will do internally in the first instance) if you believe you have been wronged. Further appeal processes are available, including Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

  12. Leanne
    | Reply

    Hello,

    A friend of mine has separated over a year ago. Not divorced yet. Her ex has recently decided to go on 6 months leave without pay.

    Will that affect the child support amount his has to pay??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes. Child support is based on taxable income in the previous financial year. So it will eventually have an impact if nothing is done.

  13. Janelle
    | Reply

    I was left with $0 financially from Ex husband finance broker. He does not lodge a tax return. Was assessed at $114 per month. I lodged a change of assessment to enquire about his income. I provided a lot of details to CS. They did not investigate in great detail. The woman told me she couldn’t find anything. So many lies in his statement.
    * He claimed he received no pension – I have evidence in a bank statement – he did – I even have the number.
    *He claimed he received no trust monies – I have bank statement – He did
    * He claimed he could not provide income – He is advertising five years of financial records available to the public on gumtree because he is selling his business.
    *when questioned by CS he offered $1000 per month. After two years he was assessed as yet again a low income earner and back to paying $114 per month. He offered to pay $1000 but CS said no as he doesn’t declare he earns this. I have text message from him threatening me – if I raise an enquiry he’ll ensure my daughter gets nothing. I have alot more to add but don’t want to take up your whole page.
    Bottom line is that income is allowed to be hidden. Must cost the government $$$ – Must be a well-utilised loophole. No point investigating again as it has probably all been moved.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unfortunate. Child Support seem to be willing to do one Change of Assessment (COA). After the COA expires and, if they have no new income information, they seem to just forget about it.

  14. Max
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Thank you for the information.

    My ex has stopped working as he got a redundancy payout from his previous work. He has now claimed he can’t get another job as the market is bad and has lodged that with CSA so he has stopped paying me immediately. I know his redundancy was around 150k – is there anything I can do? Will CSA look at this or because it is not a regular income there is nothing I can do and I just have to wait for him to return to work (if he ever does).

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Max,

      Your assessment of the situation looks right to me. A large redundancy payout indicates his unemployment was involuntary. That would mean CSA can’t put him on a higher income for child support purposes. And he can stay on his low income indefinitely without child support repercussions.

  15. Danni
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My friend is the main carer of his child. The mother left him and the child and moved away. She only has the child every second weekend (if that) and sometimes upto 1 week in school holidays.
    She is claiming child support from my friend (the main carer of the child) How is this possible??? Shouldn’t he be claiming as he is the main carer and he pays for everything for the child???
    How can I help him to rectify this. The mother doesn’t work so I assume she won’t have to pay child support but why should my friend have to pay when he is the main carer and pays for everything for the child??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Parents with low care levels (4 or less nights per fortnight) have to pay child support, even if they have a low income. Your friend needs to provide Child Support with evidence of the amounts of care provided.

  16. Kristin
    | Reply

    My Australian husband lived with me and our son, and worked in the USA for the past 15 years. He was earning $5700US per month. I am unable to work due to breast cancer treatment. My husband gave one day’s notice and abandoned us to return to Oz. He quit his job in the US and is back living with his mum in Oz and is not working, claiming he has to care for his mum, who is 93. He is not sending any support at all. How will his child support be assessed?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This seems like a US matter since that’s where the child lives. It depends on state law.

  17. ML
    | Reply

    Hi there,
    CSA should be between the parents and child children involved not a new child in one parents relationship who’s is being support my the other parent.
    My husband’s ex moved state, doesn’t declare her true income and because she has a child it reduces her income and in turn the payer has to pay for a child that has nothing to do with them.
    Why can’t child support have support by cost to raise a child per year.
    It has nothing to do with income.
    So if the average cost is $6000 per year according to the age,this is adjusted with care arrangements.
    Care should be calculated at 50 /50 as we did not chose for the receiving parent to move or have more children.
    The paying parent always has to chase by way of change of Assesment shouldn’t there be penalties for falsifying income as the payer is paying more than required and never gets the money back.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  18. Graham
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Ex is asking for 50% childcare fees ($855) per month on top of maintenance payments.
    Do I have to pay this if there has been no discussion prior to break up?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Childcare fees should normally be paid by the parent who is putting the child into care during their time as the responsible parent. If the child wasn’t in care, which parent would they be with? That is the person who should pay.

  19. Kay
    | Reply

    Hi, my ex husband and I have a 4yr old who I take care of 100%. He has not long become and Australian (few yrs ago) and his sole income is from playing music. His income for 1yr (that he has reported to the ato for child support) is only $7k a year. I know for a fact he pays rent, internet, mobile, fuel and food. 7k wouldnt even cover his cost of rent per year. I know he is getting paid cash-in-hand but he refuses to tell me the truth saying his income is too personal. He plays music gigs all the time and even teaches music. What legal rights have I got to have him devulge the truth to the ato?
    Please help.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Undeclared cash income is a common complaint that doesn’t seem to have a solution under the current scheme (our proposed policy is to have income benchmarks). Note that any income up to about $25k doesn’t count anyway.

  20. William
    | Reply

    Dear Andrew, I am an Aussie guy and I had an affair in the Philippines with a Filipino girl who will give birth in December 2019.
    Please advise;
    (1) Since she lives overseas is it the Philippines version of CSA that will decide my payment amount?
    (2) Would that be based on my 2018 F/Y income or 2019 F/Y income?
    (3) Given that the average salary there is less than $500 a month can I assume my payments would be far less than say if the child was living in Australia?
    Thanks in advance, Andrew

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Can’t tell you much with certainty on this topic. The Philipines is a reciprocating jurisdiction. However, I would guess that any child support would be based on the Philipines system since that is where the child will be residing.

  21. Rosey
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, I recently have decided to go though CS with my ex partner and have formalised the arrangement for our son after a long time dealing with domestic violence. I found out he has his name on 8 properties and has shares. I recently received an assessment that came back with his income as $37k for the year and mine at $67. He has our son two nights a fortnight. And only pays $75 per year. How can his be right? Do you have any advice? I tried going though a change of assessment before and they said all the properties where counted? I know he shares a family trust with his brother.. would this be counted in the assessment? I can’t even afford one property supporting our son most of the time because of domestic violence.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Can’t really comment as the info you’ve provided doesn’t make sense.

  22. Whitney
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I have recently put in a change of assessment through child support agency. My daughters father is a lawyer and in the army reserves and they have his income as 33000 as he only works part time. Therefore I am receiving 114 a month. I chose several reasons for the change of assessment – one being earning capacity of the parent. I have been informed that they won’t be increasing his payments as he has never worked full time so they can’t say he has a greater earning capacity. Can they not make him work more considering he is choosing to work part time and should be earning far more then 33000 per year. How is this fair? Can I dispute this decision again or is the change of assessment the final step?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The legal language around Change of Assessments is about income reductions. So, I don’t think you have grounds to appeal. You can review the rules yourself.

  23. Lisa
    | Reply

    Hi, my ex husband lives overseas and has declared $0 income for the last 7 years. My child is 8 so needless to say I’ve received very little financial support. I have asked the child support agency to look into this and they don’t really seem to investigate or be able to do anything. How do I know he is telling the truth? How can I help my child be better supported financially by my ex husband?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t know what you can do to be honest. Difficult when he’s not in the country.

  24. Bec
    | Reply

    My partners ex earlier this year had another child with her new partner so hasn’t been working for 6-9 month, her income for last financial was substantially less than the previous financial year. So the amount my partner has to pay has gone up a considerable amount. I feel he is being penalised because his ex had another child with someone else, he shouldn’t have to pay for those cost. there is no incentive for him to work hard because the more he earns the more he pays because she’s not work. we are starting a family of our own so our household income is going to be reduced, will this be taken into consideration, i doubt it!

  25. Luke Miller
    | Reply

    Hi.

    I separated from my ex wife in 2017. We are now divorced. I have the children ( aged 6&8) 28% of the time.

    I had signed enrolment forms for multiple private schools in about 2012-2013 with my ex. We were keeping our options open.

    Since separation I have realised that my ex’s financial situation was not all it seemed and she has now claimed to have borrowed large sums of money from her mother both during our marriage and after separation. This money is well over $150,000 mark. This was apparently for everyday living expenses. She also had approximately $40,000 credit card debit. I was not aware of this either.

    Prior to our youngest even commencing school ( post separation) I tried to enrol her and the oldest who was in Grade one at the time into a state school. My ex refused.

    We subsequently went through the Federal Circuit Court. The Court initially ordered that my ex pay for the school fees in 2019. This order was made in November 2018.

    My ex kept the children at the private school and the final order remained silent on the issue ( I represented myself and did not pick up on this at the time). I thought the school fees were a non issue.

    My ex has now made an application through Child Support for me to pay half the school fees. This equates to approximately $200k over the next 10 years or at the moment just under $1300 per fortnight including what I pay for child support. I work for the Government.

    How can Child Support overrule the Court? Even if the final order was silent on the issue, would this not be a matter for the court and not child support?.

    I am still waiting to hear Child Supports outcome however if they over rule the initial Court decision I’ll be taking it back to court which will cost both parties yet more money that we can’t already afford. I feel the system is bringing me down to the point I can’t adequately look after myself and or my children when I have them.

    Maybe I’m a little anxious but it’s been about two to two and a half months now and I haven’t heard a thing from Child Support. I find the fact that they seem like they are even considering this as bizarre. Can this be the case and why?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Luke – You seem to have strong legal grounds for claiming that the decision to enroll the children in a private school was your ex’s alone and, therefore, you have no obligation to pay the fees.

      Any decision made by Child Support can be reviewed internally if you request it. You can also appeal decisions, first to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and then to the Federal Circuit Court (FCC) if that fails.

      The legal arguments seem to boil down to whether it was a joint or a sole decision to go down the private schooling path.

      I assume based on what you’ve written that (i) the FCC made an interim order that your ex was responsible for the fees and (ii) subsequent to that, all decision-making in this area has been made by your ex without your consent.

      I personally would tell Child Support that you intend appealing any decision by them that would see you pay fees. Moreover, say that you are prepared to take this all the way to the FCC, where you would expect them to uphold their original decision.

  26. BRUIZA
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.

    I have I have a 4 years old amazing little girl. She has been in my care since we split she was 1 at the time. My Whole family lives overseas and I have only my little girl to keep myself happy.
    I work from home so I can look after her and give her the attention she needs to be a good human being.
    Her father now decided he wants 50 50 he has always helped but since I said I was never going back to him he is deciding to keep her.
    He has always been manipulative towards me.

    He has very serious gambling addicttion and is why he rather keep her doing absolutely nothing at his place and work as he is taking her to work so he does not need to pay anyone to look after her.
    Its brokers my heart.
    His money was never coming into my hand it went always for our rental property for me and my little one.
    Which was only a part of rent not all I still paid some part of it with my own money.
    I have always buy her clothes and anything for her he has never took her once to a doctors or know her allergies.

    Now without this helping I am struggling a little but have not complain as he says I have no rights to do so.

    I think its is very unfair i have always done all to my daughter while he had always time for himself.
    He is a financial manager for a car company and earners lot more than me in a heart beat!!
    I do not agreed the 50 50 can I just stay with my daughter and let him see her but no keep her away from me for 1 week is too much and he shares his place with another male it makes me worry every day!
    He says he don’t need to help me in anything as he has her 50 50.
    I am not an australian so I am not fully aware of my rights. Can you advice me?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Bruiza,

      You need to have a parenting plan. Try here: https://timtab.com/

      You need to agree on a better plan, with much shorter visits. You should contact a mediator (e.g. Relationships Australia) to help. It doesn’t cost much.

  27. Bec
    | Reply

    Hi, I get frustrated with the system sometimes, I understand that its hard to have a system that works for everyone as everyones case and situation is different but when the situation involves a child with speacil needs the systme frustrates the hell out of me.

    I was marriend for 17 years and had two children he decided he didnt want to see the children as the responsability interupted his life. My youngest was born with multiple disabilities and I could not work and was he sole carer even when we were married.
    My Ex does pay his child support generally but refuses to help with any medical expenses (only ever asked for 50% of major expenses) let alone the other costs associated with his conditions.

    CSA says that I could do a reassessment due to my sons conditions so he has to pay a higher amount but the frustrating part is that Centalink told me that if he does pay a higher amount I then lose that of my family allownace, so in the long run I am not much better off but worse as I then have to rely on the Ex to pay his support. I think that in circumstances like this something has to be different.
    My son is 15 now, but still needs a full time carer even with his everyday needs and can never be left unsupervised and will need a carer for the rest of his life. I am not asking for extra money because I dont want to work, I volenteer and study while my son is at school so at least I have workable skills to be able to use one day when I get more help with his care but I dont have the privilege to be able to work like I want to as I have no family other that my two children. NDIS at least now helps with his thearpies but care, medications, special foods ect is not covered fully. there needs to be a way to have parents pay the extra costs associated with children with disabilities and the parent who has care for the child not loose much needed funds.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Bec. I would have thought the ongoing cost of caring for a disabled child would be an issue to be dealt with at the time of separation / divorce (through a maintenance order of some kind). As you indicated, it can be addressed through child support payments to some extent although there are negative interactions with the welfare system. Can’t comment too much on how the system works in that area. The Govt has measures to prevent rorting, and may be hurting people like yourself unintentionally.

  28. Andrew
    | Reply

    HI Andrew,
    Thanks again for your great work with this site and keep up the awesome work in trying to reach a fairer system for everyone.

    I have a question, my ex receives 79% of the child support pool from me (around $1500 per month for our three daughters). My middle daughter is now going to a private school which I agreed to on a half scholarship, and while I agreed to cover some of the additional costs up to my percentage of 21%, my ex is now demanding I pay half of the school fees. She has advised the school that I am liable for this and they have started to send me continual requests for the amount outstanding. I’ve read on here and it’s also simply common sense that you should only pay these types of costs appropriate to the percentage of the ‘pool’ you have access to, so 21% in my case. Unfortunately the school doesn’t want to know about this, they just say because I signed her enrollment forms I need to pay also. I’m wondering if I contact CSA and ask for the difference to be listed as a prescribed expense, is this a good approach? I know for a fact the ex won’t agree to it, but as usual her greed is paramount here. On a side note I’m also starting proceedings to get a parenting order before the court to go week on week off and then I’m happy to split all costs. My three daughters have actually told me this is what they want but again their mother has flat out refused them when they’ve tried to talk to her about it. She would lose about $1000 a month so there’s her motivation. I also have to self represent so it’s going to be a big battle but I have to do something as my daughters are pretty miserable with the current situation. Anyway thank you again for all that you do, and any help or suggestions you have would be very much appreciated.
    cheers,
    Andrew.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks Andrew. Unfortunately, it looks like you couldn’t get credit for private school fee expenses since your care level is above 14%. Refer here: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/5/3/1

      What happens with the fees is undetermined and becomes a civil matter. If it went to court, I’d imagine a judge would conclude that both parents participated in the enrollment decision. Without an agreement in place, a 50:50 cost split could well be the ruling.

      Few people who enter the Family Law System actually end up going to a final hearing. Instead, an agreement is reached along the way. It’s really a negotiation. The leverage you have is that you are prepared to battle it out in court for years until you get a fair outcome. You need to convince your ex that she should cooperate sooner rather than later because you will never give up.

  29. Tristan
    | Reply

    My partner was tricked into gathering a child. Sadly he fell for it and his life has been hell since. I see now why men commit suicide. He was a FIFO worker so she saw this as $$$. He has returned to normal work in Melbourne still earning a good wage. But we now have a child and I am having some time off. My partner simply can’t afford things for me and our child yet the other women has been in two interstate holidays in the child’s first year as she receives over $20k in bebefits, has a concession cards which gives her discounts on bills, gets rental assistance and she gets another $20k from my partner, plus she works cash in hand. Why would she return to work and contribute fairly. It’s very disgusting and terrible that our child misses out. We can see that she doesn’t spend the money on the child but rather treating herself to luxuries which we cannot afford. My partner works full time and misses out on seeing his children grow up. I work for our family being a stay at home mum running a tight budget which is a job in its self. I receive no benefits as my partner earns money. How is this fair, she only has herself to cook n clean for. I have 2 people to care for and a partner that works 6 days per week. He pays to run his car for work which he claims on tax, however we have to wait until the eofy to get any money back. I don’t understand why she receives all of these benefits. My partner have been good savers growing up in hope to have a nice life but we are penalised and I feel there are 3 major things at play here.
    1 there is no incentive for her to work legitimately as she receives so many benefits. $50k plus per year in her pocket tax free.
    2 child support is calculated before tax. So child support plus tax that he pays on the support means he losses 48 cents in the dollar for $37_$90k and 53 cents in the dollar for anything over. That is a huge portion of income gone. I find it odd that CS is calculated before tax rather. Why would it not be paid to the reviewer and they pay the tax? This would be a much fairer system.
    3 I feel that a women tricking a man into conceiving a child is the equivalent to rape. They did not consent to it and as I can see other comments the men are scarred for life. It is extremely damaging and degrading to men. I would like to raise awareness and education to naive men. I pose this question to the women that do this. How would you feel if it were your son?
    Perhaps women who do this should be prosecuted and child support should be optional for men to pay. This would deter most of the behaviour I feel.

    Is it worth me dipping her into CS for working cash in hand? Would his payments go down by much? Would he be reimbursed for over payments? This is ruining our relationship as my partner can’t provide for his chosen family.
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Tristan. An unfortunate situation for your family. Many of the poor design elements of the current scheme are at work in your case.

      No – I wouldn’t bother dobbing her in for cash-in-hand payments. Child support payments are quite insensitive to receiver income when the receiver has a high care %. As well, CSA aren’t detectives who go around investigating everyone. They probably wouldn’t do anything.

  30. Andrew Stocks
    | Reply

    Hi
    I have been in the system /csa/ for twenty six years and have had a lot of things happen to me I thought were inappropriate in dealing with employees of the collections agency
    The latest one is where after closing up a business and and couple of accidents left me earning under ten thousand dollars for the year. The department assessed me as liable to pay 1300 early. The ex estimated her income as zero.
    I queried the amount and asked for the scale it was worked out on and was told there was no working out and that they didn’t accept the amount on my tax year so they had just come up with the number .
    I asked her how I could take my concern further and she told me I would have to do a change of assessment, I was told it was the only thing I could do I asked her how to do it and she gave me an email of the process. I decided not to go ahead with it as I have had dealings with the change of assessment and found it very unfair and not very thorough. I was then approached by an assessor via phone and was basically talked into the change of assessment on the promise that she had the power to investigate my ex’s business dealings and assets hidden in her current partners name.
    I went ahead with the stipulation that a thorough investigation would be done.
    I handed in my information to csa which was thorough and had my income raised to 46000 ,my ex handed in an account that was clearly not her business account and had money coming from unknown accounts totally dodgy
    It even commented on the assessment that it was clear that she had other accounts as her single parent payment was not showing up in it(she had been in her current relationship for 9 years and was expecting her first child to her current partner)
    I asked the assessor what had happened to the thorough investigation and she told me she had no intention ever to investigate anything.
    I went through the system to challenge the assessment and was phoned by the next assessor and pressured by her to drop it as she was going to rubber stamp it anyway.
    The report back from the complaint stated that I looked like I would make around thirty thousand but I would need to make a further fifteen thousand to pay for the school fees for the kids.
    I have 50. 50 care but my ex has made life unbearable for eleven years and my daughter can’t stay at our home through anxiety caused through bullying by her mother.
    The csa has in my view created a scenario where they get a payment in order to maximise money collected for budget purposes. The fact she was illegally on single parent seems to make no difference and the physical evidence of money earned is ignored.
    So would there be any court action I can take to bring these people to account?
    Do you know of lawyers that deal with this sort of thing.
    I have spent the last two years obtaining conversation tapes of phone calls through freedom of speech and feel my rights and my mental health has suffered greatly
    Your help will be greatly appreciated

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Andrew,

      Frankly, I think you should put your energy into something else. Any income up to the self-support amount (about $25k) doesn’t affect child support. And we’re talking about small amounts if income isn’t much higher than that. Don’t waste your time on this stuff.

  31. Annon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I have a legal question.

    Situation: My partner had a brief (3 times) affair with an older women 9 years ago. He was temporarily living interstate at the time. She knew he was in a relationship and encouraged casual sex when he was intoxicated. Next thing… surprise surprise. Next thing we know we had CSA chasing us down for money.

    Anyway she was earning minimum wage, approaching 40 and obviously looking for a sperm donor and money.

    Fast forward 9 years and she still has a noose around our neck. She has never returned to full time work and even if she did, as she is in a dead end job she would never contribute to the so called calculator.

    Given the situation we don’t see the child. He has visited maybe twice per year at most. For my mental health I keep her at a distance.

    We have paid this women $120,000 to date for using my partner as a sperm donor.

    Question I have is can we go to court and argue parentage given the situation. He was never dating, nor with this women and she knew he was never going to be living in the same state and that he had a partner. The whole situation has been extremely traumatic for the both of us and the money we have paid to this women has left us 1) not able to afford to get married (we were planning at the time), 2) unable to afford to have a child of our own 3) unable to afford to buy a house together. She surprisingly has her own house as we are obviously paying her mortgage for her.

    Any guidance would be appreciated. We just want this parasite out of our lives.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’m unaware of any way of getting out of child support based on the nature of the relationship (or non-relationship) between the parents. He has to pay I’m afraid, even if it feels very unfair.

      Your partner can be more of a father to his child without either of you having much to do with the mother. Meetings, etc can be arranged using simple emails and text messages – without phone conversation or meeting in person. I have two children of a similar age to the child. It is absolutely crucial for them to know that they have a father who loves and values them. They are forming their personal identities and world views.

      Frankly, as hard as it may be, you need to rise above the situation. Please do what you can to help ensure the child experiences less sadness and hurt than they are no doubt enduring already.

  32. Lee Du Bray
    | Reply

    I was in a de-facto relationship here in Sydney Australia with a woman for some 12 years. There are no children. Just before the end of the relationship in Jan 2009, she returned to her place of birth in Auckland, New Zealand.

    Jump forward 10 years and last month I was dragged before a Victorian Federal Circuit judge for an ‘enforcement’ hearing, to make me pay $100,000 plus to my ex de facto for an undefended NZ judgment she received against me over in NZ for a ‘retrospective’ maintenance award.

    Now this is where it gets even more interesting….the Applicant party in the Victorian Federal Circuit Court hearing, acting on behalf of my ex de facto who permanently resides and is still domiciled in NZ and who is earning $hundreds of thousands a year as a leading New Zealand Family Law barrister….was the Australian Attorney General’s Department!

    …can you believe that?…..esp. when there are no statutory laws legislated here in Australia in relation to the enforcement of Foreign de-facto partner maintenance awards. The Dept of Human Services (responsible for the collection of overseas maintenance awards) having already advised that there is no legislation to support a registration of this kind. The AG refuses to accept that DHS ruling.

    Tens of thousands of Australian Taxpayers money is being wasted by a pre-eminent Australian Gov’t Dept, to drag me into Court, trying to enforce some frivolous ex-parte NZ order on behalf a rich NZ Barrister, 10 years after the end of the de facto relationship here in Australia, where a NSW State Supreme Court had already issued a final and conclusive judgment saying that my ex de-facto, could NOT qualify for maintenance here in Australia.

    This is why Family Law legislation and the Government Departments that oversee the application of those laws, need to be thoroughly overhauled. There is simply no justification for the actions being taken by the AG, nor is there any Australian legislative authority for this court action. It appears to be nothing more than a ‘vanity project’ by the AG’s Dept to show that no one is beyond their reach regardless of the lack of any statutory authority and the Dept’s unlimited access to public funds will crush anyone that stands against them.

  33. Tamara Stokes
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, my partner has been paying child support , though he is also paying off a debt to CSA from previous years also. However, one of the children was the result of an affair his partner had, and she put my partner on the birth certificate. Their relationship broke up shortly after the child was born, just over 9 years ago. How do we apply with CSA to stop paying for a child not fathered by him? He recently started fifo work, to try to get ahead financially, which his ex is thrilled about obviously, but we can’t and shouldn’t have to pay her for a child not his.
    Many thanks,
    Tamara

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Tamara, He’ll need to provide strong documentation and possibly have to go to court. Here is the guide on parentage: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/1/3

      Note that child support payments are mainly for the first child. The 2nd and 3rd children don’t add that much to payments and any further children have no impact.

  34. JSB
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, Thank you for all the work you do on this forum/site – your advice is invaluable.
    You may have answered this in a previous question but I can’t locate it: I’m the paying parent and I believe I may have an underpayment to my ex as my income increased during the last FYR compared to the year prior. Does the CSA intercept any tax refund of the paying parent to recoup an underpayment ‘before’ the receiving parent submits their tax return, or, does the CSA wait until the receiving parent also submits their tax return before doing any reconciliations/adjustments? I suspect my ex (the receiving parent) is holding off submitting his tax return because he’s earned more money this year than he’s declared to the CSA and doesn’t want to incur a debt to me but at what stage is a reconciliation done on the assessment after tax returns are lodged? Regards.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unless you submitted your own income estimate for 2018-19, your higher income for 2018-19 only affects payments for 2019-20. So the “underpayment” has only been happening since 1 July.

      CSA don’t normally wait for tax returns from both parties. They will re-assess as soon as they receive yours. And, yes, they will use any tax refund to pay off newly calculated debt.

  35. Mitch
    | Reply

    My ex and I have a 15 year old child together. The relationship ended when the child was 2 years old, we both agreed on a private arrangement. Please note I was 19 at the time Child was born and the mother was 24. As of July this year the mother has gone to Child support to gain more money (could have asked me but hey she didn’t) so I get a call (my first ever call
    From you guys) saying I owed 3 months back pay. I replied ok, but please know I am married and have 2 other children 6 and 2 who are also my dependents. They said that doesn’t matter we can’t calculate them in because we didn’t know.
    Seeing as though it’s the first time I’ve ever spoken to them how is this fair?
    I’ve been to mediation and she won’t reply and is holding my child against me. What leg do I have to stand on?
    My whole life is now in turmoil as I have bills which I’m struggling to now pay and she went behind my back to do this when we have always had a personal arrangement.
    Not to mention I’m off work as I had to have Major surgery yet I’m still having to pay this ridiculous amount.
    Why is the system screwing me?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The system screws payers all the time. Always report information that works in your favour as quickly as possible. You can put in an income estimate for the current year to get future payments reduced.

  36. Cate
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    In France child support payments are tax deductible…might be good if introduced here in Australia, along with other measures.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Interesting idea. If child support payments were tax deductible, payments received would then have to be taxable in order to maintain tax neutrality (and prevent taxpayers subsidising child support). It would be fairer. But a simpler approach is having a formula with a declining marginal payment rate. That’s what we’re proposing.

  37. Karen
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, my beef is with how Child Support Obligations get calculated. After 25 years of marriage in which I put my career on the back burner to raise our children and support my ex in his career he walked out on me for a younger woman. At the time I was just starting up my own small business so not earning much and my ex was earning over $200,000k per annum plus super. For the sake of the kids who were at the time 2 x 11 year olds and one x 14 year old, I sucked it up and put them first so we made arrangements for shared custody and a CSA private collection arrangement. My ex in fairness has never not paid up what he has been assessed to pay. However he has not lodged income tax returns for over four years and so he is being assessed on provisional income which is not much higher than it was when we separated. I on the other hand have lodged my returns every year, my business has grown and my income has gone up and the CSA assessment has on my side been based on my actual taxable assessed income (including my reportable super, because I am a sole trader I do not get a wage with SG super so i have to make a conscious decision to sacrifice cash in my pocket to put away for retirement savings – last year I managed to save about $4k into super). My ex I happen to know now earns over $260,000 per annum plus about $25,000 as paid employer SG Super some of which he takes as salary sacrifice but most of his super is employer provided so does not get assessed as income for CSA purposes and his salary sacrifice amounts will not have been assessed because he hasn’t lodged tax returns or advised Child Support of any changes to his income. My taxable income including superannuation paid for myself last year was $62,800. Just recently my twin daughters, now 17 have decided they want to go an live with their dad full time because he lets them do whatever they want and I have some rules, expectations and boundaries in my house. This has been hard enough for me to swallow as it is but my daughters have a legal right at their ages to choose where they want to live so other than encouraging them to come and spend some time with me there is not a lot I can do about that. Now my wealthy ex informs me that I am required to start paying him maintenance because he has them full time. I couldn’t believe that given he earns over $200,000 per year more than I do but apparently he is correct and I will need to pay him around $550 per month in child support. So take $62,800 less $4,500 in super payments made, less $13,800 in taxes, less $6,300 I send to my son who is now at Uni interstate to assist him with his living expenses (he gets no Austudy due to his dad’s high income and is working part-time to help cover his costs) then less $6,600 which will have to go to my ex – leaves me with $31,600 net – I have a mortgage which costs me $7,800 per annum – leaves $23,800. My ex on the other hand has around $160,000 in net income and will have another $6,600 from me, so nearly $170,000 to live on and to support our daughters with. And out of my left over $23,800 which will have to cover all my other bills and food and medical costs he still also expects me to continue paying for my daughters phone bills and bus cards – another $1700 per year. I found this all a bit wrong somehow. Clearly the first thing to go for me is going to be superannuation contributions but I am now also considering selling my home for the second time in my life because of my ex husband, not because I actually want to. I just think the system for calculating is all wrong.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Karen. Frankly, I have zero sympathy in terms of finances and can’t see the formula issue here, though the formula is generally screwy. The problem is that you’ve learned to rely on your ex’s income. And that’s coming to an end, albeit slightly prematurely because of your daughters moving out.

      You keep talking about your ex’s money as if you are entitled to it. Some of us feel that the money we personally earn is not the property of other people. You should appreciate the enormous benefits you’ve gained from your ex over the years and come to terms with the fact that you are now on your own financially.

      Your daughters may be smart to become closer to their father as they become adults. For financial support, they’ll need to lean on him directly rather than relying on him indirectly via child support. Who will pay for their major expenses over the next few years?

      Your daughters should come around in time. I hope it works out for you in the end. Note that you don’t have to pay for anything if you don’t want to.

  38. Rae
    | Reply

    Just want to comment on a trend that I am noticing. CS are avoiding sending emails and letters, I have requested all significant communication, to be sent to me in writing and in the last 12 months that has not been applied.
    When I question CS on the phone and ask for what is been said be put in writing, they simply say “we have met the requirement by verbally telling you over the phone”.
    To be clear this is not asking for all communications to be put in writing, just the significant changes.
    Please all involved with CS, make sure you get case adjustments and changes sent to you in writing for your records.

  39. Sarah
    | Reply

    How is the child support calculated if you need to pay two people? Is each assessment worked out the same or do they each reduce the other?
    Income of paying parent 155K.
    Receiving parent 1 Income 77K 2 children <12 9/14 care.
    Receiving parent 2 Income NIL 1 child <12 14/14 care.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Good luck trying to work out child support for multiple cases: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/4/9

      Having multiple cases can significantly reduce the amounts of child support for the individual cases. The costs of children are based on the payer’s income alone rather than joint income, and the income is adjusted downwards. It is also assumed that the children are together (and the total cost of children rise by little or nothing as you add more children).

      So much for making people responsible for their choices.

  40. Helen
    | Reply

    My ex is permanently relocating to his home country (China) which is a non-reciprocating jurisdiction. I understand that this would trigger a terminating event and he will no longer be liable to pay any child support to me because he will be a resident of China (he is also a citizen of China and this is where all his relatives/family and assets are). As soon as he leaves, he intends to pay off any outstanding child support obligations and notify the CSA in writing of his change of residency, with further evidence once he arrives in China.

    The law stipulates that:
    “A terminating event happens if a parent liable to pay child support (CSA Act section 12(3)):
    dies, or
    ceases to be a resident of Australia (1.6.1) (and is not subject to an international maintenance arrangement).”

    I have seen a number of comments on this forum suggesting that in such situation there would be an accumulating debt over the course of my ex’s residence in China and if he is to come back to Australia in the future, he will be forced to pay off that debt. I have been advised, however, that there wouldn’t be any debt while is away and that he would only have to pay again once his CS liability resumes – namely, when he is considered to be an AU resident again – because otherwise he won’t be liable by law due to residence in China.

    Can you please confirm the above? The comments on this forum indicate otherwise and contradict what I have been told by my solicitor.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your contribution. This seems like a good explanation of how moving overseas permanently to a non-reciprocal country can end a child support case.

      Professional legal advice about a particular case should normally trump anything mentioned in this forum. Sometimes the forum slips into providing vague answers to vague questions.

  41. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi I have two kids with my ex wife 11 & 15 and we share custody. She has always worked since the kids have been in school although my income is a lot higher as I’m FIFO so I still pay CSA. She is having another child with her new husband and I believe is planning on not working until that child starts school. My question is will my child support increase because her income will be $0 or do they freeze her income in the calculation because she is choosing not to work?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The payments will go up. CSA give women a total pass when it comes to staying home to look after young children.

  42. Angela
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Can I please check.
    We are paying child support to my husbands ex. We have struggled financially for years because we have had many ivf payments and I haven’t worked as much, but we make every csa payment on time.
    His ex’s house is worth about $1.2M and we don’t have one at all. My husbands income is soon to go up, which is great news, and my question is, how do assets work in relation to child support?
    Also if we want to start a smsf to try and accelerate our assets because of our poor financial position, will we be penalised by csa?
    Thanks Ange

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Assets can be a factor, but only in exceptional circumstances (e.g. where there is an independently wealthy payer who has very low taxable income). See more here: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6/14

      A SMSF can make some difference over time. Paying into it doesn’t affect your current income for child support purposes. But it can reduce future taxable income since earnings inside the super fund (such as share dividends) don’t count towards taxable income. If you want to save for the future, super is a good way to go.

  43. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi there Andrew,

    My partner had a child when he was just a teenager – the child is currently in their early teens and lives 100% with the mother (ex evaded any attempts at contact until such an age where the child was completely estranged from my partner and he did not want to further strain the situation for the child).

    He is currently on unemployment benefits from Centrelink. We have previously remained financially independent/separate however after he just survived a VERY close call with cancer, he wants to go off Centrelink for a little bit and just recover – our plan is for him to move in with me so I can care for him and we’ll see how he is doing in a year. He is mentally and physically very shaken up.

    His fear is that when he moves in with me and gets cut off from Centrelink, CSA and/or the ex will want to know/claim MY income for child support.

    With his mental state being as fragile as it is after the cancer battle, he simply cannot live alone – but moving in with me would mean no Centrelink…which would mean no automatic child support payment… which would mean they will start to ask questions, right?

    I would really like to believe CSA cannot make ME pay his ex child support just because he cannot work anymore…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The CSA can’t force someone to cover for their payer partner. Partner income is irrelevant in the scheme. But, if a payer can’t make payments without help, obviously partners can suffer financial consequences.

      Just gather and keep any evidence to demonstrate that your partner’s situation is involuntary. That way, he can win if the other parent applies for a Change of Assessment.

  44. Colin
    | Reply

    Hi All,

    I’m not really sure where to go from here as all my other attempts to get some advice on my issue have been very unsuccessful and presented a large bill at the end. Really hoping someone can provide some advice or at least point me in the right direction to get some useful advice for a change. I’ve worked in the construction industry for the past 25+ years which has consisted of long hours and very little time to spend with my kids on my access weekends. My new partner is at university and is required to have a significant amount of time off work due to the nature of her studies, so we opened our own business in the hope we would have some flexibility in the hours we both worked.

    Our problem is my scorned ex-wife who I divorced 8 years ago, is now after not only my money, but my new partners money too. Whilst I know they can’t touch my partners wage; the fact we have to justify what the business profit and loss is each year is exhausting and a waste of child support resources. After receiving yet another change of assessment document (which she has filed each year for the past 8 years) claiming that I have a higher earning capacity and has assumed that as I am a builder by trade, I must be doing all the work whilst my partner contributes nothing to the business. She is requesting in her change of assessment that my partners income be taken into consideration and that I stop working for the business and go back to long hours and not seeing my children on access weekends just so she can have more money.

    I’m really at a loss here as her constant harassment is taking a toll on my relationship with both my partner and my children. My question is how do I stop her from continuing to abuse the child support system and dictate what I do with my life?

    I don’t really see how it’s fair that I have to provide everything she does for the kids whilst they are in my care and yet still pay a motza in child support, just because I’ve chosen to not work myself to the grave.

    Any advice is appreciated!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’d be careful as the CSA are not accountants. In Change of Assessments, they have been known to do things like attributing income from a business that goes to a relative as the payer’s income.

      You probably can’t stop the administrative harassment altogether, though the CSA should be sympathetic.

      I’d try to keep CSA on side by being cooperative and making it clear that you’re doing everything properly and above-board. Be quick and efficient in responding to the review applications and don’t let it get to you. You and the CSA have a mutual interest in knocking these applications on the head quickly.

  45. David Hennessy
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I’ve always paid my child support and son is almost 20 and has worked in an apprenticeship for the last 3 years. In 2016 I heard from CSA advising me that my obligation was over and that I had a zero balance, until now when I lodged my tax return and had it seized by CSA. When I called them to enquire they said there was an “event” in 2017 and that I now owe $40,000. No explanation, no break down of how they come to this. Last year I received a tax return and I’ve have had no contact from CSA via MyGov or phone until I called them about this tax return. I have a wife and young daughter and I’m the sole income earner for our family. Not to mention the 40k comes with monthly interest of $270 accruing now. I’m now better of quitting work and going on a benefit.

    In 2014 I was earning good money FIFO overseas and CSA hit me with an extra 22k bill on top of my monthly payments because they said my fights and accommodation were fringe benefits, now they have miraculously found another unexplained 40k

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Bastards. They often seem to try FIFO workers badly. You should seek a review. They have to do a review internally first.

  46. polly
    | Reply

    hi andrew
    my ex has resigned from his job from a year ago and has been living in bali with his wife since may…and will be there permanetly…im on child support collect and have told cs he is in a non reciprocal country and he also has done his tax (for the last time) however they are still trying to collect money ….if a person doesnt work or make an income and is living in non reciprocal country isnt the cs assesment exempt? and centerlink even suggested an exemption however cs said he first has to be in arrears and then investigate…not sure what else i have to say to them…do i have to do a coa? or will they do a resedency check? i thought i would get more support and help from them…thanks polly

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could possibly do a Change of Assessment (Earning Capacity) to keep his income level up for child support purposes (e.g. for the next few years). That would create a growing debt for him, though it would be hard to extract while he is overseas and would be stopped if he does the paperwork to ensure a ‘terminating event’. Don’t know what you mean by “exempt”. In the long term, you probably won’t be able to get child support off him.

  47. Ty
    | Reply

    This system is completely out of control, CS is absolutely outdated garbage that doesn’t care about both parents having a good relationship with the kids.. CS only intention is taking from fathers
    We need a system in place to help both parties come to a civil arrangement to lessen the mental health effects and stress on all involved but mainly the children

    I’ve tried contacting mother of my kids since November to no avail, we had a agreement when split but it didn’t last long.. I don’t care bout CS money, jus want to see kids when on break
    It doesn’t have to be like this, parents are human and should be treated equally
    I’m really struggling being shut out of kids lives, constantly thinking of quitting work and giving up on everything.. sometimes when it’s bad I think of driving into a train or truck..

    This country will end up full of hurt children instead of happy ones

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yep – major problems exist. Many come from a lack of thought about incentives to do the wrong thing. I’m working on it from multiple fronts.

  48. Sam
    | Reply

    Hello,

    I am currently sharing custody of my 6yo son 50/50 with my ex wife. She does not work and now has another 6month old baby with someone else. She is studying an online course, and has been doing so for the past 4-5 years, without actually finishing any of the 4 she has started. After our divorce, she received quite a substantial payout, and I know she has worked for cash without declaring it. Initially when my son was in childcare and kinder. I was told by her, that I needed to pay half of all his fees. I was transferring her this money for a year before I realised that she was actually only paying a small portion of the fees due to her being on Centrelink and having a healthcare card. I was advised that I shouldn’t be paying child support as well as half of these fees. Now our son is in primary school, and I am very unclear as to what I need to be paying for on top of the child support of $180 per week. I earn $120k a year, but was left with substantial debt after the divorce, so after tax I don’t receive very much at all. Can you help me to understand why I am paying so much money to her, when I share him 50/50? As she earns under the threshold of $20,000, due to having another child. I feel it’s unjustified that because my wage is what it is gross, that I struggle to keep up with money. And she doesn’t earn an income, as she stays at home with her new child. I recently received a pay rise of $12,000 to what I earn now. And my child support went up $50 a week, without any circumstance changing. I have requested that she let me know what she uses this payment for, as I still pay for half of all his fees and uniforms etc for school. I believe this system is exactly unfair, and takes advantage of someone who’s working hard to make ends meet, only for her to live more comfortably whilst she stays home for longer with her other child. She was not at home for this long with our son, and went back to part time work after 4-5 months. Is there anything that can be done to help provide some sort of payment cap?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Sam. You are in a better situation than many Dads, who pay a lot more and don’t see their child as much.

      Of course your situation is unfair. Our policy is that no child support should be payable when care is 50:50. This is a no-brainer.

      There are no rules around what is done with child support payments. You could ask her to put the money you pay her towards different expenses. It’s just a matter of negotiation. But you wouldn’t want to prompt her to try increasing her care level above 50%.

  49. H johnson
    | Reply

    Although they will never admit it CSA mandate is to get as much as possible money from the Fathers through coercive means & push the mothers to take no deals & go for broke with no regard for the Dad ..
    Its a disgusting practice & a disgrace for a Govt dept to ask like this & hide behind policy …

  50. JD
    | Reply

    Even if I was capable of caring for the child id still pay child support given my ex doesn’t work. What is the point of fighting if I have little chance of things changing. So instead I’ll just be strung along paying an expensive bill for another 7+ year.
    It might not even stop then, Ive been told the child has disabilities. I just don’t think I can live like this especially with no end date. I’m already an angry middle-aged man with low prospects.

  51. JD
    | Reply

    My ex partner took my child interstate when he was 6 months old. I was attending University full time and couldn’t change arrangements at the time. Now that child is almost 11 and the career I was hoping to achieve through University is not as fruitful as I’d hoped and the HECS debt incurred has kept me back. I can not afford to rent a larger place and I will probably never be able to afford to own a property of my own given the inflated housing market. Whilst my child and ex partner are interstate. She has another partner, other children and doesn’t work, probably never will. My preference is that my ex’s partner adopt my child legally and they forget about me. But why would they do that when they continue to get a free income from me? While I pay for an expensive mistake with an average of 1 message per year.
    I have no idea what to do. I’m not moving forward in my life and I have little hope of getting out of this payment arrangement or changing my care responsibilities with the other parent. Honestly my life has become a bit of a joke.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A bit defeatist JD. You may be in a bind but you always have options.

  52. Drew
    | Reply

    Hi,
    This isn’t exactly a child support question as per sec but just wondering what the ‘norm’ is for answering questions when asked by government agencies, banks, finance bodies etc in regards dependents.
    ” How many dependants do you have ?” is quite a common question.
    My children are in my care about a third of the year, and their mother has them for the other two-thirds. I pay just under $500 a fortnight in child support.
    I never know what to write to respond to that question. It’s probably in my favour financially in terms of trying to access a loan to put zero and there is the point that if my ex wife was filling out the same form hers would be a “yes” response with 2 dependants so can they really be counted twice as dependants by divorced persons.
    Then there is the counter argument that I am their father and I have an ongoing financial commitment to them until they turn 18.
    I asked a friend recently and he said he answers that question based upon whether the response will work in his favour or not….no for loan applications but yes when applying for anything through a subsidy scheme.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I agree with your buddy. There is no universally right or wrong answer about whether your kids should be considered “dependents”. So you can adjust your response according to the circumstances.

  53. Rise up Fathers
    | Reply

    Good Morning, Has there been much progress against the CSA criminal organisation?
    These people are promoting and aiding child abduction, parental/child alienation. They are involved in actively aiding in men’s financial loss and suicide. The family courts and CSA are responsible for Australia’s economic crisis, nobody can afford anything anymore, it’s been getting worse and worse since the introduction of CSA. Australia is headed towards a 3rd word standard in the year 2020.
    These people are destroying the economy, there needs to be a royal commission into the criminals, the banks were indirectly causing deaths to the Australian public… Family courts and the CSA are no different being that they are at war with fathers – CSA policy – take their children, take their money, take their life…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      That’s a comment really. As far as I’m aware, over the past decade, the CSA have done virtually nothing to improve their practices or attempt policy reform.

  54. Maki
    | Reply

    I think that a persons’ income is a very personal matter, it is even so in a workplace whereby employees are not allowed to discuss their income with others, yet it is okay for child support to send this information to a person that is not in your business as far as financial matters go. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t this a type of breach of privacy? I am also confident that this also causes more issues between parents. Sharing such personal information with persons that really have no right to know is degrading. There needs to be another way …

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The system is based on income, so sharing income info is almost unavoidable.

      We propose that the child support formula should not depend on the income of a person with 50% or more care. So that would solve half the problem.

