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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530 Responses

  1. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  2. 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.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  3. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  4. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  5. 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

    • mm
      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.

  6. 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.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  7. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  8. 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

    • mm
      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?

  9. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  10. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  11. 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.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well said.

  12. 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

    • mm
      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.

  13. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  14. 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

    • mm
      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).

  15. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  16. 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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  19. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

    • mm
      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.

  23. 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

    • mm
      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.

  24. 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.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  25. 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??

    • mm
      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.

  26. 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

    • mm
      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.

  27. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  28. 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.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You may be able to put in a request for them to call you via my.gov.au

  29. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  30. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  31. 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.

    • mm
      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).

  32. james
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  33. 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..

  34. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  35. 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)

    • mm
      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.

  36. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  37. 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

    • mm
      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.

  38. 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!!

    • mm
      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.

  39. 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

    • mm
      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.

  40. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  41. 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

    • mm
      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.

  42. 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

    • mm
      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.

  43. 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!

    • mm
      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.

  44. 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

    • mm
      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.

  45. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  46. 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 😞

    • mm
      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.

  47. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  48. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  49. 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

    • mm
      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?

  50. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  51. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  52. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  53. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  54. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  55. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  56. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  57. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  58. 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!

    • mm
      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.

  59. 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.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re welcome.

  60. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  61. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  62. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  63. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  64. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  65. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  66. 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

    • mm
      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.

  67. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  68. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  69. 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 ?

    • mm
      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.

  70. 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?

    • mm
      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

  71. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  72. 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

    • mm
      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.

  73. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  74. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  75. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  76. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  77. 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?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  78. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  79. 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?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He has no rights here. Child Support have extensive powers to collect by force.

  80. 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 ?

    • mm
      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.

  81. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  82. 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

  83. 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!

    • mm
      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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  86. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  87. 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.

    • mm
      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).

  88. 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…

    • mm
      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.

  89. 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 %

    • mm
      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.

  90. 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

    • mm
      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.

  91. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  92. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  93. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  94. 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!

    • mm
      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.

  95. 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

    • mm
      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.

  96. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  97. 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)

  98. 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

    • mm
      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.

  99. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  100. 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

    • mm
      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.

  101. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  102. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  103. 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…

    • mm
      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.

  104. 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

    • mm
      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.

  105. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  106. 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”

    • mm
      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.

  107. 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

  108. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  109. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  110. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  111. 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

    • mm
      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.

  112. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  113. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  114. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  115. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  116. 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

    • mm
      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.

  117. 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

    • mm
      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.

  118. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  119. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  120. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  121. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  122. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  123. 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.

    • mm
      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).

  124. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  125. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  126. 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

    • mm
      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.

  127. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  128. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  129. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  130. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  131. 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

    • mm
      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.

  132. 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..

    • mm
      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.

  133. 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>

    • mm
      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.

  134. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  135. 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

    • mm
      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.

  136. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  137. 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

    • mm
      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.

  138. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  139. 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

    • mm
      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.

  140. 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 ?

    • mm
      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.

  141. 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)

    • mm
      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.

  142. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  143. 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

    • mm
      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.

  144. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  145. 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

    • mm
      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.

  146. 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

    • mm
      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.

  147. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  148. 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

    • mm
      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.

  149. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  150. 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

    • mm
      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.

  151. 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.

  152. 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.

    • mm
      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).

  153. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  154. 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

    • mm
      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.

  155. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  156. 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

    • mm
      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.

  157. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  158. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  159. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  160. 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 .

    • mm
      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.

  161. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  162. 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?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s a mystery David. The annual amount should change automatically.

  163. 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?

  164. 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.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A “comprehensive” review of family law is currently happening. See these submissions.

  165. 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

    • mm
      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.

  166. 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?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t know Pam. You need to talk to Child Support about how to cancel.

  167. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  168. 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?

  169. 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?

  170. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  171. 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!

    • mm
      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.

  172. 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.

    • mm
      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).

  173. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  174. 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

    • mm
      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.

  175. 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

    • mm
      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.

  176. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  177. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  178. 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.

    • mm
      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?

  179. 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.

  180. 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!!!

  181. 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?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No chance of what you describe happening. Too late to change past tax and child support assessments.

  182. 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.

  183. 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!!!!

    • mm
      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.

  184. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  185. 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…

    • mm
      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.

  186. 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…).

  187. 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?

  188. 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

  189. 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.

  190. 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!

  191. 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

  192. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  193. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  194. 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!!

  195. 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

  196. 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!!!!

    • mm
      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.

  197. 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)

  198. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  199. 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

  200. 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

  201. 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?