  55. Barry Todd
    | Reply

    My situation is a little different. I am 69. This is historical, I have a child support debt and my only income is the age pension. The CSA deduct from that pension. They also imposed a DPO on me in April 2016. I am taking the issue to federal circuit court later this month. As I need to care for my 89 year old mother in UK. My Superannuation payout was just $3009 as I was in UK most of my time. I have not seen my children since 1994. As the mother took them OS and changed their names illegally, but without my knowledge the CSA accepted that name change, and would leave surnames off their statements. Yesterday the CSA took $3000 from my bank account leaving me with nothing. My question with the hearing date set for 23 Sept. Should the CSA have waited until the hearing before absolutely destroying my life?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      CSA should not have taken the money from a moral viewpoint. They often clean out people’s bank accounts and put them in financial trouble. But CSA probably could in a legal sense since you are appealing against a decision that currently stands. It’s not something that will help your case.

  56. Peter
    | Reply

    Child support ring you up on your mobile from a private number then asks you to give your personal details to identify yourself. This is a security joke and when you raise it they claim that you are not co operating and make you call back through the hotline and make you wait on hold for 1 hour only to tell you that they are not aware why they rang you and the only record on the system is that you refused to answer the security questions. Bloody ridiculous. We expect better

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I wouldn’t worry about it. You can tell it’s not a scam and the questions are quick and not that intrusive. But it is weird when people ring you up and ask info about yourself. The security policy is designed to protect Child Support rather than users.

  57. Courtney
    | Reply

    My partner has 4 children and his ex will not allow him to see any of them.
    He pays child support every week and is willing to pay for more if need be.
    How is it fair that she’s happy to take his money but won’t allow him to see them.
    We have looked into court cases but it’s beyond our financial control at the minute.
    I think child care need to re visit this issue with many people dads especially looking to be apart of their children’s lives and not being able to.
    I think child support should cease if the person keeping the children from the other parent is happening I find there will be less dramas and the parent missing out is getting a fair chance

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      In think you’re right. There should be a way to lessen child support payments when a parent is available to provide care. Difficult for Child Support to enforce though because of complex cases that would need investigation.

      The answer is probably to make Court more accessible by helping people to self-represent. We’re working on that. See my site: https://timtab.com/

  58. Ex earning cash
    | Reply

    My ex is claiming she only earnt $21k last financial year. I pay $350 fortnight child support for our (65%) 9yr old twin boys.

    She has a car, phone, pays rent, buys clothes, has a caravan, goes for holidays etc
    She has started her own interior design business and I suspect she is getting paid cash for a lot of her work and is obviously not claiming it.
    Can I do anything to prove her true income?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support tend to work off ATO info. Evidence of extra earnings tends to be ignored because (i) income reporting is an ATO issue and (ii) the evidence doesn’t establish the person’s actual income to an exact dollar figure. So probably not much you can do.

      We are proposing to remove the receiving parent’s income from the child support formula.

  59. M.E.
    | Reply

    Other parent was underemployed for years and about 6 months ago stopped working. Yet lives a better life than we do – all due to family money. Because they doesn’t have a taxable income we are left out and I can’t provide enough. Child support is $0, yet my care percentage is over 70%. I work my tailbone off to have and give less. Is my child just going to slip through the cracks because his other parent chooses the luxury of not working? Is there anything I can do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Probably not much you can do. The problem is that the other parent is failing to earn money over the long term. Change of Assessment applications work best when there is a sudden voluntary drop in income.

      You would do better under our proposed new system and at least get some support.

  60. Drew
    | Reply

    Thankyou for your reply and you are right the issue is not in the calculations but the formula.
    My income rose by $4000, hers $19,000 but only a drop of $26 a fortnight in payments.

    Interestingly just to test a I swapped the scenario around and used the CSA calculator to work out what adjustments would be made if my income rose by $19,000 and hers $4000.

    In that scenario I would pay an additional $89 per fortnight.

  61. Drew
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My 2018 to 2019 taxable income rose by $4000 and my ex wife’s taxable income for the same period has risen by $19,000.
    Yet the new child support letter has indicated my child support payments drop by just $26 a fortnight from $503 to $477.

    Even though in CSA calculations my income percentage has dropped by about 8% and hers risen by 8%.

    It doesn’t seem fair her income can go from $60,000 to $79,000 yet she receive only $675 less a year in child support.

    What has happened here and should I seek a review??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can use our calculator to check if the new payments are accurate, which they probably are. I’m afraid that you can’t ask for a review on the basis that the formula is unfair.

      An increase in the receiver’s income often doesn’t affect child support much. It increases their share of combined income but also increases the estimated costs of children by increasing combined income.

  62. Chris
    | Reply

    Hi, i am looking at getting a home loan, will my CSA debt (which they kept charging me $200+ a week on top getting my centrelink when i had no job & i ended up in debt) stop me from getting a home loan? I am on parent pension & carers allowance at the moment for my Autistic daughter & i might be eligible for a $70,000 loan for a small house. Thank you i.a

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You would be asked to detail all debts when you apply for your home loan. Child support debt I imagine would be treated the same as credit card debt. It wouldn’t stop you getting a loan as such.

  63. Bec
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    Child Support is a joke! Partner is paying now $19,500 per year for two kids he never sees or contacts as she fled the state and doesnt answer messages she has remarried and we have three children two of which have speech therapy needs and son has a medical condition i work part time and pay stupid amounts in child care yet he still has to pay this large amount! He is at his last resort we dont have the money for lawyers and dont have the money to travel interstate its an absolute joke! Wanted a COA but CS threatened him to increase it can you please explain this? Explain how this is fair when we have three children together who are all under 8? Its no wonder so many men committ suicide over this rot!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Whether you should apply for a Change of Assessment just depends on the circumstances of the case. You could apply based on high travel costs if they are a large enough share of income. I posted a comment about this recently.

  64. Liz
    | Reply

    Wow, Andrew you are incredibly ignorant. If you read my comment properly you would have noted if I had the opportunity to find employment I would but I have a child with special needs attending therapy appointments and only attends 3 days a week 5 hours kindergarten sessions and also a two year old. Furthermore what “personal” spending. My spending is to put a roof over my
    Children’s head and pay utility bills council rates etc as well as I mentioned I am left to completely find the medical expenses and kindergarten fees. What sort of forum are you running here. Thanks very much for your disgusting comments

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Just calling it as I see it.

  65. Annon
    | Reply

    My partner was raped when he was in his 20s by an older woman in her late 30s. It was a set up and she used him as a sperm donor and for money.

    He has paid $120,000 to date to a woman who used him as a money grab and he has another 10 years to go. His life has been ruined by this woman. And I blame the government.

    She doesn’t work or works cash in hand so doesn’t contribute to the cost of the child whatsoever. And because of the circumstances he has 0% care.

    In what world do we live in where we allow this to happen to our men? Our government not only encourages but rewards this behaviour by women.

    And the calculation is a joke. On what planet does a child, let alone a baby cost $250 dollars per week to feed? The child costs probably $30 to feed and the woman pockets $220 dollars thanks very much the Australian Government.

    When is this going to end. How many mens lives have to be ruined or worse for them to end it themselves.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Some big exaggerations in your story. But there is a lesson there for young men. And the formula needs some work to make it fairer.

  66. Liz
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I have 100% care of my two children with my ex and there is a current csa in place based on my ex husbands significant income however he is constantly trying to find ways to minimise what he pays. He is already behind on payments meanwhile I have no income at all and solely rely on the cs payments. Furthermore we have a child who requires OT and speech therapy which poses significant costs I pay for. He does not contribute to any kindergarten fees $2,000 a year or medical expenses. He also earns significant cash income undeclared which he is hiding and has not been transparent with his financial position through lawyers or any other means and yet I got a call from CS to say he has made an application for reassessment stating I have access to “financial resources”. How is this possible? I am so distressed I can’t even afford to pay my bills and am having to solely pay for our child’s education and medical expenses also. I am in debt to my family who have had to bail me out and have $4,000 credit card debt. Are the CSA for real???? How can he get away with this when he should be the one investigated for his extra $1,000 plus income in cash every week. What can I do??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have you thought of getting a job and limiting your personal spending? Please don’t go around complaining about not getting enough money off other people until are doing everything you can to be financially responsible yourself.

  67. alicia
    | Reply

    Why is it so hard for CSA to chase payment when as a government agency wouldnt they have access to other government agencies to get addresses. I have been chasing overdue Child support from my ex for a long time. My ex has moved and i have no idea where to and when i ring the agency they say its pretty much my job to find out where he lives and where he is working to pass on the details to them.
    As a Government agent im pretty sure they could get all those details and start getting payment.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Depends on how hard he is trying to hide his address and work info. I’m kind of glad govt officials are limited in their ability to look up information on individuals.

  68. Millie
    | Reply

    My ex left a $76,000 per year job in 2010 – he told CSA it was because of stress but the reality was work was dealing with his behaviour. They put him onto dayshift so they could watch him due to complaints of him sleeping on nightshift, sexually harassing nurses (he said to me when he had a complaint when we were still together – but it was a joke and I said if they see it as sexual harassment then that is what it is deemed), and generally avoiding doing his work. On dayshift they could watch him. Anyhow his new girlfriend (now wife) convinced him to quit and get a lower paying job so he could reduce his child support. I lodged a Change of Assessment under capacity to pay and LOST because he was “stressed”. I said I can get stat decs from people who know why he was “stressed” – oh no that won’t do any good we believe him. Every year his income goes down and mine increases. He works full-time and I work part-time in similar industry. I can’t work anymore hours than I do due to my health and caring responsibilities for my children and my parents. He now earns $7000 less than me a year and the assessment for this financial year has dropped $60 per month from last year. He earns less than his teenage daughter!!! He has played all the games over the years – quitting jobs, not talking to CSA so it takes them 6 months to catch up to him, they garnish his wages, he quits and the whole saga starts again. His wife taught him this. I have been told by others he regularly bags me out on social media saying I poisoned the kids against him and I take all his money even in times when he hasn’t paid for months. I took him to court to get him to see the kids more and when we walked out of mediation the mediator said to me he doesn’t want them. I would have loved an ex who wanted to have the children because I could have a break. He failed to show up or contact when he couldn’t come to visits. Eventually the kids made the choice to no longer see him. I have all the costs and his responsibility decreases each year. I have done Change of Assessments over the years but that involves me providing all my financial information for him and his wife to read but I don’t get the same in return. I have to hope the system works for me but it continually has failed me.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well, he sounds like a real loser. I wouldn’t waste too much energy on it.

  69. nick
    | Reply

    just had a quick question
    can the child support agency be charged if it is proven they have ignored clear evidence thats been provided to them ?
    it seems to me they have a very bias evidence sorting team which i believe is illegal ??
    i mean am i right in thinking that ?
    they act like they are above reproach its so frustrating they talk to you like garbage and clearly ignore any information you send them
    because of this i have paid over $ 4000 too much because csa wouldn’t or couldn’t read a bank statement and all this because an ex spouse lied to every one for self financial gain ???
    i was, in the courts eyes, a deadbeat dad during our property settlement when in fact i actually never missed any payments ? this information of non payment really did sway this property settlement
    my point is are csa accountable for a lack or bias evidence gathering ?

  70. Andre
    | Reply

    CSA calculates my ex as $19,000 per annum as her salary. They base it off nothing because she hasn’t done her tax. So CSA explains to me that I they are taking a certain amount of money from me to which I could paying more or less. Is there a way change this as they are taking a big chunk from my pay with Additional deduction with no explanation.
    How does CSA or myself find out about my ex income to give CSA an accurate percentage on my side? Ex ran away and hid with the kids, I was advised to take it to court but others say it can traumatise the kids with police and court being involved.
    I’ve put a complaint in to these deductions with no explanation and if they can get an accurate income from my ex.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No realistic way to establish her income until she puts her tax return in.

      If you think the kids should be seeing you, go to court!! If she doesn’t turn up, the judge will tend to rule in your favour. You need to get a certificate from a mediator first to say that mediation failed. Then apply for parenting orders (get the form online).

  71. Jessica
    | Reply

    My fiancé is in real
    Financial struggle. He started a new job late last year and told his employer to garnish the child support from his wages as he has done with all previous jobs. He didn’t keep an eye on his payslips and didn’t realise this hadn’t been done and accrued a $6000 debt.

    He immediately paid back $2000 then was made redundant. He paid $2000 from his redundancy pay.

    His new job saw him earning significantly less money and he did an estimate with Child support to pay what was possible for his income and a bit extra to pay off the debt.

    When we did his tax return a week ago, that child support debt was about $3000. His tax return was $3000 so this should have cleared the debt. He woke up this morning to see that he is still owing $2000 on the debt. He is just about ready to give up. He makes such a pittance at his current job that he feels he is never going to clear it and that he has dragged me into a hole.

    He has said that if he walked outside and got hit by a bus myself and the kids would be better off. He tells me I should leave him.

    His ex somehow manages to go on overseas trips with the kids, despite being single and working as a teacher (so not a massive income) and continues to poison the kids saying he’s a hopeless dad because he can’t afford to do anything for them.

    She intentionally doesn’t allow him more time because that would cut her payments. He gets them one night a fortnight and picks them up from school 3 days a week – feeds them, washes their clothes, takes them out…. while they just sit at home on her weekends.

    Whenever he calls child support he is treated like scum and this fuels the idea that things would be easier if he weren’t around. When is the system going to acknowledge that fathers matter and that mothers often manipulate the system??!!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sad story. Glad that he’s got you to help him through.

      I’m wondering why Child Support are forcing people to ring them for every little thing, including their stuff ups? What’s wrong with email? For men who struggling, it’s the last thing you would want to be doing. Waiting for ages to get through to a woman who looks down on you and will probably hit you with another bill just for the privilege of not seeing your children that much. He could ring MensLine for some moral support but I hear they have women answering the phones.

  72. Kevin
    | Reply

    Just curious if anyone knows about how to go about having an ex’s tax assessment checked for the purpose of CSA payment calculation?

    I ex works a LOT of hours in what I’m assuming might be cash paid jobs and therefore there is a big discrepancy between our two income earnings disclosed to the ATO that are used in the CSA calculation. I find it quite interesting to see that she earns around $120k less than me which makes my CSA payments quite large. I have 37% care of my children, pay a multitude of extra items as negotiated in our binding child support agreement that was sorted at the time of our divorce but I know all this doesn’t matter with the CSA payments.

    Just want to know if there’s a way I can get her income assessed?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Probably not much you can do about the undeclared income. Nothing you can do with respect to the Tax Office. Child Support would look at her finances if you applied for a Change of Assessment. But they are not exactly super-sleuth detectives. A lack of evidence of the amounts secretly earned would be a big problem.

  73. Ralph
    | Reply

    Hi,

    my ex has just decided to move interstate. She has taken my son and now i still have to pay full child support. How does this work? With her moving i pay more as i dont get him every second weekend (so the 14% reduction cannot come to fruition). In addition, if i go interstate to visit I am looking at least $1000 each time i go up and visit. With all this extra cost how can I spend $ on my son when i actually get the chance to see him? The system is in absolute shambles. Why should i have to pay more when she has decided that I shouldn’t be in my son’s life. This system just does not simply make any seance. It is no wonder why so many men are ending their lives when they have no hope of recovering financially.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You may be able to have your travel costs paid for out of your child support (i.e. pay less child support). You have to apply for a Change of Assessment and the costs need to be greater than 5% of your taxable income. See here: http://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6/7

      To make it easier, try to get your ex to put something in writing about agreeing for you to see your child each school holiday or something. Maybe just outline your visiting plans by email and ask her just to confirm that it would be OK.

  74. Miriam
    | Reply

    Last financial year my ex missed a lot of child support payments because he claimed that he wasn’t working or earning much, but his taxes will prove otherwise. As a single mom I struggle day in day out for my little girl when he is allowed to travel outside Australia for holidays why? Even as I write now he has missed payment and yet I fully know that he is working other jobs but not just getting the money in the accounts you have in your books. Does my little girl have to suffer for someone who is just irresponsible?

  75. G
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    I would desperately love to see a change in the current child support system.

    Since separating with my ex wife (over 2 years ago now) I have found things incredibly difficult. Following the split of assets, she was left with the house and most contents and I essentially had a tv, some furniture and basically the things that were deemed mine. It was a 79:19 split in her favour, because the system recognizes her career break to have the kids and partly because my wage is now higher (and thus the courts recognized that my ability to recover financially was far greater)

    Financial recovery has been far from easy for me! My wage share is 85 percent of the combined total and we are in the top bracket for child support estimated costs. I care for my kids 5 days per fortnight and my current child support payments are just under $400 a week. In addition I pay for 50% of private school fees and 50% of before/ after school care fees (even tho most of this time is credited to her) It takes my weekly costs to around $600 a week before I have spent a penny on the kids directly (food, clothing, outings etc)

    With such massive financial outlay each week it has been near impossible to save for a home loan deposit, making this not only a struggle with money but also an emotional battle too. I would dearly love to have a better home for my kids when they are with me (and certainly one we could call our own)

    I was grateful for a promotion at work and (despite the flaws in our child support system) believe it is important to show my kids the importance of doing well – hence why I for one will not shy away from work despite the financial consequences. That said, whilst my taxable income has increased my take home pay hasn’t increased at the same rate and yet, my percentage of wage contribution goes up and so to do my payments to my ex. Seriously – how can such a blatant flaw in this system be allowable? Ability to spend is based on net pay, NOT GROSS!!

    My ex has a new partner now who is in a good job with a great income. My ex continues to only work a few days a week (she is a nurse) The kids want for nothing when in her care. Her incentive to work more is simply not there because her new partner gives her everything she wants. Equally, the additional days she could do would have little impact on the combined wage pool, so she is probably better off at home, right???

    The kids are with me nearly every weekend and some days through the week. I love to keep the kids busy on the weekends and this involves visits to various attractions, sports etc. I buy them clothes, games and toys and I am hoping to go on a family visit back to the Uk with them next year. Honestly, when I do the maths on my financial outlay it feels like I am paying for 4 kids, not 2.

    I have a new partner and she is fantastic with the kids. She has no children of her own and has suggested my 2 stay more often. We used the child support calculator and worked out how 50:50 care would look. The calculator says that I will still pay my ex over $200 a week?Seriously!

    Judging by the stories, the system is broken for parents who are still actively responsible for their children irrespective of whether they are in the higher or lower tiers.

    What do we need to do to get this system changed?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for telling your story G. It can be demoralising to work hard to get ahead and realise that child support makes it impossible to build assets and do things like buy a home.

      Legislative inaction in this area I put down to 2 things: (i) the wall of noise about it makes politicians and bureaucrats switch off and stop listening and (ii) the tendency these days to focus on which identity group wins or loses makes it seem like a divisive a issue that politicians don’t want to touch.

      The answer is to get everyone pulling in same direction. I’m trying to help achieve that by designing the solution rather than asking the govt to try do it. Will be promoting the design more heavily at a later date. Hopefully, people will get behind it or at least start stealing the ideas. When politicians start hearing the same proposals over and over, especially when they come from different sections of the community, policy action from the govt of the day becomes far more likely.

  76. BK
    | Reply

    Today I received a letter from CSA advising I had been overpaid by $28,452. I have just lodged my tax return which shows an income of $103k. His is $38k – self employed and minimises his income. He hasn’t paid any CS since Oct last year and I only received $500 from his last year anyway. I don’t understand why he doesn’t pay any CS for his 2 kids as he only has them for 25% of the time. And why would I have such a large debt?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Wow – that’s a massive overpayment considering the financials. I don’t understand either based on the info you’ve provided. There must be more to it.

      He wouldn’t have to pay much because his income is very low (goes down to $13k after you take away the $25k self-support amount). And now there’s a debt involved as well.

  77. DT
    | Reply

    I’m being asked to pay child support for a child I raised for 5 years as my own.

    The mother took her out of the blue over 12 months ago and moved to NZ, I had them bought back to Aus under the Hague convention order.

    As soon as they arrived back I was slapped with a CSA request (Fair enough), we attended a mediation session where the mother told me that the child wasn’t mine and demanded a paternity test which she’d pay for, we agreed and the test was completed.
    The results of the test showed a definitive negative to me being the father.
    The mother took the child and returned to NZ however i’m still being chased for child support.

    The mother refuses to withdraw the child support claim and the only way I can get this sorted out is through courts which I can’t afford, to make matters more complicated, i’m scheduled to leave the country soon, so even if I wanted to go to court I wouldn’t have the time to get it heard.

    I don’t know what to do with this and i’m reaching my whits end…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Very unfortunate situation DT. You have to go through the court system to establish for the benefit of Child Support that you are not the parent.

      You can do it without a lawyer. You’ll need to fill in a form (search online) and submit evidence. You can attend a hearing by phone or video link. It’s not big drama from a legal standpoint. Just a matter of doing the paperwork. The sooner you get on to it the better.

  78. N
    | Reply

    Wow…the stories on here demonstrate a system totally failing everyone.

    I have my children 100%

    Last year my ex self assesed her income as Nil, her actual income was ATOassesed at $55k and then reassed at $35k
    I cant get a straight answer from CSA about that.

    She only worked half the year due to illness last year but in theory should work the full year this year.
    So why do they use ATO income on only half a year?

    It truly is a messed up system…

    N

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yep

  79. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi what is the process if you suspect a child isn’t yours and you pay child support for them?
    I’ve never been allowed to see my daughter so I doubt she will voluntarily agree to a DNA test.
    How do I go about this?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could start by asking. Do you have a photo? That could be all you need to be quite sure about paternity. Your daughter may want to be sure of who her father is.

  80. Mike
    | Reply

    I have been struggling with the system for years. I try and do the right thing and don’t consider myself a dead beat dad. It seems every year CSA tries to screw me over and I always seem to be paying more regardless of the cost percentage.

    I have two kids, one of which turns 18 February next year (I have 100% custody of), as a result of this my CSA monthly liability goes from $522 per month to $850 per month based on the same income percentages. This seems totally unfair as none of the care arrangements and incomes have changed. Is there any tips around this?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support has to end eventually, like when a child becomes an adult. You’ll be grateful when the youngest one turns 18.

  81. Anon
    | Reply

    New assessment has just come in and mother (100% care) has earned $50 000 more than her estimate for last year. Payments have reduced for this next financial year but will she have to pay me back for what I’ve overpaid?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No payback if the estimate was just taxable income for the previous financial year. If she put in her own wrong estimate, you should be paid back. Check your statements to see what they’ve done.

  82. Dismayed
    | Reply

    So the csa knows the system is flawed yet despite appealing it they don’t change it to make it fairer on someone who had to retire from the workforce due to illness?
    When we talk to them they are heartless and cold and don’t give a sh**t.
    What’s really annoying is there are So many deadbeats that Ive read about on here that deliberately reduce or hide their income and pay minimal to no child support and are getting away with it yet someone that has paid it from day one and gets sick out of the blue and there is no provision for that? The csa just takes or better put “demands” half the compensation money that’s meant to support them for the rest of their lives?? Do we live in a democracy or totalitarian state here? It seems that People living in communist countries have more rights

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Accounting isn’t a strength of Child Support. They just see money and grab it. Sorry for what’s happened in your case.

  83. anom
    | Reply

    CSA screwing over hard working parents for many years. completely unfair assessments, treated like a piece or garbage when talking to them. 50/50 care paying for all my childs private school fees and still have to pay thousands.. absolute joke, time for reform but my kids will probably be old and dead by then. sorry guys but I have no doubt that you’s will get absolutely nothing changed here and are wasting your time.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      We’ll see. Reform will happen eventually.

  84. Dismayed2
    | Reply

    Hi,
    also, I wondering how can the csa impose a debt on me now totalling $130,000 because I became sick, I had a large brain tumour removed and had to quit work, I received a payout from my tpd and early release of super. After all that I’m still paying $900 per month in child support. I haven’t hidden behind my disability I just don’t see the fairness in paying this much money for one child that turns 18 in October this year? It’s a damned cash grab if you ask me. All avenues of appeal were rejected.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support tends to be excessive because the cost estimates are based on the hypothetical scenario that the parents are together and spending like a double-income married couple would on their children.

  85. Dismayed
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I was wondering what happens to a child support debt once all the children reach 18 and child support payments end?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The debt remains forever

  86. lisa
    | Reply

    i have sole custody of my child, she is turning 16 in one month, the father only pays me $3 a day in child support, he has a full time job as carpenter, works for the family business since he was 15, he is now 41, the mother does all the book work, wages. he still being paid as an apprentice so his wage is low and doesn’t have to pay the correct child support, his house his two cars his boat, every thing he owns is in the family trust, and he is given the rest of his wage in cash, I don’t know how to get the correct child support i should be getting, i have told child support but they have been useless, he earns $2000 a week yet it is all covered up by the family business and trust account what can i do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could apply for a Change of Assessment. They would look at his financials closely (assets and income). May not be successful though because there isn’t a particular income level they could set his income to for child support purposes. But they would try to find a way to make him pay.

  87. Charles
    | Reply

    Good afternoon Andrew.

    Thank you for your response. However I found it not useful as it doesnt focus on my main concern. On another note WHO AM I TO STOP HIM PLAYING? I am his father and I am worried about his future. He finished primary school with Ds and he was told before the footy season started that if he didn’t do well he wouldn’t play. That was agreed with his mother. He had 4 ds by the time the season started.
    You didn’t answer about my child support inquiry. I had the impression this forum was to ask for your professional advice not for your opinion.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – she can change the care level with Child Support during mediation. And, No, it doesn’t affect court proceedings in itself. They only care about the actual care pattern, irrespective of what is happening with child support.

      My advice is well researched and you should take it. I’ve coached junior footy and had to deal with this specific issue. And I captained my high school footy team the same year I was dux of the school. Sport can help academics, especially team sports. I believe it was wrong to link the 2 things.

      It’s too late for you, but a different strategy is to shut down all electronic devices until a certain amount of schoolwork has been done. That’s better than cutting off a developing person from a beneficial activity.

  88. Anon
    | Reply

    Hey,
    I currently get Child support and my ex has for the last 8 months paid me $50 a week more than he’s meant too. He’s now decided out of spite that he will stop. I can’t afford it. He’s also doing the dodgy and doing cash jobs under the rug with his business. I’m thinking of going down the route of applying for the assistance with childcare fees through childsupport as if my calculations are correct childcare is about 10% of my income and it only has to be 5% to fit into the criteria. I don’t want alot more I don’t need him to pay half the fees I just need him to continue paying what he’s paying. Do many people do this? Thankyou

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As the receiving parent, you can’t claim anything extra for childcare fees. If you are choosing to put your child in care during the day, that has nothing to do with the payer. In fact, if they were helping to pay the fees directly, they might be eligible to get their child support payments reduced.

  89. Charles
    | Reply

    Good morning
    I had my kids 35% of time. Ex wife is not letting see my son because I didn’t want him to play footy on my days as he needed to focus on school more (he is 12 and he is doing bad at school) as she didn’t agree with it so she keeps him and takes him to training, etc. on my days. She has ruined my relationship with him as she badmouth me. I still see my daughter. We have been divorced for more than 8 years and she stills wants to get involved in my days with them, she is married has two kids with his new partner and still keeps my last name. Long story short we are in the mediation process but she has called Child support to indicate she has my son 100% of the time. Is she allowed to do so? I am not willing to pay her more as it hasn’t been agree (there is no written agreement in place) and she is keeping my son against my will. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do until court orders are in place. Can you please advice if she is allow to call child support and change custody while we are on the mediation process? Wouldn’t that indicate that I am willing to give up my son and used against me in court?? Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support base the care level on whatever evidence they are given. They don’t even care about court orders.

      For crying out loud, just agree to take your son to footy and support his sport in every way you can. It is actually possible to play sport and do well at school. Believe it or not. Who are you to stop him playing?

      Once a child starts doing an activity, both parents have to support it. You don’t get to change things just because it’s “your day”. It’s very destructive when one parent sabotages something like a kid’s footy season. He should be attending every training and every game. Totally screws things up if he misses some. Sorry – I am not on your side with this one at all. You are wrong and need to accept that as quickly as possible. Sport and academics are not mutually exclusive.

      Supporting his sport is something you could use in mediation. Family Court tend to go with existing care arrangements. So, you need to keep your 35% or get to court before a “non-relationship” becomes established. But a mediation agreement is obviously a better solution. A judge may find it a problem that you are unwilling to support the decision of your ex and your son that he play footy. Judges expect parents to be cooperative.

  90. Hi
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Can I get a receipt for what my child support expenses are being spent on?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No you can’t get spending receipts. Child support is just a money transfer. That’s all. They don’t micro-manage people’s lives.

  91. Unsure and Confused
    | Reply

    I appreciate your honesty in your comments, but feel perhaps there is more that needs to be taken in to consideration………..
    The father isn’t obliged to pay a single cent above what he’s already paying in child support. You have the girl effectively 100% of the time. So, it’s up to you to pay for things. That’s part of the responsibility that comes with being the sole carer………………
    So as the sole carer does this mean that I make all of the decisions regarding education and child care?
    So u can’t have her nearly all the time and then expect him to hand over extra money on top of child support. The child support assessment assumes you are paying for everything………..
    I pay approximately $1200 per month to keep her in the basics without any extra curricular activities. His child support was calculated at originally $36 per week, then it was $50 a week when his son turned 18. I have had it reviewed and it has now gone to $125 per week. From when she was born he kept promising to pay money for expenses. This has never happened. He also promised to pay child support and this never happened either so I had to get it enforced.
    Often, a child is anxious about seeing the parent they see little of because of the attitude of the primary carer. She is in the care of that parent most of the time after all. It’s also a problem that the child doesn’t see the other parent frequently, making it more difficult to establish trust and familiarity………………….
    She is scared to go to his house. I don’t believe it is anything to do with me that the trust has been compromised. I have had to take her to emergency 3 times, twice with an untreated fever and once with an unknown rash on her cheeks that turned out to be a bad dose of windburn, and to the doctor 2 times in the last six months with suspected bronchiolitis (possibly from people smoking in a room with poor ventilation and her present). That’s not taking into account other times she has come back with bruising or bad sunburn that is untreated. When she was hysterical one time I proposed that he take her for a neutral environment to re-establish her trust. This got scoffed at and he forced her back into his house. The next visit she was even more hysterical at going to his house. There is never any issues on the handovers when she is coming back to me.
    At the last handover he was standing over me, taking my photo without my permission and abrasively telling me to “Get “f&^%ed” in front of my daughter. I don’t think this not really conducive to providing a positive environment.
    If your daughter is anxious and depressed, you maybe should be looking in the mirror to find the cause of it. Do you disparage your ex in front of her? Do you make a big deal over changeovers instead of being calm and relaxed? Do you limit how much time she spends with her father?……
    I never disparage him in front of her, I do everything I can to encourage her to maintain contact. At recent handovers I have taken other people with me as he cooks up lies from the handovers. At one of these I was saying to my daughter, Ok lets go, I am sure you will have lots of fun at your dads and he will have some fun activities planned. On the Monday following this, I got a letter from his solicitors with him stating that he could hear me saying “its ok, you don’t have to go with your dad”. When asking her to speak to him on the phone she has wet herself and starts shaking. No I don’t make a big deal at handovers I am very calm and relaxed. The only line I draw is I will not physically force her to go to him. (A friend did this to her child many years ago because the child did not want to go, it turned out the child was being sexually abused by the father. Now that child, now an adult will not have anything to do with either his mother or father),
    Are you prepared to go to a final family matters hearing rather than compromising and ending the conflict, while continuing to make unreasonable financial demands all the while?
    I have tried on multiple occasions to compromise with the father in a level environment and if it doe not go completely his way he shuts down and starts getting nasty.
    Have you put your child in therapy without letting her father be involved (except to ask for money for it)?
    My daughter has been put in therapy because of observations made by her family day care and her general practitioner. These observations are all about the anxiety and depression that is caused by her father. She will not even speak of him when asked by these people of how her weekend was with her father. I don’t think putting her in a small room with her father is going to make her feel comfortable and open up about how she is feeling. If the family day care had not done the letter they had did, the next step was to report their concerns to DOCS, The changes in her behaviour and the regression she is showin is immediately followint the time she has spent with her father. The psychologist and I have discussed at length about his involvement. For a starting point the psychologist has suggested that he come for a meeting with her to discuss Rylee. As it has been suggested that he would need to pay for this appointment himself he does not want to do it. My solicitor is the one who has told me that he would need to pay for half of the specialist appointments as they are not budgeted for in Child support as they are non standard expense for most children.
    You asked what might be considered acceptable. From what I can glean, you might want to help your daughter by (a) having proper mediation over your disputes and honestly try to reach a compromise before a final hearing and (b) properly supporting your daughter’s relationship with her father.
    I have attempted to have proper mediation with the father. I have attempted to compromise, when Rylee has been sick for his weekend he has had extra time to make up for it. However when my mum was very unwell at Christmas time (It is 2 days travel for me to visit my parents) and I requested that he have his night a few later and we be permitted to stay interstate for a few more nights, the answer was ‘No’. In early February I requested that he change the easter weekend to enable me to go and visit my mum who was still unwell. Once again the answer was ‘No’. In early April without being asked to, the Judge proposed that the father give up the easter weekend to enable me to visit my sick mother. I arrived in SA on the 17th of April because of this decision, We put mum in Hospital on the 19th of April, she passed away on the 29th of April. I was very lucky to spend those couple of days with her before she went into to hospital, however I would suggest the father has not been very reasonable or accommodating in any negotiations. Immediately after mum had passed away the father was pressuring me to have my daughter back for him to have a visit with. We had not even buried mum when this started.
    I don’t know, maybe I am seen as unreasonable in your eyes, but when your whole life is stopped and controlled by someone claiming they are doing it for the best interests of their daughter it is very hard not to be a little frustrated. He has denied 3 overseas trips, a holiday on the gold coast with one of her best friends (I wasn’t even going on this trip it was the Family Day Care Family that offered to take her on their family Holiday.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I appreciate that you’ve thought about this. You have your side of the story. I still find it difficult to understand why so many problems lay at his feet when he has hardly any contact. You seem to have a long list of detailed grievances. I hope your daughter’s disposition improves. She is learning mostly from you at the moment, so you have a responsibility to look beyond the past and maintain a positive outlook. Good luck with it.

  92. Gaz
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, thanks for your reply (I couldn’t seem to be able to reply to your comment so am starting a new one0. She will be receiving two scholarships – one pays for all of her tuition fees and the other pays for most (her words) of her board and lodging (while living on campus). I am happy to pay some money to support her (although not as much as currently forced to through the system) and would much rather pay this directly to her as I don’t trust the mum to pass the money on. Do I have a leg to stand on?

  93. Gaz
    | Reply

    Hi, thanks for putting up this great site. My daughter lives with her mother in America. I’ve always paid child support (since she was a baby) except for the two years when my daughter came and lived with me and my now wife (when my daughter was in Years 8 & ( at school). My daughter, now 17 has finished high school and will start Uni in a few weeks, where she will be living on campus (i.e. she’s moving out of home). Will I have to keep paying child support even though she’s no longer at home? If not, what will I have to do in order to change that?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Gaz – She’s not independent (which is the key point that you may want to check on), not yet 18 and would be presumed to be under her mother’s care. Looks like you have to pay. You would probably have to move to America and somehow become her main carer to avoid paying.

  94. Matthew
    | Reply

    Hi, I have a 50/50 custody arrangement and have recently come across this paragraph on mygov:
    “If it’s a positive percentage, we assess that parent as the parent to pay child support. This is because they’re not meeting their share of the costs for the child directly through care”
    I’m still waiting on clarification as in my case that is not the case at all as everything such as school fees etc is split evenly.
    Also this years tax return shows she has dropped income by approx $24k per year and I am suspicious to believe that is accurate. I’m not sure what I can do about any of this. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      When it’s 50:50 care, the parent with the higher taxable income last year pays. That’s the formula. No-one cares how the 2 parents are dividing up the actual spending.

  95. LB
    | Reply

    Hi guys,
    New this forum but looks like some very helpful people on here and I appreciate any help I can get.

    I am 6 month separated from my wife but she refuses to move out of our family home so technically separated under same roof. We have 2 children under 7 both in school full time. Things are not quite amicable and we have lawyers involved currently liquidating assets. I currently pay for all utilities in the home, all kids expenses including extra curriculum, school fees, birthdays etc. I also pay the full mortgage as she refuses to and I cannot let it default. Her share of the mortgage payments is actually more than the child support estimate I have to pay!

    I was shocked to get a call from CSA to tell me my ex wife has made an application for me to pay her child support. My argument that she works 4 days a week as a qualified pharmacist, and the fact I already pay for ALL expenses to do with kids basically and we live under same roof went nowhere. She has deliberately driven down her 2018 income with our investment property and as an employee I do not understand why they do not go off her payslips. All they said was I earn more therefore have to pay CS. They did say I can regularly report any payments I made to offset CS but this is a complete waste of time in an already busy schedule I have as a single parent running a business.

    We both effectively have the kids 100% nights as we all live together but this is considered 50% each in CSA opinion. My concern is if I start paying this she will delay moving out even longer. She will clearly be using this for personal gain and not on the children. I understand I have to pay CS if we lived separate but living together where I already pay for everything completely dumbfounds me.

    Can anyone see a way I can legally avoid CS until at least she moves out?

    Thanks so much in advanced.
    LB

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      LB – this seems like a bunch of accounting issues to be honest. The main thing is to make sure you don’t end up hardly seeing the kids when you go your separate ways. Apart from the personal aspect, that’s when child support becomes a big issue / problem. Child support is all fairly automatic. Once you’re in the system, they basically just use care levels and past income to work out how much money must be handed over.

  96. Pat
    | Reply

    My partner has a government job. Her ex-husband also had a govt job prior to becoming a self-employed tradesman. He was making good money in his trade, until their separation, then after that, earns <$30k. He goes to CSA, produces an ATO assessment, and CSA order my partner to pay him. Now I have discovered he has falsified Centrelink claims. The ATO assessment is incredulous, just that it is accepted. No empathy from CSA. The bully gets what he wants in a post Royal Commission into Family Violence world.

  97. Rachael
    | Reply

    My question is in regards to overpayment of CSA payments. I recently received a letter stating that I owe nearly 4000 dollars in CSA overpayments. This came as a shock to me as my son is 26 and I have not received any payments for quite a number of years. On calling them I was informed that it was generated in 2004 -2008 and was due to a change of care which I dint understand as the other party never wanted anything to do with my child. I was told by the CSA that they couldn’t work out how this overpayment happened and would investigate it as it may have been just a computer glitch, however they contacted me today to state I have to pay it but still can’t give me information as to why I have this debt…. Back when I received payments they were delivered each year and collected by the CSA at the end of financial year. Does this seem right ? So confused

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      My God! Don’t see how they can charge you for re-calculating child support from more than a decade ago without providing an explanation.

      They promised you they would investigate. So, they really should explain what they found. You need to try to work with them to get to the bottom of it.

      It seems you are on firm ground in continuing to insist on more information. They open themselves up to legal action by being unreasonable in their processes. Would suggest you politely but firmly request more information. Indicate that they are forcing you into taking legal action by making financial demands which appear clearly wrong to you and for which they are offering no adequate explanation.

  98. Mike
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    Since I got separated, my ex just stopped working, being made redundant and is obviously not looking for a job. She has not been working for months now, whereas she always been working for years before the separation. I understand she is probably getting money (financial support) from her new partner. The consequence is going to be a huge increase of the child support to be paid by me to her because of the reduction of income on her side, whereas my income remains the same. I am already struggling financially whereas she is obviously having a good time (going out, holiday…), and again the child support I will have to pay is going to increase. What can I do in that type of situation?
    Mike

  99. Tania
    | Reply

    My question is Can I still claim arrears child support for my 20 year old son when his dad didn’t stopped paying money when he was 6.
    I went through child support to begin with only for his to become extremely angry over it so he said he would give me $200 a month but wasn’t dealing with child support, this cash would come to me directly from him.
    After one year and every month me asking him for it and him turning up whenever it suited him he stopped paying.
    I didn’t go back to child support to complain because of how he reacted the first time and so after that I just supported my son %100 myself.
    He has now tried living with his dad a couple of times and has failed because his dad really doesn’t care only for his now new wife’s daughter who gets everything.
    There has been a lot of heart ache for my son and myself over the years to try and get his dad to be a dad for him and not sure why I bothered but thought it was important for my son. I now feel it’s time because my son has autism.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You chose to support your son rather than apply for child support. While that may have been a noble thing to do, it doesn’t appear to leave scope for you to seek support retrospectively. Child Support usually use the date of application / contact when determining payments. It sounds like you agreed for a private arrangement and never contacted them again.

  100. Jodie Marsh
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    My ex has earned from $100K to $140K for the last five years of our marriage as a mortgage broker. He verbally told me at seperation he would quit work, pay me nothing and force me to hand over more time with the kids.
    He has now been made “redundant” which is apparently a lie, he was sacked, although I don’t agree with this either. He is now starting his own mortgage broker business (which he did before and failed). CSA have agreed and now put his assessment back to zero until september and then a measly $161 per month (for two kids – from $1310 per month). What can I do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There’s not much you can do in the circumstances with regard to child support processes. The evidence would indicate that he lost his job involuntarily.

      If he’s doing this because he doesn’t see his kids enough, the solution is fairly obvious isn’t it? You could try for mediation and a binding agreement that he will pay a minimum amount of child support in return for a minimum amount of time with the kids.

  101. Alicia
    | Reply

    My partner separated from his psychopath ex 15 years ago. Over this time she has terrorised him and made his life hell through the child support system. My partner earns $150000 a year she only declares $32000. She has allowed his son to leave school and work at McDonald’s full time this year , which we hope will be taken into account this tax year.. she is also working full time for cash in hand and has been doing so for over 10 years . This Has been reported to all government departments, several times and nothing has been done. In the meantime , my partner is supposed to pay around $690 a week to her , according to their assessment. They have had a private agreement where he pays into her account direct each week , he only pays her $380 a week. Why is she happy with this ? Because she is working cash in hand and is happy with this amount and doesn’t want to go through child support . It’s been fine until she wants to cause dramas and then threatens him with calling the,pm. She will not allow him access to the kids who are now rude disrespectful teenagers. A few years ago she called child support and said He hadnt been paying her , He had , but hadn’t written child support in the transfer details. She told child support that she had given my partner a cash loan and this was his repqyments.they took over $5000 out of his account one day and this was to pay her again without any investigation , they believed her ridiculous story. She is now threatening to stop us getting married overseas in a few weeks by calling child support and saying He is underpaying her. It feels like we are held to ransom by this evil piece of work. The amount of $690 a week as an assessment amount is unrealistic based on the expenses and repayments my partner has . The system does not promote a good work ethic , My partner has had his children calling him, if the bank transfer goes in a few hours late, saying to him , “where is our money ! “ with her swearing in the background. It’s not nice to have that pressure My partner has tried to make contact with his kids, but they are teenagers now and are beyond rude and have been brainwashed by the mother. It is a sad state of affairs , my partner is held to ransom for 5 more years. We just want her to declare her income , be fair and basically go to hell . The system is terribly flawed and men of Australia need help . The stories on here are heartbreaking, but the media and child support always sides with the mother and fear it won’t change before my partner finishes paying her thousands of $$.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Based on what you’ve said, I think she’s actually shooting herself in the foot by not declaring her full income. Could be costing her money, especially in terms of child support.

      The formula is really bad for payers on higher incomes. As your income goes up, you lose lots in tax and also lose eligibility for government welfare programs. But the formula keeps hitting you for more money. Unfair when you’re already paying large amounts.

      Unbelievable that Child Support would think that your partner’s payments to her were payback on a loan. What a joke.

  102. Unsure and Confused
    | Reply

    Thank you for the response.
    I have my daughter full time except for every second weekend. In the courts and via child support this is considered that I have 100% care.
    However the father has never contributed to any medical expenses or child care. When asked he either evades the question or fires back with an attack about something else.
    We go to Trial in November and I am thinking of asking for half of the money from child Care to be reimbursed to myself as well as half of the medical expenses.
    Alternatively the calculation via child support is that I pay 60% of costs and he pays 40%. Also from what I have read this is a common way of splitting the extra costs.
    I am of the understanding from what I have read that child support is to cover food, clothing and some extra curricular activities.
    The father is demanding half a say in everything but when asked to put his hand in is pocket won’t contribute.
    My 3 year old daughter has had to see a psychologist as she is not coping with something when in his care. When we meet for handovers she is absolutely hysterical. She is always fine when she comes back to me and often says she does not want to go back there (unprompted).
    I have sought medical advice and she is diagnosed as suffering from anxiety and perhaps depression.
    I have repeatedly asked the father to contribute to these appointments and he will not put his hand in his pocket.

    He is demanding to know when and where the appointments are and wants to turn up to the appointments even though he has seen the referral regarding the nature of these appointments.

    Sorry to vent here on the CSA forum, but I just wanted to explain my situation to see if that shed any light on what might be considered acceptable.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The father isn’t obliged to pay a single cent above what he’s already paying in child support. You have the girl effectively 100% of the time. So, it’s up to you to pay for things. That’s part of the responsibility that comes with being the sole carer. You can’t have her nearly all the time and then expect him to hand over extra money on top of child support. The child support assessment assumes you are paying for everything.

      Often, a child is anxious about seeing the parent they see little of because of the attitude of the primary carer. She is in the care of that parent most of the time after all. It’s also a problem that the child doesn’t see the other parent frequently, making it more difficult to establish trust and familiarity.

      If your daughter is anxious and depressed, you maybe should be looking in the mirror to find the cause of it. Do you disparage your ex in front of her? Do you make a big deal over changeovers instead of being calm and relaxed? Do you limit how much time she spends with her father? Are you prepared to go to a final family matters hearing rather than compromising and ending the conflict, while continuing to make unreasonable financial demands all the while? Have you put your child in therapy without letting her father be involved (except to ask for money for it)?

      You asked what might be considered acceptable. From what I can glean, you might want to help your daughter by (a) having proper mediation over your disputes and honestly try to reach a compromise before a final hearing and (b) properly supporting your daughter’s relationship with her father.

  103. Unsure and confused
    | Reply

    Hi
    I would like to know about what child support is considered to cover. Every where I read it says the costs of the children. Is this every day expenses as in food and clothing and utilities?
    I want to know if it covers things such as medical expenses and Day Care/Education costs?
    I have searched the web extensively but I can’t seem to find a clear definition anywhere in any of the legislation.
    I am hoping you can point me in the right direction. Cheers
    Unsure and Confused

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There isn’t a rule book over what child support covers. It’s just a money transfer.

      Child Support only intervene with respect to “prescribed non-agency payments”, giving credit for spending on certain items in certain circumstances.

      Generally, parents need to use common sense. Each parent should be reaching into their pockets about in proportion to the percentage of time they have the kids.

  104. Eve
    | Reply

    My ex partner declares an income of under 18k on his tax return and as a consequence pays very little maintenance. He earns a very decent income from 7 properties he owns outright in Scotland (UK) which I have told the CSA about many times and even given their addresses. He is careful to keep his rental income from these properties out of his Australian bank accounts and so they don’t register as an income here. The CSA seems powerless to intervene or get to the bottom of this duplicity. Why is this, is there not some reciprocal arrangement between the UK and Australia?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      In theory, you could get justice through a Change of Assessment application based on the value of the property assets and potential earnings of your ex. The law allows for this.

      However, Child Support are very dumb about these sorts of things and are unlikely to do anything without an income track record. This problem wouldn’t occur if they used automatic income benchmarks. But, they are too stupid and passive to do things like that.

  105. Beyond frustrated
    | Reply

    Has anyone had success appealing an assessment?

    I have two children with my ex-husband. I have 100% custody of one (13) and 50% of the other (8). And I PAY HIM $4000/YR. He quit his job when the mother of his other child (2) (who he has nothing to do with) claimed for child support. He also has a 19 year old whom he has never met or paid a cent (stand up guy).

    So because I work my butt off to support my children, I now am being forced to pay him to raise 1 of his children every second week.

    I’ve tried to fight it and put in a change of assessment and the assessor basically told me it was a waste of time.

    Has anyone had any success?

    Can anyone tell me why they don’t look at a person involved in several cases and only separately ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Getting a successful outcome in your case relies on your ex having a fairly recent income history that Child Support can refer back to. That’s how they operate.

      Very unfair assessment for you. Of course, it wouldn’t be possible if our alternative system were in place. We would have both (a) no support payable for 50:50 care and (b) an income benchmark to deal with payers who shirk work or otherwise manipulate income.

  106. Mick
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Do you have any tips on how to word a CoA under reason 8. I don’t object to paying Child Support however I have an issue with the fact that she is being assessed on 34k of income instead of the 65k she will actually earn in this financial year, it’s significant impost for me whilst I wait for the system to catch up in the coming financial year. The reason for the low income is that she didn’t work much last year (whilst we were together) and she only returned to work due to a need to support herself after she asked for a divorce.

    I have read all sorts of horror stories where CoA’s have been rejected, even where the reasons were sound.

    Any advice yourself, or any others can give would be greatly appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To be honest, I’m not sure why you are going after the other parent with a Change of Assessment. She is working more hours, which is a good thing, and this will be reflected in next year’s assessment as you mentioned. She has done nothing wrong with respect to child support processes. Don’t imagine that Child Support would be very receptive to your application and you could be making yourself unpopular with everyone.

  107. Overseas
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My husband and I have 2 children together and we live overseas, he also has a child living in Australia from a previous relationship in which we pay maintenance for. When we moved from Australia in 2017 there was a period in which he was unemployed for about 6 months. We continued to pay the agreed amount from our savings for about 4 months until eventually we had to change. Once he found employment he then gave an estimate of earnings and we started paying a new amount. Once he received his actual tax information for the relevant year we lodged it with CSA and an actual assessment was made however due to the fact there was a period of unemployment during that time, the payment figure was much lower than what had normally been paid.
    The ex has lodged a COA due to the low amount, and after a conversation with my husband, CSA have now based his earnings on an income of $112k per year. His base income is approx $65k however he does earn commission but there is no way for us to determine if it will be $112k for the year. We just want to avoid overpaying, also the tax system in the country we live in is a lot higher than Australia so it seems so unfair that taxable income is used to determine the payment amount as it’s not relative. Surely there is some way we can get a fair assessment? The paying parent always seems to be hit with a brick wall when speaking to CSA.
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can lodge a conservative (low-side) estimate of current-year income to ensure that you don’t overpay. However, this is not possible if the Change of Assessment determination extends across the current financial year.

  108. J
    | Reply

    in a bit of a pickle I have not lodged 2018 and now 2019 tax return. in 2018 i had to access my super for medical reasons and using the calculator i should have payed an extra 4k. im now looking at lodging both years (2018 and 19) and its shows because my income dropped i should have payed 3k less (2019) than what i did. Will csa take this into account or will they still request the original 4k? The other issue is the other parent is now in jail and still refusing contact instead leaving the kids with his mother CSA been notified and i have no communication from them but have stopped taking payments from me. Will he be given this money or would the funds make it to his mother/kids?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you overpay, you’re stuck with that. If you’ve underpaid, you have to cough up. That’s the way it generally works for payers.

      Your ex’s mother would have to apply for child support I believe in order for the payments to start going to her directly. Makes it easier if you agree that she is the carer.

  109. Vanessa
    | Reply

    Hi there,

    I am the primary carer of my four children from a 15 year marriage. I have 100% care of three of the children , My youngest stays with his his father once a week.

    The children’s father was earning between $110,000- $120,000 as a car salesman for the last 8 years of our marriage and remains in the same position working for the same company.

    After a month of paying child support to reflect his earnings of $120,000 he updated his income to $55,000. He has not lodged a tax return in four years and continues to only declare $55,000.

    I don’t understand how the child support agency can continue to accept this?

    It amazes me that there is nothing in place to make it compulsory for child support parents to lodge a tax return!

    If anyone has any guidance for me I would love to hear from you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He’s using a financial loophole. Apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8: Earning Capacity) to have his income restored to the previous level.

      You’re right – this is a stupid, easily fixed problem. But Child Support are in a malaise at the moment – too lazy to fix systemic issues.

  110. Elise
    | Reply

    My husband has a 14 year old son from a previous relationship. When his son was 2.5 years old my husbands ex told him to not visit, write or call as she would call the police on him. We sent cards and Christmas presents until they moved and we don’t know where they are now living (we live in different states). Through Facebook we have found that she is remarried and has changed the sons surname to that of the step father. We have tried to make contact with no answer. We tried mediation but because we did not have an address for her that was unsuccessful. We are not financially able to go through family courts as we earn too much for legal aid but not enough to cover expenses. My question is, at what point does the CSA take this into account and let us stop paying? We would be happy to pay if we were seeing him and talking to him and had a genuine relationship. I know I sound cold hearted but it’s absolutely heart breaking to be in this situation, compounded by paying a lot of money.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Elise – Child Support don’t care how the care arrangements came about. Don’t expect any relief from them.

  111. False Claims
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I’ve recently been informed that my ex-partner has lodged a claim with the CSA increasing his percentage of care for our son. Not only has this apparent increase not been discussed with me, let alone agreed upon (as I am the primary carer with 90% care) but now I have to prove to the CSA that his claims are false. I’m completely at a loss to understand how the onus is on me to prove his claim as false instead of him having to prove them as true? Coincidentally, the claimed was lodged 5 days after I sent him a friendly reminder that his child support commitment has increased, as our son recently turned 13. I have battled with my ex every 6 months whenever there has been an increase to child support, dealing with ludicrous financial demands from him, as well as threats of going for custody or not returning our son back home to me (we live 2 states apart). Not to mention the fact that when he first moved to another state he refused to pay child support for 2 years until I bought him out of the house (which was bought with my own deposit and the mortgage repayments were made by me) and even once I did, it still took months to get any child support out of him. We opted out of lodging parental orders when we first separated as we did not want to drag our relationship through the courts and wanted everything to be as amicable as possible for the sake of our son. We have been separated now for 8 years, with the first 4 years as 50/50 shared care and the last 4 with myself as the primary carer. It’s only since he started paying child support that he has become vile and nasty again (which is why I left him in the first place). I earn twice as much as he does but the costs of living are comparable to where I live as is his (I’m in the ACT and he’s in QLD) so needless to say I don’t receive a significant amount of child support from him. To break it down, his money accounts for 18% per fortnight of what it costs to raise our son for the standard expenses. I have also never asked for any money from him for other expenses incurred outside of the standard living costs. All I expect from him is to pay the amount he is required to pay. The amount he is now claiming that he cares for our son puts him into the bracket of regular care as opposed to less than regular care which means that the amount he is required to pay will be 65% less than the current arrangement. Whilst I can prove that he has never had our son in his care for the amount of nights he is claiming, it is an onerous and highly stressful process. So back to my question, why is the responsibility put on me to prove his claim as false and not on him to prove his claim true? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    Nat

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Nat – not sure why the case officer is requiring you to prove the care level. I guess they accepted his new estimate and have the attitude that they’ll leave it as is until they get different information.

      It shouldn’t be that hard to demonstrate the care level. Given you are in different states and your son is attending school in your state, it is difficult for your ex to meet the requirement for regular care. He would have to be providing care for about 3/4 of the available school holidays.

      You could use email correspondence, plane tickets, etc. Maybe just stating the care arrangements in detail would be enough. You just need to convince the case officer and get them on side.

  112. Frustrated bc I’m honest
    | Reply

    Andrew, you seem VERY wise. My ex cheats on his taxes – he does not report overseas income. He also receives significant fringe benefits which reduce his tax (ie mortgage payments!). Our child support is based on an ATO number which he works to the bone. Even if I do request an assessment of this situation, he will lie. Any thoughts or suggestions? It is VERY frustrating when I end up owing and knowing…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have you applied for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8: Earning Capacity)? I don’t see how you can assume the process won’t work until you’ve tried it.

  113. JSB
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I’m new to this Forum and there are alot of comments to read through. I’d like to know more about Limited CSA’s if you can shed some light on this please? I’ve suggested a BCSA to my ex but he’s refused. He’s suggested ‘doing away’ with CS (even though I’m the paying parent) and I believe this is because he’s returning to the higher paying job he had before he voluntarily quit and when I was the receiving parent. I’d also like to do away with the CSA as it’s a draining experience and I’d rather spend my time with my children than dealing with them. That said, if my ex returns to his former employer the children will be in my care more often although not enough to warrant a ‘change in care’ according to CSA’s formula. Any feedback you have is appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Like your attitude JSB, though it may be easier just to work with the system given your ex is unwilling to make a binding agreement.

      The receiving parent can end child support by filling in the appropriate form: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/forms/cs1671

      Ending an assessment doesn’t stop it being started again in the future. And it can result in reduced Family Tax Benefit Part A – since the receiving parent is expected to seek support and reduce their reliance on public welfare.

      Child support doesn’t have to be draining if both parents cooperate and agree on the facts of the case. If care is stable, it’s really just a matter of the paying parent making a monthly payment.

  114. L
    | Reply

    I’m recently been the subject of change of assessment by my ex wife.

    My previous financial year was a disaster with my taxable income being far lower than usual.

    I had actually nearly gone bankrupt due to a change of job (PAYG) not working and had to move in with my parents for 6 months. Mum paid my car off and I worked hard to pay down debt.

    My ex approached me for almost $5 for elective medicals for my daughter who I really didn’t think needed it, could be delayed a couple of years, so I said no.

    During this period I was paying CSA based on a income above my real earnings (Based upon the previous good year) as they would not adjust it until my tax return was submitted.

    When my tax return was filed my taxable income was far lower and my CSA was adjusted.

    She then filed a CSA reassessment request for an assessment of my base, orthodontics and private school fees which I have not contributed to for 8 years as I hate the school and don’t want my kids there and my not paying has been intended to force the issue with my control freak ex wife who stubbornly refuses to look at public school.

    Some background here is that we did enrol the kids when we were married and she wanted to enrol our youngest when after we were divorced, the form required my signature- but also states that in the circumstances of separation/divorce that a person responsible for the fees must be nominated- which didn’t happen.

    I asked for the kids to change school 2 years after the divorce and she just refused. So I stopped paying.

    Bring forward to the present. Ex has remarried a man of significant means. They live in a mansion, go on lots of overseas holidays, lots of fancy dinners and live the high life. He has children of his own at a private school and an ex wife who doesn’t work much due to PTSD after he beat her up in front of the kids, a registered conviction is a matter of public record. So he has costs as well.

    Recently they decided to go to major overseas holiday with all the children ($36k for 2 weeks) and he had to pay a significant amount to his ex through CSA. I happen to know his ex wife.

    I get hit with CSA reassessment for base (was always going to revert), Medicals and private school fees.

    I earn an average income, have my own mortgage (property rented out so I could share a house and reduce some expenses) and have been trying to pay down debt incurred during the disaster year.

    The new assessment actually left me at a negative ($150 a fortnight) as it refused to consider the rates and body Corp as real expenses as I would receive a negative gearing benefit. When I advised the assessor that this was a double dip as any tax refund is immediately transferred to CSA so I get no benefit from the negative gearing, she said that’s a taxation matter and irrelevant.

    This decision more than doubled my payment to over $1300 a months on an payg income of circa 80k (supers inclusive) a year

    So I was again facing bankruptcy, I’ve had to reduce my budget so much that I will not be able to do anything other that work, eat, repeat for the next 2 years.
    I’m now a white collar slave so that my ex can go on overseas trips.

    I was also told I was not allowed to have internet or ti continue paying for my 2 oldest children’s phones (one which had been provided to give my son the ability to ring 000 if his step father ever lost his shit again), as these were not required for my self support. I told the women that my children would not come over if I don’t provide Internet (and they didn’t when I cut it off a few years back due to trying to cut costs), her actual words words were, “yes I will expect that will be the case”. CSA now Support parental alienation.

    Even the woman who handled my objection said that she recognized that the decision left me with “next to nothing, it’s going to be very tight for you”.

    I have revoked my consent for the children continuing enrollment at the school and apparently the law has been designed that unless the other parent consents to this a change of enrollment cannot be effected, no matter what the circumstances….because of originally “intent”.

    So I now am paying for a school I hate, can’t afford and can’t provide my children any sense of balance with what their mother and step father have.

    I was suicidal for a few weeks and my son recognized it and begged me not to kill my self and I started to recognize the signs of depression which I have arrested and those feelings have been replaced by a sense of purposeful injustice.

    Unjust laws need to be challenged

    So on principle….having an unjust law imposing on my right of choice concerning my children’s education, irrespective of original intent (it would seem that you can disolve a marriage yet not a post divorce private school enrollment) I am going to commence legal action. If it means selling my house and being homeless at retirement so be it.

    If the government wants to take my life away (so that someone else can enjoy a standard of living I obviously am not allowed to experience myself, simply because they refuse to make sensible choices) and to also to expect me to dutifully pay taxes, then the state can take care of me in-terms of public housing at retirement and nursing home accommodation when the time comes.

    Life changes and therefore laws cannot be so inflexible as to not allow for reasonable change and also to be a mechanism for vengeful ex partners continue to impose themselves and their continued choices on your life 10 years after you divorced them to escape their control. I didn’t leave for another women, I left a controlling and manipulative woman.

    CSA have effectively involved themselves in a family disagreement over an elective decision and taken one parents side. I don’t believe it’s ever been the intention of child support as a principle to impose punitive finically imposts concerning elective costs.
    Surely the system was only ever intended to make sure that the basic costs of life were met, particularly in the instance of self employed parents not declaring their incomes correctly, not that children would be afforded a private school education where neither parent can afford it, but 1 stubbornly refused to face fact around economic realities.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The system was designed to maintain a child’s standard of living as if the parents were still together as a married couple. Well-meaning idea, a bit like socialism, but doesn’t work in reality of course.

      The other problem is that the system was designed to ensure that, as much as possible, the kid (via the recipient) gets their money. The concept of fathers being driven to the wall wasn’t part of the thinking at any stage.

      Having a purpose is partly about working on the things that are under your control. Defeating Child Support may not come under that category unfortunately.

  115. Angela Gawne
    | Reply

    My husband and I pay about $600 per month to my husbands ex wife for 2 boys. We just discovered that the state school fees are in arrears significant amounts and also that the eldest boy who is 17 is paying for his own clothes. The CSA said to contact her and we sent a nice email to offer to pay the debt off over a period of time and receive CSA credits but she hasn’t responded after a second follow up. What do you suggest. The eldest is 18 next Feb and will be in year 12 and we were intending to pay whilst he was in year 12 but not if the school fees are not being paid for. There has been much conflict in the past but it’s more amicable now. Thoughts?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Seems like paying state school fees is low on her priority list. She still ultimately pays if you pay and then receive credit for that, which is why she hasn’t agreed to it.

      Child support is payable in year 12 if the child turns 18 during the school year. The payer doesn’t have a choice about that.

      I don’t see that you have anything to do here. Not your job to manage your partner’s ex.

  116. Frustrated
    | Reply

    My ex left while I was still pregnant with our 2nd child over 8 years ago. For the first 6 years he would pay $50 a fortnight but it’s been reduced to only $17 a fortnight combined for two kids since last year. He refuses to pay anything extra (school fees or help with uniform , swimming lessons etc).
    He supposedly saves all his money for when they go on holidays so he can buy them things and take them to kfc , Pizza Hut etc.
    He can’t agree that school fees being paid and having what the need in their regular lives is more important than eating junk food and buying video games for 10 days during the holidays.
    I am beyond frustrated that there is nothing I can do.

  117. Another Anon
    | Reply

    Hi there, I have decided to comment mainly due to Andrew’s response to post by Annon from 27th of June.
    I was in a relationship where domestic violence was constant – and getting out is extremely difficult due to many reasons (shame, guilt, worries about future, feelings of worthlessness and the list can go on for many more pages). The tipping stone was whilst carrying my 1 year old daughter getting punches to the head where the impact made my head hit hers. This occurred in 2005 which is why it is easier to talk about now. Separation was followed by constant fear from threats, stalking, phone calls at all hours, SMS’s, emails and etc which reduced when the Courts granted me and my daughter a 13 year long Intervention Order! At that point of time I contacted Centrelink regarding the situation who made our case exempt from having to claim Child Support due to family violence – the exemption stayed in place for about 4 years. Once the Intervention Order was in place he went to Family Court and after a long fight he got supervised visits for 1 year in Children’s Supervised Centre – where of course he was on best behavior, which followed by 6 months of private supervised visits – where an employee of private supervision would pick up my daughter, visit her father together and drop her off after 2 hour visits – of course best behavior again; which then permitted for the next family order step which was changeovers through the Children’s Supervised Centre. I’m sorry Andrew but this is what prompted me to write this in regards to your response to Annons. After him going through all this trouble to get to see his daughter – he would take her for a whole day, unsupervised – and then throughout the whole day daunt her with questions, statements, accusation (not valid) and name calling about myself and my family – where she would come back in tears and withdrawn and would take days to get her back to being her happy self – just so it could happen all over in a 1.5 weeks… Anyone who would be putting a child through such ordeal would know how harmful for their psychological wellbeing such constant emotional torture is. Violence does not need to be physical – when I was getting abused the physical violence was easier to deal with because the bruises and scars went away whereas the psychological wounds I still carry today….so again in saying that there are men who will go through the Family Court in order to get access to the child in order to get back at the mother – and the children are the ones who suffer and no one wants to hear their pleas because it would mean that their duty of care is to keep them safe and they were unable to do so. The visits were stopped finally when my daughter was over 5 and only due to all staff overhaul in the Children’s Supervised Centre.
    Regarding Child Support – when the exemption finished I had to claim Child Support – I didn’t do so until the visits ceased because he would direct his angst towards our daughter since he had no contact with me. At the time of the claim he was a tradie doing mostly cash in hand jobs. He owned his house outright, he had 3 investment properties in Victoria and 3 in Queensland. However since his taxable income was minimal the Child Support granted was minimal at $30 a month. Was not worth the worry or the trouble. Also it got left unpaid for years. I contacted Child Support about all the assets he owns and other information – where the advice is to do Assessment Change – being in a domestic violence situation any such move could aggravate them so I chose to never go through with it. He later started some contracting work which revealed his income for tax purposes and when he finally did his tax returns 4 or 5 years later his debt was nearly $9000 (when we were together some days he would bring home $1000 for cash in hand work) – but obviously since he had no steady employment Child Support could not get the money anywhere….and they would not touch assets until debt was considerably higher…. There was no point in me ringing, because I always heard the same information – which was pretty much there is nothing we can do…..Eventually the money was slowly claimed when did consecutive tax returns – took 3 or 4 years….and since he found a new partner apparently he claimed he did not work anymore and his income was lower than mine on Centrelink pension so back to $30 a month in child support – but yet he manages to have his ABN changed over to a newer and more expensive address every 2 or 3 years – currently living in a house which was sold for nearly 1 mil….
    In conclusion I don’t believe that the father going through all the effort to see their child means they will not harm them – in my case he went through all of this to get back at me and put my child through mental torture – and I was the one who deals with tears, breakdowns, meltdowns, anxiety, depression – which my daughter still battle on ongoing basis – not to say she still wants no contact with him….. And Child Support system is a total joke which has not proved in the slightest to be worth the trouble and worry it puts you through.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for telling your story.

      As I’ve commented in earlier posts, our policy is to have a benchmark income level. Anything dodgy and the payer gets put on to this setting so that they are required to pay a decent amount of support — in line with community standards. This would simplify administration dramatically, reduce admin costs and family drama, and help ensure decent support.

      Agree that they current system is a joke. Can you believe that there are people being paid large salaries year after year in the Dept of Human Services to manage child support policy? What are they actually doing?

  118. Sofia
    | Reply

    >>>>>
    Our alternative policy here is simple: no child support when care is 50:50. Each parent provides care and spends according to their own capacity and want. Normally, the higher-earning parent would spend more anyway. There is no need for government-enforced payments.
    >>>>>
    What do you mean by this?
    Are you saying my ex and I should go into private agreement that as long as the care is 50:50 we do not pay child support to each other?
    Or, CSA makes both parents pay for whatever they need only during the children are in their care, and regardless of pay gap you do not have to pay the other party? Is that what CSA does?

    We share 50:50 custody and he is self employed. I believe he is lying about his income, and I have to pay him. But when he is on 20k how does he afford to rent, buy Nintendo and iPad, a camping holiday AND overseas holiday every year ? Because of the legal costs I have not been on holiday past 3 years…..
    I have lodged change of assessment however I was told by the CSA they have so far found nothing and they asked ME if I know his secret bank accounts…. please help. I am desperate.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If no child support were payable when care is 50:50, you wouldn’t have the race to the bottom that currently exists: where each parent is better off the lower they can make their taxable income.

      If your ex was willing to enter into a legally certified private agreement for no child support to be payable, you wouldn’t have to pay child support any more and he could stop playing games. That would be better wouldn’t it? That is how the child support system should be, and is one of our policies we would like introduced for all 50:50 cases.

  119. Lizzie
    | Reply

    I love the idea of a system overhaul, even after being on the winning side of a long running objection case.

    My ex and his partner work in the mines, and have done for over 20 years. Child support amounts have fluctuated in line with the care arrangements and CSA garnish his wage.

    He left his job and claimed he was living off his partners wage. I have 95% care of our teenage daughter who is in high school and work full time. After the initial objection to the nil income was upheld, I lodged a further objection based oh his capacity to earn. My ex didn’t respond to CSA’s requests to provide information and subsequently he was assessed on a 150K income. My ex’s payable monthly amount was set at the previous rate of $1500 p/m. He lodged an objection with the AAT and after the first hearing, withdrew his case, stating that he didn’t want to disclose his finances.

    Recovery of the accruing debt or payment is unlikely, because he doesn’t work – so basically, no one one!
    To say this has been a long and difficult time for all involved would be an understatement, it’s been hard on him a CSA (they copped a lot of abuse from him) and myself.

    This could have been assessed more fairly and swiftly if my ex had worked with CSA and provided information when requested.

    At the end of this process, I’ve learnt that the best and most efficient way to win an objection and deal with CSA is to work with them. It’s definitely time for change when a nil income earning parent can be assessed at 130k, unfortunately until we have change in the system it’s all we have to work with even when it results in negative wins.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Good that you can see how Change of Assessment decisions don’t make sense even if you are on the winning side. Payers have been driven to bankruptcy and worse by COA decisions that say their income is very high when they are actually struggling and have no income.

      Our proposed new system would do away with such decisions using income benchmarks. There would also be no need to have long, arduous cases that are tough on the parties and expensive for taxpayers. Many bureaucrat jobs would go.

      You’ll probably get your money even if it takes a very long time. The debt doesn’t go away. Child Support also have the power to take some money out of pensions, etc. And they can raid personal bank accounts.

  120. Elly
    | Reply

    My ex-partner has an approx. $56,500.00 child support debt owing to me. He will not lodge a tax return, specifically so that CSA cannot garnish his tax refund and pay me the Child Support debt that is owed to me. He has not lodged an ITR for 3 or 4 years, and i have had little Child Support during this time. I have written to ATO pleading that they lodge Default ITR’s on my ex-partner’s behalf so that I can be paid the Child Support owed to me. The matter is also in the Litigation section of CSA. What is the likelihood of ATO lodging Default ITR’s in these circumstances?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t think the ATO cares about child support cases. We get lots of feedback about payers not lodging tax returns for years. Note that tax refunds should be small or non-existent if tax is taken out by an employer under Pay as You Go (PAYG) arrangements.

  121. Paul
    | Reply

    My wife and I have sole parental responsibility for our 6 year old grandson. He has lived with us since he was two. The mother has disengaged with us and him and the father(the couple are now separated) decided he wants to re-establish the relationship. Putting our opinions aside, we are cautiously encouraging contact and hope it works out well for both of them. My question: Is the father and mother for that matter, obliged to pay child support as neither one has done thus far? The court order gives them weekly supervised visitations but up until now neither one has bothered.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Grandparents are eligible for child support. You would have to ask for an assessment to be done (via Dept of Human Services). Both parents would be obliged to pay based on their respective incomes.

      If either parent has overnight care of at least 2 nights per fortnight, their payments would reduce.

  122. Jane
    | Reply

    My ex husband and I have a child together who is 11. He sees his daughter every 2nd Saturday from 8am to 6pm. He has recently informed me that as he buys clothes for her and take her to the movies, and other activites that he is eligible to claim these back from the amount of child support he pays me. I rang child support and one person said that’s true and one person said it’s not. Are you able to shed some light on this please ?

    Thankyou

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s not true. He can’t claim for those expenses. Don’t know where people get the idea that Child Support should be running around tabulating every little expense that a parent has.

      Credit for care costs is based on the number of nights of care you have per fortnight. So, your ex husband gets zero credit and has to pay the full amount. Credit is only available for major things like private school fees and dental braces.

  123. Annon
    | Reply

    Where do i stand on this. I have a child 19months old, the father (we were married and separated due family and domestic violence) has not seen our child since 12 weeks old. He has applied for custody but got granted supervised visits. I have not received one cent child support at all – ever. He told his lawyer that i didnt want any of his money, which i dont get how i could have done that as we havent had any contact due to the police protection order and me fearing for myself and my child. He doesnt lodge tax returns and dont plan to either. Do i have a chance here getting anything from him or am i left with nothing? I feel if he wants any contact with his child he can support financially as well.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Is your child really at risk with the father? He has gone to a lot of trouble to have any contact. Why would he want to do harm to his own child that he has fought to be able to see? I presume the “violence” was only between you and him given he has hardly seen the child. And that should be over now you are well and truly separated.

      While I don’t know the exact circumstances, my feeling is that the child should see his father in a normal way. The judge may have over-reached by restricting the relationship between father and child to supervised visits. If you allow a more normal relationship, the father may be cooperative with financial support. Your child may be far better off all-round.

      If the child isn’t truly at risk, I would do the following. Ask the father to prepare “consent orders” that include a parenting plan where the child has regular unsupervised overnights with him and which includes undertakings for the father to pay a minimum amount of child support. If you don’t like what he proposes, suggest changes. Keep going until you agree. The final document than goes to court to be made into orders.

      You could ask for the father’s lawyer to meet with you initially to get the ball rolling on this.

  124. Angi
    | Reply

    My partner and his ex have two children. She moved interstate unilaterally (without consent) which meant my partner had no contact with them. We sought legal help but the cost was outrageous and it honestly changed who we were so thought it best to just pick up the pieces when the time came.
    On visitation after a year the youngest said that he was afraid of his step father and that his mum doesn’t life there anymore. So my partner was paying a huge amount of child support for their mother to live 3 hours away from them.
    My partner offered that if she was not present in the house to guide and raise them, that she st least let him raise them. She said no cause that would mean loosing the child support. Again CSA said “that’s a legal fight not ours”.
    The youngest stayed with us as we were very concerned about physical abuse from his stories but the oldest wanted to return. He confirmed the abuse but said he learnt to do what he was told and now has unlimited internet.
    The youngest 9 has since been diagnosed with Autism. He needs a lot of help.
    Unfairly again, they have one child each 100% yet my partner still has to pay significant child support $7000 a year to his ex who does not even live with the oldest child and only returns to him for 2 days a fortnight. She refuses to update her income or do tax.
    This is so very unfair.
    There should be no child support change hands and considering the child my partner raises has high needs, it is appalling. Of course we can apply for a review…..at the cost of displaying all living cost, savings and bank statements to his ex. His living costs are low cause he misses out…..hers are high cause she lives beyond her means.
    Even if we had the money to fight this, how does he have the time to work full time, raise a child with special needs and somehow find time for custody battle.
    This is so frustrating and the government questions why there is a mental health epidemic.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Messy situation in terms of finances. The fact is that the oldest child is not in your partner’s custody and so your partner should pay support. The money may help the child somehow – you don’t know the exact arrangements – even if the mother is generally absent. Seems like your partner has already lost the custody battle for the oldest child given he wants to live with the step-father. You may have to accept the situation even if it is not ideal.

  125. Adrian
    | Reply

    Thanks for your feedback Andrew.

    After a considerable heart-2-heart conversation with my son he has agreed to return to normal 50/50 care. This is great news going forward.

    Unfortunately the CSA still have their hooks in to me for the month of June saying that since it was 100% care by his mother, I am up for a fortune all month.

    Realistically this was 14 days (2 of the 4 weeks) where the normal pattern was tweaked. When I asked the CSA over what period the percentage calculation was done, they were unable to answer.

    If its over a year, the percentage care for my son allowing for this 2 week wobble is 47/53. Over a month its 0/100.

    Is there way I can get CSA to sensibly comprehend this and make a sensible judgement – or did my sons tantrum just cost me ~$800 in disproportionate assessment for 2 those weeks?!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Good news that you got the care arrangements sorted. Child Support use their judgement about the dates when things take effect. It’s simpler if both parents report the same thing. http://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/2/2

  126. Rob
    | Reply

    I have just found I’m not the biological father of my 15 year old. My wife and I are separated and we have other children. We know who the biological father is. Whilst I am aware that I will no longer be required to pay child support into the future I feel I am a victim of the system because I cannot recover costs from the biological father for the past 15 years. I love the child in question like they are my own – but this individual has paid absolutely nothing towards the raising of the child.
    The system simply says he cannot be liable because he wasn’t aware he had a child. Well tough! He knew he was sleeping with my wife for several years.
    Another case of irresponsible behaviour going unpunished. This event has destroyed my life and caused much heartache for the rest of the family.
    It should be requirement the biological parent is required to pay compensation to someone in my position. It would certainly provide assistance to an innocent party who will likely do it very tough financially and emotionally as a result of the relationship breakdown.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Very unfortunate situation. Compensation for payments for a child who is not yours biologically is a difficult issue that you can’t really expect bureaucrats to solve.

      You can take some comfort in knowing that the 3rd child in a case only increases payments slightly, and the 4th makes no difference.

  127. Adrian
    | Reply

    I have been separated from my wife for 6 years.

    In that time our children (12 and 15 now) have been in 50/50 care. Under CSA guidelines due to income disparity I have paid ~$70 per week.

    Recently my eldest son declared he wanted to live with mum and refused to come home (fairly typical 15yr old tantrum rebelling against parent and testing boundaries).

    My wife has alerted CSA and gone for the cash grab instead of trying to talk our son back to normality.

    Using the online calculator the weekly payments suggest they’ll rocket up from $70 per week, to $280. How can this be so???? Shouldn’t a 50% increase in number of night care result in a 50% increase in costs of that care?

    If the cost of 2 children for 7 days in each 14 is $70 (14 ‘person days’ per fortnight), Why isnt the adjusted figure in proportion – ($105 per week for 21 ‘person days per fortnight)?

    Is my wife suddenly expected to spend an extra $420 on those weeks where my son is there? Are they supposed to eat out every night now? Whats the justification?

    I’m happy to pay a sensible amount to assist with increased expenditure but cannot see how these figures add up to any kind of sense!!!!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As you’ve indicated, parents should ensure that kids see both their parents regularly. No parent wants to be in a position where they to have to give in to the demands of a teen, or not see them, because the child has the option of staying at the other home full-time. It’s generally irresponsible for a parent to allow themselves to “win” the custody battle. Children shouldn’t have the ability to ditch a parent.

      On the financial side, your payments go up by more than is justified. That’s the stupid formula. The whole time, it’s been assumed that your children are very expensive. But you haven’t been paying all that much due to 50:50 care. Now that’s changed because of the change in care percentages.

      We have an alternative formula where you would have paid nothing at 50:50 care and would pay a more reasonable, non-exorbitant amount after the care change.

      Suggest you try mediation involving all parties. You can initiate by yourself and the mediator will contact the other parties. The process allows the issues to be discussed and worked through in a calm way.

  128. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi All,

    My apologies in advance, this system feels as though it is breaking people down, myself being no exception to this. This is not directed at the many men who I know do the best they can by their children, both morally and legally in care, as well as financial support. Rather this is directed at those who use the system to maintain control and abuse post-separation, and child support are all too willing to facilitate the abuse, and in my circumstances, even become complicit when they’re aware of fraud.

    I have the sole care of my children (14 & 5) and I am a full time PhD student. I also work, when I can get some – usually on a casual basis, and it’s not much I earn. In fact, my self-support amount is more than my income.

    My ex is extremely wealthy, has multiple million dollar properties he owns and has negatively geared, is the partner of his family run law firm, and has minimised his income each and every year.

    He has managed to call every year and estimate his income as being much lower than it has been – 80k – which child support consistently accept virtually overnight. I am then forced to go through COA’s and although most of the time it’s as though they haven’t even bothered looking at my evidence, showing bank statements increasing by 10’s of thousands each months, proving his earnings after tax were much higher than what he had sworn to the ATO and CSA, they’ve continued to overlook it. At most, they acknowledged some properties, IF I happen to get a COA officer who would at least do that.

    So then I have been trapped in COA’s based on his estimated income, yet he will lodge taxes half way through that are much higher, and it has NEVER been reconciled, despite their assurances it would.

    This has happened every year now. He has again estimated an 80k income which they’ve accepted, despite his 18/19 returns being over 200k. They make it so easy for him and just don’t seem to care about me and my children at all.

    I have lodged another COA – and it still hasn’t been allocated to an officer over two months later. It just appears they’re going out of their way to assist him to minimise his income, and jump at anything he wants, no matter how it impacts me and my children. I’ve never felt as though we’ve been treated fairly.

    They have never reconciled his income, and if we’re trapped in a COA decision that’s based on his estimate but lodges returns much higher, they say there’s nothing they can do – which is BS because it was based on the evidence at the time – his false and misleading evidence provided telling them his income was much less than it shows in his returns and all other assets and resources.

    It’s too the point everyone has suggested he or his dad who is also a well connected lawyer may know someone either at DHS-CS or the AAT who are giving a wink to the egregious financial discrepancies, which are abundantly clear.

    I’m sick of this, and I’m sick of the way I’m constantly being treated. It has broken down my self-esteem so much, as though we’re completely worthless next to him.

    I pay for everything on my own and have sole care of the children – we can’t even afford to do anything fun ever while he’s living an extremely lavish life! It’s upsetting when I give everything I have to the children, he has made the choice to have no involvement and is not even made to comply with his legal obligations to assist financially, which he has the capacity to do, but is not.

    I don’t understand how COA could ignore my application for months while we’re living the way we are. It’s not hard work for them – they have more than sufficient evidence and won’t need to take out level 1 and 2 searches – they just don’t want to do it and treat us fairly.

    I’ve complained, but nothing happened – so close to going further to the Ombudsman with all of my evidence, including a statement from a lawyer suggesting he has committed tax fraud based on his bank statements – which CSA are aware of, but have continued to ignore to our disadvantage.

    I just don’t know what else to do, aside issuing expensive proceedings in Court, to force some honesty and compliance from him.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The Change of Assessment process should be able to solve this. A COA decision can apply for multiple years. You could make the focus on your case not about an income level for a particular year, but about his strategy for minimising payments.

      You could push for a multi-year decision based on the last reasonable estimate of his income. Focus on highlighting his strategy and achieving consistent payments and be less concerned about the potential for him to earn more after you’ve locked in a particular income level for him.

  129. norma dargin
    | Reply

    just appalling that CSA take sides with the scammers and honest people get left out in the cold to defend themselves. just disgusting.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I agree. The system has been set up as a race to the bottom. Generous, kind, reasonable, honest people, whether they are payers or recipients, tend to be punished financially.

  130. Steve
    | Reply

    Hi andrew,

    Current custody of my 5 and 3 year old girls is 5 nights vs 9 nights a fortnight…

    I earn 100k and x wife earns approx 40 k and child support is 265 a week.. Since the split i have also offered and paid half sport activities, half school uniforms on to of CS.

    Now the X wants me to sign a binding agreement to lock in till the girls are 18 that i pay: half school fees for private schools, half orthodontic, half sport and extracurricular.

    If this is standard practice- ie dads pay child support and half of the above costs on top then i am happy to lock this in, my issue is that over 10+ years financial positions and life circumstances change so im reluctant to lock in- i will lock in if it is the “norm” though… Interested in your thoughts?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s up to you to decide how to manage your relationship with your ex. Be generous if that works. But also know this: (i) you don’t have to agree to anything formally and doing so weakens your future position with Child Support given you are the payer and (ii) you don’t have to cover half the costs.

      According to the child support formula, with her higher care %, your ex is being given most of the credit for covering expenses. That’s why you are paying so much. Child Support effectively assume that she is bearing the lion’s share of out-of-pocket expenses.

      It can be simpler for parents to cover different things, especially if one parent wants something for the kids and the other doesn’t. You could agree in principle to share costs but I don’t see the point of doing so in writing.

  131. James
    | Reply

    My ex wife and I have been separated for nearly 6 years now. She is a psychologist and I am a tradesman (not self employed). We share 50/50 custody of the kids.
    Ever since we split I’ve had to pay her and year after year she earns less and less as she appears to be working less.
    According to the Child Support Assessment, she doesn’t even earn the “self support amount” of $24,535 and therefore I am forced maximum dollar even though it’s 50/50 custody.
    I have no issues paying for my children but what contribution does she actually pay toward her kids?
    We live in Melbourne and this year alone she has already been on approx 7 trips to Cairns.
    Is it unfair of me to think that the majority of me child support payments are funding her lifestyle?
    I understand that some mothers were deprived of further education and/or career development as a result of staying home and raising kids, however in my situation my ex continued to gain further education and career development when we were married.
    I am unsure of my rights and what, if anything I can do about this.
    Any advise would be much appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You have the right to apply for a Change of Assessment based on earning capacity. A time-consuming path to go down that doesn’t always produce great results for payers. Child Support would have to find that she is earning less than her potential, with some intent to affect payments.

      Our alternative policy here is simple: no child support when care is 50:50. Each parent provides care and spends according to their own capacity and want. Normally, the higher-earning parent would spend more anyway. There is no need for government-enforced payments.

  132. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I have two kids and their father has paid basically no child support in two years (in the middle of that two years I recieved one or two payments until his employment changed).
    He is currently being assessed to pay only the amount of $67 per week from a previous job assessment. Apparently they do not have his current employment details and so can’t make a deduction from his wage. However, I called to discuss this and the lady stated that perhaps he was currently working under an ABN number, which is why they haven’t been able to track his employment. I took it upon myself to call back with his ABN number which I found online and a place that I suspected he worked for. Months have gone by and they have not made any progress with tracking him. I suspect that he is working under an ABN for a business as a contractor and also not paying the tax he is legally supposed to. I know for a fact that he works because when my kids visit he talks to them about his work, where it is located and what he does. He refused to lodge a tax return last year and probably won’t this year. Why is it taking them so long? Can they not subpoena his bank account statements and take legal action? This is incredibly unfair to have to raise the children, be the main provider, support my kids relationship with their father and then be completely ripped off for such a ridiculously small amount of money.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unfortunate situation for you. However, you can’t really expect, and taxpayers don’t want, Child Support to have to work so hard to chase up money.

      We would have simpler arrangements that don’t let payers get away with these sorts of things. And it wouldn’t require expensive work from Child Support. Anything dodgy and payers have to pay at benchmark rates, with accumulating debt. Simple and effective.

  133. Steve
    | Reply

    I’m just wondering what child support is supposed to cover…

    My ex wife pays me child support as she earns more than me.
    We have 50% shared care and we are having a court order agreement setting out the arrangements which we have drawn up together.
    There are no school fees as the children attend state schools. However, she wants to include that I pay for all other “school expenses” such as excursions, unforms, etc. The reason she says is because the child support she pays me should cover this.

    Is this correct? I thought that child support is paid to bring both parents in line financially to be able to support the children, and thus we should both be sharing ALL child costs equally (apart from living costs when the children are with each parent)? Am I wrong in thinking this?

    If the order for me to pay all these expenses is put into the agreement then it would not make sense should are salaries change in future and I earn more than she does for example.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There are no rules about who pays for what. In theory, out-of-pocket costs should be split when care is 50:50. But that’s complicated. And maybe it’s fair that you pay schools-related costs – which aren’t much anyway – because you are getting money off her even though she is also providing 50% care. I would just pay the costs. Karma will reimburse you in the end.

  134. Sally
    | Reply

    Hi There

    My ex is constantly trying to reduce his taxable income to reduce his child support payments. Last year he managed to drop it by half and this year even further despite paying nearly 100k per year in rent, having numerous properties etc. Now he is claiming a refund of overpayment because his taxable income has dropped dramatically. I am fed up with this. I didnt take action last year because it is life sucking, but this year its just becoming a joke. I didnt think he could claim overpayments to me because of reduced income from the previous year.
    Is that correct? Please help.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      See what Child Support does. Highly unlikely you would have to pay anything back.

  135. Nathan
    | Reply

    My ex hasn’t let me see my daughter since she was 6 months old. She is 12 years old this year. I pay the minimum child support. I refuse to [work] to pay child support for a child who’s life I’m not entitled to be a part of. Why do you make people like me who made an effort to be a part of their child’s life but just got shut down by your government pay child support? Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to pay more child support if I had access to my child and she wasn’t used as a pawn.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Is this for real? No – there is no moral justification for what you are doing. Get to work and start providing for your daughter.

      And thanks for the abusive messages after I posted the response above. You deserve a punch in the mouth from me on behalf of your innocent, unfortunate daughter tough guy. Would be very happy to do it.

  136. David
    | Reply

    I currently share 50/50 custody of my 17 and 18 year old daughters which has worked well for most of the time over the last 7 years. My ex and I have an informal agreement whereby I pay for all their education, health and some other minor expenses instead of paying her @$600 per month as assessed by the child support agency. When we’re with the girls then we pay the usual living costs individually. Recently she has threatened to go back and ask for 7 years of child support. Is it a fair position as certainly the costs for education, health etc are significantly more that should she proceed I can ask to recover 50% of the costs that I have paid?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support can only be backdated to the time when the Department of Human Services is first contacted. Keep receipts and records of agreement so that you can be credited with child-related spending if necessary.

  137. Soph
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    My ex-partner is leaving tooverseas work overseas (being dual citizen). He won’t be a tax resident of australia anymore.
    I’m not working and have a young child..
    He told me he would give me some money as support, but if I’m not happy with the amount or if I fail to agree for him to see the child when he visits, he will give me nothing, it’s ‘take it or leave it’. The law in the country he goes to is different to australia..
    What can I do?

    Soph

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s a negotiation. You need to figure out if you are in a position to ask for more. Ultimately, you can’t withhold access because that would be wrong.

  138. Donna maishman
    | Reply

    I cannot get through on the phone to child support. Been trying all day. Currently on hold for an hour. I also cannot get into my child support online account. It sais I am not authorised. I need assistance please.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Leave your phone on speaker while you wait, so you can do something useful.

  139. RD
    | Reply

    My wife and 3 kids live in our family home which we own mortgage free, which I paid for with money I had before I met her.

    Since separating 2 years ago I have paid $2000 a month to rent nearby and have the kids in my rental 4 nights a fortnight.

    I pay her $2000 per month directly from a verbal agreement, she wanted $3k but we agreed on $2k.