    • mm
      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.

  202. 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.

    • mm
      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).

  203. 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.

    • mm
      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.

  204. 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

    • mm
      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.

  205. 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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Jess – there’s a lot of give and take in how co-parents spend money. Maybe you could take a holiday too at some stage. Maybe he could pay for something else to make up for the extra care you’re doing. Would try a cooperative approach instead of asking for compensation. No rules and regulations here.

  206. Ian Bassanelli
    | Reply

    hi we are grandparents looking after 12year old granddaughter did csa and came back he has to pay 74per month but he has his own business which he put in a trust .he put his income down at 31000 he also has 2 houses witch he pays off plus big boat 1965 mustang car how can he pay 2 house loan of without cheating on income what do we do next thankyou

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8). Child Support would then review the finances of both parties and see if he has extra earning capacity.

  207. Rachel
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My partner and his ex split in 2015, their son is now 5 years old. At the time his ex produced an estimate of child support payments from Centrelink, my partner didn’t question the amount and his ex said she was happy to make a private agreement! He has been paying the same amount of $150 per week for the last 3 years. We recently came across the assessment from Centrelink and realised that his ex had estimated his income at $140k per year and hers at $40k per year. His income has been half of the estimate that she gave to Centrelink (as he no longer works away on the mines) whilst she is in a manager position for one of the big banks, on a minimum of $90k plus fringe benefits. She has recently suggested that his fortnightly child support amount could decrease by $100 then they could go halves on all other expenses, namely private school fees (she also got majority share of the house, plus the full house contents and asked him not to have her super included in the financial split which was substantial, to keep the peace he agreed). I have used the child support calculator on your website and it appears there is already a huge overpayment made by my partner. We do not want the relationship, which is currently on good terms to go sour, but we also cannot sustain the current payments as they are, let alone pay half to private school fees on top of that. My partner does not get paid leave and the overtime has been minimal as the industry he works in has been quiet, when his wage hasn’t been enough to cover the child support payments the money has come from my wage. Everything I have read indicates that child support is calculated from both parents only and not new partners.
    I have tried to make sense of the CSA assessment system to calculate what my partner should be paying but it is so confusing! Can you confirm if your calculator is based on the CSA current system or just on the new reforms that may come in to effect?
    My partner wants to do right by his son which is commendable but the system should be fair and reasonable!

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Rachel – the calculator is accurate. The “RESULTS’ section is consistent with govt method. Not sure what is going on here. Child Support have access to tax records. So, they work off the tax returns of the parties (taxable income in most recent tax return). Income estimates by payers or receivers are only used on a temporary basis when there’s a significant change in income. And I don’t believe you can provide estimates on behalf of another party. You’re right – partner income doesn’t count.

  208. Julie
    | Reply

    Hello,
    My husband & I divorced when the kids were 3 & 5.
    He moved states & I was left to raise them entirely on my own.
    He paid child support during this time.
    My kids are now 17 & 19. My 17 year old recently moved to live with him & I still have the care of my 19 year old who is a full time uni student.
    My ex is on $130 k and does cash Tutouring which is an extra $200 per week in his hand. He also has an investment property.
    He travels overseas often & has a very comfortable lifestyle.
    He also has 2 daughters from another failed relationship where he is also paying child support.
    I’m on 50k, paying a 300k mortgage, still paying off the kids school fees (4K) & still supporting my son.
    I literally live week to week.
    I am required to pay him child support as he has 100% care of my daughter.
    I find this grossly unfair.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ha ha. This is hilarious. After taking hundreds of thousands from your ex husband over the years, now you have to pay a little child support. Seems like you were very comfortable treating his money like your own but have received a jolt from the unexpected role reversal. Yes – the current situation is unfair. But what about the preceding 14 years? You should thank your ex for being a good provider. You’ll have to get used to the fact that the money he earns is his, not yours. Who’ll be paying for the kids as they transition into independence? I bet he’ll be shouldering that burden. Sorry that you’re in a tough spot at the moment, but rest assured your ex has paid his dues.

  209. Raine
    | Reply

    Hi, so my situation is i have a 4 year old daughter who living with her mother 100% care as the mother refused to let me speak to her, we had a private agreement in place for a certain amount plus extra for arrears that i owed due to csa stuff ups, i have proof of every payment made to her for the last 8 months of our agreement, but she is insisting that even though we have an agreement she still receives statement/letters regarding the rates and my income, and now she trying to change our agreement to higher amount. My question is this, should csa even be still sending her statement letters regarding what i should be paying n my income if the agreement is solely private between us ?i thought they have no more to do with our arrangement and if she decides to go back to csa to make them start collecting, what are my chances of appealing this decision since i have abided by the agreement we had 100% and have proof and am happy to continue paying the agreed amount?
    * Note this was a verbal agreement between us both parties did inform csa by phone when the took us off there system.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s up to her to stop the CSA sending letters, etc. Private agreements are not binding unless they’re made into consent orders through a court. So she could ask the CSA at any time to collect any extra funds above what you’ve paid (including going back in time). You’re not in a strong position unfortunately.