    Based on our salaries $2000 is about $500 a month above the CSA calculator rate. I also pay most of the kids sport and dance fees and anything else she can get out of me for kids shoes,clothes, birthday presents, school camps etc.

    As a result I have very little to live on an she tells me I’m doing well as its universally acknowledged the CSA amount is about 1/3 of what kids actually cost.

    We are approaching legal settlement so need to formalise child support and have a clear understanding of my obligation.

    Does a market rental value for the family home she lives in rent and mortgage free, extra-curricular activities etc count toward my child support obligation?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support depends on each parent’s income, but can be adjusted for certain other prescribed expenses. That’s how it works. So, no – home ownership, etc is not a factor.

  140. STEFAN VAN RHYN
    | Reply

    I have four children, ages 20, 17, 15 and 14. The 20 year old has “zero care” as he is over 18. The 17 year old was living with my wife and I, and the other 3 with their mother. The child support that was supposed to be paid by the ex for the 17 yo was used as a credit to offset my payments as the majority paying parent. Earlier this year the 17 yo moved to Canberra to study, and I am in Melbourne. I would think that this makes him independent, and he is getting Centrelink on that basis.

    Once I informed Centrelink that he had moved out, they increased my payments per month by $500. The joke is, the ex doesn’t even need the money, as they have 2 incomes. I am supporting my wife, who does not have a job, and has just gained her permanent residence.

    Can’t common sense prevail here? I don’t understand why I need to find a further $500 each month. I’m supposed to pay $1665 a month now, on one wage, $1100 was enough. Can I claim some kind of exemption for my dependent wife? Why is my son (who is 18 in a month anyway) relocation being used against me. Is he independent or not? Why does his relocation only affect me detrimentally.

    CSA is threatening legal action, salary deduction etc

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Your son has moved out and is about to turn 18. Seems “common sense” that you receive less credit for care costs, doesn’t it?

  141. Yanetta
    | Reply

    My partner is paying child support for his 13 year old son don’t have any issues there as it is his child but we both would like to know if he should still be paying anything. As a year ago the mother has had 0% care and has signed everything over to the grandmother whom the child is now living with. What can be done?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Your partner still has to pay child support, whether the mother or grandmother is caring for the child. If the grandmother applied for child support, she would be entitled to receive it from him. Payments could go up if she has a lower income than the mother.

  142. Jo
    | Reply

    to add to my previous comment: since splitting we have so far been in agreement to each pay 50/50 of the cost of the children’s school fees (they are in a catholic school) and before and after school care fees. no other payments have been made between us of any kind, so even though i am providing for all the kids’ needs 25 days of the month, i have not asked any payment from him to support them with those costs.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have not published your previous comments due to excessive length. You need to simplify the issues, not just for here but in dealing with Child Support. In deciding a case, no-one cares about the whole big story with all the details. Cases usually hinge on one or two points. You need to decide the basis for appealing and you should be able to state that in one short sentence.

  143. Gemma Eley
    | Reply

    Child support is the hardest thing to deal with ever and I am 100% for the change to its policies and calculator.

    We now do 50/50 plus i am the low income earner and I 100% believe if doing 50/50 then no $$ should be exchanged as we have equal cost involved in care of the child why should someone be penalised for working harder?

    I also hate how it is worked out based on the gross income and that the payment goes up and not capped. A child only costs a certain amount which should be set per child then if unable to pay that amount reduce it for low income. Again don’t penalise someone for working harder.
    I have never taken extra money off my Ex no matter how much more he earns than me.

    Pretty much our system pulls for money hungry people that want to use every avenue they can to work less and get the most money out of their exes, which isn’t best for the child and creates a bad co parenting arrangement.

    I have an amazing co parenting situation based on we used common sense to work out what was best rather than the shitty system in place by child support, but a lot of people cant do this so reley on the system to work whats best for the child which it does not.

    Also if you over pay you should get a credit why shouldn’t you?? ridiculous the trouble you can get in for under disclosing but if over pay you are just left with tough luck.

    They put too much emphasis on what it was like if was in a coupled relationship instead of how to make it best for all involved.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well said.

  144. S
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m in a 50/50 care arrangement which has been going for over three years. During this time I have worked hard and sacrificed for the benefit of my family resulting in the completion of a masters degree and moving forward in my career with a significant pay increase next financial year. A really tough couple of years that now means I can give my boys a better life.

    Meanwhile, my ex wife has had a new baby, and has not returned to work after maternity leave. She has now stated that she doesn’t know when she will return to work. I am going to be in a nightmare scenario where my income has shot up considerably and hers is going to go down massively.

    The CSA will allow you to negate income increases following separation for the first three years, which I now sit outside of.

    This feels grossly unfair as:
    – She is benefitting from the success and hard work that I put into my career.
    – There is no incentive for her to return to work, which actually uplifts the combined income available to the children.
    – She is only able to do this as she is reliant on her new partner’s income which is not reflected in any assessment. While I understand the rationale for this approach, it is still an important factor regarding incentives to return to work.
    – It disincentives me to move forward in my career given the amount of work and stress that I have to take, just for additional money to be sent to her.
    – Why only allow income increases to be negated for only three years? How is any longer different in principle?

    What is your (or others’) experiences with requesting a change in assessment due to special circumstances in this scenario on the basis of the other party not utilising their earning capacity?

    I’ve read on your website that reform is proposed? Is this going well and do you expect any change.

    Thanks so much and what a great initiative.

    S

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unfortunately, the disincentives and unfairness you are experiencing are a direct result of the child support formula. It’s a complex but fundamentally flawed and stupid formula. That’s why we’ve come up with a far better one, which we are confident would represent world’s best practice if implemented.

      Not sure what is going to prompt reform. Thousands upon thousands of complaints don’t seem to make a difference. You’d think the massive suicide rates among divorced men would get people’s attention, but it seems that “domestic violence” is the only sexy topic at the moment. Disheartening to see politicians throwing money at propaganda campaigns to reinforce cartoonish stereotypes about men.

  145. Sharna
    | Reply

    I have been “receiving” CS for about 4 years now. My child’s father was never in the picture and deported nearly 3 years ago. He is unable to return to Australia, and I have asked CSA if I can cancel my current assessment. It’s currently being garnished from his wages, and I receive payments of varying amounts every few months. CSA has told me that they cannot cease this agreement legally, but I have just a Child Support Termination online.
    He has never once willingly paid CS and to be honest I can’t be bothered, as CSA contact me to follow this up. What are my grounds for ceasing an agreement, and can I actually do so?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I think the issue is that you’re expected to seek child support since not doing so increases welfare payments. Your email is a bit unclear for me to comment further.

  146. kevin
    | Reply

    I have been the paying parent since separation five years ago I have two daughters ten and fourteen and have 50/50 care. I have no issues paying for my kids hence the reason of applying myself at work for higher wages. as a general rule all fathers that get to spend time with there kids are very similar. I do have issues with CSA though they use bullying tactics are unfair to the paying parent in all areas love to apply there own personal comments work in away that they are a law unto themselves have a name that they do not represent (at no way are they supporting children just the payed parent)
    they have been used as a control against me. there decisions have caused my kids harm and I get through every day hoping some one will be held responsible. I already grew up through child support which saw us stolen away from our father and still have a fractured relationship with our whole family 35 years later. to be used as financial pawns through child hood is the most disgusting thing that can happen in any family yet we have a nation that promotes this through CSA. oh and here is some complaints stuff that needs to be rectified immediately there is no such thing as 50/50 the most you can do is 49/51 49 to the payer
    that means any government money incentive’s bus runs you name it are awarded to the one with primary care. where is the equality

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Some good points.

      Under our proposed new system, we would definitely have 50:50. And it would be quite common because the result is simple: no support payable (which also means no admin and no hassles).

  147. June Drysdale
    | Reply

    I applied for COA reasons 2 and 8 which were established by DM who awarded me full amount of orthodontics against the father and an increase in child support because his income was deemed to be well above what he stated in his tax return. The father objected. The Objections officer did not call me to discuss or give me a chance to ask questions. The first I knew of the objection was when I was informed by mail. I did send back some comments but was not sure if they were relevant or appropriate. The father’s objection was allowed and in his decision the officer reviewed my original application and established reason 2 for orthodontics. He also established reason 8, but declared that without forensic accounting he could not put a figure on the father’s extra income, so he ignored it. In his new assessment, he did not award me any money for the orthodontics even although he established reason 2, and gave me approximately $3 a week extra child support. He phoned to tell me his decision but I could not understand his accent very well. All he said to me was that the father was still paying for everything out of the regular child support. I am the child’s grandmother and have joint custody of her with her father. My income is retirement pension and Family Tax benefit and I am experiencing severe hardship. I had to pay a deposit of over $1000 to the orthodontist to get the treatment started and obtain a receipt for CSA before they would accept the application, and I am paying $255 a month on a payment plan. To date I have paid nearly $4000 and have had to borrow from family and Centrelink to make ends meet. I don’t know why the Objections officer has treated me so unfairly. Can you throw any light on this, thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support are often incompetent. They try to follow a set of internal “rules of thumb” rather than using discretion or logic.

      For example, if Child Support can’t estimate true income, they throw up their hands and give up and use some old figure. How stupid is that? That’s what they’ve done this time it seems.

      With lower estimated income, I guess they then assume the parent can’t afford to pay or wouldn’t normally go ahead with expensive dental treatment.

      Sorry that this has worked against you. It wouldn’t happen under our proposed new system because we would have intelligent policies for dealing with uncertain income estimates.

  148. George
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My ex and i have 50% custody. Her income is low so I have to pay child support via “private collection”.
    She always wants “cash”, so i gave her cash since last year.
    Now, she needs more money and she rang CSA and told them I didnt pay her since oct 2018.
    What can I do now?
    thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Do you have records at all (e.g. email)? CSA needs evidence.

  149. Andreas Taylor
    | Reply

    During my time as a victim “customer” of the Department of in-human Services, beginning some two years and one month ago, my ex-wife has successfully weaponized the DHS for her financial gain and as a way of inflicting lots of short-term damage to me financially. During this relatively short period of time, it has been necessary for me to lodge three objections to care notices, an Application for Special Circumstances, a subsequent objection to the result of the Special Circumstances decision and lastly, an objection to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the most recent decision related to care that DHS made. In all of these five cases except the last, where no decision has yet been made, my objections have been sustained and the decision has in the end, been in my favor. This does not seem to impact the blatant bias in their ongoing decision making, nor does it mitigate the toll on me personally to have to deal with this predatory organization. In the last case, DHS used several weeks of care over the Christmas holidays, with lots of ad hoc days and an irregular pattern of care as a basis for determining the pattern of care. This resulted in an assessment 65% in favor of the ex-wife, when neither party was asking for anything other than 50/50 for the child in question! Obviously, the particulars are somewhat more complicated than this, but I want to emphasize that the essential pattern has been that the DHS assumes the guilt of the payer as a starting point, but in the end, gets it wrong most of the time.

  150. Anonymous
    | Reply

    When my partner was younger he was living interstate for a period of time and was pursued by an older woman. He told her he was in a relationship but that didn’t deter her.

    She dangled no strings attached sex and he took the bait and went there a couple of times. On the last occasion he was drunk and she took the opportunity to conceive. She was ten years older than him and in her late 30’s.

    He has always paid 100% of the child support calculation as she either doesn’t work, works part-time or chooses to work in minimum wage jobs so doesn’t contribute to the calculation.

    He has filed a Change of Assessment to see if he can have the calculation reduced to a fair contribution. She also has assets and is in a better financial position than him.

    Does CSA, AAT or the courts take into consideration these types of situations to come to a fair outcome?

    I know his is not the only case out there and there are women who try and trap, trick, deceive men as the government incentivises this behaviour.

    For a woman on minimum wage who can’t afford a sperm donor or the cost of bringing up a child this is like winning a lottery ticket gaining hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Unfortunately it’s the children that suffer with fathers that never wanted them. For a system that is supposed to support children it is failing terribly whilst men are suicidal in these situations.

    And for women who are partnered to these men, well we wear the cost, not only dealing with men with psychological trauma but having to pay for the shortfalls due to our partners income going to other women.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support is essentially a morality-free zone. That is, it’s not up to them to make judgments about life choices, etc. I wouldn’t want public servants doing that anyway.

      The only morality seems to be that money must be shovelled towards the person who has the kids most of the time, even if it’s excessive and unfair and even bad for children. That’s not in the legislation. It’s the fault of the formula and the culture and ingrained practices of the bureaucrats.

      Our new formula would make a big change by starting with the assumption that each parent is responsible for 50% of care. That way, any women of the kind you describe couldn’t bludge off men so much.

  151. Jason
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I have my two children 43% of the time (6 days per fortnight). Due to the income disparity, even though my ex-wife earn $70,000 per year, my child support payments are $370 per week which is nearly $20,000 per year tax free. This more than covers medical expenses, and private school fees. Do I need to pay for half (or 43%?) of medical expenses when I easily pay enough child support for this (plus holidays to the Gold Coast!)? I think I’m okay for the private school fees considering I was careful not to express agreement.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      For day-to-day expenses, including routine medical care, it’s up to the parents to decide who pays for what. As you indicated, payments are often excessive, in which case the receiver should cover most costs to make things a bit fairer.

  152. Ingo Bentrup
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, I am not taking care of my son’s child support case, but I am, however, trying to help him through a very difficult period. That is what parents do. He does not have the time that I have being a pensioner to research the issues that he is constantly being bombarded with by his vindictive ex. I posted to your site hoping to get an answer to what I considered to be a legitimate question. Clearly I was wrong. And her finances are very much my business as well because she also owes my wife and I a considerable sum of money.

  153. Colin
    | Reply

    I can’t believe when my ex notified CSA that she was going on maternity leave I instantly had to pay 100% cost of children (2 kids 50% shared custody). It has been an abhorrent 9 months since she returned to her full time 85k p.a. Job that I have tried to get a fair rebalance of child support. It has taken since January 20th until May 20th for CSA to actually call our respective employers and check income information. I have had to use the complaints process. She used settlement monies to buy an investment property jointy with new partner and contributed 90% of the cost . She claims she will not get a cent of the $350 dollars a week it is being rented out for as taxable income. Child support agency accept this as I have been notified today. I am so tired of the battle. I have a half million dollar mortgage on the marital home to service. I cannot get fairness and everything is stacked in favour of the first person to repartner. I have worked so hard and always contributed very substantially to the care of the kids but it all has just worked against me. The system is a one way downward spiral and most men are on the damned side of the equation… just left totally unsupported by government and left to rot…treated as collateral damage. I now understand why there is horrific over-representation of male suicide and self exile from society.

  154. Dave
    | Reply

    Ok, thanks Andrew for such a prompt reply. I understand I will have to pay more, but do you think that I will get slapped with penalties as well? Also, will the extra amount be calculated up to the 8th of November only? Do you think CSA will show any flexibility and give me time to pay off as well? Should I be proactive know and call them to discuss and start paying some now?

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks again

    Dave

    PS I have been paying child support since my daughter was 3 months old! Thanks as well, I have used your forum before, and you have provided good advice!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Penalties probably wouldn’t be applied but would just tell them anyway. New assessment would be from 1 July to 8 November.

  155. Dave
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    My daughter turned 18 in August 2018 and my child support payable by me ceased on the 8th of November 2018, due to my daughter finishing year 12 classes on that date. I had not much choice but to do an estimate for FY19 instead of FY18 taxable as my forecasted income was going to drop quite significantly due to contract changes of my employment. As it turns out, due to an unforeseen amount of overtime and working away from home in 2019 (after my assessment ended) I am going to be over by about 40k of my estimate but still about 20k less than my FY18 income, after I complete my FY19 tax return. What is the best course of action for me to take, and what is the worst case scenario here?

    Regards

    Dave

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No big deal as I understand it. They will use your final 2018-19 taxable income to calculate how much extra child support you need to pay.

  156. M
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    Just looking for some advise my partner has a debt of around 90k with CSA. Lots of reasons behind him not paying like not getting to see the kids threats etc so He buried his head thinking it would go away. Is there anyway we can get this reduced or if we came to a private arrangement with the mother could this be wiped and start off on an agreed amount. He has no assets or savings. Any information would be appreciated. – I have just found out about this I had no idea and obviously want to try and get on top of it to get on with our future.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can’t wish away child support debt. Your partner seems to be a fool with money quite frankly.

  157. Ingo Bentrup
    | Reply

    My son has just received an “Application to change your assessment Special Circumstances” from his ex. She has provided just the first page of her personal bank account statement which shows Deposits & Credits for the relevant period to be $29,404.00. His payments to her and the payments that she receives from the Government amount to approximately $20,000.- leaving about $9,000.00 of revenue unaccounted for. My son has asked for a copy of the full statement be provided but was told by Child Support that it is not relevant and the ex dose not need to supply it. They said that only his information is relevant. Is this correct? Her form clearly states in Q 13 “Give details of all accounts held by you in banks,” etc.. It does not say partial details?? Surely the system cannot be that biased??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Given your son is a parent, I presume he is an adult and wonder why he needs his Dad to take care of his child support case. And why are his ex’s finances also your business? I’m not sure he is allowed to share that info with you. Maybe just let Child Support do their job. They probably have a reliable assessment for her income, which is why they are taking the position they are.

  158. Elle
    | Reply

    Thank you for addressing and trying to rectify the terribly flawed system.

    I have been a single mum for the last 8 years with 97% care of my son. My ex husband and I separated when I was a stay at home mum and the ex was in a local government position. He decided at the time to completely sever ties with me and his boy, and I scrambled to get myself a job, a car, and start all over again.
    When his council contract finished a yearater he worked in hospitality for 2 years on minimum wage, purposefully reducing his CSA payments to the bere minimum ($1440~ per year).

    I decided to take matters into my own hands and live with the freedom of full custody, lived overseas with my son and worked my way through postgraduate and promotions, working 3 jobs and now cutting back to 2. I’ve worked hard to now be earning over 6 figures so we can live the lifestyle I want for him. But as the primary carer, the total I get from my ex is $42 a week.

    Meanwhile the ex has had another child (also reducing my payment), been in a defacto relationship in a regional centre with a much lower and shared cost of living, yet our self funded costs are calculated equally?!

    After also going through breast cancer treatments last year and chewing up savings for treatments and time off work I realised I just can’t do it by myself.

    After 6 years without payment negotiations I decided to approach the ex and his partner for more money the other week. My son is getting older, our rent is higher after just moving into a 2 bedroom place (we have always shared a room or I have slept in the living room) so the costs are naturally increasing.

    The offer they came back with today is an extra $100 – per month. This is because they just managed to buy their own house and have a tighter budget with mortgage repayments (something I can’t even dream to consider).
    How the CSA isn’t asset tested I dont know?!
    That will make the humble total of $67 per week in CSA support.

    I am angry and tired of doing twice as much for half the benefit for my child.
    Do I have any options for changing this at the moment?
    Thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The problem is that he is earning little and there’s not much anyone else can do about that. Can your son spend more time with him during the holidays? That would help a bit. I would probably take his offer as you don’t seem to have leverage to push for more money.

  159. Natasha
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I have 100% custody and no contact with my daughters father. He has a law and accounting degree but works for his family and claims (and lodges with the ATO) he is earning minimum wage. He has recently lodged his 18/19 taxable income as zero, further reducing child support payable. Is there any way I can contest this without having to jump through hoops and filling out mountains of paperwork trying to prove something I cannot substantiate.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8), Child Support will do most of the work in assessing his finances. Most of the paperwork for you is providing details about your own finances.

  160. Mark
    | Reply

    Inexplicably long call hold times literally every time I try to ring. I work for a living and can’t afford to waste 2 hours of my day waiting to talk to someone. It’s inexcusable.

  161. Sam
    | Reply

    Hi,

    My ex changed his career to be self employed so for the past 5 years has paid as little as $25 a week for child support. I did a change of assessment and won one and then last year again it was changed to $95 a week. We both agreed on private school as one child. My ex has never paid. Our child has a scholarship for 50% which helps but still for one parent who has the child 100% its hard. My main query is our child is a very good Tennis player. In State teams and Nationals. The father won’t share any of these costs. I don’t get this would not a father be proud of this.? Would not a father want to share costs instead of trying to get out of paying it. He says “no” as it’s my choice. I just need to know from others what they think as I am really confused. Background – He is wealthy and remarried and both himself and wife Travel Overseas a few times a year, both drive $85,000 cars with personalised number plates, races, restaurants etc. They live a great life. Always to busy to see his own child. He moved away not me. Thanks as I just need to know others thoughts.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If your ex was supportive of the tennis lessons, trips to tournaments, etc, he would potentially be liable to help cover the costs (see http://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6/9 ). Seems like he doesn’t want to help financially and is willing to stay away to ensure that. Sounds like a jerk.

  162. John
    | Reply

    Hi, I need to ask for some advice. I have been paying my ex child support for the last 5 years with our own agreement. I have (voluntarily) overpaid her to assist her and my son – she has primary care, roughly 75/25 ratio. I am now in a position where I am starting a job which pays considerably less, and I also have a new mortgage and a baby on the way with my new wife. I have told my ex that I am unable to keep paying this amount and my payments will decrease as I will have a 12k pay cut and I am not in a financial position where I can overpay her anymore. I start this job at the end of June. My ex is now saying she wants to go “on the books”. So if she applies, will I have to pay the child support amount based on my last tax return even though since then the situation has changed significantly including a 12k salary cut and a new baby?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can estimate income for the current financial year if you’ve experienced a pay cut of 15% or more. New children also improve your child support situation.

  163. Mark
    | Reply

    So here is my story. My ex-wife and I separated in late October 2018, and within the first week of November 2018 I had lodged claims with both Centrelink and Child Support Agency for 50/50 care of our two children. Now, despite Centrelink having recorded that I lodged the claim, the Child Support Agency somehow didn’t register my claim, and I had to re-apply in late December when Centrelink contacted me to state I hadn’t lodged a claim and she was disputing the custody split. Little did I know this was going to be the first of a long battle.

    So I re-lodged, and on 15 January 2019 had a call from the Child Support Agency to confirm if I was the biological father of my children. I agreed, and asked why this was being asked, only to discover she had lodged a claim the day before I re-lodged, so they had ignored my claim and were acting only on hers. They then proceeded to ask about my income. I advised that my 17/18 income was not indicative of my 18/19 income as I had not worked for 7 months in that year and was now on a full time contract. I was told this didn’t matter and they would do a re-assessment when I lodged my 18/19 tax return.

    So then in early February I get an email advising that they had done an assessment, and she owed me about $8,000 per annum. This is when the real drama started. As this notice stated my 17/18 income, I rang three times that day to ask if there was any way it could be adjusted as I knew my ex-wife would dispute it (and I didn’t think it was fair to assess me at almost $60k less than my actual income). Each time, I was told no, you cannot do anything until you lodge your next tax return.

    So imagine my surprise last week when I get a letter from the Child Support Agency advising that she has asked for a reassessment (on the day the initial assessment was made) as I have lied about my income, that she has paid all the school fees and health insurance for our children! And I have 14 days to respond, 5 of which were already consumed by their mail process. Oh, and I have to provide evidence of my income and any issues I want to dispute.

    Imagine my surprise when I ring the Child Support Agency to query why she could ask for a reassessment and not provide any evidence, but I was not afforded the same opportunity when I queried it not once, but four times! Their response? It’s the legislation. But hang on, how can it work one way, but not the other, that is a completely flawed argument. And not only that, my response and any evidence is then given back to her to dispute it, yet I am not afforded the same response if she makes a further reply.

    So I proceed to respond to the allegations, providing evidence of my current contract, an invoice from the school that clearly shows I’ve been charged for 50% of the school fees, and a statement from her health insurance fund that shows the amount she has told them is $6 more per week than she is actually paying (and that’s after the recent rate rise – before that it was about $8.50 per week). My response also asked why she could make false allegations and all the responsibility falls on me to prove otherwise (unlike any other legal system in the world where it is up to the person making the allegation to provide evidence before someone is assumed guilty).

    I also made the statement that I can see now why so many fathers consider killing themselves when dealing with these matters. Because it is draining, it is exhausting, and it destroys a person. Amazingly, it was this statement that had them respond. I’ve had two phone calls in a week from social workers and ‘senior’ staff concerned about my welfare. Not about the actual flaws in the system, but simply checking that I’m not in distress. So they kindly try and explain the process to me. They will do a reassessment and I may be required to pay money back. Wait, what? I’ve told you four times (six if you include my two claims), I’ve relied on your information in good faith, and now I have to pay money back?

    So what are my avenues for compensation due to maladministration? There are none! Oh, we’ll listen to the tapes and if you’ve been given incorrect or insufficient advice, we’ll address that with the staff member. Sure, you do that, but what do I get? Nothing, you aren’t entitled to anything.

    Turns out, not only do I now have to pay back what she has paid me, but there is a very real chance I will now have to pay her due to other circumstances resulting from the separation.

    Now, I have the tenacity and desire to fight this every step of the way because there are bigger issues at play for me, but the fact that this agency can act on baseless allegations and put all the responsibility on the defendant (read father) to prove otherwise is wrong. And the fact that there is no liability for their misinformation and poor administration is just appalling.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sorry to hear about your experiences Mark. The problem is that every administrative procedure, every 50:50 call, every prejudiced assumption errs on the side of the receiver or mother. The intent behind this bias is to support children. But the total effect is a system that is toxic and unfair to men. And this phenomenon extends to family law as well.

      In business, we often look at the customer experience. The customer experience for men dealing with child support cases of any complexity can be absolutely horrendous. Our new system would help fix the cultural and administrative problems by assuming at the outset that both parents have a responsibility to provide for their child(ren).

  164. james
    | Reply

    Can CSA reduce a payment to a single mum while her appeal has been lodged (but not heard )by the AAT?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes. As far as I’m aware, an appeal doesn’t do anything until it’s heard and acted upon.

  165. PJM
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I’ve been reading some of the articles posted here and my heart really goes out to all the hard working dads who are currently being terrorised by the CSA.
    It really is a silent war being waged on fathers by this immoral and obscene department and it needs to be closed down.
    The suicide rate especially with young dads who can see no way out is not being spoken about or the financial hardship that they cause is completely ignored not to mention the dignity that is stripped away from you when they end their call with a threat!
    Like many of your posts I’m also being screwed over by this dept with their outrageous assessments on what I have to pay.
    Don’t get me wrong I want to pay money for my children I always have and always will but it has to be at a sustainable level.
    I won’t go into exact figures but lets say that I’m paying 30% tax on my salary and the CSA are garnishing a further 25% from my net Salary!!
    This doesn’t leave much left over especially with supporting my little 18 month old from my second marriage who is the only thing that keeps me going.
    This post isn’t really about advise it’s more about my observation of this system.
    Let me summarise –
    The more I earn the more I pay
    The less my ex earns the more I pay
    The less time I’m given with my kids the more I pay
    Request a change of assessment (My ex wife gets to see all my finances even though it’s not her call it’s just designed to put you off making the request in the first place)
    Why take a promotion and a pay rise from your boss for your hard work when you’ll end up paying more to the CSA
    Why bother taking a second job to pay for the monthly bill when your tax return will be higher and you’ll end up paying more (catch 22)
    They have the power to contact your employer and garnish your account without going in front of a judge for a court order!
    They can stop you from leaving the country and have the federal police turn you back at the port of departure without a court order!
    They can dip directly into your bank account once again without seeking permission from a judge!
    Maybe this resonates with some of the Dads out there and I hope that things will get better in the future.
    Our voices need to be heard and we need to stop being treated as second class citizens in a civilised western society.
    I hope this article isn’t to unproductive but IT’S THE TRUTH..

  166. LM
    | Reply

    Thanks Andrew, I will call them, although after many years of dealing with this (with a psychopathic ex involved) I am traumatised by it all. I literally get nauseous and start shaking when I need to call CSA. It is causing a major mental health issues in our society. I thought having court orders for 50/50 shared care & time would be the solution, but all it did was cause parental alienation – fully backed up by CSA legislation. Its an absolute disgrace! So how do we change this? Who in parliament is the one who needs to make this change happen? During this election I haven’t heard a single word about Family Law matters. Andrew, thank you for all your hard work with this, its appreciated, as many of us are completely exhausted.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No problem LM. Understand that it can be very hard to have a normal, friendly conversation with Child Support. Starting in a friendly tone and keeping it matter-of-fact is the way to go if possible.

      One Nation called for a Review of the Family Law System last election. The review is finished but it got derailed by the Coalition Government, industry insiders, ineffectual bureaucrats, and a surprisingly inept Christian Porter. The “comprehensive” review by the Family Law Commission turned into another assault on the perceived value of fathers in the lives of children. See here: https://childsupportaustralia.com/family-law-system-review/

      One Nation is calling for a Royal Commission into family law and child support. That will make a bunch of fat-cat lawyers wealthy but am skeptical about it’s value if the idea goes ahead. We already have policy and program prescriptions, which would produce a much simpler and more effective child support system, detailed here on this site. Don’t need a Royal Commission to start improving things dramatically.

  167. LM
    | Reply

    Hi, I pay an extra $5000 per year (over my standard CSA payments), which was ruled as being specific for 50% of the school fee’s. I have now found out that my ex hasn’t been paying any of the school fees with this money for 3 terms and the school is on the verge of cancelling the children’s enrollment. ( I have also been alienated from my children – I have zero contact).
    What will happen if I report this to CSA.
    My ex also recently reduced her income from $50K to NIL. (she quit her job) Will CSA now suggest I pay 100% of the school fee’s. (over my usual CSA)

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’d ring Child Support ASAP and talk to them about your options. Maybe have an initial conversation and ask them to call you back at a later time since this is fairly complex and they may need to look at your case in some detail. You shouldn’t have to pay for private-school fees that aren’t being lodged. You can’t be asked to pay more I wouldn’t think since your children’s schooling appears to just be in her control.

  168. Tracy
    | Reply

    Thank you for your reply. Yes i have always received that kind of treatment from CSA. It feels like i am the payer. So out of 17 years, the ex has paid 6 years of child support! LOL
    And they cant backdate 6 weeks…. hahaha
    He has always had 100% access whenever he wanted to see them for the one or two times per year!

    So anyway, please humour me.
    If i decide to waste my time with an appeal for the backdating. Please offer me some advice, some good reasons why they should backdate, would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To be honest, I wouldn’t bother with it since you can’t make them backdate and I can’t think of any compelling reasons. Remember, increased current-year income usually only affects child support payments for the following financial year. So they are already doing you a favour in backdating to the day you applied for a COA.

  169. Tracy
    | Reply

    Hi

    I left my ex 17 years ago. Our youngest is 17yrs old.
    The ex has had wages garnished for approx. 6 years for child support on and off over the 17 years. Other than that there is zero support financially, emotionally or physically for his kids. Sad for the kids 🙁
    He phones them once a month.
    He started a job on 4th Oct 2018. In Sep he told my son he might have a job. So in Nov when the child support didnt increase, i called CSA. They said i need to fill out Change of Assessment form. I did that. It was finalised in March and changed the assessment. Now just waiting for CSA to garnish wages.
    Anyway, CSA wont backdate to 4th Oct…. they will only backdate to 19th Nov when i lodged the form. Why is that? I had no idea it was on me to notify them. I dont know anything about the guy, i had no idea if he actually did start work or not in Oct.
    I have put in a dispute to have it backdated to 4th Oct but the horrible CSA lady basically told me she will deny my dispute. Isnt it just common sense to backdate. It is just awful how my ex lives off his defacto to avoid paying for his children. Then gets a job, and here we are over 7 months later and hes still not paying.
    Can i appeal when i receive the deny letter? What is my best avenue to go down to have this backdated by 6 weeks?

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ha ha – you’ve just experienced something that payers go through routinely, and often covering much longer periods. Backdating or not is almost always done in a way that disadvantages payers.

      Many, many, many complaints have been made about the unfair ways Child Support does backdating. I suspect the “CSA lady” either (a) is following standard procedures or (b) is doing something discretionary that she/they have done many times before. Either way, unfortunately, it may be a waste of time to try to get justice.

  170. Sorry but i can’t anymore!!
    | Reply

    I pay child support, happily pay child support, i have t seen my child for 6 years(mother refuses and has moved to Melbourne), what frustrates me is she is a qualified teacher, has a partner, and DOES NOT WORK, which in turn doubles my payments, i have 2 other sons that live with me, and my partners son(his father passed away)and still my payments are high, when i questioned CSS, they told me the % is based on my earnings and her earnings, i have contacted everyone i could and i have done 3 assessments and still my payments are massive, we are struggling at home!! I have just got an increase at work due to a promotion i have worked my bum off for, i did the right thing to let CSS know my new income and not even a day later i get an email of the new assesment and increase!! What about my EX, she does nothing, no work, yet is qualified teacher, able to work(she has previously) and supported by her partner, yet my payments go up?? I work my butt off to support my family and it goes there, to someone that does not want to work!!i feel like quitting my job and just giving up, i feel like im supporting her and the child and we were not even living together!!! I am SOOO DEPRESSED, I AM READY TO GIVE UP!!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Having unfair things done to you, such as not being able to see your child and having money taken from you regularly, with the involvement of a cold-hearted institution, is about the worst thing you can do to someone. It’s like a severe form of bullying; one that takes away hope. You probably have a primal need to take action and regain control but see no avenues available.

      A key purpose of this site is to give people a sense of control so they are less likely to reach a point of despair.

      I don’t need to tell you that you have important things to do. Giving up isn’t a real option. All you can do is be grateful for the things you have and to focus on what is under your control.

  171. Leah Davey
    | Reply

    My ex has not done a tax return in 10 years. How can he get away with that. He owns a business and house and cars and caravans. Claims estimate of 34000

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not doing tax returns is an issue for the ATO. The income tax system is basically a trust system, with the outside possibility of an audit the key deterrent to cheating.

  172. michael Bet
    | Reply

    I have some queries on a response on a change of assessment application for 8A and 8B. 8A has been accepted as unfair and has been credited back to myself. My ex-partner, who now has full custody of my children, but there is evidence to say that she earnt money in a business she now said did not eventuate, which she gave away to another family member which she could have used to earn income. She has now reduced her income, even though she has been attending courses for the last three years. The ombudsman states that a person must attend a course with the intention to use this skill to earn an income after they complete the course. She is now saying she can’t work due to health reasons and gave away the business for this reason. She is now homeschooling the two children. She said she has not worked for sometimes is her response on 8 B which CSA is saying in the response letter has not been established by her response answers. How do I answer this response as it states that more evidence is needed for me appeal to this decision. I feel her response is lacking in solid evidence of her situation as is the reasons for her health issues been established. Im very confused in how this can be reponded too.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Am also confused. Child Support seem to be giving her the benefit of the doubt. Would have thought the onus would be on her to demonstrate a work-preventing medical problem – by seeing a health practitioner. Maybe you could point this out.

      This kind of investigation would be made obsolete if our proposed new system were implemented. Recipient income would, as per the original scheme, have no impact on what a payer is required to contribute.

  173. John
    | Reply

    Thankyuo for such an informative site,

    I currently have a 5 year old girl and 2 year old girl. My X wife and i divorced approx six months ago, seperated 1 and 1/2 years ago.

    Custody has ranged from me 6 nights a fortnight and 50/50 during school holidays and now 5 nights a fortnight and 50/50 during school holidays.

    She earns around 40-45k a year and i earn approx 98k a year.

    I have a couple of questions..

    Upon splitting up we amicably agreed on 50/50 split of 400k of assets and for her not to touch my super (married for six years) with no solicitor intervention.

    Since splitting I have:
    paid child support ranging from $250 to $280 per week.
    At same time paid half towards school uniforms, shoes, and sport extra curricular activities.
    Offered to pay half major dental (ie braces) should that be required in future.

    Now that i have met someone tensions rise and she is going down the solicitor threat warpath like everyone else!

    1) My X is proposing that we enter into a financial binding agreement. she is proposing that as part of this agreement:
    a) I pay for 80% of private school fees when they enter high school.
    b) I pay for half major dental (ie braces).
    c) I sign to agree to ALWAYS pay half school uniform costs
    d) I pay half extra curricular activity costs (ie soccer/ music).
    c) Obviously continue child support…

    If i argue at any point then she simply tells me to keep my mouth shut or she will go for my super and more than a 50/50 split of assets- this quickly shuts me up and she knows it..

    Im not sure what to do, or what is fair/ typical as i am happy to stand firm on what is fair? I feel that so far i have met more than halfway but im unsure? I am happy to pay for half school uniforms and also sport activities as well as child support but i feel that any more than that is perhaps excessive?

    Also, when she applied for child support she advised that i have the girls 5 nights a fortnight, but she didnt tell them that i have them half the time for the 11 week holiday per year- would this reduce child support costs if i advise this to child support?

    I also had a wage drop recently, should i notify child support so payments are reduced or does this happen only at next tax time?

    thanks so much,

    John

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      John – what you deal you do, if any, is up to you and her. Can’t really comment on complex negotiations.

      Care during school holidays can definitely be factored into calculations. See this video for info on how the care level affects payments.

      You can report an income reduction to Child Support (including via my.gov.au). The drop in current-year income needs to be at least 15% across the financial year.

  174. Bec
    | Reply

    Though I am unsure if there is a solution to this particular issue, this is the first forum I have found where people are openly/tastefully discussing CSA problems.

    My ex partner seems to have found a method which allows him to not pay the full child support amount for our child, and additionally allows him to avoid having his full tax return syphoned. The CSA’s response is simply, “it does effect your child’s assessment, but we are only a debt collection service”.

    Firstly, my ex partner consistently remains a year behind in the tax return of his salary; secondly, every year he underestimates by $50,000 despite remaining in the same role/job – every year the ATO correct this amount though the CSA state that this pattern of 5years is not enough to object his estimates. Most amazingly however, is that he pays C/S to his defacto fiancé… they have falsely claimed since the birth of their first child, that they have been separated. This despite living, holidaying, socialising and planning a wedding together. Additionally this assessment has been updated twice to include the two additional children they have had since the initial claim.

    This “method” not only has the effect (according to CSA) of decreasing the amount he should pay for mine/his child (75% of his child support income going to his fiancé), it also ensures that 75% of syphoned tax return ends up back in his pocket.

    I hope one day there will be a reform of the CSA, for the benefit of those wanting the best for their children. I wish you luck

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Bec – very cunning behaviour by your ex and I’m a little surprised Child Support have allowed him to get away with it. Of course, none of it would be possible if our better, simpler system were in place.

      Civil action may be possible but would be a hassle and costly but would need to have lawyers involved. Note that they may be giving up Family Tax Benefit money in order to dodge child support and may not be much better off financially. That makes what he is doing even worse from a moral standpoint.

      I’d suggest initiating a Change of Assessment – Reason 8 (Earning Capacity). This would force the financial arrangements to be properly looked at if Child Support accept the application. You could claim that the child support he pays to his partner is actually a “fraudulent, within-household transfer” and represents income that should be available to support your child. That should form a strong rationale to compel Child Support to do a review.

  175. Kylie
    | Reply

    Hi, I am the paying parent even thought I have primary care of the children. We have a 65/35 arrangement for care of the children. There has been all sorts of trouble from him and includes several FVIO’s and the fact that he doesn’t want to work – so went out & bought a franchise…his income & earning capacity (considering his experience & skills) has dropped from $100k to the last FY where he claimed a taxable income of just under $9k. CS did accept my COA and increased his income to $50k (as per the min income for a ‘garden laborer’) – however I still pay $500 per month in CS plus $200 per month in arrears as the CSA took 5 months to review their decision!
    He also refuses to pay for such things as school fees, uniforms and out of pocket medical expenses (I maintain family heath insurance for the children) as well as AGREED extra curricular activities. So, I am effectively double dipping – but what choice do I have? I won’t deny what my children need and if I refuse to pay CS they’ll just garnish my wages anyway…I have worked long and hard for 30 years, including 8 years of full time Uni studies whilst working full time hours, to get to where I am with my career and how I (thought) I’d set up the family to be financially secure – I was completely blind sighted by my ex’s gambling problem in the end as I left a DV marriage. To keep the family home (of which was paid for with the sale of my property) I had to spend almost $40k on legal fees as he refused to agree to anything I offered (in the end the judge gave him less than I offered anyway – but the legal cost damage was done). I had to sell the family home and downsize the mortgage (which took a significant battering due to his gambling) to afford CS payments whilst he has gone on overseas trips, works as little as possible (and does off book jobs) and clearly lives above his stated means – even with his DVA pension (former military). In the 2016/17 FY year he very quickly agreed to have the CS set at $0 rather than produce any form of evidence of projected business income for the ESTABLISHED business he purchased…and I will note that he lived very comfortably between the 2017 and 2018 FY with $0 CS…
    The CSA simply state that even though a parent may appear to be living beyond their financial means this doesn’t mean that they are earning more than they state – it could simply be that they are living off credit cards or people are “giving them money” (pffft!!).
    Will you be looking into how CS takes into account self employed ‘off book’/cash in hand issues – CSA currently say they have no control over that and can only take into consideration what is “declared income”. I have gone through many COA’s and currently have an application in with the AAT – whilst I have had to supply copious amounts of paperwork and financial evidence of what I earn and spend – CSA have simply allowed my ex to remain silent as he chooses to ‘not respond’. I believe that payees should be compelled to respond and provide evidence of how they are managing to live when declaring such low taxable incomes (i.e. well below minimum wage & even centrelink minimum payments!!) – all the while maintaining their own homes, not living as though they on the poverty line, going on overseas trips etc…
    I for one would love to see a full overhaul of the CS system!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Kylie – It’s amazing the lengths some payers will go to avoid their obligations. Our approach to deal with these types of avoidance is to use standard / benchmark income levels for payers attempting to manipulate income. Using average male earnings, the income level would be roughly $75-$80k per annum. Anything dodgy and payers would be moved up to this standard income level. Having a simple benchmark income would allow cases like yours to be quickly and easily dealt with, so the kids get reasonable support.

  176. GM
    | Reply

    HI Andrew

    Firstly thank you for your lateral thinking and your explanation with all things Child Support.

    Little bit about me and my CSA issues, I have been separated and divorced for over 10 years. I have no outstanding child support payments and pay monthly on time, every time.
    Over the last few years I have completed some extra training and qualifications and have a good full time FIFO role with a Mining Company (always been employed full time). Fortunately that has seen my wage raise but the down side is naturally my child support increases. What makes this ever increasingly frustrating is that my ex over the last few years slowly backed off from her employment from a full time role paying 45k to part time 31k and her last payment summary was as a self-employed “Cleaner” that earnt 12k for the financial year . During the last 3 years her father (divorced as well) passed away and left the 3 siblings 3 houses ,a property all mortgage free , shares and superannuation (confirmed). Since his passing she has moved into one of the houses and the other 2 are being rented, how the rental income for these properties is being managed I am unsure of. I cannot confirm but I am presuming there would have been a trust fund for kids as he was a wealthy man. Naturally I tried for a COA (change of assessment) but it was rejected. When I questioned the reasons the CSA informed me that the house my ex had moved into required some work (totally incorrect as the house in brand new). When I questioned how did they know that, did they visit the home or has a CSA representative attend the property, CSA replied that she had called my ex and asked her about the house and my ex had told her she needed to do some work on it and also she was just starting her own business to spend more time with the children.
    Obviously I was blown away from the so called “investigation”.
    I am not afraid of paying child support and I provide for everything when the children are in my care, and I mean everything as our orders have items like Sporting equipment, prescription glasses, medical items and school uniforms. (Yes I got ripped but it’s for the kids).
    I have placed my circumstances in your calculator and it makes a lot more sense than the CSA formula as I am only paying for the days they are spending with their mother when they should be in my care based on a 50/50 split. I have the 3 children every second weekend (the 2 eldest come and go as they please) from the Thursday to the Sunday (3 nights a fortnight)
    The family law court process is absolutely shocking and is placing extra strain on the “family” the bias towards men is appalling and even my wife (remarried to a wonderful lady) has troubles understanding some decisions awarded to the women.

    I would like your feedback about my situation and any advice would be appreciated.

    GM

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your contribution GM and support for the new, logical formula.

      It would be a totally different story if you, as the payer, were the one who reduced their income deliberately and had a large pool of assets that weren’t being used to provide for the children. They expect payers to maximise income always and sell off major assets that aren’t producing income.

      Unfortunately, Child Support have significant latitude in how they apply the legislation, and know how to push the boundaries as well. I’m not sure that you have much potential for success by trying further. But you always have the option to appeal against any decision.

      I actually don’t think recipient income should be a factor in child support, nor assets. You can have an effective, workable system without such complexities (which also create perverse disincentives). But, as you’ve indicated, your situation means you are probably paying well over the odds in terms of what’s fair.

      Child Support have the scope to intervene in your case if they wanted to but are choosing not to. I wouldn’t worry about the specific excuses. They are unwilling to admit the truth. They are not interested in pursuing your case because you are a payer.

  177. Eric
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I share 50:50 custody of my young daughter with her mother. We both earn reasonable salaries myself 140K the mother 80K. After financial settlement (50/50), the mother has reduced her work hours by choice which increases the cost of my CSA payments.
    The amount I pay more than covers the costs of a preschool child. This system is broken.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Correct Eric. It’s ridiculous that you have to pay truckloads in child support when you have 50:50 care. You can just buy things for your daughter out of your own pocket. Why the need to funnel money to your daughter via your ex?

      Our system would eliminate child support for 50:50 care.

  178. I don’t understand how this can happen!?
    | Reply

    My ex husband has always worked. He used to earn about $160,000 – $140,000 per year. We share custody 50/50. He eventually started paying child support when it was garnished from his wage directly. I have a minimum wage job now and have found getting decent employment hard after being a stay at home Mum while we were married. I did work as a Registered Nurse for over 10 years prior to having children. I never thought I would end up separating. I ended up in a DV marriage😢. I can’t get work as a Registered Nurse now as I’ve been unregistered too long and there is no refresher course like there used too be. I’d have to do my 3 years at uni again!!!
    My ex husband quit his job a month or so ago saying he was sick of working and wanted a break. He still pays his mortgage, takes our 3 children on lavish outings and is taking himself on an overseas holiday next month to the USA.
    Because he is no longer working he has filed for child support against me. I’m on minimum wage….half of my pay goes on rent and everything else goes on bills, food etc.
    I don’t have the ability to take our children on lavish outings or go on an overseas holiday like him!
    I’m now being told I have to pay him $150 child support a fortnight. I won’t be able to make ends meet!….. yet he is going to buy a new car, go overseas on a holiday etc etc
    How can that be fair!?!
    I’m going to have to pack up and move back in with my family until I can find higher paying employment.
    I’m so stressed.
    What can I do?
    He is choosing not to work saying he’s over the whole work thing. He has savings hidden in accounts in our children’s names and with his family. He also does air conditioning installations for cash or through his cousin’s business and declares non of that money.
    He’s living a lavish lifestyle compared to me yet I’m about to lose my home because I can’t afford the rent anymore.
    Please help 😞

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can apply for a Change of Assessment – Reason 8 (Earning Capacity). Child Support will review both your financial affairs. They may put his income back to its former level for child support purposes. Evidence that he didn’t have a legitimate reason for stopping work is valuable.

  179. KyleB
    | Reply

    Hello, I am a father to 4 children and my ex won’t allow me to see the children which breaks my heart. I am paying a high amount for Child Support because I work long hours FIFO. The second eldest has now turned 18years and I am still paying due to the child apparently still being in school (exactly what happened with the eldest) I doubt this is the case. Apparently she doesn’t even have to prove that are at school to get the payments. I have been told that the only way to dispute this is to call the school to confirm but then the CSA won’t tell me what school they are going to due to a breach in privacy. Can they not just ask her to prove it?(There is no, or never has been a restraining order in place) I don’t understand what I can do, do you have any ideas?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      What an unfair situation Kyle. Child Support are geared just to maximise payments. They never seem to think, “Gee, we could just do this one simple thing and make things fair for the payer”. Totally mindless attitude.

      Of course, they should ask her for evidence of attendance or contact the school themselves. Perhaps they have such evidence but aren’t telling you.

      Can only suggest that you be nice to Child Support and try to convince them to ask her for the enrollment approval documentation that she or your child would have received. Otherwise, you’ll somehow need to get some evidence to give to Child Support indicating that your child isn’t attending school.

  180. June Drysdale
    | Reply

    Hi
    I am a grandparent carer on a retirement pension. My granddaughter’s father pays me child support. Her mother is dead.
    I applied for change of assessment for special needs because she needed braces at a cost of $7,500 and he refused my request to pay. I felt that it was a lot for me to take on, on my limited income. I had to get the treatment started and send the receipt to CSA before they would accept my application, so I had to pay a sum upfront and commit to a monthly payment plan for two years.
    I was granted the change of assessment, and the father was ordered to pay, but he objected and the first decision was overturned, so I am left to continue the payments.
    The decision maker for the father’s objection did not phone me to discuss it or ask about my personal circumstances or any other matters. As a third party carer I was not required to declare my income when I filled out the change of assessment form, so he did not know my circumstances. He did send me a letter informing me of the objection (with no signature), but that was all.
    When he called to tell me of his decision, he said that the amount of child support the father already paid was intended to cover expenses like braces, extra curricula activities, driving lessons (granddaughter is 16 and on her Ls). He said that all of these things were discretionary and I could say no, as he did with his children. He said that because her father was paying all of the child support himself, it was unreasonable to expect him to pay for braces and I would need to take on that expense myself. He sounded biased and had an accent consistent with a culture in which traditionally men come out on top. How can two decision makers have two such different outcomes? Don’t they have rules to follow?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      In these circumstances, the dental evidence should really be the deciding factor. For your claim for the costs of braces to be upheld, you needed to demonstrate “special needs”. The decision makers appear to have formed different opinions from the same evidence. But “special needs” is not defined precisely, so that is not an issue by itself. Maybe it is just a line-ball decision. I’d be guessing that whatever dental evidence was provided indicated that braces were recommended but not essential. You can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, though that would be time-consuming and they may be reluctant to change the decision without strong countervailing evidence.

  181. Danni
    | Reply

    Hi. Ive recently had my centrelink payments severely reduced. I rang them and was told to ring child support as the issue was with them. I was informed by child support that they made a mistake going off old information and that my case has to be completely rebuilt and it would take a couple of weeks. 3 weeks later ive lost even more money and have called child support again to be told that my case has been escalated and is still pending but the lady i spoke to said she reminded them its urgent. But still no information on how long it will take? Is there anything else I can do? Before this puts me in serious debt as i cant afford to pay rent this fortnight as it is

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t know really. They seem to be trying. Maybe have a go at working so you can build some savings and not rely so much on welfare?

  182. Father discloses no income.
    | Reply

    My daughter’s father lives in the Uk and has, from the day she was born, said he is not able to obtain a job. His father pays him a monthly allowance and provides him with a place to live and a car. He goes to the gym and has a phone and comes across as living a privileged life. It is my understanding that my daughter’s father has no assets in his name. However, when I do a search on uk websites, I can see he is a director and shareholder of “dormant” companies, presumably these companies are trustee companies that trade but I have no proof. I suspect my daughters father arranges his affairs so that the trusts distribute money to his own father who then in turn supports him, hence my daughter’s father has no income. What I have never understood is why he can go on overseas holidays, apparently paid for by relatives, yet I struggle to put food on the table and work long hours. How is it possible he earns no income! He is a qualified lawyer and speaks 7 languages. How can this situation be rectified?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not sure about the rules around payers who are overseas. Normally, you can apply for a Change of Assessment – Reason 8 (Earning Capacity) and Child Support will endeavour to look into all his financial affairs. They may find that difficult to do with him being overseas.

      Under our new proposed system, this case would be easy to handle and justice would be quickly served. An income benchmark would apply in cases where payers are not cooperating.

      As it is under the pathetic system that exists currently, Child Support don’t do anything except try to establish an exact historical or current income. They become completely lost when they’re unable to do that and end up doing nothing. Hopeless as usual.

      You may need to do some research on who is responsible for manually assessing income for Australian child support when the payer is in the UK (i.e. is it Australia or the UK people?). Either way, it may be tough to get a good outcome.

  183. Annette
    | Reply

    Hi
    My brother in law has almost 100% care of his teenager and 50% care of his young child and is in mediation talks with his ex but he says that CSA is currently taking 90% of his wage prior to his employer banking it every fortnight. He claims that he is receiving calls on weekends (even last Sunday) from CSA staff saying that he is in arrears but they never confirm anything in writing. Not even that they take money out of his pay. How is this even fair? How can he be expected to pay his rent and bills and put food on the table for his children when they are taking over $700 and leaving him with less than $150 to live on?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support do some very unfair things at times, including driving parents into bankruptcy. However, the information you’ve provided is incomplete and doesn’t look right. Child Support send out letters routinely, and case and payment information is at least available online at my.gov.au Suggest you find out exactly what is going on.

  184. Donna Jones
    | Reply

    My husbands repayments are very minimal while not working. Child support are the ones that said I had to pay his amount, there is a dept of $70 as he didn’t contact them straight away. But I have been told previously by child support myself when my husband gave me permission to speak to them, that I Have to pay his child support when he is not working. I just want to know why child support are insisting I pay his amount. He doesn’t collect Centrelink when unemployed as it is pointless going through all the crap with them for such a minimal amount. He has told them he is not collecting benefits. I am not paying his child support unless they can show me in black and white that I am required to do so. It is very frustrating because his ex has lied to the system for years and collected more that she is entitled to, the final step for me was when she said one of the children was living with her and she wasn’t. The ex moved interstate against a court order, left the older one in this state to complete year 12 living with a friend from school, but was still collecting all monies. I ended up ringing and reporting her as defrauding child support. Firstly the person on the other end of the phone said my husband should be speaking to them, I said I am reporting a fraud and it is my right to do so as she is claiming for a child not living with her, and I assumed all the Centrelink benefits also. Eventually we recieved a credit for the overpayment. But until they can show me the documentation I am not paying it, and the fact that he is not earning and income there is nowhere for the money to come from.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As I’ve indicated previously, your husband’s case involves you only as far as you want to help him pay. The message from Child Support seems to be that they don’t care how he gets the money – including getting it from you – as long as he makes payments. That seems fair enough given he’s on minimum payments.

      It seems that you have the option of (a) getting the money together to make the payments or (b) letting the debt carry on and build up (with fees included) while also getting hassled by Child Support. It’s you and your husband’s decision about what you do. As indicated previously, I don’t see the point of you contacting Child Support or complaining that you’re having to pay for your husband’s debts. You’re being asked to pay because your husband is not doing great as an income-earner right now and hasn’t saved anything. That seems to be the underlying problem.

  185. simon
    | Reply

    how can csa take money from a parent if the contract by csa wasn’t signed nor did either parent get legal advice on the matter. my ex signed onto Centrelink single parent pension and got FTB A&B and at the same time they signed her up to claim child support from me and I have been paying csa for over 10 years but did not sign a contract. is that lawful for one on csa’s part and wouldn’t that be classed as fraud and theft without a contract. how do I find out if their is proof of a contract and b: if their isn’t one what are my options. please resond to email address provided thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t have to apply to pay income tax. Same principle here. Don’t know what your ex did but it seems she applied for child support. That’s enough for both of you to join the system.

  186. Donna Jones
    | Reply

    I have a question about child support. My husband is unemployed at the moment and I am supporting us both on my retail wage, it is a massive struggle. Child support have been told that he is not working and not receiving any benefits as we are living on my wage. He has been told that I have to now pay his child support. I would like to know where it is written that if he is not receiving any income I am responsible for his payments. This annoys me a lot as we have been to court a few times and the mother does not follow court agreements, she up and moved interstate and the courts allowed her to do so even though the court order said she could not. So I am extremely angry that they now say I have to pay child support when we are struggling to survive on my small wage. Any help would be appreciated as I am going to call child support in regards to this and would like to know my facts before I make the call.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Donna – Your husband’s required payments should be very low while he’s unemployed. I’m assuming you’re mainly talking about debt.

      Child Support are merely trying to get the money paid. It’s a bit of a negotiation since they have the option of removing late-payment fees if he agrees to some sort of repayment plan.

      Why would you call Child Support? I don’t really see how it could be helpful.

      He shouldn’t be talking about your income with them. Nothing to do with you. He should simply be saying that his wife is unable to help him make payments and leave it at that. They may be confused as to how he can live off you but can’t repay debt. That’s probably the issue – they are suspicious of how he is maintaining himself.

      But, it seems to me, that your income is only an issue because he is allowing it to be one. Child Support generally don’t care about the incomes of partners as it’s not part of the legislation. He should be able to easily shut down any talk about how your income is used.

  187. MJ
    | Reply

    Thanks for your reply Andrew,

    So what steps are you taking to introduce your new formula to the child support system? And what steps can people like myself take to help the process along?

    MJ.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      MJ – Am letting momentum build and waiting for the right time to really push things along. After the Federal election may be easier since the issue won’t be picked up now. Will also have a bigger platform after my company launches co-parenting timetable software later in the year (beta, shell version at timtab.com. Note that the forms and everything else aren’t operational yet since developing offsite).

      Contributing to this forum is helpful. Also, if you get the chance, mention to others that there is a new, workable child support system shown on this site. There are lots of people running around calling for change. But, frankly, many are sucking up oxygen in this space without pointing to solutions that could actually be implemented. Have only had limited help from other groups and lectures about political correctness, which has been disappointing. Their various proposals have no chance to be frank, mainly because they don’t have experience in real policy development within government. There are many things to balance.

  188. Nicolas Hook
    | Reply

    Hi, I am facing a horrendous outcome for a child support challenge for a change of assessment. Does anyone have feedback on
    1. the best way to object, i have the forms, but what is the strategy?
    2. how to apply and successfully get my case manager changed, who is obviously biased?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Maybe try to be objective and stick to the facts. Frankly, your question is emotive, unclear and lacking essential information. And trying to get your case manager changed seems like a counterproductive waste of time. Case managers are only interested in facts relevant to the case and they all follow the same sorts of procedures.

      While child support can be a hot issue for many, and a source of injustice, it’s generally good policy to deal with it in a calm, rational way and to treat officers with courtesy. More easily said than done in many cases admittedly.

  189. KW
    | Reply

    I am seeking advice for someone else that I know. There is an order in place for how often this dad sees his daughter, however they have now decided that she doesnt want to see him anymore so doesnt come down. They notified CSA that the dad now has no contact so payments have gone through the roof. The order was mentioned but CSA said they dont take orders into consideration and the dad would have to go through court (which he doesnt have the money for)
    The ex wife has now said that her, her husband and kids are moving somewhere else, which is 550km away from the dad, so there is definately no way the dad can see the child now. What I am asking is why should the dad have to pay a rediculous amount of child support when there is an order in place and he is willing to see the daughter, she just wont come down. The dad also has 2 other dependant children and is struggling with money as it is.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Illegal parental alienation in order to extract more child support has skyrocketed since the “reforms” of just over a decade ago. In their infinite wisdom, the Government decided the priority was for recipients to get extra child support – ahead of the principle that court orders must be respected and followed. That’s why the Department of Human Services ignores parenting orders handed down by the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court.

      This flaw in the system is perhaps the worst there is. It separates parents from children. The only option for payers is aggressive court action, which can be prohibitively expensive if one is not confident in representing oneself.

  190. J
    | Reply

    how is the system fair when one party can estimate a zero income and force the other to pay an inflated child support amount, and then not do taxes for years. This means that the paying party builds up a debt or pays excess until CSA look at the tax returns, but if they are never done, then the paying party just keeps getting slammed. Its a terrible system, and people getting child support should be required by law to do their tax returns on time every year or not get child support until its done. And accepting a zero figure when someone has worked the last 9 months is ridiculous. The child support system needs to changed and made fairer. I can understand why so many men want to end their lives dealing with all of this crap, and never even being allowed to see their kids. its a disgrace!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The current system rewards bad behaviour, to the detriment of children and great frustration of parents such as yourself. Many of the “reforms” of a decade or so were actually counterproductive, including linking child support to the incomes of recipients.

      We would fix the problem of not reporting income by (i) removing recipient income from the equation and (ii) introducing an income benchmark to be applied in cases of non-compliance. These fixes would be far simpler than the current system, save hundreds of millions in admin costs, and would produce better outcomes for children. Happy to debate anyone from the government who wants to challenge our claims on this. See the homepage for details.

  191. Giles
    | Reply

    Andrew, thank you, that is exactly what I needed to know. Both cases are open, we each received letters showing the recommended change, allowing time for other parties to appeal. My wife however spoke to them yesterday, and the rep stated they are the decision maker, and that they cannot look at other cases, with letter being sent confirming the opposite of the recommended position. It appears appealing thedecision is needed, your suggested action can only assist.

    Again, my thanks for your assistance.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re welcome.

  192. Giles
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your response on March 4th. I hit the reply next to your response which didn’t seem to work.
    Regardless, I expected as much in so far as not being able to do any further to have ATO look into failure to lodge.

    However, the CSA review I mentioned resulted in letters ‘recommending’ that all business income is to be treated for my CSA case, with my wife to have no income assessed (as all her income comes from my business). Had no issues with this outcome.

    However, the “decision maker” has now notified that they do not care what was recommended, that they will assess my wife’s income on tax returns, and they will assess my income on total business income (including what my wife receives). They do not care that they are counting the same income twice, and now refuse to discuss separate cases. As a result, I will have to pay a substantially larger amount of child support, and my wife will receive nothing. Quite simply, we will now have to look at selling our house as we will not be able to keep up with the new payments.

    It is mind boggling that they can do this and assess income twice. Is there anything that can be done?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Giles – an unfortunate situation. I assume the CSA reviewer has a legal background because lawyers seem to be really into double-counting. Either way, they’re doing the normal Child Support thing and ignoring accounting principles.

      Something you could try is submitting a document to the reviewer (which might require you to appeal at a higher level if this process is closed) notifying them in very clear terms that their treatment of your wife’s income is inconsistent, violates basic accounting practices, and constitutes a willful mistake and, in particular, a “willful procedural error” that you will seek to appeal if it’s maintained. You could implore them to make their assessments in such a way that your wife’s income is attributed to her or to you, but not both of you so as to constitute a clear case of a deliberate and avoidable accounting error.

      Legally, you can appeal against child support decisions where there is an “error of law” (which has a specific, narrow meaning that’s hard to explain). Therefore, you may want to create a foundation where Child Support will be concerned that they’re about to commit an error of law. Knowingly treating income in an inconsistent way across highly inter-related cases might qualify. However, it’s possible that they’ve done this many times before and always gotten away with it, meaning it may be difficult to get justice.

  193. MJ
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I currently have equal custody of my children, week on/week off. My ex-wife refuses to share ANY of my children’s clothes or personal items and therefor I am basically paying twice for my children. I had to fight for the equal custody arrangement costing close to $10,000 and as a result had to sell my house and move 50 minutes away which incurs ongoing costs of extra fuel and travel time.

    She has recently had a baby with her new partner and is now on maternity leave but will be going back to work in a month. My children have stated that she intends to only work 2 days a week as she can’t afford child care, and her partner only works sporadically as well. I am concerned that this is going to drastically effect my child support assessment and cause it to nearly double. I am struggling to pay bills and still afford to supply my children with clothes etc as well as activities.

    In the property settlement I made sure that my ex-wife got a far cheaper mortgage than I did so that she could afford to keep her house, and since then her partner has moved in with her so she has a double income house while I still only have one.

    In the current system, after tax and other expenses I only earn around $12000 a year more than her, minus child support of around $3500 so on paper it appears that my income is far greater than hers but in reality it is not. I fail to see why I should have to pay more in child support on the basis that she has had another child with a third party, and furthermore is she allowed to refuse work on the basis that child care is too expensive, and therefor increasing my child support assessment? It appears as though she is happy for me to have my child support increased to support her, her baby and her partner.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to support my children and have always done, including paying their private health outside of my CSA. I AM NOT A DEADBEAT DAD. But I have real concerns about my ability to survive if this is going to be allowed to happen. Child care is her responsibility as is her new baby, not mine. I am considering an appeal already on the basis that my assessment is not equitable, and especially if the expected situation occurs.

    Can you shed some light on why the system operates this way and what can be done to prevent this kind of thing from happening?

    With all due respect, there are hundreds of posts on here, with a statement at the beginning that this will help to change the system, but from what I can see nothing has changed or will change.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Under the current system, separated parents are treated like a married couple. That’s why you have to pay for her decisions to have more children and stay at home. I don’t like your chances of winning an appeal, especially because Child Support take no issue with mothers staying at home to look after young children (which is reasonable in itself).

      Our design of the system is based on individual responsibility and would stop all that nonsense, which is ultimately harmful for children because it encourages separated parents, both payers and receivers, to do the wrong thing.

      The best hope for a change in the system is actually this blog, coupled with some political leadership. I used to work at the heart of the Commonwealth Government and know exactly how the reform process works (short of attending Cabinet meetings). We’ve already created a better system and this thread is helping to show how it almost always works better than what’s there at the moment. We’ve done the hard policy work that the Department of Human Services staff appear incapable of.

      But, like you, I’m not holding my breath expecting reform implementation to happen at any moment. This is especially knowing that there are armies of lawyers, blinkered activists, slow-moving bureaucrats and industry insiders at the ready to stop any real progress.

  194. Tony
    | Reply

    I like the idea on the formula change you are suggesting.

    I have paid around $200K in Child Support to an ex partner that apparently earns $12K a year but lives in a house that rents for $600 a week. The ex works in a cash driven industry and I have essentially no avenues to “prove” how much income the other party earns. I have done 50/50 care for 14 years. Child Support only listens to the tax office, and the tax office doesn’t care about these things, therefore you end up stuck paying outrageous amounts of child support to a household that is doing much much better than mine.

    Anyways here is the question 1, if the other party has a new baby, their income drops due to that, why do I have to pay more money? Isn’t that in effect meaning I am paying for someone else’s child? Can you outline what the thinking is?

    Question 2 (I am greedy). CSA says they dont know where the other party lives, or who they work for. I am in the final year of payments and I don’t want to overpay because CSA will never return the money to me. Is there an argument I can use to go into debit because of this?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your support for the improved formula Tony.

      When the other parent has a child, they receive more child support (or pay less) because they’re considered to have higher self-support expenses. Payments won’t change, however, if they’re already earning less than the self-support amount (which starts at about $25,000).

      I agree that you shouldn’t have to pay for the other parent’s new children. You’re not a couple anymore and any new children have their own set of parents. It wouldn’t happen under the proposed new formula, primarily because payments are more reasonable to start with and so you don’t need such adjustments.

      On your other question, I’d say that you can’t expect Child Support to anticipate a revision in the other parent’s current income. They can’t operate based on what-ifs.

  195. Jay
    | Reply

    So I pay child support, for things like child care, now my case manager believes I should pay child support and for child care, this is double dipping. This kind of absurdity is noted on your own web page as not the done thing. And made up an income which I dont even come close to making! Fraud is all I can say, you’ll be getting an appeal.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      With respect to paid childcare services, normally the person who should be paying is the parent responsible for the care of the child during the relevant hours. That’s the parent who has chosen to put the child in care (rather than having them at home or elsewhere) or who, at least, is choosing to maintain such an arrangement.

  196. Alli
    | Reply

    Hi,

    My partner has children from a past marriage. While he has 50/50 custody, his ex wife refuses to give him visitation. Therefore, he is paying 100% – $1150 per fortnight. We are thinking of having a baby of our own. My partner would be the stay at home dad as I have recently been promoted. How does that work with child support? Will he still have to pay as much as he does now as he won’t be working for approximately a year. Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Support payments are normally based on the parents’ taxable incomes in the previous financial year. But if a parent’s income drops significantly (by more than 15% across the financial year), they can submit a current income estimate. It’s quite straightforward and would reduce your partner’s payments.

      https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/how-your-income-affects-your-child-support/27966

      When a parent’s income drops, the other parent can apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8 – Earning Capacity) and seek to have the income level restored. Child Support will only change the income level if (i) they believe the income change was partly for the purposes of affecting child support and (ii) if the income drop isn’t justified by things such as involuntary unemployment and parenting responsibilities. In your case, one would hope that the other parent wouldn’t apply for a change of assessment and, even if they did, that Child Support would find in your favour and stick with your partner’s income estimate.

  197. JB
    | Reply

    Hello
    Just wondering if we have a leg to stand on… my husband pays regularly vis direct credit and also pays for others expenses when asked like school fees etc. He earns well and works hard. But if the “ex” wants more and questions the reason she holds over him the fact then she will go through child support which will mean a ridiculous amount of extra money. He already pays her well and we always provide. But she is getting very greedy and she also earns well. She also claims FTB and I’m not sure she shows correct amount we pay her direct. Can my husband say no to CSA if she wants to go through them to collect as he has done nothing wrong? Also can he show them the amounts and why she still claims FTB. She would be on more than us put together!!!! (She works for Centrelink and knows exactly what she is doing) thankyou in advance for your help.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      She can start claiming child support any time. It’s irrelevant what he’s done or thinks. The worst time for her to do this would be just after he’s made a large payment.

      Looks like you’re saving money as a couple by her not applying for child support. Surely, that’s a financial bonus you should be grateful for.

  198. RA
    | Reply

    Hi there,

    I just received a call regarding an outstanding amount I currently have with the CSA.

    The girl introduced herself and informed me that see was calling me regarding the outstanding amount and my capacity to pay the amount in full. She acknowledged that I had a payment plan in place which I entered into April 2018 and that I had met all my requires however since it had been referred she need to call. She then informed me that if I paid it in full the penalty of approximately $1300 would be removed and the amount outstanding would be 14.2k. After informing her that I had no capacity to pay the entire debit she advised me that there would be an investigation into my assets.

    My question is this….When is an agreement not an agreement?

    I entered a payment agreement with CSA in March 2018 that commenced in April 18. The amount discussed was agreed by both parties. I was informed that if I failed to meet the payments the CSA would look at other means to recover the debit and that penalties would be reinstated. I agreed and set automatic payments. I never missed a payment and in the month of May paid an additional 2k. Again this was acknowledged on the call today.

    What am I missing here

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re right RA, a deal is a deal. They seem to have made a mistake here. However, because the person ringing you wasn’t thinking along those lines when she called, she didn’t respond in the manner you expected or that she should have.

      I’d suggest ringing them or organising them to ring you. Explain as simply and politely as possible that a deal was made to repay the debt and you’re more than living up to your part of the agreement. Also explain that the terms were defined the way they were because that was, and still is, all you could reasonably afford. If you have documentation, refer them to it. Give them every opportunity to see your side of things and to rectify the matter without them losing face.

  199. Ridealong
    | Reply

    I am typing on behalf of my partner he has a 12 year old boy and didn’t know until he was 6 months old he had a son. He has done a perternity test and he is the father. He has seen him twice in 12 years as he lives in another state and the mother won’t let him see the son. We understand we have to pay something and have asked if we pay what they are saying which is a huge amount will they drop the $10000 debt owing as it’s killing us each week finically. CSA say only the mother can phone csa and request that the debt can be wiped and she won’t do this. She claims to be a single mother staying at home as she has other young kids by another father. The 12 year old goes to private boarding school and she owns her own farm and earns well but as she has put it in her parents name she says she earns nothing and grandparents pay for boarding school. The child in there Sunday night at school until Friday night.
    Is there anything we can do as he has another child who he sees and pays weekly child support but so unfair he can’t see his son but has to pay. We can’t aggord to go to court.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It appears that there’s little you can do. Child Support don’t go around forgiving debts just because payers are unhappy with the situation.

      What the mother does doesn’t really matter. You’re paying a lot relative to your partner’s income because he has 0% care.

  200. Joe
    | Reply

    Hi i would like some clarification around the current child support system. Up until mid 2018 i use to have my kids every second weekend. My ex wife owed me some child support from previous years as i had one of our kids in my care. DHS was chasing her for the money and finally had it deducted from her pay. Because of what DHS did, she stopped me from seeing my kids every fortnight. Then at the start of this yr she tells DHS that i didnt have care of my kids from mid 2018., when she is the one who stopped me from seeing them. Now DHS is re assessing based on her words and says that i need to pay from mid 2018, til now. I had 25% care and now because of my ex wife claiming 100% care, my CS had doubled which i think is unfair, my ex wife is on a higher income than me. The frustrating thing is i pay for a lot of things for my kids which DHS dont take into account, they say my ex has to agree to it. DHS made a mess of the situation and take no responsibility and now im asking to pay higher CS and also back payment.
    What can i do?
    Who can i complain to or what action can i take?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unfortunately, Child Support are only interested in what the actual care level is, even if it’s a result of one parent willfully choosing to dominate care in order to extract more money.

      If you’re paying child support based on her having 100% care, you’re not morally obliged to pay for anything else out of your own pocket.

      This is ultimately a parenting matter however. The first option is mediation, potentially followed by an initiating application to the Federal Circuit Court for parenting orders. You could start mediation and use whatever leverage you have to get her agree to provide access. For court, it wouldn’t look good that you’ve waited more than several months to formally try to see your children regularly.

  201. Ade
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    Quick question, CSA has me down as having our son 51 nights a year. This current period from July 2018-October 2019, he has already stayed a total of 58 nights, so i can see this moving into the next bracket, being regular care, 52-127 nights. What do i need to provide the CSA as proof, and what do i need to do to have this changed ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could start by just informing Child Support of the care %. They may not require evidence unless the other parent disputes the care level.

      But you should be careful in claiming a care amount just above the threshold because the other parent may respond by reducing access.

  202. Leonard Michael
    | Reply

    I received a CSA application in 2010 which was rejected as there was no proof that I was the father.
    I then received another CSA application in December 2018 which was rejected for the same reason that there was no proof. I have just received a court order DNA test for a 13 year old child. If this proves to confirm parentage, can the CSA backdate payments to the original 2010 child support application? Or the child’s birthdate?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The date when an application for child support is made is normally as far back as backdating can happen.

      In your case, the older applications may no longer be relevant since she only had 56 days from receiving the notice of refusal to accept to apply for a paternity testing order. She also didn’t seek a time extension to apply. My guess is that only the date of the most recent application is relevant.

      http://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/4/3/2

      • 808Elliott
        | Reply

        Hi Dr Lancaster,

        I’ve received two child support applications against me, one in January and one in September. Both were rejected as there was no proof of paternity.

        I barely know the woman as I cut ties quickly due to her aggression and instability. I haven’t heard or seen her in 8 years and it seems she can just keep applying against me as many times as she wants. She doesn’t appeal the rejections and I haven’t been sent to court for a DNA test. There is a slim chance I’m the bio dad but I don’t know when she fell pregnant. Can she just keep sending applications over and over again? It seems like madness. Does it ever just get blocked if you keep unsuccessfully applying against the same person?

        Thanks for your help mate

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          I can’t see why she would keep applying if her applications keep getting rejected.

          Don’t you want to know if the child is yours? I would ask for a DNA sample from the child so that you can check for yourself. If you are the father, don’t agree to release the results of the paternity test until she has agreed to a binding parenting plan that includes access for you, as well as limits on how much child support you may be liable for.

  203. Jody Stokes
    | Reply

    You have lots of informative advice here but you really should change your terminology to reflect Receiving Parent (RP) and Paying Parent (PP). That way it doesn’t matter what your gender is, if you are the PP – you’re screwed whether you have a male appendage or not.
    By the way I am a mum PAying my ex husband despite 50/50 care and my being in a hardship situation. The AU gov’t is nothing short of a circus who suck every last cent out of hardworking parents who play by the rules.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Jody – Yes there are cases, though infrequent, when mothers pay child support unfairly. Around 90% of payers are male. But I agree that it’s worth remembering that mothers can also be affected as payers by systemic problems.

      I think you’ll find that my use of language is precise and deliberate. Gender is relevant for legitimate gender-based issues (e.g. interaction of biased family court with child support), and to write in less grey tones when discussing particular cases or examples.

      People often confuse gender-neutral language with being unbiased, but they’re wrong. Rampant gender bias can happen in an environment of political correctness, as demonstrated by the child support and family court regimes. Cutting our gendered language altogether is overly limiting and achieves little in my opinion.

      Our proposed new formula is gender-neutral however. It would also fix your particular problem by eliminating child support when care is 50:50.

  204. Anna
    | Reply

    Hello

    I am posting this on behalf of an upset father.

    I am his his new wife, we are a blended family, I have an 11yr old and he has a 5 yr old .
    We receive CS for the 11yr old witch is in areas of $3900 and pay $80 wk for the 5ys old that we usually have 2 nights a week , or 3 nights a ft , however recently the mother of the 5 yr old has told us that she does not want to see us and is very unhappy here with us which sometimes shows, the father worried about her mental health told the mother that perhaps better not being here, and she won’t let him see her either , which now has very much effected him
    Although she has called CSA and put our payments up to double and given us arrears .

    If it is her doing what can he do. And how can this be fixed. There is not actual court order in place . It is really about what was best for the child and the mother seems to just want more money.

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There is more a care issue than child support, although grabbing 100% custody does financially reward the mother at your family’s expense.

      When a parent takes over 100% care for no good reason, the other parent should take action immediately. That means fighting for custody if need be. It starts with mediation (e.g. Relationships Australia). If mediation fails, you’re then able to make a court application. The possibility of long court processes can be enough to convince the alienating parent to start sharing care again.

  205. Darini Clayton
    | Reply

    I understand. How come though that our payments increased when she decided to have another child with her now husband? Does that seem fair? We have to pay and go without so as to support her choices? So wrong, so unbalanced and the only people going without is us.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A parent’s self-support amount goes up when they have a child by the “relevant dependent child amount”. The adjustment is equivalent to reducing the parent’s gross income. Hence, the parent does better in terms of receiving or paying child support.

      The relevant dependent child amount is worked out by calculating the costs of a child. In this case, the cost of the child is based just on the income of the parent who has the child (rather than the combined incomes of parents).

      The calculation doesn’t make sense because (i) the costs of a new child are taken off gross income, when you actually pay in after-tax dollars and (ii) by using a single income, parents are assumed to spend less on new children than they do on children for which child support payments are made. Both effects reduce the child support advantage from having new children. They are due to conceptual flaws in the current basic formula rather than intelligent design.

  206. Darini Clayton
    | Reply

    Thankyou for your thoughts and interesting to hear your take. My only comment though is, why does our child not hold equal importance in terms of financial needs in the eyes of the csa? Why are we in a position where only the child of the divorced parents benefit disproportionately. You talk about the viewing the ex “untaxed amount” as beneficial for their child but it comes at a direct cost to us and our son. As a parent, how am I to be ok with my son going without basics like medicine in order to further fatten other people pockets? This is what upsets and is unfair and by csa standards, we don’t matter. Our son doesn’t matter. Fed up and feeling trapped.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It would create other problems to treat children equally. Imagine that you’re a single mother who is relying on child support to maintain a decent standard of living for your child. Your ex-husband then decides to have 3 children with his next wife. If all children are treated equally, your received payments might drop to, say, a third of the original level. Under the current system, payments will reduce but not by nearly that much in most cases.

      The system is designed to ensure payers can’t duck their responsibilities to their children by having more. You can argue about how balanced the formula is, but there is some sense to the principle that you have to factor in your responsibilities to your existing children before having more.

  207. Darini Clayton
    | Reply

    Hi,

    Firstly, Thankyou for having this forum as tonight, it helped reading of others in my situation. I am one of those people that seem to be disregarded in this situation- I am a second wife. First marriage for me. For 8 years, I have been in a situation where the CSA only seems to take into consideration what my husbands ex and 12 yr old need. Not what the both of us and our 6 yr old son need. My husband earns a reasonably high income (165k) but even with this, we cannot afford a lifestyle which comes anywhere near the ex. At the end of every fortnight, we are left with about 60 dollars in the bank account. The ex- re married (without telling us), had another baby, travels to Europe once a year, has two brand new cars, their 12 yr old goes to a top private school and lives mortgage free in her grandmothers house. So much has happened in the last 8 yrs butbottom line is, every 6 mths the amount we pay increases at a rate which we cannot afford. There have been times we haven’t been able to pay for medicine for our asthmatic son. The ex left when their son was 6 mths old while he was at work and moved to Brisbane. She hasn’t logged a tax return in years, she works part time. My husband is terrified of her so he has given her everything she demanded included 42K held in a unit trust that is now for their sons education. She withdraws money for school costs. I believe the csa should take that 43k into consideration. We are financially struggling and the more he earns, the less we see of it. I’m fed up, frightened and frustrated at how unfair the system is. Why can’t our son who had two parents have the same options as my husbands and ex’s son? Why are we more inferior?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Bad things tend to happen whenever the government is overly controlling. And that’s what is happening here. Child Support forces payers on good incomes to make large payments irrespective of the circumstances. So you end up with many demoralised payers who pay too much and struggle unnecessarily, including negative outcomes for their second family.

      Our alternative formula, which is far simpler and actually makes sense mathematically, would taper off payment amounts at high incomes. That way, payers who are already contributing a lot can choose to be generous with their children, if it makes sense, by spending on them directly rather than being forced to pay the other parent.

      The best way for a child to benefit from a high-income parent is to spend time with the parent. That’s a whole lot better than encouraging one parent to dominate care in order to extract money from the high-income parent by force.

      In your case, I’d say you might want to try to see the other parent’s “untaxed” prosperity as good for the child rather than something that’s unfair (even if it is). Ultimately, it’s futile to worry about how other people are doing. The $43k is probably gone now, though your husband shouldn’t have to contribute towards school fees again through child support or otherwise.

  208. ST
    | Reply

    It is crazy that in the same situation a woman would look like a caring mother whereas a father would be suspected to have bad intentions.
    In a society where women want to be treated equally regarding their careers (and generally everything) it sounds hypocritical to not apply this to child care and parenting.
    I’m not an expert, but surely this would be a case of discrimination?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      For different reasons, some reasonable and some less so, Child Support discriminate against fathers.

      The system is set up so that Child Support can get away with a lot. They know the legal boundaries after years of experience. They are comfortable doing things out of habit, such as targeting males. And they’re unafraid of being accused of discrimination. It would happen frequently, but not with repercussions for them.

      They also see probably experience men at their worst a lot. They wouldn’t appreciate what many fathers have gone through, such as false violence accusations, losing one’s home and being marginalised as a parent. It’s also hard to be charming on the phone while being questioned over child support. Child Support officers must have highly negative impressions of male payers. In turn, they probably don’t feel the need to treat fathers with much respect. That’s just human nature.

      Concerning the issue of staying home, it’s also natural to expect the mother to be the one not working. That’s the pattern that starts after birth. Women breastfeed after all. Anyone might be a bit skeptical about a man staying at home to look after young children when it also allows him to avoid making payments.

  209. Clare
    | Reply

    Hi, I have just received mail from CSA, advise that the assessment has changed, My daughter is now 25 and the paperwork goes back to 2009, I have heard nothing from CSA for about 7 years, Why Now?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t know. Maybe they’re going through old cases that haven’t been closed on their system.

  210. J.R
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I have seen a lot of posts about the woman re-partnering, having more kids and being a stay at home mum while the father (new partner) goes back to work. Obviously the system does not see a problem with this as she is caring for her new Baby and a Change of Assessment for earning capacity would be pointless.

    I’m wondering if the same concept applies to men who re-partner, have more kids and decide to stay at home to care for the Baby while the mother goes back to work?

    I would assume the same rules apply for everyone, but as the term “Gender Equality” is often biased towards women, one can never be sure.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ha ha. The bloke would probably have to pretend to be one of those effeminate, pro-feminist types who almost passes as a woman.

      Seriously, though, Child Support would look for any opportunity to prevent a man staying home to look after kids. They would see it as an attempt to game the system. But Child Support also pretend to be gender-neutral, so it is possible in theory and I wouldn’t be surprised if some people are doing it.

  211. Au
    | Reply

    Hi sir Andrew my ex never communicate with child support…when he learned that I applied.for.child support maybe he got the csa notice he emailed me after 2years… He said he will go to court to dispute the csa..What are the circumstances of he.don’t.pay child support?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He has no rights here. Child Support have extensive powers to collect by force.

  212. Au
    | Reply

    Hi sir Andrew ….
    It’s been a year since I had applied for child support and yet I still don’t have any payment from their dad. however the conversations I had with csa representative guarantee that they can collect or make him pay if he is still employ or working in the company address I have told because they can.collect it directly to His employer and there are options on how to collect the payments. However the last time I called Child support they told me that no guarantee if they can collect from him since they don’t hear anything from him. I was confused I been told that they will only collect the payments directly from employer coz csa will deal with the employer and not with him coz they understand he will ignore it. He got the child support notice yet he just ignored and avoid it because to my surprise he emailed me telling me he is aware that i applied for child support and he threatens me…And I had confirmed that all the informations regarding where to contact him is still active nothings changed. So sir please help me …I am raising a 4years old and another 2 years old. He suddenly left us all of a sudden in a tremendous surprise and that was when our kids are aged 2 and other one is 3weeks old. He don’t support and he knew I can’t.work coz I had fresh from operation due to.giving birth. I was bit lucky coz my siblings contribute with each other to pay our house bills, food , and formula for the infant. Now my older kid is going to.school and.soon the second one ,I still can’t work coz no.one can stand looking after them …I had tried working and had a nanny but it didn’t work I resigned coz the nanny resigned and kids are often get sick…He still didn’t support even.how many times I beg him to help me. He told me he don’t have any money, but how can no money bought new car, a house and went to.cruise …pay for our divorce etc. He threatens me regarding to sell the house where me and.the kids living … Now when he got the child support notice he suddenly in contact with me telling me my child support application has been dispute.
    Sir what are My chances in getting my support and how long , if he will not pay what are the consequences He will be facing ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I don’t know why you haven’t received payments yet. It’s possible your ex’s employer details are out of date, or the employer has not been cooperating.

      Child Support will be doing what they can to ensure payments are made. There are minimum payment amounts even if he has little income. You may want to leave it up to Child Support at this stage since it appears that your ex is not going to pay voluntarily. At least he is communicating with Child Support. Payments are based on care percentages and taxable incomes, and that’s what Child Support will be interested in.

  213. Bazz
    | Reply

    Hello.

    What I find unfair is that because I did further study and acquired better qualifications which subsequently led to a greater income, my ex partner is now entitled to benifit from this. The advantage I gained by having a larger income is subsequently lost. Why did I even bother.

    She works only part time and is not incentivised to garnish full time work, even though it’s been offered to her. She’s currently looking to buy a house and take on a mortgage, meanwhile I can’t afford to do the same. After CS, rent and bills I have nothing left. As far as I’m concerned, CS in Australia is a form of slavery. I must work to pay, which minimises the amount of time I can spend with my children. Meanwhile she has the luxury of minimising employment and spending more time with our children knowing I have to pay for her to do this. She enjoys the benifit of my skills and qualifications, and I don’t.

    This is all encompassed in a system where upon separating, a mother can just take your children and force you to fight to see them. Why doesn’t the legislation have a default position of 50/50 custody upon separating? The courts she be considering why this shouldn’t be the case, instead of fathers having to fight (and lose) for it to be the case.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s sometimes useful for payers to think of child support as extra income tax. You do better financially by earning more, even if you’re giving up more than you think is reasonable.

      Yes – the system is unfair. Dads are left having to work in order to not see their kids. And it becomes incredibly hard to do things like buy a home.

      Reform of the court system has all but been stopped by the domestic violence brigade. See here: https://childsupportaustralia.com/family-law-system-review/

      Fixing the child support system would be much easier, as we’ve proven by designing a better system. It includes a formula that is actually mathematically sound.

  214. Bradley
    | Reply

    I am unsure of paternity so want to dispute child support. Trouble is I do not have my ex,s contact details to serve her with court papers for DNA testing . Can I serve her through the CSA as they have her details

  215. Giles
    | Reply

    I’m in the unique position of being a payer whilst my wife is a payee for our two beautiful girls.

    You have made mention a number of times regarding waiting for ATO to tax up for failure to lodge. It has now been 9 years of failure to lodge by my wife’s ex.

    I was reviewed by CSA due to running a business, and as part of the process CSA therefore reviewed my wife as well due to our unique circumstances. This review was finalised last week.

    CSA stated that my wife’s ex had income from a profitable business entity in 2004 as the reason for reviewing my wife’s case. They have assessed that at $85K provisional they see no need to increase or reduce the ex’s provisional assessment. However, no mention of failure to lodge or any further investigation. Can a Reason 8 application assist this to be investigated further? The last taxable income details child support has is from 2008.

    The father has been running companies of which we obtained ASIC personal name searches confirming this, and has now ceased all directors and set himself up as a sole trader. How long are we expected to wait for failure to lodge to be investigated. We have reported this to the ATO four times over the last 3 years with no outcome. Any suggestions?

    Find it ironic that the ATO holds out the successful prosecution of a Failure to lodge for child support case for ten years of no returns as a success on their website, yet 9 years isn’t long enough for them!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No suggestions here as it’s really an issue of how the ATO prioritises it’s investigations. You’ve highlighted the problem to them already, which seems about all you can reasonably be expected to do.

  216. Tammy
    | Reply

    Spot on Andrew!

    FE…

    “a mother looking after young children does not have the opportunity to work long hours or accept higher paid positions”

    See here’s the thing. If more Fathers were able to split the care of their children then that would free up the Mother’s time to I dunno work as much as the Father does? but why would many of these Mother’s want that when they can have the Father propping them up for years.

    What a ridiculous argument. I can tell you from first hand experience that the system is biased against men. I’m a female and I work full time to help support my step children because their Mother re-partnered, had more kids and now leads the life of luxury being a stay at home Mum. She dumped her older kids and is not required to support them in anyway.

    CSA will change the care percentage based on a call from a Mother without any evidence or asking the Father what’s going on. Even when there are court orders that state the care arrangements.

    And they don’t chat to centerlink or care that a Mother can collect a bucket load of family tax for her bucket load of new kids and misreport her partner’s income to receive max family tax because he has his own business.

    Imagine if these Fathers who get stopped from seeing their kids decided to re-partner, have more kids and become a stay at home dad. They would not be required to pay child support and then you’d never stop hearing about it by the poor hard done by Mother’s of their other children. Doesn’t happen.

    Withholding access is directly linked to how much more child support they can get. So I suggest an automatic 50/50 shared care arrangement when relationships break down. This means both parents have immediate rights and continued access to their children and would cut out all the drama ,AVO’s, withholding access and the thousands spent on court.

    It would free up courts to actually hear cases that need to be heard in situations where there’s evidence that that care arrangement may put the child in danger. Of course no one can force a dead beat parent to step up and want to take that time with their kid so it may all fall on the other parent. Also some may come to their own arrangement if it suits them but still have the legal right to 50/50 shared care.

    It would save lives too. So many men’s lives are lost because of vindictive personality disordered woman who’s children are mere objects to them that they use to get to their ex.

    In short. Yes the system is biased.

  217. Tammy
    | Reply

    I am a Step Mother and believe the system is unfair and biased towards Mothers. My partner always paid the correct amount of child support PLUS paid for extra things his children needed when their Mother was primary carer.

    When she agreed to him increasing the overnight care of his children she switched the first time he was to have them longer and said to bring them home. Next when he stood his ground she said she no longer wanted them and would sign custody over to him then showed up and forcibly removed them from his care and contacted the CSA the next day to report zero care to increase his child support payments. They did not bother to contact him to confirm this.

    Fast forward and they lodged 50/50 consent orders. He still had to pay her some child support because she doesn’t work. She’s not a hard off single mother though. She re-partnered and had 4 more children and is the stay at home parent which enables her partner to run their business.

    How many Fathers re-partner and then become stay at home dads when they have more kids and then get out of paying child support for their older children?

    She wasn’t happy that she now had to split Family Tax and would receive less child support (even though it was 50/50 and she should not receive any) She decided to dump her children on the doorstep after a month of 50/50 and my partner became the primary carer. Of course he then received no child support because she does not work.

    Fast forward a few years and the eldest child runs away to her house one day but asked a friend to come pick him up that night and take him home. She wouldn’t let him leave so dad thought what’s the harm if he visits his mother during the school holidays as they rarely saw her and his son decided to stay for this time. She decided to claim child support and once again the CSA did not confirm the situation with my partner. He would have explained it was a visit only that he consented to because they had not been spending any time with her and he would not have consented to his son living there full time and did not have to agree as there are 50/50 consent orders in place. He appealed their decision to bill him for child support during that period but lost the case. His son ended up having to run away from her after 6 weeks to come home.

    Fast forward a year and his son decides to live with his Mother and even though my partner has their other two children in his full time care he’s required to pay her child support for him. He found out that his son left school soon after and started an apprenticeship with her partner.

    My partner earns below $50,000 a year and feels it is unjust to continue to pay for a son who is now working when he has his other two children in his care full time and receives no child support for them. He can easily demonstrate after expenses he has nothing left. I actually pay for a chunk of his expenses. He applied to have his case reassessed under the special circumstances that his son is working.

    He received confirmation of his application a month after applying outlining what the procedure would be. He was told he would be contacted by a special case manager and would be provided copies of any documents or information provided by the other parent and would be given the opportunity to respond to this.

    This did not happen.

    Instead he received a message to call CSA after some time. When he did they were unable to tell him what the call was regarding but did say the case was still being assessed. Next he received a blank letter from them that said Dear [insert name] and Yours sincerely.

    When he inquired twice no one was able to tell him what the letter was about. He was told it would be followed up and heard nothing back.

    A few days ago (over 3 months since applying) he called the CSA once again and was told over the phone that his case was declined due to his son only receiving $200 a week.

    He has received nothing in writing and non of their procedures were followed. He would like to know where they got their information and to have the right of reply because a quick google search reveals that is not what an apprentice should be earning.

    This is so frustration and unjust and it feels like it’s designed for people to just give up and accept an their unprofessional practices and the unfair outcome.

    My partner called the complaints line and it was too late in the day to be put through to the case manager he’s never heard from who’s in another state. They actually suggested that he take time off work to call.

    Unsure what to do next but we’re not going to let this lie.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support are geared towards going after payers. As you’ve discovered, the flipside of this is that they’re extremely sloppy in protecting payers from exploitation and administrative errors.

  218. Jo
    | Reply

    My ex pays basic child support, where both incomes and nights of stay have been taken into account. I know for a fact that my ex has other business ventures where he may not be declaring his income, or may have another ABN numbers and he delays as much as possible to lodge his tax return. He is also a financial advisor which means he will know the loopholes in the system.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He might simply be not paying himself much out of his businesses, and building the value of the businesses instead. Not such a bad thing because it increases his future earning capacity. Could result in more child support in the future, or greater support for your child(ren) after age 18. Worth keeping him onside since he’ll be less resentful of having to also pay you whenever he pays himself.

  219. John
    | Reply

    Can my payments be reduced if I see my children every Saturday or Sunday for the whole day . Also I travel over 150 ks (one way to there house) not including trip back home every weekend . Does this also get taken into consideration on my assessment.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s based on nights of care. You get credit at 52+ nights per year (i.e. 2 nights per fortnight on average).

  220. Ton
    | Reply

    Great website.

    Government doesn’t care about changing the system. Its not going to win votes by making changes.

    The system is bias against men because studies are all about the benefits of women primary care takers (ask all the lawyers). Its about time someone does studies on the benefits of male primary care takers.

    What happened to gender equality?

    Child support is the glass ceiling for men…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      We want to fix everything about the system, for the benefit of children, parents and the wider community. Reform being stopped by lawyers, weak politicians, and incompetent bureaucrats.

      Agree that there needs to be an attitudinal shift about the capabilities of male parents. Humans have evolved with 2 parents raising children. Why then the assumption that you only really need one, and the other is a danger? Makes no sense and studies show otherwise.

  221. Manny
    | Reply

    Hello

    I share 50/50 care of twin boys with my ex partner, I believe she has claimed over 90% care level for government funded child support.

    Its well known the days of agreed care by the childrens school.

    How is it she can claim that percentage of care without any signed agreement from me?

    My concern is if we needed to take it to the courts for child support or custody, they may see her claim as a legitimate care %

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Payments are based on actual care levels. Child Support will take the mother’s word if there is no evidence to the contrary.

      If you want to document care amounts, one easy way is to subtly mention care levels in any written correspondence between you and your ex. If, for example, you have an email conversation about care, just matter-of-factly outline the care arrangements. If she replies without challenging what you’ve written, that can be used as evidence that the arrangement exists.

  222. Mark C
    | Reply

    Howdy all,

    My ex has stopped access to both my chikdren in Oct last year and then claimed 100perc care. My youngest daughter spoke out telling her mum she wanted to keep seeing me and I’m.glad to say she still does

    My other daughter no longer sees me and even though my ex has no legal right to block my access she stopped me seeing one daughter which was in clear breach of consent orders and she is due in court again in Match to face a Magistrate about this.

    Regardless of my consent orders and the fact she was breaching them the CSA decided to rule in her favour and award 100perc care.

    My payments jumped to a level which were beyond my means plus they back dated their decision which lumped me with an arrears of nearly $4k

    Unable to meet the repayments they then garnished my wages. I completed hardship form to show i could not meet the $800 a fort night repayments only to be advised that upon reading my hardship form they were going to increase my Garnish from $780 a fortnight to $1173 a fortnight.

    I am told my last option is to seek a stay in colletion from the federal court, however now I am penniless i cannot afford legal help to do so. I cannot access legal aid and I am now seeking any advice on what to do before I make drastic moves.

    I am going to loose my house, and with all the stress i now fear im going to loose my job, mind and everything else.

    Can anyone help?

    Regards Mark

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Mark – Child Support only care about actual care percentages, not what is legally required. This is standard operating procedure, though the system should obviously be fixed in this area. The disgraceful practice often motivates parents to deliberately contravene court orders and withhold access (i.e. it causes children to be separated from parents), as seems to have happened here.

      Child Support have a culture and practices (such as the one above) that are insensitive to the plight of paying parents. In fact, they seem to go after Dads who are in financial difficulty. They seem oblivious to the fact that the paying parent is extremely important to the welfare of a child and that financial difficulties often coincide with other personal challenges. To be frank, there are countless examples of Child Support being total bastards to vulnerable fathers.

      In terms of the payment demands, they would be looking at the fact that you have assets (i.e. a home) and therefore can afford to pay large amounts of child support. Remember, these people are bureaucrats who often don’t contemplate the practicalities of a situation. They probably don’t appreciate that it’s not straightforward to convert partial equity in a house into cash, especially when you’ve got a lot of other things going on.

      It’s a joke how they say you can go to court and get a stay order on collections. When someone is facing financial and other troubles, the last thing they need is to have to initiate (more) court proceedings. The court option is Child Support’s internal excuse for being bastards, when the reality is that it’s an unrealistic option – a potentially stressful, time-consuming, expensive path to have to go down to just get some temporary financial relief.

      Getting a loan from a friend or family member might be the best option if can do it. There may be other financial options available to you.

      The important thing at such a time is to focus on what’s under your control. You need to stay healthy and productive at work, while controlling your personal spending tightly. Maintain a great relationship with your daughter, which may help encourage her sister to follow suit. With court, be professional about it and keep it simple.

      The best way to reduce stress in difficult circumstances is to channel your energy into getting beyond this stage. Focus on your goals and the actions you need to do to achieve them. I’ve actually written about how to de-stress on another site. Works for me.

  223. Kris
    | Reply

    My problem is that my ex vanished in 2016 and I haven’t been paid any child support since then. Our little family is struggling financially and often I go hungry just to feed my 3 disabled children. If I ask centrelink or child support to locate my ex and find out what’s going on, they state that A) Privacy laws lol sorry! or B) Find out yourself. I’ve tried so many things and nothing gets me anywhere. What can I do to find him so he can step up and stop being such a coward?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support have access to tax records, so they would discover things about him if he ever lodges a tax return.

      It’s not just a matter of finding him, since you also need employer or bank details to force child support collection. And he could do the same thing again. You may have to be prepared to just wait if he continues going to such great lengths to dodge his obligations as a parent.

  224. May
    | Reply

    My partner is paying child support for a child he does not currently have contact with. Besides this being a sensitive and upsetting circumstance. If my partner and I marry, will my (larger) income affect how much his payments are to be to the other parent for the child?

    Also, this child may not be biologically his, any advice on where the best place to start with contesting the paternity?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Even if you get married, your income will have no impact on the amount of child support your partner pays. Child support depends just on the incomes of the parents, not any partners or spouses.

  225. Leasa Toll
    | Reply

    Hi Admin,

    My partner is paying child support for a daughter he only sees 1 night a f/night. He makes the 6hr round trip to pick her up (as his ex refuses to meet halfway),hardly has her for school holidays, pays astronomical child support yet his ex has an investment property (which she gets $350pw, cash deposit and yes we have proof), works part-time and hasn’t done her tax in a few years. All this has been told to CSA and ATO yet nothing is being looked into. We can’t afford to go to court and she has even admitted in mediation that she will lose too much money if my partner has his daughter for 2 nights per f/night. How is this allowed? We,like many others, are struggling to keep a roof over our head yet she heads overseas 3-4 times a year, buys the latest fashion etc and apart from their daughter’s school fees, nothing else goes to the daughter. I am extremely concerned that my partner will become a suicide statistic if CSA keep going.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Leasa – he can’t afford not to go to court. He can self-represent and it doesn’t cost much at all (e.g. <$2,000). The court process starts with mediation, which is virtually free and doesn't involve lawyers. In mediation, ask for at 2 least nights per fortnight, shared travel load, and 1 straight week of care every term break / school holidays. Say, you're going to court big time and seeking even more nights if she doesn't agree. If mediation fails, you can get a certificate to say that has happened and then you can put in an initiating application to the Federal Circuit Court. These can be quite brief. It needs to include a document showing the final orders you seek. The thing about court is that the big final hearing hardly ever happens. It takes multiple years to get there and there are lots of small steps in between. Most court appearances take a few minutes and don't involve very much. Judges actually prefer it if you keep it simple and don't battle the other parent too much. You can get interim orders issued fairly quickly (e.g. for 2 nights per fortnight) after you've put in your application. Getting her into court will encourage cooperation and an agreement to be made. The option of parents agreeing to consent orders is always on the table. Going hard is the best way to get her to agree to something half reasonable. Attending court can be daunting, but you can go to open sessions beforehand. They have court session lists when judges go through dozens of cases in an hour or two. Anyone can sit in on them. After attending a couple of these, you should have a good idea about how it works. Sometimes parents need to stand up for themselves and do what needs to be done for their children.

  226. Grace Shaw
    | Reply

    My partner has 50/50 care of his 10 year old daughter. After finally doing a tax return, it’s come in that she only earns $146 a year. She is a registered and successful Rottweiler and French Bulldog breeder and also rents her granny flat out. He has to pay her roughly $540 a month in CS. She’s absolutely not declaring her proper income. My partner is worried that by doing a change of assessment it will stir the pot. We need guidance into how to go about getting it fair and honest if you know what I mean? We’ve got proof of her business and dogs for sale and what not. HELP!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      An issue here is that she doesn’t have an income history. Child Support are really dumb about change of assessments and about the only move they ever make is to set a person’s low reported income to a previous income level. They can’t do that here, and so will be reluctant to adjust her income. The evidence may show that she has extra income, but won’t reveal the size of her overall income. Going for a change of assessment could easily turn out to be a frustrating waste of time.

      Note that our new proposed system would fix this situation in 2 ways: (i) by ending child support when care is 50:50 and (ii) by including a benchmark income level to use where income is not properly reported.

  227. Shan11
    | Reply

    Hi my husband of 15 years has just decide he is gay and leaving me with 3 young kids. He wants to pay child support privately so it’s easier for me. Is there anyway he can rip me off or work the system in his favour? Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Usually, the best option is a private agreement that is legally binding (i.e. made with the assistance of a lawyer at the point of signing). You can detail how much will be paid, and who covers the different types of expenses. It should result in the least disputation and best incentives for work and sharing care.

      The child support system is bad because it create incentives to fight over care and for each parent to earn less than what they could. It also doesn’t solve the problem of who should pay for a child’s dental treatment, etc.

      A casual arrangement is unlikely to last. He would have to stay generous or you could run off to Child Support at any time and start forced collections.

  228. John
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, I have an ex girlfriend that gets paid cash in hand for about $500 a week on top of single parent payment and it doesn’t matter who we report it to, nothing changes. We have 2 kids together and I have the kids just over 50% and we still pay weekly child support for her holidays and online shopping habit. My new girlfriend and I have been paying private health etc so many other expenses. I find this incredibly unfair. We work hard and have a better quality of life at our home.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support isn’t necessary when care is evenly shared. That’s something that’s wrong with the system, which should be fixed – as our new formula would do. The parent with more income ends up paying for things anyway, so they don’t need to give money to the other parent on top.

      The self-support amount for child support is about $25,000. So, even if your ex declared all her earnings, it wouldn’t affect payments significantly.

  229. jake
    | Reply

    JC Mate,you are F,i had the same 10yrs ago.
    The CSA do not care,they are debt collectors.Truth/law/process is departed from,the easy road.And they send out the death card,s that being you are 0(zero) you are only cash until you are dead.
    Reads dramatic…its the truth.Go live your life,let go.Men are beaten by the most powerful gender(the women)

  230. P
    | Reply

    Why does CSA include investment property loss / negative gearing by adding them to your taxable income.

    Therefore making the parent pay higher rate of child support, when they are actually making a loss.

    Can some with more experience plz explain

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The general philosophy in child support is that, if you have the means to provide income for the benefit of your child, you should do so. Keeping an asset that produces losses doesn’t do that, at least in the short term.

  231. Maria
    | Reply

    Hi Admin,
    Yes we were forced to move overseas as he refused to give a single cent to us. Tried my best to find employment but it is very difficult without funds and a child in tow. Never expected such a harsh reply from you but I will understand your perception.
    Tried my best to negotiate with him but he insisted he does not have money. And yes, my son said that he would rather be homeless than stay with his stepmother. Thank you very much for your advise anyway.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There’s loads of welfare and support services for single mothers in Australia who are in financial difficulty. For housing services, there’s usually a waiting list – so you may want to check that out ASAP.

      You could advise your son that his father’s partner is not his “stepmother”. Children often don’t like new partners. But they need to learn to get along with everyone on some level. He doesn’t need to have a close relationship with her though. Seeing his father is about having a relationship with his father, and he should be encouraged to focus on that. You could tell his father that, the next time he sees his son (whenever in the distant future that may be), you think it important for their relationship to have mainly one-on-one time.

  232. adam
    | Reply

    i was recently contacted by child support about arrears that i owe, the representative asked me if i could borrow money of a family member and then pay them back. is this standard practice?
    she then told you need to ask your father today to borrow the money or they would ring my employer to recoup the arrears bu garnishing my wages.
    at that stage i was quite worked up and hung up on her
    i entered into i payment agreement but couldnt afford child support and the arrears on top weekly
    what can i do now
    thankyou

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’d call Child Support and politely ask if you could revise the payment agreement. Say that you’re struggling to pay back arrears so quickly and don’t want to miss any more payments. They should be receptive to that.

      They’re just trying to ensure the money is collected. It’s up you to deliver on the agreement you entered into or try for a new one. At this stage, it looks like they’ll contact your employer and garnish your wages if you don’t contact them soon.

      Nothing to get worked up about here. It’s just a financial thing and they’re doing their job.

  233. Maria
    | Reply

    Hi There,
    Due to financial hardships and refusal of my ex-husband (we recently divorced), me and my son had no choice but to leave Australia temporarily and go back to my home country. Luckily, I was able to file a child support claim and we got some money for 2 months. Now, my ex moved to another state and refused to declare his new employment; his new wife prohibits him from talking to my son and sending money. He has not paid his child support since November 2018.
    My son and I are coming back to Australia before 2019 ends and I just want to know how can I make my ex pay while we are overseas.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I don’t think you can force him to do anything.

      Did you really have to move overseas? I don’t believe you. And I don’t see how he is being “prohibited” from being a parent to his son by his new wife. That’s either your fault, his fault or a combination of the two. No parent should let another person hurt their child so easily.

      Why don’t you negotiate with him? As divorced parents, you two should be be living reasonably near each other long term so that your son can see both his parents. If you offer something that benefits him and your son, he might be willing to cooperate more with child support.

  234. Duncan GORRIE
    | Reply

    Issues with no linkage to breach parenting orders
    Hi,
    I’ve recently had my ex wife change her care percentage to 100% after withdrawing time with my son in complete breach of Federal Circuit Court parenting orders. The result – extreme financial hardship considering the cost of daily life with the added expense of contravention proceedings in court and the added stress of not seeing my son. Child Support base the assessment on actual percentage of care and don’t take into consideration the complete breach of the parenting order. People should not be rewarded with extra remuneration if they break the law but that is exactly what Child Support are doing.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This is one of the worst changes to child support rules made almost a decade ago – to allow Child Support to ignore court orders about parenting time. Should be fixed. Good luck with court proceedings to see your son.

  235. My 2c worth
    | Reply

    I take offense to the language you are using Andrew… this is not a gender issue (sounds like an attack on mothers) so please change your languge to “custodial parent” and “non-custodial parent”… and start from there…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Am tempted to say, “take your political correctness and your offense and go shove it”. But there’s an important issue to discuss here.

      Family Court, Child Support, judges, mediators, child psychology specialists, lawyers, court-appointed lawyers, government officials – all of these institutions and people have 2 things in common. One is that they use politically correct terminology always. The other is that they collectively preside over a system that results in children being marginalised from fathers, and fathers dying every day.

      It’s a gender issue. We’re talking about mothers and fathers.

      Almost every entity involved in the flawed system uses politically correct language and yet they produce rampant gender bias. The experience of a father going through the family court and child support systems is absolutely nothing like the experience of a mother. That’s guaranteed by the biases that exist. And it is because of gender, whether you are a mother / female or a father / male.

      That’s not to say that mothers don’t suffer in some circumstances by failures in the things like the administration of child support. I’ve addressed many such issues below. But it’s the absolute truth that the systems are geared against fathers and child support payers, and that this has numerous negative outcomes – including many deaths by suicide.

      Use correct language that signals gender neutrality has not prevented system failure in any discernible way. At the same time, political correctness hamstrings people seeking truth and reform. How can you point out gender bias, if there are language rules that prevent you from even discussing the issue? How can you discuss real gender bias that actually happens all the time, when the mere act of doing so has people labelling you as sexist?

      Gender has to be part of the conversation. For proper reform to happen, these institutions and people have to, at some point, contemplate the experiences of men caught in the system. Only then might people understand what needs to be done to remove the biases and improve functionality.

      People involved in the creation and running of the system need to keep asking themselves, how does this thing I’m about to do potentially impact on a well-meaning father? Could it have an adverse impact on fathers, children or others? If it can, then maybe I should do it differently.

  236. Bill shock pending?
    | Reply

    Hello there Andrew

    I am a single mum with a mortgage and a lot of costs involved of raising my son. My ex and I share an 8 year old son who is in my care for most of the time. I have always been diligent with making sure Centrelink and child support have my updated information ( I’m scared of being overpayed as budget is so tight that I can’t afford a shock bill ) I have however just logged onto myGov and to my horror CSA have readjusted my income to $5 below what I earn (probably to match my tax income last year) but it was low because I needed to take more unpaid time off for medical reasons. This has been going on since August last year but I didn’t realise. Am I going to get into trouble now or owe my ex money they we don’t have ? Thank you for your insight

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Nothing to worry about. It’s standard practice for Child Support to go off last year’s income. Your higher income for this year will affect next year’s payments.

      Note that your income doesn’t affect payments all that much if you have your child the vast majority of the time. Receiver income matters more when care is evenly shared.

  237. Jane
    | Reply

    Really happy to see that someone is trying to change the CSA issues. The system is terribly flawed, staffed by incompetant people who do not know their job.
    My partner has had many, MANY issues over the years (never once missed a payment), most recently he was TOLD he earned $30k more than he did. This of course went into the ‘you owe’ section of CSA so we wrote to them, registered mail, and he was told that they would not accept his figure. This means the overpayments they are forcing him to pay to his ex until tax time will not be re-imbursed. Whilst on the phone pleading his case, the carefree girl on the other end of the phone told him its legislation – yet cannot tell us what part of the legislation to which she refers – and it all got too hard for her obviously and hung up on him.
    Nothing will get done about these laws as they are just too messy and outdated unless we all get together and become a noisy, persistant minority.
    Best of luck getting changes through parliament.
    Tax the reciever (the Govt would be out of debt in no time), base payments on net wage instead of gross wage, ensure the reciever is working to their capacity, and perhaps have the payments as store cards, not cash going straight into the outheld greedy hands of the ex.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your support. Child Support have many “rules of thumb” that sit on the very edges of the law. These strategic interpretations always work against payers (i.e. against fathers). The laws themselves would generally be OK if not for the scheming behaviour of Child Support. The laws need to be re-written with protection of payers in mind since the bureaucrats appear to always target payers.

      It’s a common theme across family law and child support. Every bias, large or small, is always conservative and in favour of mothers since they have greater initial contact with and control over children. Add up all these biases and you get a system which is simply horrendous for fathers who get caught up in it. A lack of protection and consideration for fathers has been incredibly damaging to Australian society and has, no doubt, been the cause of hundreds or thousands of deaths.

  238. Peter
    | Reply

    Hi all

    After a split from my ex partner I was unable to look after our 4 year old son, so was the mother due to work. My son spend 5 days with his grandmother (my mother) and 2 days with me, after 8 months the mother falsely applied for a child support claiming she has 85% custody…shocking the case was accepted without my knowledge, after months of going back and forth the case was closed however I was entitled to pay $500 to the child support agancy for accepting the case 😂😂 unbelievable anyways! This year in december I took a trip to Africa for 7 weeks when I returned there was another child support letter of case acceptance with $1500 over due pay …… I’m a labourer my 2017-18 income was 70k however I don’t get paid for sick or holiday leave so you can imagine how tough things were when I returned completely broke from Africa and saw the letter. They deducting 22 cents of every dollar i make…..the stress is unberable I spoke to 4 different customer consultant and the result was the same I’m entitled to pay I feel like this is the quickest way to drive a man to God knows what…”evil ideas that might come thru”

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I hope your son feels loved. Young children should be spending lots of time with both parents regularly. The dodgy habit of Child Support always accepting the mother’s word straight away and not refunding fathers is not good, but seems like a relatively small issue here.

  239. JC
    | Reply

    Hello!

    My ex since seperating has chosen to cease work (qualified child carer) and recieve full newstart benefits while living with her FIFO 1:1 partner. She is claiming she is seperated while also working cash in hand as a cleaner with her new mother in law.

    Has any one had any luck with reassessments based on capacity to earn?

    She has a flap trap so spews everything she is doing to the kids and even myself.

    Fingers crossed.

    JC

  240. John Cook
    | Reply

    I was on a high salary in the mining industry and was made redundant. I informed CSA of my change in circumstances and they altered my payments. However, at the new financial year, and the last four months of support for my child, they reverted to my previous income. This resulted in a huge debt that I was unaware of until more than 18months later. CSA now says they can’t do anything about the overcharge (despite never having informed me of this to my knowledge). CSA case officers have deliberately avoided telling me about the objection process, about the administrative appeals tribunal and have made it very difficult for me to get any documentation about what they did or didn’t tell me. I have a strong sense that the organisation has closed ranks on me. Meanwhile, they are garnering a quarter of my meagre salary (as I have never regained full employment) and I am struggling to support my children and pay bills.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unfortunately, it looks like Child Support followed their standard practice. They always err on the side of overpaying the receiver and then not making good with the payer. They do this routinely. However, they are also reliable at issuing statements, which would have at least been available online. I don’t think there’s anything you can do to rectify the situation. They may just be steering you away from reviews, etc because it causes hassles for them and probably won’t change anything at this stage.

      Many payers tend to avoid the unpleasant task of looking carefully at statements from Child Support. But, it’s necessary, particularly if your circumstances change, to ensure you’re not getting ripped off.

  241. Suzanne Carmichael
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I have 2 girls, 85% of the time. My ex husband and I are on almost identical incomes.

    He pays $531/month,

    I am then (court ordered) pay for flights so they can visit him( I agreed to pay half the cost-approx $5000 per year). This is pretty much the entire amount of child support i receive.

    Last year I spent about $400/ week! on daycare and before and after school care so I could work full time to earn the enough to live(approx $70K/yr).

    He is on the same income, living with a partner, sharing costs.

    The system is so unfair, and woefully underestimates the real costs of raising children.

    Regardless of who earns what basic, costs should just be divided?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The main issue seems to be the massive travel and care costs relative to your incomes. Don’t know how child support could really solve that. It’s an extravagant setup that has nothing to do with the government. Both of you are paying for it. At least the care costs should reduce over time.

  242. Frank
    | Reply

    Has anyone had any experience complaining to the ombudsman (or any other body) about the actions of the CSA? My ex recently disputed my income to the CSA, and I addressed the matters she raised with the CSA. She then raised further accusations which had no merit. The CSA did not share these further accusations with me so I could not respond to them, and instead made their determinations based on her accusations and found in her favour. Their determination was wrong, I don’t mean that I didn’t agree with their argument or position, I mean, technically wrong, arithmetically wrong, they included a whole section of income, twice. If they had only shared her new accusations with me (which they are supposed to) I could have explained it immediately (and proved it through tax returns) Now I have a bigger amount I can’t afford to pay, and I am told my only option is to appeal the decision via the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which takes months, and during which I have to continue to make larger payments based on an incorrect determination of my income, that I cannot afford. Any advice will be appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support make mistakes often, partly because they treat payers as funding sources and not parents. Normally, there’s a review by another government officer before you have to appeal to the AAT. Do everything as quickly as possible since they may backdate only to the time your appeal is lodged. CSA have been complained about many, many times and yet they continue on.

  243. PT
    | Reply

    hi, my ex & i had been separated for a few years we have a 5yo son, when i recently sold my house i gave my ex 50k. i never took her name off the owning of the house so when i sold she decided that half the profits should be hers. 2 years had past and as a defacto time had elapsed for her to legally property claim. in the 3 yrs since she left i have never been allowed by her to have my son, i do see him but she’s always there, for child support i stopped paying because she wouldn’t give me time with my boy & my child support debt grew to 10k. Sale of house money was put in a trust because she wanted half i ended up giving her 50k to resolve it as i needed funds & that money was for outstanding child support money + as she says would be for our sons future, i trusted her word but after she received the money reneged that it was for child support & so my debt stood, she bought a new car & now has had my bank account garnished wanting more. Family Services don’t want to know about it because it was not paid through them so as far as they care i still owe her money

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’ve made a few mistakes in the past that you may not be able to fix. Going forward, remember that child support payments are not something you can use as leverage to get the other parent to cooperate. Many payers make that mistake.

      Start mediation straight away (it costs little to nothing) and insist on greater status as a parent. If you have to go to court (or even are just threatening to do so as part of mediation), it’s important that you’ve made every effort to be a parent to your son. Judges are very interested in that, and expect fathers to try. You need to start establishing a history of providing care yourself.

  244. Angela Redman
    | Reply

    My partner is self employed and for the last six months has been over charged for child support. Now that the assessment has come in we found out that he has been overcharged by $1200 est, he has been informed that he is not entitled to any backdate for this over charge. However, if the assessment came in that he was under paying for that period, he would have to pay the difference. I am struggling to see how this system is legal in a diplomatic society?
    Could you please explain the reasonings and refer me to any legal acts that allow such treatment of child support payers?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unfortunately, Child support often treat over-payments as uncorrectable errors (since you would be “taking money back from the child”). They use dodgy legal tactics to make this happen. For example, your partner may have been able to submit an income estimate to prevent the over-payment. So they treat it as his fault. The double-standards are breathtaking.

  245. Reza
    | Reply

    Im self employed, last year child support added $25k for 2 years to my income as a personal benefit from business, I tried to fight it but didn’t get anywhere, this year I had to close down the business as it wasn’t going good so contacted Child support, informed them of my situation and asked for reassessment, it was refused again due to lack of evidence !!! Bank statements clearly show how much money comes in and goes out,
    I then searched for agencies that help in this matter, I came across Child Support Help Australia, Talked to Laurie, he assured me that I have a case, that they have plenty of experience and knowledge in these matters, I was receiving a call almost every second day until I paid them half of the money, Everything stopped as soon as I paid, every time I called he simply bagged CSA and how bad and unfair they are, asked for more documents and did nothing,
    I finally found out by CSA that the act prevents parties to have a representative on reassessments, so the money was gone, Laurie from CSHA didn’t help and couldn’t help either, $1,000 was gone just like that, he is refusing to refund.
    They just take your money and run,
    They have a facebook page that is run by a marketing company, they charge Laurie a fee for every lead they get, Laurie from Child Support Help Australia on the other hand gets paid and does nothing, Beware and don’t waste your money. I paid them $1,000 and after a month got a very poor draft that was copied from my objections.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sounds like Laurie from Child Support Help Australia is a scam artist. You could report the page to Facebook, and the business to ASIC.

  246. Bree
    | Reply

    Hey single mummy of 2 boys here. So i have a 5yr old and a 7 month old both to the same father…its been a troublesome 6yrs years!
    Anyway he hasnt paid a cent EVER! CSA have tried contacting him but he never responds. The little money i did get off CSA from his tax, he found out about and yelled and screamed at me till i gave every cent back to him.
    Hes an independant tiler and earns anywhere from $1,500 to $2,100 a week. But yet because he gets cash in hand he says i cant prove it which i guess realistically i cant…i also have majority of care of both the boys (one of which has extensive cognitive, speech, gross n fine delays so yay specialist appointments and medication is a great expense which he doesnt help with) but i have always had a open door policy so all he had to do was call and say im coming to see the boys and he could along as having a flexible timetable for when he had the boys even though he always made excuses not to have them.
    Needless to say since leaving me for a married woman with kids of her own he doesnt seem to even notice that he has kids as hes always so busy with hers…never has money because “oh her kids needed and this happend so i had to”

    Urgh sorry for rambling i just have so much on my head and now with going ahead with court its a bit of a gumble.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Many newly separated parents are in the habit of discussing matters with their ex when they don’t really have to. A little communication by text message is often all that’s required to co-parent effectively. You don’t have to engage with him. And the fact that he’s not paying support gives you leverage in mediation and in court processes. You’re in a position to make demands while he keeps it up.

  247. Jessica
    | Reply

    Hi, my daughter is almost 15 and has spent the majority of her life in her fathers care (lengthy court battles, manipulation and DV) I have been employed consistently since she was about 6mths old and he stopped working the day I left him and has not worked since (daughter was 18mths old when the relationship ended!) he is claiming disability support pension (don’t get me started on his “so called disability”) and I am tired of paying so much child support when he can go and get a job. Unfortunately due to the distance between us and the history of DV having her in my care more is not possible (as a teenager she maybe wants to spend 1 weekend a month with me). My ex is in a better position financially than I am (he is paying off a mortgage) I am renting and struggling to make ends meet just keeping a roof over my head, I am a small business owner however my income is very sporadic and unpredictable and this FY business hasn’t been going well. Last years taxable income was $55k and my CSA assessment came in at $7000 annually. Over the 14yrs of paying child support I have calculated I have paid almost $98k, my daughter does not go without and I don’t know how he manages to afford her the luxuries he buys her (iPhone X, Apple Mac computer, brand name clothing and shoes). I manage my money well and budget (barefoot investor) but I feel like I’m only working for the tax man and my ex. Feeling frustrated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The system is flawed by requiring payers to give receiving parents extra money for not working. We would prefer to go back to the approach where how much you pay depends on how much you earn, and not on the other parent’s income. That way, payers aren’t penalised for the other parent sitting around at home. It would encourage both parents to work harder, and reduce conflict and resentment.

  248. Scott
    | Reply

    Hey there my name is Scott, I’m just needing some help about what to do with child support. I have a tax return from last year that I need to do and CSA have been using an old estimate, I’m no longer doing this job so my earning capacity is much lower. What will happen if a lodge that tax return? Any help would be much appreciated

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’ll get a new assessment when you lodge your tax return (backdated because the tax return is overdue – no gain from delaying). You can submit an income estimate for this financial year if 2017-18 taxable income overstates your likely earnings for 2018-19.

  249. Frustrated stepmom.
    | Reply

    Hi

    I have 2 x step children where my husband has been paying his ex wife CS for almost 5 years now. She benefited greatly from the divorce where subsequently when I got together with my husband, I ended up paying a chunk off his debt (which ultimately was the money that went to her). My husband only has regular care where his ex is still reluctant to include me in as a ‘parent’ who can help look after the kids & do school pick ups etc. My husband pays her CS where it is evident she is profiting off him with the current system. She is very savvy with the system where additionally she asks for ‘half’ of everything else ie extra curricular activites, OSCH (even though when in her care), medical bills (always seems to send them to specialists instead of GP & we have them on our health cover so she saves money). She continues to use the excuse that she works her shifts around my ex- husband (he is shift worker) so he should pay more. I told my husband a couple of years ago that the ‘extra’ payments outside CS, we should only be paying the percentage of care we have them, but she wont agree to it. Every time he tries to fight she continues to manipulate him by giving him ultimatums where if he doesnt pay she will take away something else ie stop sending clothes etc. We also have had to move out of our smaller place & now renting in a bigger house so we can accommodate the children (we have them approx 110 days per year) and the fact I am now pregnant. I pay for the rent for a larger house which I feel is a waste of money at times as we dont have the children as often as we want & should. I am due soon and I know that the maintanence will drop a little bit but so will my pay once on maternity leave. Why should I then go back to work earlier just so we can survive whilst he continues to pay his ex all this extra money? We have been relying on my pay for bills etc so things will be pretty tight. My husband (unfortunately after the bad advice of a male colleague) salary sacrifices our cars & now cant get out of the contracts for at least another year. This of course didnt change the CS payments and made our financial position worse. This is how desperate higher income earners are getting who are paying more CS – we now know it wasnt the best decision.

    I have said that once I am on maternity leave that I will be available to help out more with the children and we are better position to have more custody. We of course want the children to be a part of their little brother/sisters life. Shared care is what we want, 60/40 to start with. She has already put a block up & continues to use the excuse that the children are settled with her. Both my husband and I have wonderful extended families who are a great influence in the childrens lives and want to see them more. My husband just wont rock the boat and continues to pay the money (as it is easier and doesnt want the kids to be exposed to negativity). But it is all a facade and we keep putting on happy faces for the kids but causes a strain & stress on our relationship. I am frustrated and disappointed, especially as a woman, that people continue to manipulate & monopolize over a very flawed system. My husband has been propping his ex wife up for years now where I feel he is still financially married to her. He is assisting paying off her mortgage in the house they lived in and its evident she is living a more comfortable life. Although I have been able to help with his huge debt we are still behind financially & cant afford to buy a house big enough for the 5 of us.

    Why should we suffer due to a system that isnt necessarily set up just for the children? We are in that similar scenario you presented where my husbands ‘gross’ income is about 20k more than hers so she is getting a more financial gain. I have read everything I can about child support & there is not much more we can do except if she doesnt agree to us having more care we will have to go down the line of mediation & family court (which is a waste of money & we end up paying through the nose for it if we initiate. PLUS it is a horrible process and the children shouldnt have to be exposed to it.)

    I dont think there is anything further you can suggest? I have read everything on your site which is very informative. I suppose I just wanted to tell my story from the ‘step mothers’ perspective.

    I am hoping that one day the system will change to be a fairer one for both parents and we need more people like yourself advocating this.

    The children deserve all of us happy and co-parenting together amicable.

    Cheers

    SM

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It really is a shame that the people who gave us the Child Support Scheme didn’t think through the flow-on consequences of payments. They took away the ability for many payers to choose to be generous with their children, instead forcing them to make often-excessive payments that take away from other things (such as financial security for future spouses and children).

      I agree that you’re in a difficult situation and there’s probably not a lot you can do. But I will say that mediation could be worth doing. The parents may be able to correct any current problems and misunderstandings. Any care-time concessions from your partner’s ex would be a bonus.

      Agree also that the court thing would probably be unwise. Judges don’t really care if fathers have limited time with their children. They tend to consider that it’s enough for children to know their father. They are totally wrong of course, but that’s the current system.

      Notwithstanding the bias against fathers, a possible strategy to get more time is to convince the other parent that you’re prepared to go through years of court proceedings if she’s unwilling to make some concessions (and it currently takes years to get to a final hearing). It’s worth going in hard at the start of mediation even if it’s a bluff.

  250. Frank
    | Reply

    Hi,

    Just wanted to express my concern. My partner and i have equal custody, equal time and equal expenses however, because i earn more money due to the fact my ex-wife refuses to work. I am forced to pay more money for a child who is 11 years of age . I have politely asked my ex if she is willing to enter a private arrangement and we can contribute to our sons education by setting up a interest saving trust fund. She refused purely for the reason if she doesn’t have child support she cannot get centrelink benefits. So i have asked myself is this person thinking for the best interest of the child or for herself? Is there anything i can do because the money i pay is not justified with proven receipts that it has gone to our child. Even though i pay her child support i still have to pay additional things like clothes, soccer membership, school excursions etc?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The money your ex is receiving is an entitlement under the current scheme. Our alternative formula would eliminate it because it’s unfair and not good for children. But your ex is not doing anything unusual. Government policy is currently on her side.

  251. Mick
    | Reply

    I currently have three different assessments ie different dollar values, for the same two kids, but three different assessment periods, all issued 5th Sept, how do I know which one is to apply???
    Also what if the other partner hasn’t put in a tax return for years?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Mick – You should have a series of assessments with non-overlapping dates. All of them apply (unless they have been superseded by a new assessment). The only figures you really have to worry about are the amount due currently and the regular amount to be paid going forward. Tax returns normally only impact on the assessment if taxable income is greater than about $25,000.

  252. Xiaojin You
    | Reply

    My ex hasn’t paid me child support since early 2016. He gave me $1000 cash in 2017, and $500 cash in 2018, and that’s all. I tried to add the payments as extrordinary payments on CSA in my account, but it kept reminding me being technical error after I hit submit button.
    Anyway, CSA shows he is now owing me (overdue )more than $6700. However there is no money to be paid to me, because he is self-employed, and he receives payments from his clients (mainly overseas) via cash payment, or bank direct deposit to his business account. He refuses to pay child support amount, or share my daughter’s schooling expenses (public school), although he said he was better than my current partner because he was rich now( which was so stupid and selfish).

    CSA last year told me that unfortunately they were unable to chase him for the money. I wonder is there really no way to reveal his financial situation? I wonder if I call ATO to get him pay tax properly, so that his tax issues can be brought into ATO’s attention and then help CSA and me to get his overdue payment.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It sounds like he is using business funds to pay for personal expenses, which could well be associated with improper accounting practices. Reporting him to the ATO could cause problems for him and, therefore, your daughter. Alternatively, you could indicate to him that you’re thinking about reporting his activity to the ATO as it seems suspicious and you are missing out on child support. The risk of being subject to a tax audit (which no-one likes) could motivate him to start paying. A letter along these lines sent to him via a lawyer might get results.

  253. Unlucky
    | Reply

    I’ve been through mediations, CSA, change of assessments, tribunal, court and a 4.5 day trial in the Australian Family Law court system…this takes years and years and cost me everything financially to represent myself against my very wealthy “self-employed” ex-husband and his family. I’ve been through numerous help lines and government systems for domestic violence, abuse and the police. This is not in the children’s best interest and certainly not mine. These systems not only fail us but the employees as well. Like any job, some people actually do their job of quality and some could care less….next, next, next.
    Who will you lobby to? A corrupt politician, a lying family consultant hired by the court who’s barely qualified to even evaluate children or parenting skills, an overpaid solicitor or barrister specializing in Family Law or the director of CSA, ATO, ASIC SMSF? I’ve done it already! The wealthy are still wealthy and the poor still poor no different then a criminal is still a criminal because the penalties are so weak and lame like a corrupt policeman overlooking his “duties” let alone the oath he took before he was awarded his badge of “I’ll do what I want when I want”.
    I wouldn’t wish what I’ve been through on anyone! Have I stopped fighting these injustices’ for my children’s safety and well-being? No, because they deserve better! I didn’t give birth to them so they could have a crappy life, I guess that’s what my life is for at the moment…I battle on hoping for “Karma” to come full circle, the ATO and other government agencies to finally do their jobs and audit their wealthy father, his family and all of their businesses….Fingers crossed for justice despite all the concrete evidence?!? Money buys a lot, not that my children would know.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Good to hear that you’ve stopped fighting the “injustices”. When children have a wealthy parent, it’s not the other parent’s job to try to prevent access and get the money for themselves. Children share in wealth by spending time with the parent who has it. Hopefully, the children will continue to benefit from his wealth after they’ve reached 18 and child support no longer applies.

  254. Mr Anonymous
    | Reply

    I think CSA is a plain and simple rort system in place to screw the male.
    My ex finally decided to organise child support after i kept annoying her to.. i see my kids every weekend thanks god, and she has them sunday night to thursday.
    It was estimated that my Child Support will be 270 a fortnight. I agreed and payments started and just took a while to be released to my ex. She started complaining blaming me that Im not releasing the money. I said its not me..company has already removed it from my pay.
    Next think i have a lettet from CSA stating that I owe my ex $1000.
    Week after it was that I owe her 800? Im like what the hell. Why? Ive been paying as agreed. Nothing has changed?! Why the hell do i have to pay more? FOR WHAT?
    I did a little overtime at work to save a little more and CSA took all the OT? The whole lot.
    Its like what, men a meant to rot in hell now? Pay everything and live with nothing?
    Keepin in mind my ex wife (18years) married for 9 kicked me out like a dog. Like trash. Only to sleep with someone else the very next day.
    Her sister thrives on the fact she does nothing and receieves child suport which is paying her mortgage. And she works 2to 3 days a week which is tax free pay.
    Its just a joke.
    This system is a joke.
    CSA making money of broken families. Makes me sick to the core.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can see what’s been happening with required payments by checking your various statements from Child Support. You might be better off monitoring your finances instead of complaining about them. Many payers and recipients have it worse than you unfortunately.

  255. Ashley Trewin
    | Reply

    Hi there,
    I would have to say that action needs to be taken urgently with regards to the system and the lack of power the CSA seems to have. I was able to to find out that the father of my child is employed and working from his linked in profile, for which I just googled. I dont understand how child support agency does not have the power to do a quick google search or perhaps a Facebook search to find out things like, does he/she have a nice car, house or going on holidays? I havent received a payment for 3 months now, all the while my daughters father has been working. I have given details of employer to CSA, but it seems to take weeks to just make a phone call to confirm employment. Perhaps they need more staff to better manage cases. Its not fair that anyone should get away with not paying, all the while you struggle to raise a child that is both equal parts of their parents. I have my daughter 100% of the time because her father wont have contact ( I would love him to though ) and i am raising her emotionally, mentally and physically, the least i feel he can do is help financially.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Do you really think it’s a good idea to have a team of bureaucrats running around doing private investigations to collect child support? Would often be a great waste of taxpayer money. Simplifying the calculation would be a better approach, along with increasing base-level payment obligations. You should benefit eventually from your ex’s current earnings (such as at tax return time).

  256. Felix
    | Reply

    Hi everyone, I strongly feel there is something wrong with the current calculation system. I am a high tax bracket earner. Currently my boys stay 2 nights in a fortnight with me. I also see them every Wednesday for dinner and I spend time with them every other weekend when their mom says it is OK. My ex and I are looking to change the care arrangements to a 50/50 split, and I will me moving closer to see them more often. This is what is best for the boys. Using the current formula though it means that my child support to her will only reduce by about 35%, not even 50%. The reduction is not sufficient to offset the additional before and after care costs that I will incur. So it will actually cost me net-net more than it costs me at the moment to have the boys with me for 50% of their time. In my opinion the current system benefits the lower income earner out of proportion and that is unfair. It also makes it very difficult to make a decision like in my case where it will cost me a lot more to have by boys with me more often. I am going to close my eyes and do it because I’ll never get that change back – I benefit. But my ex also benefits financially, without lifting a finger.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re right Felix that the calculations don’t make sense. The current scheme was created by a team of mostly lawyers. Costs for 2 days of care per fortnight are considered to be about the same as for 5 nights! Also, they share income between parents socialism-style rather than making each parent individually responsible for providing a certain amount of care. And they assume separated parents spend like a married couple. The scheme is a horrible mess and it impacts on many parents like you unfairly.

  257. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.
    Not sure if you have any idea if there is anything I can do? My ex has refused to pay child support since we separated 18 months ago (in fact he cant even be bothered to see the kids, aged 11 and 17). he has accumulated a substantial debt, and has been hopping from employer to employer as soon as the CSA track him down, Now he has registered as a Propriety company and will have the car yards (hes a salesman) that he works for pay his company and draw wages from the company . Apparently he plans to avoid his income being anything reasonable by “employing” his new girlfriend, paying her a large salary and them living off it together…am I likely to ever see any child support?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sarah – His tactics shouldn’t work. Child Support have the power to take his dodgy financial arrangements into account if you apply for a Change of Assessment. Also, the debt stays until it’s paid.

  258. Sally Purcell
    | Reply

    My daughter received a letter from CSA to inform her that her ex partner was no longer working and would not be receiving child support now . . However every time she messaged him in regards to working out what days he would like to see their son he would message back nah not that day I only have Tuesday off work this week . . My daughter rang the CSA to be told oh well he said he’s not working and there’s not much we can do if we don’t know where he’s working .So my daughter then spent 2 months trying to secretly follow him to see where he drives to every morning until she finally found his exact place of work and took photos OF HIM WORKING in the ķitchen of the restaurant ( hes a qualified chef). . She rang the ATO and the CSA with this information only to be told well theres not much we can do if the business owner does not admit this guys working there and for cash …..OMG what a joke . . This is not the CHILD support agency its tbe non paying tax avoiding ( illegal ) person support agency .. disgusting

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Has your daughter applied for a Change of Assessment – Reason 8 (Earning Capacity)? The reviewer at Child Support would have the power to restore the father’s child support income to it’s former level.

  259. Anthony
    | Reply

    My ex wife has recently left her partner of 10 years and he has revealed that she would receive regular payments for her own business of cash in hand. She works for herself and contracts out to 2 x other employers and apparently hasn’t billed one employer for some time as she doesn’t want her income to affect her child support assessment until it ends in a few weeks. The child support is about to end as my son is about to turn 18 and then she will put in a massive amount of billable hours and will have stolen thousands of dollars from me.
    I notice that everything always mentions about the payer trying to avoid paying child support but there seems to be little regard for the receiving parent also doing the wrong thing. My ex wife has basically been unable to support herself since I left but I bet that once the child support stops her annual income will at least double. These people are criminals and should be investigated and forced to pay some money back. Unfortunately no formula will work out fairly for child support as both families circumstances need to be taken into account. Just be glad to be done with it all in the next week or so. The system is broken for many.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Actually, there’s no need to make child support depend on the circumstances of the main carer. That’s how it used to be in Australia and what we’re proposing. Too late for you but see home page for details.

  260. Leanne Patterson
    | Reply

    There is an urgent need for all genuine circumstances to be considered when calculating ‘level of care’ and csa payments made to the other parent at a higher right than is calculated in the assessment.
    My husband has paid every csa payment to his ex wife on time since they separated. When he was between jobs and had no income we made sure all csa was paid before our own household bills so his children would not go without. It has been and will remain top priority. When my eldest stepson turned 18 and the csa assessed fortnightly payment reduced, my husband did not reduce the payments and has continued to pay the same rate. My youngest stepson is now 17 and advised of struggles travelling 40mins from his mothers home to our home to stay overnight. This struggle is due to casual work commitments finishing late at night (restaurant work), as well as his social network being close to his mothers home. My husband agreed reluctantly to his son’s decision as he loves time with his sons.
    Now the ex wife is claiming minimum ‘level of care’ which has significantly increased csa payments required, well above the already higher rate paid.
    1) unfair that any parent paying csa above calculated rate does not have this factored in as a ‘credit’
    2) why should csa payers be penalised for a decision made by the child to not stay overnight regularly, be penalised when it is for genuine reasons to support their need to work and socialise with their peer group? Is the child’s wellbeing not an important factor based on their circumstances?

    Reforms of system are welcome if they are well informed and take into consideration each individual circumstance. When lodging claims for insurance, all individual factors must be advised and considered therefore lodging a child support claim should be no different.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your contribution Leanne. Government programs have to be kept very simple to make them understandable, easy to administer, cost-effective and so you don’t have constant disputes. Can’t see how you get away from linking child support to the percentage of nights of care provided. Anything else starts to get messy. Our alternative system has a fairer calculation method that wouldn’t bring such a high penalty from reduced care time. Child support shouldn’t be such a win-lose game.

  261. School fees
    | Reply

    Hi. I currently have majority custody of my 2 children. My ex has them 2 nights a fortnight. He dropped to part time so I receive a total of $39 a fortnight in child support. I’ve looked at the reasons for a change of assessment and have the information stating that our children were enrolled in private school at least a year before our separation. My son will start school next year. If I apply for a new assessment under grounds of private school will he then be forced to pay half of the school fees or will they only make him pay a percentage there they deem acceptable?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Dropping to part-time work is justification by itself for seeking a change of assessment (reason 8 – earning capacity). Not sure of the detail about how Child Support make decisions with respect to private school fees.

  262. Sole Mum
    | Reply

    re: Sole Mum reply
    Thanks for your reply Andrew.. I have been searching the internet for examples of how other countries calculate CS… clearly child support is very complex all over the world with some notable differences…. Australia doesn’t sent non-compliant parents to gaol unlike UK, Canada & America… yet!..
    I believe that there should be a minimum CS payment that custodial parent receive (based on MIHL).. It is outrageous and insulting that some custodial parents receive a few dollars per month to raise children.. These kids go without so much as a result… perpetuating the poverty cycle.
    https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/publications-articles/a-comparison-of-child-support-schemes-in-selected-countries?HTML
    In Norway, they have a practice called “advance maintenance” where the government guarantee payments to the custodial parent when there is a history of irregular payments (which is recouped by the government). That way the children are not disadvantaged. This also contributes to the very low levels of child poverty in Norway.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      What we’re proposing would be the simplest system in the world, while being highly effective. Not sure about guaranteed payments in Australia given levels of welfare that already exist. Agree that minimum obligations should be greater.

  263. Alex
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, thank you for the vast information and assistance you provide. My query is about estimated incomes and whether you receive back pay if the pp underestimates their income. My ex changed their taxable income to an estimated income with CSA which is plus $20k less than their taxable one. I can’t understand why CSA accepts an estimated income with such a great difference (tax lodge by both of us). It’s just such a large discrepancy.
    What happens if they have underestimated their income? What I have read doesn’t really indicate that my daughter will receive back pay.
    Thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks Alex. Yes – you will be compensated if the other parent has under-estimated their income.

      Child support payments are usually based on a person’s last recorded taxable income. A parent can, however, provide a lower estimate of total income across the current year. If you believe the other parent’s estimate is false, you can contact Child Support and they may seek appropriate evidence from the other parent.

      Income estimates are reconciled when a parent eventually submits their tax return. Child Support will normally act if actual income turns out to be higher than estimated income. That means you should eventually be compensated if the other parent’s estimate is on the low side.

  264. Sole mum
    | Reply

    My son’s father moved to Bermuda to avoid his child support responsibilities (non-reciprocating country). It was extreme, but his choice to move overseas. For me this meant that I didn’t receive any CS for seven years, which created severe financial stress raising a child as a sole parent.
    Of course avoiding CS liability is futile as it just created a debt which was eventually recuperated through CSA. As a sole parent I strive to give my child a standard of living that he would have if his father had of stayed with us. In reality the CS I receive is less than one quarter of what it actually costs in raising him and I have made countless sacrifices with my career and lifestyle to give him a happy and loving childhood (which has no financial measure).
    https://aifs.gov.au/media-releases/new-estimates-costs-raising-children-australia
    According to Australian Institute of Family Studies (17 April 2018) the new “minimum income for healthy living” (MIHL) budget standard for low-paid families is (approx.) $170 per week for a child. That’s $737 per month! This may sound like a lot of money for some people but raising children is expensive, and it’s not forever.
    I believe that the MIHL needs to be factored into the CSA formula to determine a more accurate amount of the actual cost of raising a child (not just using disposable income of the parents). Ultimately it’s about looking after our kids..

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Noted. There are some problems with the current approach.

      The “costs of children” used in child support calculations were based on some sophisticated economic modelling. The cost estimates reflect that (i) basically, kids don’t need to cost much but (ii) parents with higher incomes tend to spend on their children.

      But the scheme creators stuffed up by using spending by married couples as the benchmark for spending by separated parents (who may be doing it tough). It’s also wrong to force higher-income parents to make large payments (high-income married couples aren’t forced to spend in that way).

      Creating minimum spending amounts is problematic because low-income people can’t afford it. In the design of our alternative scheme, we allow for both low-income earners and the financial reality of being a separated parent.

  265. pat
    | Reply

    A lady told me that when the father of her daughter put in a child support claim and the results were that she had to pay him (as she earned significantly more than him), CSA told her that all she had to do was just pay for her daughter and not worry about him. CSA doesn’t chase women is what she told her. Do you believe this to be true>

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t really believe this. There must be more to it. Child Support need to follow procedures, even if their legal interpretations and rules of thumb are extremely biased. An accumulating debt is a problem that doesn’t go away simply by being ignored.

  266. Mel
    | Reply

    Just wondering why parents who receive child support are not held accountable for what they spend the child support on?
    My partner has been financially crippled for the past 16 years partly due to his ex, paying child support and her refusing to work. It’s got to the point that I financially support him to pay her. However, I have a child of my own that I am 100% responsible for; I don’t receive child support at all. In some ways, my child misses out because he is paying her child support for their child. She then goes on overseas holidays for 3-4 weeks each year most likely, since she’s not working, by using the child support. How is this fair and why aren’t parents held accountable for how they use the child support they receive to pay for their child’s expenses, etc?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Mel – lots of parents share the same sentiment. But there are 2 very good reasons why it’s left up to parents to spend the money in whatever way they choose. One is that it would be too difficult (and ridiculously expensive) from an admin view to manage the individual spending of each parent who receives payments. The other reason is that children benefit from all kinds of spending, including on things that benefit parents as well (e.g. on a nice home or better holiday).

      The other issue here is that the payments you guys are making are probably excessive. Child support payments are usually higher than what can be justified based on economics, or what is actually good for children.

  267. Jason
    | Reply

    Hi Just a quick one

    I pay child support, $465/week for for children, also $217/week for my ex wifes care that is in my name, I also pay $300/week towards the mortgage for our house that she and the kids are in and she is expecting me to fully pay for all school fees and clothes, shoes and after school activities.
    I do not mind paying some towards these things but should she be contributing towards these things also.

    And does me paying for her count towards anything?

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Jason – it seems like you are being very generous. You should read up on non-agency payments – http://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/5/3/1 – which are payments for certain eligible things (such as school fees or rent) that effectively count as child support dollars.

  268. Child support and maternity leave
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I am hoping you can provide me with some clarification. My current husband has 50/50 care of his two young children with his ex wife. His ex wife is now expecting another child with her current partner. I have also not long had a new baby. How will child support be affected by this? Currently my husband is only paying his ex a small amount of child support as their annual income is very similar. However, if she makes the choice to have another child and go on maternity leave or possible not even return to work, with my husbands child support costs increase significantly? My husband already covers costs of the majority of his children’s expenses on top of child support. It does not seem right that essentially will will be in financial distress because his ex has chosen to have another child without considering the welfare and impact of costs of her own exsisting children.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      When a separated parent has another child, their self-support amount goes up in child support calculations. This has a moderately beneficial impact on their child support payments.

      Mothers who have another child are also essentially allowed to stop working. This lowers their income for child support purposes, which can have a big impact on payments when care is evenly shared.

      I totally agree that your family’s life shouldn’t be affected in this way by the choices of your husband’s ex partner. When care is 50:50, each parent should simply provide for the children when in their care, and split any major expenses 50:50. Unfortunately, due to bad design, we have a Soviet-style child support system. Earning an income is punished and not earning an income is rewarded. No need for it and the result is unfair outcomes such as the one you’re encountering.

  269. Raph
    | Reply

    Hi,

    My partner and I agreed on the divorce petition that he will take full responsibility for the kids. He also stated that he won’t ask me any money for the kids.

    Now he’s asking to Child Support to collect money from me. Can he do that?
    What about the Divorce Petition we agreed on?

    Thanks for your help.

    Raph

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      In Australia, divorce proceedings only relate to the dissolution of a marriage (financial and parenting matters are dealt with separately). So, doubt that whatever document you’re referring to would be recognised by Child Support. They collect unless there is a carefully written, legally approved document that states an alternative arrangement regarding financial support for children.

      Remember, the system has been set up by anally retentive lawyers, whose main interest is generating work for their profession.

  270. SAMM BAXTER
    | Reply

    Complaint regarding Child Support – I have an arrears owing quite extensive. I am told that the PP case is with the Highest Enforcement. However no money to be disbursed. The PP sends nasty messsages regarding a letter received that a child support payment has been made on his behalf which I know nothing about all I am told by Child Support is if there is money it will appear in your bank account we can talk about the PP due to privacy. What about my privacy. I do believe they can give you some sort of an idea if there is any money being paid – when PP gets a letter like that then the RP should receive something similar. The other thing a call back regarding a level 2 complaint should not take 24-48 hours. KPI should be 3 hours.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Would suggest that you’re annoying Child Support by micro-managing their efforts to get your money for you. Maybe just let them do their job. They don’t need more unnecessary admin work and you should have more useful things to do.

  271. Lolly
    | Reply

    New to all this but only just managed to get the father on my child’s birth certificate to claim child support. He was on Centrelink payments but now is apparently working on the mines. He has not updated his employment details as I am only recieveing $35 or something a month. I do not have the details of where he works & do not want to keep going back & forth with CSA (because he seems to not be able to hold down a job for too long) just wanted to know when/if he can get caught without me having to put in a new assessment? & would he be back dated for the time he was working but not telling CSA about his earnings?
    Ta

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Judgement day will arrive for him when he submits a tax return. Not much CSA can do in the meantime without his cooperation.

  272. Mark
    | Reply

    Hi, Very interesting forum.. thanks

    I have a question about the Coa 8b Earning capacity.. Separated now for 9 months.
    I work full time, partner works part time, such that she earns about 2/3 of what I do but not because she is deskilled… she works in the same field as myself and has declined an email of a job offer only 6 months before we separated that was the same level as myself… I also have an email from her saying her solicitor advised her that since our capacity to earn is very similar, that was not a factor in any financial settlement.

    We have 50:50 custody of our children who are 13 and 14. Able to walk to and from school and stay there without parent supervision till we finish work… so there is no need for her to have 2 days off a week to look after the kids.. it’s a lifestyle choice for her.

    I believe she is going to apply for family tax A (or B) benefit, and to get that, she has to start the process of child support assessment. I suspect it will trigger an automatic formulae payment by me due to her current income.

    My question is.. do I have any chance of having the CoA 8b I submit showing she has capacity to earn the same as myself upheld.. or, because she was part time when we separated, she can remain that way I defiantly ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes, she can keep earning less. For CSA to make a finding of higher earning capacity, they must conclude that improving child support was part of the person’s motivation for his or her work decision.

  273. Joe
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I have an ex wife who stopped working full time, and since she gets a tidy sum of tax free dollars from me, + a government handout, she has no intention to return to full time work.
    I’m undergoing my fourth Change of Assessment. Each time these get submitted, I seem to get screwed over. These reviews are getting so bad that, if this one goes south, I’m considering leaving the country and never seeing my children again.
    Currently I’m paying child support @37% care + paying for just about everything else for my two boys, 6 & 8. (all schooling costs, all activities etc etc)

    My Ex gave up full time work in 2010.
    She engaged the CSA in 2013. Since then my life has been a living hell.
    With this Change of assessment, I want to try and make her go back to full time work, as she once did. However the CSA decision maker advised me that CoA 8b ‘earning capacity’ cannot be used because she stopped working prior to the CSA engagement in 2013. Is this correct? Is there anything I can do for someone that doesn’t want to or need to work? (She owns our marital house outright)

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Joe – I wouldn’t get too hung up on your ex’s work situation, though it seems that she’s letting the boys down. Her working wouldn’t reduce your child support by all that much.

      The CSA explanation that her previous work pre-dates your case, and therefore can’t be considered, is simplistic (what if a mother applied for child support 1 day after her ex quit his job – do you think that “rule” would apply then?). But, realistically, you can’t force them to go back in time if they don’t want to.

      The main problem is that you’re paying at about the same rate as if you were only providing 2 nights of care per fortnight. The mathematically inept lawyers who designed the scheme created this situation. Just 1 extra night of care per fortnight (moving from 5 to 6 nights) would reduce your payments dramatically.

  274. Judy
    | Reply

    My partner and I separated 4 years ago when our daughter was 10. He is a lawyer, at that time with his own medium sized law firm. He mainly worked in family law – so he knows the ropes.
    He claimed to the CSA (and the Family Court) that he earns $70k pa. CSA made a decision for CS purposes because of the complexity of the situation that he earned or had the benefit of at least $200k. He bought himself a new BMW, went overseas on multiple occasions to play golf, went away for weekends, to the opera, out to dinner most nights, ie he led the life of riley and rarely paid CS as assessed or at all. He didn’t bother to send our daughter a birthday or christmas card, let alone a gift. It was incredibly difficult to make ends meet.
    He lodged an objection with CSA, it was upheld after months of him not providing the documents requested of him on multiple occasions, he objected again, same result. He took it to the AAT and again it was upheld.
    He borrowed more than $800k against his business, increasing debt and decreasing the property pool. He didn’t bill clients the work in progress, or collect debts of more than $3m – all designed to reduce his liability and access to $. But he just wasn’t as clever as he thought as when the bank demanded their loan be repaid early this year he had gone too far, and had to put the company into liquidation – it seems he entered into a phoenix arrangement – but it then seems the new ‘firm’ sacked him. The assets have now just disappeared. Liquidators don’t care, as long as they can ‘wrap it all up’ in 12 months, get paid their fees, pay the secured creditors (the bank primarily) they will then divide anything else that comes in between the unsecured creditors. However they have now determined they will recover less the bank is owed.
    So he got a job as a consultant lawyer. I advised CSA and they issued a 3rd party order on his employer to pay the CS as assessed and an amount for arrears. For the first time in 4 years I am getting regular CS because CSA have been able to secure payment. Although this has only been for 6 months so I am not holding my breath as he will have some other scheme up his sleeve to avoid paying.
    Unbelievably he is working an average of 9 hours a week whilst I have 100% care of our daughter and I work a 38 hour week.
    He has not surprisingly filed yet another objection with CSA claiming he has extraordinary expenses to meet and claiming his income is expected to be about $70k. CSA have advised there are no new grounds on which he can claim – but that he is entitled to lodge an objection as many times as he wishes – he is taking up their time and frustrating the system deliberately.
    This latest claim comes only 2 months after the AAT decision was handed down.
    I don’t know how many times I called the CSA asking them to pursue payment because I wasn’t receiving what was assessed (or often anything). He is using his anger at me for ending the relationship (its ok, he is not wanting for company and had numerous affairs when we were together and a string of girlfriends since) by getting directly at me/our daughter financially. He still has outstanding CS of $15,000.
    I have now realised that in my situation they had little ability to collect from him (once they took money from his bank account – he then diverted all his income to his girlfriend’s account) as he was in control of his own firm. Since he has become an employee the CSA has actively chased him.
    I understand for some men payment of CS is onerous – but that is not my case and he has gone out of his way not to pay what is assessed – or at all.
    It’s a pretty appalling situation.
    I have no doubt the CSA would agree that the system is not working as it should, I hope by lobbying it can be made fairer and more workable.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Seems like your ex has paid loads to you and you’ve had Child Support workers helping you all the way. Can’t see much to complain about with respect to child support itself other than the time wasting. You’re lucky to have a high-earning ex.

  275. Ed
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I’m paying for my 12 and 10 Yr old girls (ex is primary carer). I have a 16 month old daughter with my current partner.

    As we all know, living costs are quite high esp in Sydney nowadays… And we can’t really afford to buy a new car upfront so salary sacrifice is a potential option.

    However I’m just concerned CSA won’t recognise the lowered net income and will still account me as if I receive my standard pay. This will be even harder if we want to have a second baby as I’ll be the only income source for my family in addition pay child support for my ex.

    Have tried to ask her for us to arrange monthly amount rather than going thru CSA (at least just for the next couple of years) but she won’t budge and insists CSA calculation is the “right calculation”.

    Does salary sacrifice create a more negative impact to my situation? Not sure what else I can do here… The system is so not accurate.

    Kind regards

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Salary sacrifice amounts are added back in by Child Support. So, child support payments will stay the same. Salary sacrificing for a new car offers tax advantages but you’re often better off simply buying a cheaper, 2nd-hand car.

  276. Paige
    | Reply

    My husband’s ex is living with her partner whom she has 2 other kids with at her dad’s 1.8 million dollar house. Her dad has recently bought them both new cars. She works full time. We have my step son 5 night’s a fortnight. we live on our own renting and have not long had a baby together and bubs has a lot of health issues. We are paying a lot of child support because ex claims she doesn’t earn much yet she doesn’t have anything to pay for , yet we are hear struggling to make ends meet an still paying her. How is this fair? Is there something we can do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No, there’s nothing you can do. But you can at least be grateful that your step-son lives well when he’s away from you thanks to his grandfather.

  277. Sam
    | Reply

    My ex owes over $100 000 in child support (he has only made a handful of payments over 9 years). He doesn’t seem to have lodged many tax returns in this time either. CSA have his details but he just ignores their calls/letters and they are unable to garnish his wages from his current employer. What is the next step to retrieve the money owed? Can I take him to court?? CSA simply say “we are doing everything we can” but nothing ever happens. Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support (Dept of Human Services) can start court proceedings, as can you if they don’t. An application would need to be lodged with the Federal Circuit Court. Would suggest first politely asking Child Support why they haven’t started court proceedings in your case. Court proceedings can lead to a court order that compels your ex to do certain things. You need to consider what the orders might look like, including what happens if he has no money.

  278. Megan
    | Reply

    My ex works and claims centrelink, I only get a $49 payment a fortnite out of his centrelink payment. Why is this? Shouldn’t I be getting my assessment amount because he works? CS asked me where he works and I told them, because he hadn’t told them. Just wondering why they dont take money from his wages. His debt is now over $3000. Thanku

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support are only allowed to take a small amount from welfare payments (because it’s assumed the person normally needs the money). But it shouldn’t stop them using other methods.

  279. Lee
    | Reply

    My marriage suffered as a result of my business failing. We reached a mutual agreement on the assets. SHe got the house and I got the investment. Both sold. My income was assessed by Child services that year at the amount of money I received for the sale of the assets being $400K . I had no knowledge of this till I saw large chunks being taken out of my account. Recently I became aware that they have calculated my income at $400,000 a year for 5 years at a time when I not only did not work but was caring for an elderly parent and receiving a carers pension from the same department that claims I was earning $400,000 the Dept Of Human Services. They were aware of this as they had garnisheed the my pension. I recently returned to work unaware I still had a debt as my kids were both now adults, Child services served a garnishee order on my employer which resulted in an argument between him and I, him thinking I was in some kind of trouble and hiding it from him, it cost me my job. In addition to having almost $80,000 taken out of my account and pension over the years, I now have a bill of $90,000 with interest added every month while I look for another job. Even though I have documents and records to show they were wrong in their assessment, they tell me the only way I can get it removed is to see a lawyer to get a court order. Having requested a copy of the rationale for the $400k a year assessment, the officer writes that they did in fact go through my bank records and found that I had a deposit of $400k. They attempted to contact me without success and so set my income at $400K pa for the next 5 years because she believed that to be fair and that the decision would benefit in her words, “the community”. Her manager signed off on it. I don’t believe fathers are dealt with in good faith by dept of child services.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Lee – Child Support are in the habit of going after payers while doing things to help receivers. They’re biased. Don’t expect them to treat you fairly if you’re a payer. Notwithstanding this, would suggest that you communicate openly and honestly with both Child Support and employers in the future. These problems were avoidable.

  280. Emily
    | Reply

    Is it worthwhile applying for a change of assessment if the other parents has repartnered and has been living with their partner for over 2 years? Like many people paying child support , caring for a child 50 % of the time whilst runnning a home on a single income I find I need to earn more to pay expenses while the other parent can earn less because they have less overheads. It is a very stressful situation

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Partners are irrelevant in child support calculations. So, no basis for applying for a change of assessment, even though having a partner normally reduces the cost of living as you’ve noted.

  281. Simon
    | Reply

    Hey,

    So my wife cheated and left me. She has taken the kids, and I’m currently in an arrangement that has me seeing them 3 nights a week and all day Saturday’s (pretty good) – however she won’t agree to 50/50 (which would just be one extra night a week). CS wise – she is now pregnant (we separated 6 months ago) and it would appear that her decision to have a baby with her new boyfriend would mean I need to pay more child support (she’ll go on maturity leave, she can apply tohave her income reduced based on new kid). Am I reading this right? Her decision to start a new family means I now need to scarifice more of my salary to ensure HER decision doesn’t adversely affect HER ability to care for my kids? So confused. Why should I suffer financial consequences based on her decisions? If she can’t afford to care for them off the current CS and having a new kid then I should get majority care right? Man it’s hard.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Having young children allows mothers not to work, so their ex partner pays more. The impact of their reduced income is less the more care the mother has of their ex’s child(ren). We would prefer child support to have nothing to do with the income of the main carer. It would be simpler and fairer.

  282. Andrew
    | Reply

    What’s to stop a parent talking a child into repeating year 12 for financial benefit ?
    (I don’t see my daughter anymore – doe to the usual alienation)
    My daughter (17) finished school last month – went to the formal, schoolies etc … but CSA website seems to suggest I would need to continue paying for another 9 months after her 18th birthday – just on the off-chance she might ‘do better’ 2nd time round.
    I’ve been encouraged to appeal by the CSA ‘advice line’ about previous ‘events’ – only to be advised ‘not to proceed’ by the CSA decision makers.
    I’m sorry – but I have no faith in the CSA preventing this rort from continuing

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re basically liable to pay child support until a child turns 18. Even she has left school and starts working, it’s not straightforward to end child support before 18.

      There’s also an allowance for child support to continue in the year a child turns 18 until the end of the school year.

      The time to deal with the issue of finishing child support is (i) just before she turns 18 or (ii) around the time of the start of the school year. The other parent is entitled to receive child support if your daughter stays in secondary school by repeating year 12.

      This is an admin issue for Child Support where they little flexibility. Try to keep them on side so they’ll be responsive if and when your ex is unable to demonstrate that your daughter is repeating year 12. If she does repeat year 12, there’s not much anyone can do about it. But, if she has finished, you’ll want Child Support to require your ex to provide evidence that your daughter has actually enrolled. So, try to keep them on side so that they’ll do this.

      It’s only a few months between school years, so I would try not to stress about it too much. Child Support probably are unable to suspend payments until a call is made on schooling next year.

  283. Bob
    | Reply

    Child support is the biggest double standard system I’ve ever seen.
    I pay over 30% of my wages to my ex wife leaving me almost at the poverty line for income.
    Yet I’m 20k down in court costs and still only see my children 6 hours a foughtnight (court system just as bad)
    I’ve been given wrong information by CS twice witch has cost me thousands and at one point left me 50% down in wages.
    You can hear from the staff at CS that they know the system is wrong but “that’s what the system says” so they have to enforce it.
    It’s the simple fact of ether pay to much or get a backdated bill for being $1 under.
    Having CS taken from gross and not net amount is just unfair in itself aswell.
    CS can’t use a system to calculate wages weekly ether, I’m exspected to give a figure for the next 12 months witch is impossible when there’s almost a 50k flux in my pay.
    There are pairents out there that are not receiving a cent and others that are draining there former partners dry.
    The system needs a massive overhaul and private agreements needs to be forced because everyone is in a different situation.

  284. Julie
    | Reply

    I have what seems like an unusual situation (although I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t), in May of this year my ex updated the time he has my daughter with child support. I had no problem with his as we had adjusted it but the amount he was required to pay dropped a lot more than expected. As it takes so long to get through to them I wasn’t able to speak to them about it for a few months and it turns out that they now have him down as a multicase allowance. He does not have any other children but as he is happy not to pay as much there is no point asking him to correct this anomaly. I raised an objection with CSA but they replied saying I was out of time (as it has to be done within 28 days) so I made an application to the AAT to ask them to review the issue. They are stating that they can ask them to request that they allow the out of time objection but they cannot force them to review the accuracy of the multicase allowance. It is clear to me that it is an administrative error (as I don’t believe my ex would be deliberately fraudulent) but there appears to be no legal way to get this amended . Even the deputy chairman of the AAT who I had a directional hearing with regarding my application did admit it was frustrating but that was just the ‘legislation’ and there was nothing more they can do about it. Any suggestions of where to go now (apart from my MP who I am seeing this week) would be greatly appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Julie – Are you sure your ex doesn’t have another child? That would make the most sense. Very hard to see how a parent can be given a multi case status when they have only 1 child. Child Support wouldn’t be able to do admin tasks and payment calculations without some details about the child (e.g. name and date of birth). They may have information that hasn’t been disclosed to you because of privacy considerations.

      If it actually is a simple admin error, you should be able to ring Child Support and ask nicely to do a quick check and make sure that the correct info has been entered (i.e. that the multi case status isn’t because of doubling up on support arrangements relating to your child).

  285. jo
    | Reply

    I am totally stumped as to how child support is worked out. My ex claims he only earns $25000 but clearly because of his lifestyle I know he doesn’t (guessing everything is cash or through a company) and I earn nothing but he pays $148 a year for four children. How is that fair? How do I get his income investigated, will he know it is happening?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support don’t have detectives / investigators as such. You could initiate a Change of Assessment Application (Reason 8 – Earning Capacity). Both parties will be asked to provide financial information.

  286. Cowgirl
    | Reply

    Child support is a joke when it come to collect givin every detail possible and still nothing done bout it. Not my fault his desided to claim I set him up and his not paying a cent and doing everything to run CS and me around. His choice not to have anything to do with the child yet we are the once who get punished but payment from centrelink being cut off or reduce all the time. Even after all gone to court my boy 14 mths old now it’s a joke

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He won’t be able to get away with it forever. He may also get tired of living his life that way. Anytime he gets a tax refund, a welfare payment, or has money in a bank account known to Child Support, they can collect.

  287. Michael
    | Reply

    There are new rules that affect how changes to care arrangements apply to child support assessments. The new rules apply when the CSA told about the change more than 28 days after it occurred. What are they ? I can’t find it anywhere on the internet. My ex-wife has been withholding my son for 15 months now and she’s just lodged a COA claim on the basis of the changed care which will cost me a fortune. Please help since I’ve just received a call from the CSA who are chasing me for more money.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not sure what “the rules” are. Child Support have their own internal policies. Generally, they backdate where it advantages the main carer and don’t if it would advantage the payer. You’ll be able to see from the assessment notices what’s been done. Don’t think you have the power to influence it unless the latest assessment is based on a factual error for which you have relevant evidence.

  288. GI Joe
    | Reply

    I definitely agree, anything relating to policies involving lawyers these days are a disgrace and a mess… The policies seem to be full of loopholes and disputation causing conflict. This then causes disagreements and presto” they have made more jobs for themselves, an evil vicious system using children/ loved ones against each other… They know that parents would pay large sums of money to see their very own children.
    For example.. The Family court: Biased towards women, they know that men usually have more money, so they go for that first… rewarding women 65-80% of assets during a divorce, this in return makes divorce more attractive to women and spread the word.
    CSA: They come in and reward the women for taking away the children from the fathers, after all 100% custody = 100% of the child abuse reward money (parental alienation).
    All these tactics are designed by malicious lawyers for lawyers to make money out of families using parents and children against each other…
    Just pure Greed of the lawyer types of scum raping families these days

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      While the system is full of problems and biases, you have to have a little more faith in people. I believe that the people involved themselves believe they are doing the right thing most of the time.

      Child Support have a culture and practices geared towards making sure children are never hurt, which equates to maximising child support. All they can do is collect more child support. That’s the only thing they control. However, they don’t see the damage caused by a system that always disadvantages one parent while providing welfare for the other (e.g. children end up being raised by unemployed single mothers).

      Lawyers are trained to win arguments through the manipulation of words. They are not trained in policy development. The result is that they don’t do reform well. They end up tinkering at the edges, and making systems more complicated, rather than fixing things. Worse still, they get carried away with pressing home their position and fail to respond to the legitimate complaints of parents. And they have a habit of directing power towards the courts. This is why we end up with a system where the insidious “best interests of a child” is too often the basis for decisions to marginalise parents in the lives of their own children.

  289. Kent
    | Reply

    Hi Everyone,

    Firstly I just want to say that this website is amazing and has helped me articulate better the changes that should occur in the system.

    I have 3 children and share their custody equally but because my ex can’t hold down a job I’m constantly being punished with massive deductions to my salary.

    We need to band together and advocate for real legislative change that holds both parents equally responsible for being able to provide a safe environment for their children rather than redistributing wealth.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your feedback and support Kent. This website essentially tells the government what it needs to do. I used to work as a policy strategist for the Commonwealth Government, reviewing Cabinet submissions and developing my own policy ideas (such as the $1b Clean Technology Program). They could implement what’s been proposed and help many thousands of children and parents.

      To get something to happen, you need the backing of a senior Minister, preferably the Prime Minister. For that to happen, you need to convince them that reform could be a winner politically. To be honest, I’m not sure how to do that at the moment. They’re immune to the usual lobbying and there are too many voices arguing for different things. Not sure that we have good enough leaders in Australia currently.

      Another problem is that, whenever a review is done, lawyers and law professors take over and they are absolutely hopeless at doing reform. I blame lawyers for this mess.

  290. JS
    | Reply

    BV,

    This has been my experience as well. Two years and no child support received. Apparently they can’t retrieve money from a bank account because there are so many banks and they can’t check them all. Nothing from tax either. I provide a new address for the other “parent” to received correspondence, and apparently they can’t accept the address as it has to be verified? CS just stonewall me at every turn.

    My story begins with my ex partner encouraging me to fall pregnant, it was not an accident. I was unsure, but he would bring home baby clothes and booties that he purchased after work to try to get me to want to fall. We tried and almost immediately I was pregnant. About 8 months pregnant I found out that he had been cheating on me. I was distraught, and felt so trapped. He begged me to stay, and I did. I had no intentions of raising a child on my own. I wanted my child to have both parents like I did. So I gave him a second chance.

    Two months after I give birth I go to stay with my parents for a week in another town so I could get some much needed rest and so they could see their grandchild. One morning while at my parents house, I wake to a call from my best friend, between sobs she tells me my partner hit on her. Long story short, I found out they had hooked up. I cannot explain to you what this does to your self-esteem. It destroyed me. I had given everything, and at the most vulnerable point in my entire life, my so called partner had betrayed and hurt me in a way that I had never experienced. The relationship was over, there was no coming back from that. For 6 months I never applied for child support, I didn’t want anything from him. But after that time I felt like my son was being denied the financial support that he was entitled to, so I put in a claim. There were payments made for a few months here and there. Fast forward, it’s been four years since the split, and I haven’t received child support for two years. Two years ago we had come to a somewhat good place, where he started to see his son. After two weeks he asked if there was a future for us, I said no I just wanted a friendship and a good relationship for our son. And poof…just like that he was gone. No more play dates with my son, no contact at all (I didn’t even push him for the child support that he had owing at that time because I was just happy he was having a relationship with his son).

    So it has been a struggle financially but thanks to the support of my parents I have just completed my degree and will return to full-time work in the new year, things will start looking up for my son and I.

    I feel that there is a major problem with the system, in my case at least. I feel like it doesn’t matter what I do or what information I provide, CS are just not interested in following it up. If my ex can avoid contributing to the care of our son for 2 years straight there is something wrong.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      JS – Child Support would follow up if they had relevant details. They intercept tax refunds routinely, but that’s only possible if the payer has paid too much income tax over the year. They also do phone calls and raid bank accounts. But they can’t do that if they lack contact and bank info. At least the debt is accruing and you may get support at some stage in the future.

  291. GI Joe
    | Reply

    An extract from a petition:

    How is it that in this day in age we have a system that is so backwards that nobody understands it.
    A mother withholds care of her child from their father, yet the father is expected to pay full child support regardless. A mother has the final say in when and if a father gets to see his children even after going through the court system. A father takes his life because he is denied access to see his kids yet society and the government does nothing. A father takes a custody matter to court to have it dealt with by the system, yet when the mother breaks the court order there are no repercussions, yet if a father breaks a DVO/AVO that has been obtained through lies and deceit he is thrown in jail.
    As far as I am concerned, withholding your children from their biological mother/father is a form of domestic violence yet when it is taken to the police or brought up in the courts it is simply dismissed. We have had many publicised Domestic Violence cases of late that have forced the government to make a change yet many fathers commit suicide over child support and children being withheld from them, but it doesn’t get noticed by the media and goes away unseen.
    The Child Support system is broken and beyond repair and needs a major overhaul. How is it that a father has a 50% shared care of a child yet is still expected to pay child support. Child support should be for the care of the children, not the support of the ex partner, they should be out working to support themselves. Why would a father spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on obtaining a court order onto to have it broken by mother and Child Support reward the mother for breaking the law by having the father chased for child support payments. A father who has his kids for 54 nights a year pays the same amount of child support as a father who has his kids for 125 nights a year. Child support try and predict the future a year at a time yet when this is questioned it is dismissed as the formula that is has to be followed.
    We need a fair care payment system for the payer of child support that isn’t going to send families into financial hardship. Child support needs to be on a case by case basis not decided on mathematically equations based on someones gross wage. The government is effectively doubling dipping from the payers of child support. I thought the government was against “double dipping”. This system as it stands it hurting families, fathers, mothers but most importantly its hurting the children.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yep – there’s major problems with the system. It was badly designed. Needs to be re-done, with lawyers kept as far away as possible. They are consistently terrible at policy development.

  292. scotty
    | Reply

    I have a17yr old daughter who has just had a baby so is getting PPS FTB and rent from Centrelink. I put in a request to have this looked at in the beginning of October because she is seen as independent now and can support herself financially and gives her mum money for board and lodgings , and only just got a call about it , they say they have 50 days from today as it was only just allocated to make a decision . they tell me today that they need to speak to my ex about it as I am stating as per the CSA act that she is no longer classed as an “ELIGABLE CARER’ but they tell me that that look at my daughter to see if she is an eligible child and under criteria 4 they may be able to take into consideration any pension and ftb payments the 17rd old gets as its a government payment so not earned income , if they do go in my favour then chances are they may back date it to the date I lodged the request BUT and this is the big BUT if it puts her into financial hardship then she wont have to pay me back any money that she wouldn’t of been entitled to if the decision was made on that date of lodgement. but if I stop paying then I will be chased up for any money that is owed to her with penalty fees on top .. please tell me how this is fair, is she is determined not entitled to from the 10/10/2018 but doesn’t have to pay anything back because she cant afford it ???? how about I tell my bank I cant afford my mortgage because of financial hardship and see were that gets me .

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s not fair. Hopefully, they’ll make a decision quickly. Child Support have completely different rules for payers compared to recipients. This is not in the legislation, it’s selective interpretation.

  293. Andy
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Are there specific rules regarding payments for extra-curricular activities conducted by children (eg sport, music).
    I pay my ex the full prescribed child support rate each fortnight however she is asking for additional payments to help cover costs for weekend sport, music lessons etc.
    To date the answers I am getting from various sources that I have made enquiries to have ranged from I am not obliged to pay absolutely anything, through to paying for a third of the costs for all extracurricular activities as they are in my care for a third of the time, (120 nights a year).
    I understand that many people have differing arrangements due to a whole range of circumstances but was wondering if there are any specific rules ?
    I ask as my ex enrols the children in sport and music programs throughout the year (multiple for the two children) without discussion with me (simply says “they wanted to do it and I’m not saying no”), and expects me to contribute.
    To date I have paid for half of uniforms and some weekend sport.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This issue is covered at point 6 here: https://childsupportaustralia.com/avoid-paying-legally/

      Short answer: there are no rules. It can be good for the soul to pay for things yourself, especially when it’s obvious to the kids whose paying. And it encourages the other parent to be generous. Both parents should have a reasonable sense of what’s fair.

  294. David
    | Reply

    I recently received a letter from CSA advising of “No change to annual rate” following an update of my ex’s income. The previous assessment was based on a provisional income of a little over 43000 which is the same as it was last year. However they now have the final taxable amount which is over 66000. My income has not changed, it is still 82000. How is it that this updated income hasn’t resulted in at least some reduction to the amount of Child Support that I pay?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s a mystery David. The annual amount should change automatically.

  295. rachael pollock
    | Reply

    at the moment I have a private arrangement with my ex to pay child support following a assessment, he is currently of work for possibly another 4 weeks or more but can still afford child support payments. he has told me he wont pay me anymore child support as he wants it to be collected through csa and taken from his employer.as his work is all over the place and he isn’t working right now and it takes time to sort this out with his employer it would be a very bad option for me. child support is my only current income to support my kids, can I get csa to get him to pay me without having to change the agreement?

  296. X Lawyer
    | Reply

    In the news today…
    “Prime Minister Scott Morrison considers plan to kick extremists out of Australia”
    Lets only hope…
    The family courts and CSA are taken down!!
    Just some of the unethical neglect from these lawyer types destroying families for their glory and greed… Basic human rights abuse, Child abuse, Discrimination, parental alienation abuse, financial abuse, intimidation abuse, unjust, lies and corruption.. all just to keep their fat a### in a job at the expense of families.
    Lawyers play s##tty games of who has the most amount of money, talking to each other to blead you dry, making plans against families including the falsified DVO method.
    They are the true terrorists killing off more people of Australia to suicide than wars combined now…
    Discusting evil people there really needs to be a royal commission into these greedy selfless scabs of society and for them to be kicked out of Australia.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A “comprehensive” review of family law is currently happening. See these submissions.

  297. Barry Danskin
    | Reply

    Hello, I am 55 yo and on benefits due to a body that has been broken down due to my years on heavy machinery in the mining industry. Suddenly, last year, $50 a fortnight was being taken from my already meagre Centrelink payments by CSA with no previous notification or explanation. After a phone call that lasted 105 minutes (including waiting time) I discovered from the very abrupt, and even Ruder person on the line that this was for my now 25 yo son due to an issue with a tax return from around 10 years prior. At the end of this unpleasant phone call my phone number, email address, and current address were taken and I was assured that I would receive a full explanation and account via Australia Post. This was 1 whole year ago now, and the public servant that I spoke to Can now add inefficient to rude and abrupt on her annual review, because I have not received a thing, but continue to lose my $50 a fortnight as well as a tax lump sum of over $3000, and do not know why. I suffer from depression and PTSD and get in a mess just thinking of a phone call to them after my last experience, yet I cannot even do something as simple as link CSA to my MyGov account because I have none of the details required to do so. These would have been in the letter that they were going to send me. All of that aside, are they not being neglectful by not providing regular account updates to me as a client? This was a very flawed system when I first became involved with it 25 years ago, it’s failures are 10 fold all of this time later. One further aside, I do not speak to my son’s mother because I cannot deal with stress, but my 25 yo son has gotten none of this money, but he is an adult, with his own income and family life now.
    Thanks for listening, and I look forward to a reply
    Regards
    Barry

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Barry – Looks like they’ve changed your historical assessment, meaning that you owe the mother some amount of money. They should be able to send you assessment and payment notices by mail. Suggest you start by calling them (may take ages to get through) and politely ask how much you owe so that you can make payment. While on the phone, check and update your contact details with them. Don’t actually pay until you’re comfortable that the assessment is correct. Negotiate a payment plan if you’re paying interest.

  298. Pam Challis
    | Reply

    Hi I have 2 children that don’t see their biological father, he doesn’t pay much (which I’m not fussed over) but am wondering can I cancel the child support payments?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t know Pam. You need to talk to Child Support about how to cancel.

  299. Mat
    | Reply

    I contacted CSA 15/11/18 to ask what proof do they currently hold on my file that I m the father of my 15 year old daughter. This all come about after watching a Current Affair show recently. CSA stated they do not have any Birth Certificate with me being the father, and they have no evidence on file that a Pre-registration conformation was ever conducted with me. The only evidence they have is a date my ex partner gave them when I was not living with her which cant be correct. I asked if this can be investigated or reviewed as there is no evidence from when the child was born in 2003. CSA just kept saying you need to do a section 107 and file with the courts. I think CSA have not gathered enough evidence before closing off saying I was the father and this is terrifying.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have to say that it’s not really Child Support’s job to work out paternity. They may have been too quick to accept that you are the father back in 2003. However, it seems like they haven’t been given any evidence or claims to the contrary.

  300. Beau
    | Reply

    I am a Paying parent of 14 years . the mother of my son works full time, has been in a relationship for the last 4 years, goes on overseas trips at least every 3 months and seems to live the high life while I struggle to put food on my table. she claims to be earning 21k for the year but her lifestyle far outweighs her wage. I don’t mind paying child support but while I struggle through life she has it fairly well. what can I do to make this fairer?

  301. Chris
    | Reply

    My ex owes 155k in child support. He lives in the US. Child support said there is nothing they can do to enforce payments. Is this right?

  302. Michael
    | Reply

    Recently received a full transcript from CSA with regards a recent COA . CSA requested by bank provide info which was sent to them but not disclosed to me. The transcript shows my new partners full financial portfolio including salary car and expenses. This information has been sent to the other parent. When i spoke to CSA they informaed me that they can not redact any information yet they made the request and it was not me who sent it to them. How can they share this unrelated information to other people?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      So, here we have a public servant claiming they can’t redact information that is both irrelevant to the case and involves someone not attached to the case. It was their duty to redact that information. They shouldn’t have had it in the first place. The claim that they have to release it is ridiculous. They seem incompetent.

  303. BV
    | Reply

    I don’t know why the advice I read on here says that the paying parent can’t ignore what they owe & there will be consequences … today I was told by a CS staff member that sometimes things in life just aren’t fair & it’s easier to just walk away!
    Seriously, there is massive change needed, including staff that actually commit to following up funds that are owed!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support definitely chase up debts to the extent that they can. This includes intercepting tax refunds and raiding bank accounts.

  304. Frustrated in Paying for the Lazy
    | Reply

    Hi there, where does the government stand with the other parent (OP) working as minimal as possible, to gain maximum benefits? The OP has the capability to work full time, but ‘chooses’ not to. She works the minimum 15hrs per week, gains maximum assistance from the government, and a large amount in child support. There has to be a way to whistle blow this lazy behaviour.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The Change of Assessment (Reason 8 – Earning Capacity) review process is available to deal with parents earning below their potential. However, it’s targeted towards payers and many primary carers get away with low work effort (by virtue of having young children or no recent work history).

  305. Tornni
    | Reply

    I moved out and separated from my husband on the 15th September this year. I have moved into a rental which is $390/week with my two children and he has stayed in the marital home which is now up for sale. I have 100% care of the children and CSA assessed for him to pay $550/fortnight. Since we moved out he has only paid $150 as he said that as he is paying the mortgage and all the bills of the marital home, he doesn’t feel he needs to pay child support. He has made one payment of $150 since we moved out. I am actually paying more in rent than he pays on the mortgage. Could somebody please give me some advice on whether I do need to pay my rent and half the mortgage as well? I am still paying the home and contents insurance of the home and paying the joint personal loan.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can’t expect Child Support to sort out your joint finances. They essentially just pay cash to one parent based on care levels and incomes. Who pays for what is an issue for you two to work out and will be relevant in your property settlement. Payments between now and then should be factored into the result. You should try and separate your finances and keep records of bill payments.

      A parent can’t just refuse to pay child support. They’ll be chased up for it and will be penalised for accruing debt.

  306. Annie
    | Reply

    Hi I have a 6year old beautiful boy his father has NOT paid one cent I was told buy him if I applied for child support he would have my son twice a week and you know I would just dump he with who ever wants him was he s words he owns business s 4 homes has never wanted to see his child and never has . My son is in private school can I start child support now or is it to late? I am starting this now as I will not be bullied by him or his family anymore can you help annie

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You want child support in order to “not be bullied by him and his family anymore”. Really?? I don’t believe you. Suggest you go to mediation to try and come up with a sensible arrangement that includes (i) financial support from the boy’s father and (ii) regular contact between father and son.

  307. Jono
    | Reply

    Hey, quick question.. if I have been lied to about a child not being mine for over two years and I proceed to get a court order for a dna paternity test and it turns out that I am the father, even if she has told someone else it is his and lied to me, would I have to pay backdated child support from the day of birth? And where would I stand on having missed the first two years of my Childs life and being lied to from the mother? Any help would be appreciated, cheers

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As I understand it, there’s no backdating for new claims. So you’d only have to pay support from the date the other parent first contacts Child Support.

      The courts have a bias of being slow to connect a child with a parent the child doesn’t know very well. If you want a meaningful role in your child’s life (if it’s yours), you should initiate contact as early as possible and try to get as many hours as possible.

  308. Adam
    | Reply

    I have always been prompt with my child support payments (for two kids) of .approx. 2k per month. My ex wife has decided that my son doesn’t want to live with me anymore and won’t try to encourage him to stay with me. She has already put in a request with the child support agency for an increase in child support based on me not having my son anymore. We have signed consent orders stating that we have equal care and equal nights. Can you please let me know my options, as the child support agency call centre was unsure what I can do. Many thanks.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support only care about the actual, real care percentages, not what is meant to happen according to any document (including court orders and consent orders). Would suggest you initiate mediation straight away with a mediation professional (e.g. Relationships Australia). Agreed parenting orders should almost always be followed. Neither parent should treat a child seeing the other parent as something that’s optional for kids to choose to do or not. Tell Child Support that the consent orders still absolutely apply and that you’re going through a mediation process to ensure that they continue to be followed in the future.

  309. Debts that shouldn’t be there
    | Reply

    Iv got a question my partner and I have 4 kids (2 are my step kids) we have %50 care he’s was originally paying child support directly to his ex $350 a week but could no longer afford it and started paying $80, more than he needed to. So she went to child support with a piece of scribbled paper with signature saying he would pay $350. They accepted it as an agreement, She gave them an 8 yo address of house he owned. He was not notified, no letters of course and building a debt of $350 a week without knowing, he didn’t find out for 8 months, then they would not back date it and continue to charge $350 he was in a bad financial position could barely afford the $80.. which she claimed he wasn’t even paying. He was unable to do tax return, so they put him in high tax bracket. They stopped the $350 after a year of him fighting them. And went to $100.. That went on for two years !!!! Now all his financials are in order, tax is all done. With letters fro csa says he has a child support of 0 for those years , that in fact she would have been paying. So there is a giant debt with csa with huge penalties for an amount of child support that is not owed 🤷‍♀️ He doesn’t expect any payment from his ex because he didn’t do tax on time but in turn he shouldn’t have to pay a debt that should not be there. CSA you suck!! Is there anything we can really do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could ask for a formal review (it starts with a review by another Child Support officer). Very hard to imagine that this would have happened if the genders were reversed. Need to approach them politely and make it clear that your partner has 50% care. They seem to have treated him like a “payer”. Need to make it clear that he was unable to do things that would normally be done to correct matters due to not receiving essential correspondence.

  310. Helen
    | Reply

    I understand that there are many people in circumstances that are not helping the most important people, our children. Relationships are usually messy in divorce. I have my children 100 percent of the care. No contact or funds received from the person who helped bring these beautiful humans into the world. Parting words were I would love nothing more than to see you all homeless and I will not stop until that happens. This person has since apparently not worked while not being on any income assistance. Has remarried before divorce hearing, travels frequently and holidays expensively. Is at the pub weekly and smokes. Now this is all done through hiding income in new relationship and holding no accounts etc himself. This is one case in many, so I don’t get any assistance from Child support to assist as they can only do what they can. Now being owed tens of thousands and been years since receiving a cent. I can not comprehend how there is no consequences for their complete disregard to their children. I suggest that If a parent does purposely go from $100000 plus job to no income and no income support like the dole etc that they should be doing community service. If they can’t apparently afford one cent of child support they could at least be giving to the community which would also make them too busy to be earning the apparent no income that they earn. The system needs to be making it harder to hurt and punish the innocent ones in the relationship. Our children.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Helen, there should be consequences in your case eventually. Tax evasion is illegal for example. Minimum support levels also exist and the growing debt from this won’t go away until he pays. Evidence of income, if it’s ever found, could be used to increase his income levels for child support purposes. Have you initiated a Change of Assessment?

  311. Sam
    | Reply

    Hi all,
    The child support system needs a major overhaul. I receive child support for my 2 boys and pay it for my new husbands son. How does it justify that we pay more for one child then we get for 2.

    My husbands Ex had a baby last yr and due to her not working our child support went up by over $200 even though our level of care also went up, due to finally getting court ordered visitation after a lengthy period of court and mediation we finally got the normal every second weekend and half the school holidays. Prior to court my husband was getting 1.5hrs a fortnight at the local town centre as she refused to let him spend time with his son, I only met his son last November after being with my husband for 4yrs as she also wouldnt let me meet him even though there has never been any sort of altercation.
    His Ex is currently re married, has a baby and still living at home with her parents and has returned to work. However due to her low income last year we pay 100% of his sons care, 76% goes to his ex and we pay the 24% when he is in our care. He rang to let the csa know that her income isn’t right due to the fact she is working again and got told he has to lodge a form to get it re assessed. I dont understand why they don’t act like centrelink, if i range them and told them she wasn’t declaring income they’d look into it but because its our money the csa seem not to care, all the information on the website seems directed at the primary career not receiving the right money.

    Does being repaid for over paying even exist?

    Now for my sons, as i earn more then my ex he pays less child support. When i say less he earns over $70000 a year so not like he isn’t making a living. He moved over 3hrs away and comes up every other weekend and stays at his sisters to have the boys. They don’t have there own room or anything just camp out on the floor. He doesn’t buy them school uniforms, pay for their sports, half of the cost of school camps or expensive excursions nothing. He wouldn’t even pay half of my sons school fees, he has autism so he attends a special school, and has never contributed to the extra cost of having a child with special needs. I only get $50 a week per child, which would be enough for the basic needs but when the other parents refuses to buy the occasional pair of shoes for school etc its just not enough.

    And the biggest issues is how the csa justifies one child receiving more child support then 2 especially when one is special needs,

    They need to work out a better system that is more fair to both parties.

  312. Wendy Wallis
    | Reply

    My hubby has been paying for years we are up to his ladt child who is 18 and stil at school. What we have fou d really frustrating is that this child does not even speak to his father and has legally changed his surname to his step fathers , what a kick in the the guts to hubby , why should we have to pay for a child who clearly doesnt see his father as a father!!!

  313. Stacy
    | Reply

    Our dealings with CSA have been very trying. Over the last 8 years we have been overpaying CS due to CSA working out our rate of care incorrectly. And yes, she gets to keep the money. Then they entered our child in the system twice, so it looked like we had 2 dependents, not one. And yes they billed us for that. Now there seems to be a “glich” in the account. We have been trying to change the rate of care of one of my step sons to 0, as he is staying with his mother now. We have been told they are unable to do this and a case manager has now been assigned to our case and when they have sorted out the issue we will be contacted. Now his ex has been claiming the single parent pension the whole time, even though having a partner and husband the whole time. I am also aware that centrelink are auditing people who were claiming these payments and catching people doing the wrong thing. My question is if she did get court and her taxable incomes for the last god only knows how many years, decrease due to a payment that she should not have received. Can they bill us the difference?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No chance of what you describe happening. Too late to change past tax and child support assessments.

  314. Richard
    | Reply

    The number of legitimate issues raised here from so many different circumstances and perspectives really is concerning. I can only comment on my limited experience with CSA but hopefully it can be beneficial to someone in need if not the greater good.

    Matty makes an excellent point above regarding the Family Court and its prejudices and that it’s “very convenient having the Family Court and the CSA separately administered (for the most part), because no-one has to take any responsibility for outcomes.”

    Over 3 years in the family court I contributed an estimated $55k to my children’s mother. Combined with money from property settlement she spent $110k on lawyers and eventually got awarded the result she wanted: complete denial of access… Despite previously having access and complying with every court order no matter how ludicrous and despite many inconsistencies, I simply didn’t have the resources to contest the matter effectively. I had to pay her 1/3 my salary, pay the mortgage and all other usual household expenses and try to maintain full time employment (with the constant and literal threat that if I failed any of those tasks I would not see my children again), whilst she chose not to work despite having an earning capacity of ~$150k.

    There were periods that I literally could not afford to feed myself when I had to engage a legal representative for one of the eight applications made by the mother, who refused to negotiate reasonable orders outside of the court.

    The point being that CSA (dept of “inhuman services” ) did not care in the slightest. They simply recited their standard line: “we are not related to the family court” and made no attempt to question the mother’s earning capacity (Apparently the onus is on me to prove it…??) or acknowledge the litigious actions that were inhibiting my ability to pay at the calculated rate.

    Ultimately I was forced to sell my house and use what little equity I had left to pay for court costs of the final trial… Whilst the settlement went through I was forced to use every cent I had on hand to secure the services of legal representation (I should add that being allowed by judges to self represent in the family court is a fairy tale; you have income therefore you can get a lawyer + barrister, “what’s the problem?”). If you fall behind in CSA payments as a result, not only do you incur the penalty of the CSA and more debt, the court will cite that as evidence that you don’t care about your children.

    I entered a payment arrangement with CSA and honoured that arrangement. Regardless the CSA garnisheed my savings account without notice. When questioned, they justified that action with payment dates that contradicted my own bank statements and refused to respond to my requests to clarify their position despite numerous messages to do so.

    They have now removed the messaging service from MyGov and refuse to communicate in writing at all, other than issuing statements and assessments. They continually change my payment assessments based on previous tax returns, despite being notified of my current circumstances and that I do not have that employment any longer (yes, hard to believe taking 1 week off in every 6 to attend to court matters is not acceptable in the professional world, and that I was unable to function after being told I can’t see my children ever, and then losing my house… Just more evidence that I’m not a suitable parent I guess..). They refuse to retract the amount accrued since the change of assessment, which made the difference to me being in credit to being significantly in debt. They refuse to accept the reason I was unaware of the debt is because I knew I was in credit and had recently notified them of my income, therefore checking their statements on the “mygov’ site was not a priority for me.

    I have always paid more than required because my income is consistently overestimated, but they do not have a policy to account for over payment, and then threaten to penalise for underestimating future income, which at the moment is unknown.

    As I see it the core issues that lead to these problems are these:
    1 – No differentiation is made between parents that walk away and those that are refused custody.
    2 – The cost to maintain the financial need of a child does not automatically change depending on the income of a parent. In a family situation it may, but that is a mutual decision of both parents and not representative of separated parents complying with legislation.
    3 – The “self support amount” is based on a theoretical figure from the department of statistics that is averaged nationally and has no relevance whatsoever to the real world.

    Suggestions:
    1 – If a parent chooses to make application in the family court, child support amount should not be allocated until final orders are made, with the exception that any allegations of family violence or abuse that required the removal of the children are substantiated beyond doubt.
    2 – Payments are made to a card. That card is used for all expenses relating to the child(ren) and available for reconciling. Future budgets are then based on justifiable expenses.
    3 – The paying parent submits a living expense budget to be verified by the CSA as a self support amount or accepts a minimum living expenses allocation that reflects the area of historical residence of the family.
    4 – Human service training for staff at CSA so that every conversation does not revolve around them disclosing nothing whilst using deceptive language and attempting to gain a client’s confidence entirely for the purpose of obtaining incriminating information.

  315. Ange
    | Reply

    Hi there, just wondering if anyone has any advice on objections to CSA? I’ll try to make a long story short…

    My fiancé has 2 kids (8 & 6) with his ex-wife. For years, they managed a personal agreement where he would pay her a set amount per week and CSA was not involved at all. To paint a picture, she is the type of woman who after separating & then divorcing him, continue to ‘spend his money’ as though she was still entitled to it (ie. making sole decisions on what the kids should/shouldn’t have, buying it then demanding he pay for half of it). This came to a head when she organised a $1200 birthday party of their then 6 year old. Even though my partner wasn’t invited (she doesn’t feel that she should have to invite him to parties she arranges for them), she still demanded he pay for half & he refused. She has then contacted CSA to arrange all future support payments through them, which she’s entitled to do. I should at this point explain that my partner is by no means a ‘dead beat dad’ – he has always paid his support plus much more and aims to spend as much time as possible with the kids, so much so that he’s had to change his career in order to do so, now that they’re both at school. This is where problems with CSA really start. By changing career, he increased his care percentage which is fine. Unfortunately, he did take a $30k PA income loss…not great but manageable. As soon as this happened, he contacted CSA to advise of the income change and they amended his support payments, which worked out to be $70 less per week. If we look at the financial year as a whole, he paid the correct amount of support for his salary/care bracket for 10 months of 2017-18 and then when he changed jobs, paid the adjusted amount as per his new salary, which is also correct according to CSA.

    Now we get to tax return time…once both he and his ex wife have lodged their returns, he starts getting a barrage of letters from CSA – all of them are the same but display completely different amounts. In his old position, he was on $82k pa and his in new position he’s on $55k pa….one of the letters stated he was to pay x amount of child support based on a $131k pa income!!!! On 3 separate occasions over the past couple of months, he’s received a minimum of 5 and up to 9 letters at once, all dated with the same date and all with different income figures. One of the more recent letters is a fine for apparently underestimating his wage – they’re claiming when he changed his salary information with them that he told them he had only earnt $53k (he didn’t tell them anything other than what his new salary was) from his previous job for the financial year but because his tax return came in at $76k, not only does he now have a fine of $205 but apparently he owes his ex over $2000 in unpaid support. As mentioned earlier, he has paid the correct amount of support for his salary/care bracket for the full year & has in fact somehow managed to pay her over $1000 in addition to what she was due. He’s tried talking to CSA over the phone and they just keep carrying on about their formula and make him sound like a criminal…personally I find it really upsetting and it’s absolutely rubbish how Dads are treated by the system…I know there’s some not so good ones out there but the majority are just trying to do the right thing and they make it impossible.

    Anyway, apparently the only way he can oppose this additional $2000 is to submit an objection. Firstly he needs to provide a good reason as to why this wasn’t done within 28 days (we didn’t know about it and with the millions of letters from CSA, his time on the phone with them has been spent trying to work out whats what) and then he has to provide proof as to why he shouldn’t need to pay the additional money. If anyone has been through this process and/or has some helpful hints or tips, it would be very much appreciated!!!!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ange – All the letters do tend to create confusion. Child support is based on taxable income across the financial year. So, it seems like he legitimately owes the $2000. He could ask them to take away the $200 fine because it was an honest mistake and due to miscommunication. I wouldn’t get into reviews as his income could be put up to his highest former income if the other party makes a Change of Assessment Claim based on earning capacity.

  316. Kate
    | Reply

    I disagree with CSA supporting a thread where fathers complain about paying child support and they are encouraged by biased admin. Children are a financial sacrifice whether the parents are together or not. I work long hours to provide for my children, plus have 77% custody and receive no child support due to their father owning a business which provides $21,000, yet plenty of overseas travel, new car and an overall lavish lifestyle. I know that my situation is extreme, but my point is that I go without so that my children can have a similar lifestyle that they’d have if they were supported by both parents. It’s hard, I get it. You have to go without, I get it. The thing that paying parents neglect to consider is that if they pay more, often the caring parent can work less. This means more direct care for your child, and that equals = more home cooked meals, more help with homework, a parent able to attend sports games and cheer the children on, a happier carer with less stress and more stability. Why wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to provide this for your child? (Even if it means that your ex may have a better lifestyle than you’d like them to have). I go without a lot for my children and take pride in that. They will grow up more well adjusted because of it and I know they do, and will continue to appreciate it. I hate child support threads that appear to forget about love for the children, are more fuelled by hate for the ex, and parents “rights” over the child’s right to be number one in both parents lives.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Kate,

      The new system we’re proposing would help you in your case (with the introduction of a general support benchmark) as well as the many thousands of fathers getting ripped off. Frankly, the number of men treated unfairly is far greater than the number of women, and many of those men are denied access to their children as well. It’s poor form to presume that their complaints are invalid or that they have inferior motives and moral standing to you. You’re not better than the rest of us. Please don’t label and dismiss people you don’t know and appear to have made no attempt to understand.

  317. Raymond
    | Reply

    I think these people are starting to be slowly exposed as the criminals they are… There is something very sinister going on trying to hide it’s ugly head. I believe it’s all to do with lowly Lawyers and solicitors making their way into high positions and pulling strings for financial gain. My ex was a school teacher, there was usually 10-20% of the class that required special needs and usually involved autism at some degree. Autistic people are smart to some degree, but lack in other areas, they somewhat make great government positions also for companies that want to make large financial gains, without any sort of compassion or morals on who they affect. These people I believe are slowly making their way into policies and decision making completely destroying families just to make a company, agency or judicial system look good and continue the greed for money. THE MODERN DAY STOLEN GENERATION, fuelling separation using children as leverage, children to these type of people are just seen as bags of money…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Whenever lawyers are involved in anything, it seems the only winners are the lawyers themselves (apologies to my lawyer friends and family). Unfortunately, for some weird reason, politicians always turn to lawyers for advice about how to run the child support system. Wish they would stop doing that and understand that lawyers are usually a hindrance more than a help when it comes to public policy.

  318. Single father at wits end
    | Reply

    Hi.

    I have reached breaking point. I seperated from my eldests’ mother when he was 2. During the time together I provided for all three of us off my income as she didn’t work.

    After we split, child support was enter d into as a ‘friend’ of hers pushed her to obtain finances to support the child – fair enough! (I WASNT against child support – and even now, I agree a parent SHOULD provide for their children).

    Flash forward: I have seperated from previous partner after 2 children (currently 4 & 6) – we were together 10 years; she saw the struggle I had with C$A and we have avoided that path for our two (would likely be that she would have to pay me, as she is on more – but guess what? She works for her money and I try my best to meet her half way with expenses as much as humanly possible because they are OUR children!)

    My issue is currently now: I have had inflicted on me, for the first time in 12 years – garnishing! Thing is, I was aware of missing maybe 2 payments of C$A, and one payment at approx. $150 lower than it should have been, however I wasn’t even given the option to pay this off – they have immediately moved to garnish wages. Is this even LEGAL?! I have called when I can (having HUGE issues – they are only open during ‘business hours’ – guess when I am at work? That’s right! ‘Business hours’! I have asked for alternative methods to deal with this – no email service OUT – but I can send my details, income etc TO them…)

    I did manage to get a call on a Saturday morning (when I had all three of my children – so was trying to enjoy our weekend together, as the eldest isn’t with me as much as the two little ones). The lady was very rude, and when I tried to explain WHY I was behind on payments (short story: single father, just moved into a rental which is costing 40% of my income, debt with Telstra after early termination fee – there is more, but you get the idea) I got a very warm response of ‘well, you’ll have to sort something out then!’

    With this garnishing, my two youngest, who I have card for 50% of the time (slightly more, in truth – but it usually evens out over a 12 month period) are now missing out on the ‘lifestyle they would have been afforded if both parents were together’ (to use a standard line from C$A…).

    My payments have gone up for my eldest – but considering I didn’t hear from C$A until now as I was paying on time and (believed) the right amount – but now get ‘you’re behind on payments, you owe $X’ and a nice ‘let’s not even consider a payment plan that allows you to cope with bills – we’re just going to jump straight into wage garnishing’ – how does this help myself, and more importantly – ANY of my children?!

    Hopefully my someone can explain what the purpose of C$A actually is – as if it’s to provide a standard of living for a child and ensure equality of care after a family breakdown, they really have missed the mark to the point I am hoping there is a class action against this agency…

    Please, if anyone can explain why they would run a single father to breaking point, I really would like to hear – and if anyone has ANY advice regarding being able to continue to support my children but still be able to make ends meet, I would appreciate any suggestions – because at this point in time, I can see why C$A have caused good fathers to call it quits (AND good mothers – contrary to opinion, it can and DOES happen to decent mothers also – just that men are over represented in regards to this agency, unfortunately…).

  319. Jess
    | Reply

    My comment is based solely on the matter of collection.
    In my case my sons fathers payments have been collected for over a month with anything being passed on to me yet. I would like to know, where this money goes in the interim? Who holds it? Who earns the interest from it? Because yes in our case it’s $500 per month but let’s multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of mothers and fathers who pay child support to the other parent for maintenance. Where is this money sitting for the 1 month to 40 days before its passed on to the right person?

  320. tayla
    | Reply

    im not a parent but my brother is in a situation where child support is taking majority of his pay every week and isnt leaving him enough for rent and he has to sell his car to be able to survive. The mother of the child wont let my brother see his son and won’t go privately to sought something out so he isnt broke every week. He can’t get a second job as he is a chef and already does 10 hours a day without a break, he has picked up hours at work to be able to pay his rent but he is no lead to do 15 hours a day of work, which i think it is wrong as he doesnt get a break and its leaving him to tired at the end of the day. I think it is so wrong that he is paying weekly and that it is so much, and to the fact that he doesn’t even see the kid at all. Like yea he is happy to pay child support but he doesn’t understand why it is so much and leaving him broke every week

  321. Mark
    | Reply

    I had a false DVO made against me as well…
    The judges will approve anything these days with the guilty until proven innocent agenda, after all it makes money for all these greedy APS workers and lawyers feathering their own nests.
    I don’t support or condone domestic violence at all, but because of the guilty until proven innocent policies. I don’t even believe that there is actually a rise in DV, I would be more inclined to believe that more lawyers are using the DV method and judges automatically approving them. I believe there should be more done about combatting this, possibly filing a complaint to police for defamation and perjury but it will be a costly exercise again. Nice Lawyers and the broken judicial system eating up your money again just to prove your innocence.

  322. Matty
    | Reply

    One of the root causes of child support problems is the Family Court and its prejudices. This court is easily manipulated by one party or another and the biases in CSA payments flow from there.

    For example, a female can easily make fake allegations of DV against a male and all the expected stereotypical thinking is activated in the family court: in this age being a male is to be guilty until proven innocent. Once you’ve got “custody”, you’re set, the CSA payments follow, and one party is left terribly aggrieved because their access to their children is minimised. The CSA system acts as an incentive for parents to behave badly in the family court. Fair outcomes will never be achieved without removing this incentive and addressing all the prejudices, biases, and incompetence encumbered in the Family Court – it makes no contribution to harmony and it represents very significant economic wastage for the nation. Considering fairness concerning child support is nothing but window dressing surrounding an ugly broken court house and all it represents.

    The issue is never ever addressed because the CSA will simply state (correctly): the Family Court system is nothing to do with us!!! It’s very convenient having the Family Court and the CSA separately administered (for the most part), because no-one has to take any responsibility for outcomes. It’s a fake industry, but hey, family lawyers and CSA bureaucrats earn great money!

  323. Cassie
    | Reply

    I would just like to say that there are so many fathers on here complaining about having to pay child support. Yes children cost money ALOT of money and if you cant afford to pay for them get a second job!!! Work hard sell off your assets dont have any luxuries. DO what you can to make their lives easier and stop complaining about how hard it is to pay child support on your 6 figure salary. What I have noticed the most since becoming a single mum is that all these people on high incomes complaining about how hard it is for them forget that a single parenting payment is 20k per year!!! Yes that is right us mums are expected to survive on 20k per year. And not to mention the fact that our super contibutions stop as well. And you know what most of us single mums do???? We get off our butts and make a good example for our children and work our butts off studying or working or doing anything we can to make our childrens lives better. All of our money goes to our children all of the hours we spend each day taking care of our children and working for our children and we Do not complain!!! I would just like to add that I think the current child support system is great and doesnt need changing. It is making all those complaining daddies out there take some sort of responsibility for their children even if its not the outcome we desire because we would all love to have a great daddy for our kids but when they do turn in to total w$&# jobs at least the goverment is making you guys contribute to the upbringing of the child you created and not leaving it up to the tax payers!! My sons dad was not happy when he got a big payrise from work and had to pay me alot more childsupport he even tried to lie and say that he was having our son 13% of the time. Child support dealt with his lies quickly and efficiently by denying his claim. It makes it frustrating that I am unable to go back to my old job as my sons dad refuses to have shared custody or provide any kind of routine or notice as to when he is having our son which puts me into financial difficulty and I worry about providing stability for my son as I would like to buy us a house to live in but its difficult when you dont have much of an income. Since my sons dad got a payrise we are now $100 per week better off which is going to make a huge difference to our lives as we have been living off $50 per week for food and $20 per week for petrol so when your complaining about having to pay that little bit extra in child support there is probably a mum on the other side getting excited about being able to buy her kid that new swim suit he needed or not having to drive around with the bloody petrol light on again!!! But at the end of the day the hardest thing for me is seeing my three year olds tears and heart ache when his dad cancels a visit yet again or doesnt make contact for weeks at a time and to me getting my sons father to do the right thing is more important than money and I would give anything to have shared custody as this would be the best possible outcome for my son. Also to finish up I would just like to let all these fathers out there complaining about paying child support know that most weeks we go without the basics. I dont have home internet I dont buy new clothes or shoes, we dont have health insurance or home insurance, we dont go on holidays, most weeks we go without tissues, deodorant, cling wrap, foil, snack food, take away, meat, butter, cheese, I dont own any make up or get my hair cut, all these things are considered luxury items. So when you go without all of these things and drive around in a car that needs servicing and fixing and your wearing rags from an op shop then come back and complain

  324. Ash
    | Reply

    Hi
    I recently received a child support assessment stating that my ex made $159k last financial year and my child support payment would be going up as I have 100% care. I recently received a new assessment stating that he has made a complaint to child support stating that his estimated income is $57k for this current financial year- I know it’s not and he can earn to a couple of thousand a week. therefore my child support payments are now at the bare minimum which is causing financial difficulty being a single parent studying. How is that even possible?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ash – Who knows why the income of your ex has gone down. But, if the estimate turns out to be wrong (income on tax return turns out to be higher), he’ll have to make up for it. It may be unwise to keep relying on child support from your ex to pay the bills. Hope your studies lead to a good job in the future.

  325. Sam
    | Reply

    Hi there,
    My ex-wife and I have been separated for a couple of years, and she has been working part time in stable employment. We share our child 50/50 care but I earn more than her so pay her an amount.

    She has a new partner and has decided to have another child with him. She will go on maternity leave, a period of which will be at lower pay. Will my child support be adjusted as a result due to her lower annual income for the approaching year?

    What if she chooses not to go back to work? I’ve read other stories online where the CSA has declined a change of assessment in this specific scenario? How/why could that happen? It is her choice to have a child with another person and sacrifice income that should have been available for my children?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sam – Yes, her estimated income will likely go down and you’ll have to start paying more child support. Her self-support amount will also go up after having the child. The increase in payments might be smaller than you expect because you have 50 / 50 care. “Choosing to have another child” is not a reason Child Support can realistically use to make a manual adjustment to payments. Your child is gaining a half-sibling. That’s got to be a good thing for them.

  326. Quintin
    | Reply

    My wife and I recently divorced, and since then she is pull all the stops to try and get one over on me. The newest in this is contacting the CSA and claiming that I refuse to spend time with my kids because I went on two reenactment weekends earlier (which was prearranged as the same events happen every year at the same times), in the year which was about 4 days in all. I have asked to make up the time but she has thus far refused. We have 50/50 care, but now she has put a claim in saying she wants it to be 67/33 in her favour. Accompanying this in an email with outrageous claims against me and mostly slander, as she was clearly aiming to catch the eye of some bleeding heart, which it clearly did. I was asked to provide proof that I did spend the time with my kids, which I did. Today I was told that the bleeding heart had decided against me and concluded that I somehow go to events once a month, which is impossible since there are no events once a bluddy month and only a couple of times a bluddy year!!!!!!! Not only that, she has also granted my ex one free weekend a month just so out of her own and completely bypassing, not only the Family Relationships Centre but also the Family Court system. Now isn’t that nice of her?!?! How is it that the CSA is allowed to employ these very clearly man hating, sexist, incompetent fools?!?! Tomorrow I will be putting in an official complaint, not that I think it will do any good, and then I will be calling a lawyer. Hopefully I can sue this woman directly, and if not then the CSA.

    My ex has also since May not paid a single cent in child support. I complained about this a few times but all I get are shoulder shrugs saying can’t do anything. Isn’t it lovely to be a mother in this country, seeing as they have all the rights and fathers have non!!

  327. Protest for fathers
    | Reply

    It seems all these posts are regarding fathers being treated like Rubbish. I would like to organise a protest at the centrelink in Sydney CBD. All fathers who would like to help organise please contact me here or email sonnytank2014@gmail.com
    Its time fathers took a stand against this rubbish

  328. Dan
    | Reply

    I make 82k a year on a contract meaning i dont get annual leave or sick pay. My ex partner makes 69k a year. I have my son 35% and she has 55% care. She is entitled to centrelink benefits where i am not. After tax and after benefits she makes more than i do. I pay $100 a week. But while i was unemployed between jobs she only had to pay $100 a month…… child support doesnt make sense at all. Why is the system so anti male. All this equality bs is being highlighted in Australia yet there is no equality for fathers. We just get dragged through the dirt. After i pay child support and after her benefits from centrelink she takes home 400 dollars more a week than i do. What does child support think when i have my son 35% of the time i dont buy him dinner? Lunch? Breakfast? Clothes? Toys? Why are fathers entitled to absolutely nothing!!! The court decided that i get 35% care….. not me! I wanted 50% but im forced to be broke because im a father. Her lawyer even said, dont worry, you will get primary care as you are the mother. So please tell me why good fathers are treated like crap? Punish the fathers that are crappy fathers. Not the ones who want to be a good parent!!!!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There’s a bias towards “caution” throughout the court and child support systems at every turn. So you end up with children being handed to mothers and money being funneled in that direction. Little thought is ever given to the importance of treating fathers with decency. Fathers are incredibly important to the welfare of children. That point needs to be better understood by many people. The experience of fathers interacting with these systems is absolutely horrendous. When almost every process is tinged with bias against men, the total effect is like a tidal wave of injustice. It’s not intentional by the people involved, but it seem so stupid that they can’t recognise what they do.

  329. Louise
    | Reply

    Please explain how a Father (paying parent) is considered equal in Child Support matters. My partner is self employed and his income increased by $10k, we get a $1k debt. His ex (who has not done a tax return in 5 years and has been calculated on $14k income, yet we know for a fact she has been working – small town etc) finally did 1 Tax return for last year, income was in fact $20k over this estimate, yet we received no credit? How is that if my partner wants to improve our lifestyle and earn more , she automatically gets an increase to payments, yet when she does the same, we get nothing? So basically we have been overpaying this woman for the past few years, yet CSA call my partner a bad dad for not paying this debt? Your call centre needs training in empathy, and should not be calling my partner a bad dad, or telling him that he favours our 2 kids over his daughter, just because we cannot pay a $1k debt upfront, or miss a monthly payment (tradies unfortunately do not get paid weekly, fortnightly, etc)

  330. Lyla
    | Reply

    Hello there,
    My husband has a 16 year old son that he has been paying child support for since he was 2. We also have two children together who are 4yrs and 1yrs old. His Sons mother had 100% care. My husband works offshore and thethey get taxed at a really high rate. Last year before tax he earnt 100,000 but in actual fact we took home $67,000 as we had a very hard year with illness and a new baby etc. How can child support not look at what we as a family with yong children actually take home? Now we are having to pay $1200 a month for child support, which is around $15,000 a year! When we took home $67,000 this hardly seems fair! Do we just have to cop it till the child turns 18? It’s ridiculous and so frustrating. I understand the need for child support , I just don’t see how they can’t pay attention to what we as working families actually take home after tax.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Lyla – using pre-tax income generally makes sense from a scheme admin point of view, but it doesn’t work for all people (e.g. your husband). You’re obviously paying far too much. Child Support should look at your case and make an appropriate adjustment. That’s in their power, though they would probably deny it. They demonstrate little interest in fairness, with their practices geared towards maximising payments. Remember, though, that, these days, many parents still support their children financially well beyond 18. I’d presume that won’t happen in this case.

  331. Chris Clark
    | Reply

    First and foremost, I want to make sure I am doing what is right by my children. I have been paying child support consistently for over 2 years now, I have never missed a single payment, or been late to make a payment. I have done the right thing by keeping Child Support Australia updated on my income and care arrangements as they change.
    Keeping one step ahead of this agency is a next to impossible task, time and time again I try to do the right thing and am left punished financially and robbed of precious time. As a payer of an account I feel like I am in constant communication with CSA, I am consistently met with the challenges outlined below:
    • Consistently on hold for 20 minutes or longer every time I call 131 272, no matter what time or day or night I call. I have diarised records of 2 years of this.
    • Consistently takes the case worker between 40 minutes and 1 hour to process my request, no matter how simple or complicated the issue.
    • Calling me using a private number
    • Leaving messages on my voicemail with a lack of information about why CSA are calling me, voicemail says MyGov calling please call back on 131 272. No reason given.
    • An overload of useless, confusing and irrelevant letters and paper-based letters and documents delivered to me, even after I opted in to receive correspondence via MyGov.
    • Multiple Assessments (3 x) each time something is changed on the account. Including retrospective assessments 12 months old. Out of which, I have a pile of estimate paperwork in front of me and not one of the most recent set cover the current time period (I have no idea what my next monthly payment amount is.
    • Things happening beyond my control with no opportunity to respond or object before a change is made – for example,
    o setting up employer contributions with no valid reason (I was ahead on payments and had been consistently paying on time)
    o changing the amount, I am required to pay with unfounded and incorrect details provided by the payee
    o using my Tax refund to pay an outstanding amount BEFORE I have the chance to object.
    o entrapment by your staff and being coerced to confirm information such as conflicting care arrangement details
    • Being notified I owe additional child support money when I do not.
    • Being fined for an income estimate being out for a period of six months, when in fact over the whole year (it is a reasonable assumption that the estimate I gave was annual) the estimate was within 10% at the time it was given.
    • I provide an income estimate based on my salary only to have it adjusted to show more than what I actually earn, increasing my payments unfairly
    Basically, I am doing everything I can to keep CSA informed and up to date, yet time and time again I am treated like a criminal / dud Dad.

    Changes to any of the above practices would be welcomed from my end.

    Thanks for reading

  332. Emily
    | Reply

    Andrew,
    Emily here, I posted a while back and heeded your advice to get on with the job and disclose any relevant info to CSA in regards to an unfounded objection by my Ex that he had 50% care for period June to Dec 17. I applied for CSA in April 18, so the objection was outside CSA involvement. It was granted… resulting in credit of $272 to him. When I enquired why that was, nobody could answer and I am still awaiting a call back (gave up on that). During the 1st objection my Ex filed a 2nd objection, claiming he will have regular care going forward, including all school holidays and 3 extra days every Easter. I submitted my evidence on grounds of current orders and that no arrangements are made after Oct 18 but assuming contact in line with his daughters arrangements of half school holidays. Again, his objection was successful, resulting in decrease of CSA for me of $1200 a year. On a $0 income for me and (him $50500) I receive $68 per week for 2 growing boys, 8 and 10 where the older one needs probiotic supplements to prevent constipation… This alone costs $40 a fortnight. He is lactose intolerant and needs special milk and cheese, on top of that he is autistic and requires additional care. He will only eat certain types of food which I now cant afford. I asked for shoes, haircuts, clothes from my ex, pleaded with his mum. I was told the shoe shop was closed, no shoes.. nothing… He is currently $700 in arrears. My usual shop per week is about $200… I need to beg for food… eat their leftovers… the older one started keeping me some of his aside… This is so wrong… unethical on my ex and CSA’s part. My ex will probably complain next that the kids don’t get fed properly… cabbage soup 3 times a week… Yes, I can go to the appeals tribunal… another job…

    His ex lodged a change of assessment and his income in her case was adjusted to around $70.000. This of course does not carry over to my case. Got to lodge my own change of assessment.

    Questions:
    1. Is the responsible objections officer obliged to return calls? She never seems to be there when I ring or return any calls or replied / acknowledged emails. I was told that nothing can be done… when I got a tad emotional, my ability to care was questioned.

    2. According to CSA guidelines all information to an objection provided by a party is disclosed to the other party. During the 2nd objection information from relationships Australia was provided by the other party. I was told it was not relevant evidence for the decision of objection but is listed in my outcome letter as evidence that WAS considered. I did not receive that document as part of disclosure. I had to fight for every single piece of information… Can I still request the document even after the decision was reached or do I have to lodge a freedom of information request?

    Thanks for your time.

    Emily

  333. Andy
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Firstly, thanks for creating such a detailed, and intelligent (and dare I say ‘common sense’) site that highlights so much of what a lot of typical parents ‘trapped’ in the current Child Support model with that whole feeling of being stuck for years in an unfair system.

    Quick summary of my situation, separated for 3 years with three children under 15. In the year or two after separation I tried tirelessly to resolve our issues as I figured our kids deserved to grow up in a household with two fulltime parents. This in hindsight was a mistake as I now realise our issues were deeper than the standard ‘money\lifestyle\interpersonal’ problems that a lot of married couples eventually run into, and I’ve since moved on and am a much happier person these days, but during the time of trying to reconcile, I did what was in my mind the honourable thing and took on all of our combined debt (credit cards, car finance etc) to show my ex that I was making a real effort to resolve the financial issues that were affecting us in the first place. Mistake number one. Anyway I’m now stuck paying off a fairly large loan, and as part of that process, and the fact that I was only ‘allowed’ a few days a fortnight care of my kids, I took on a second job to help the repayments, and keep myself above board financially. Now of course that money is taken into consideration by Child Support for the assessment and I’m now paying a premium per month (around $1500) on top of almost $1000 in loan repayments because I decided to take on a second job and work hard to get ahead. I’ve also hit many roadblocks in my request to move to equal living arrangements as in my opinion the mother would lose out on too much child support as a result.

    So yeah, pretty much trapped at the moment. My options are basically to keep pushing for equal living arrangements to try and reduce my child support (still would be around $600 for equal custody, go figure!!), or to move out of my home and rent it to cover the mortgage, then quit my high paying job of 18 years and live off my second lower paid income and continue to pay the shared debt loan out. Obviously this would in the long run, reduce the standard of living for my kids, but I honestly am now looking at the second option as a viable one because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to cover all of my living costs on top of child support going forward.

    So that’s a very quick summary of the crap situation I have found myself in, all because my ex decided that the direction we were taking in life wasn’t to her liking.

    So getting back to the site, thanks again. It’s amazing to get on and start reading articles and watching the videos, and see so many examples that mirror what I’m going through (and obviously from some of the other posts, what a lot of other Aussies are going through also), but it’s also very frustrating to see that this ‘common sense’ analysis of how unfair a system we have is, that there is no real process that I’ve seen to fix it.

    So my question is this. Are we stuck in this system for the next 10 years of my daughters childhoods? Or is there real efforts underway to get they system reviewed in depth, and hopefully changed to one that doesn’t see a guy like me looking to drop $100k per annum (which then won’t be available to my kids) because it’s becoming very apparent that it may be my only option?
    What can I\you\we do, to get such a system scrapped or at least reformed, so these sorts of examples don’t happen. In the latest video you make very valid points about how Children lose out, and I am a very real world example of three kids in the system who could in the near future be losing out, all because it may become my best option to continue to live and pay the bills. So how do we start to get this looked at, and start to get real changes made?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your comments Andy. The system will change eventually, but I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen. It needs leadership from a senior minister. Part of the reason for the site is to start to educate the Government about what’s wrong and how easily it could be fixed. I think politicians probably see the issue as polarising / divisive and so don’t want to touch it. In the meantime, many Australians, including thousands of children, are paying the price for a terribly flawed system.

      In your case, would caution against lowering your income. Could affect your career long term. Also, Child Support could reinstate your old income for the purpose of calculating support amounts.

  334. Renee
    | Reply

    Hi, my husband incurred a child support debt, even though he had been paying weekly. Now that he has this debt child support are garnishing $357 a week from his wage. We have two dependent kids together (7 and 5). We are struggling financially with CS taking so much each week. Our previous payments were $130/week at the beginning of the year, rising to $275/week in May, and now we have to pay $357 (since the start of August). We are completely struggling every week, chosing which bills to pay and which we can not pay. CS are not budging on taking this much so we sent in an objection which was also rejected. Is there anything else we can do to reduce the payment? It’s just not affordable, we don’t live an extravagant lifestyle nor own a home (we rent), we currently can’t register our car because it’s not affordable at the moment.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Renee – doubt you could do much because Child Support made a deliberate decision to garnish his wage (so they’re unlikely to reverse that, even though they could easily). They don’t think twice about driving parents into bankruptcy (it’s for the kids remember). You’ll have to look at other financing options (e.g. get a loan from someone).

  335. Mary
    | Reply

    Hello, my friend with 2 girls, mistakenly thought he didn’t need to pay child support on a disabiity pension. He has to repay and is happy to do so. He spoke to child support 6mths ago and then this week, in response to notification of the need to repay and pay support, which he doing. He has his girls 30% of the time which CS was unaware of. He told them this at the initial call and again this week. They don’t have a record of this at the initial call (?) and won’t modify what is owed for the last 6mths. Can we do anything? Thankyou.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Mary – no you can’t do anything. It may not matter anyway, because he’d be on the minimum payment amount based on what you’ve indicated.

  336. Jules
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My husband pays child support ($650 per month) plus half of private school fees and school expenses. We have care of the children 50% of the time who are 11 and 13 years old. The children’s mother is now refusing to pay for basics – like runners, sport etc. Unless we also pay for half. We pay for everything here as well during our care. This really doesn’t seem fair – if we don’t pay, the kids miss out.
    Thanks for your advice,
    Jules

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Jules – each household should be paying for about 50% of things overall (because you have 50:50 care). Take some credit for the money you guys pay by spending on the kids directly for the small stuff like clothes. If she wants you to cover 50% of costs for everything, then you take control of spending decisions and ask her to provide reimbursement.

  337. Jess
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I was wondering where I stand if I am collecting child support privately and my ex-husband wants to take a few holidays on his own. We currently have an arrangement for our daughter to spend two nights a week at his house and every second weekend, the rest of the time she is with me. Am I entitled to ask for more child support if he isn’t going to be out of Australia for a few weeks and if he refuses to pay an extra amount, because we have a private arrangement do I have a leg to stand on?
    Thanks so much