  210. Brandon
    | Reply

    My child lives with me 4-5 days a week and with grandparents (mothers parents) for the rest. My child has seen her mother 6 times in 5 years. But, I have been paying child support to the mother all this time. I call csa and report this once a week. sometimes the garnishing stops. I submit evidence of address from school etc. CSA contact her, she disagrees and csa tell me they have to side with the mother and start garnishing my wage again. Then I start the process again. Now i find out that she lives in government housing obtained by stating the child lives with her. She has been given 100% custody. Each time I dispute this, she has the school print a statement declaring the child lives her. This has been a cycle for 6 years, lasting 1 month each time. I do not claim any child support from her or any other money’s. But I am garnished approx $1100 per week, nearly 30% of my wage.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Seems incredible that they keep doing this. Maybe you could get photographic evidence. Search for “current date” in Google, get your child to hold up a phone / laptop with the results. Take a photo. Do this each day. Put all the photos from a week/month together in a PDF and submit to Child Support. Can’t see how they could argue against that.

  211. em
    | Reply

    i have full time care of my son who has intellectual disability, level 2 autism and cerebral palsy. his father never sees him and has literally just walked away from all responsibility. i have been getting the minimum amount of child support for 7 years (about $30 per month). This is because my ex partner is choosing to do extended study at university. He is a highly qualified nurse, now completing a research nursing qualification. i applied for a change of assessment reason 8b ( capacity to work). my application was rejected because the child support agency cant force my ex to work even though he has been studying for 7 years and is highly qualified. i cant study or work and i have to pay (on my single parent pension) for all of my sons needs until NDIS comes into our area. i am too tired to take it to court. it just seems unfair that the parent who chooses to do the wrong thing is supported by the government. i believe what he has done is a type of child abuse- financial neglect and abandonment.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      So sorry to hear about your situation. This shouldn’t happen and doesn’t need to. The brainless wonders at Child Support have never thought to use general income benchmarks. They have the legal power to find in your favour and set an appropriate child support amount. But it’s not the way they do things. Disgusting.

  212. Joanne
    | Reply

    How can the CSA make assessments and calculations based on income figures provided my a parent nominally? My ex-husband has not lodged his tax return for approx 6 years, despite working during this time. He received a Centrelink payment whilst beginning university, but did not truthfully claim any paid employment. I could not provide this information and was told to wait until he lodges his tax. He simply refuses to do that and the CSA has no power to force people to lodge their tax. The assessment for the past 6 years was based on incorrect figures.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Seems like a matter for the ATO.

  213. Brett Dalton
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Essentially my question is: am I obliged to pay the extra money she is demanding for child care costs or is she expected to cover that herself because the child is in her care when he attends day care?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Her time, her responsibility.

  214. Lu
    | Reply

    Hi. Just wondered if you could explain this. My child’s fathers income is dramatically reducing every financial year, yet to my knowledge his working in the same employment. Its sitting at a little under $40,000 reduction of taxable claimed wage in three years. Going from an income of around $85,000 a year to $45,000 over three years of decrease. Do things like this get revised by child support? I know the industry he is in is well known for reducing taxable wage through fringe benefits, but is there a respectable limit to this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Also a further question, If my income was to increase and his continue to decrease even more can there come a point where I am expected to pay him child support?

    Thankyou

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      They can review income to account for extra earning capacity that he’s intentionally not getting. You need to apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8). Fringe benefits isn’t allowed as a method to reduce income – they should automatically add it back in. If he has 35% or more care (at least 5 nights per fortnight), he may be eligible to receive child support.

  215. Chris
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Just thought I’d post up for some advice regarding my child support payments. When I received my assessment for the year it’s specified her income as provisional. I’m assuming this is because she has not completed a tax return? Her provisional was under the self support income so that means I have 100% cost. I have found out recently she is working for her new partner. So he can manipulate her wage to always be under the $25,xxx self support income so I’ll always have to pay more. Can I raise a reassessment based on this and have her income brought to the average income? They are a long way from struggling and think it’s completely unfair to be trying to sponge every dollar of me as they can.
    Thanks

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Difficult because Child Support don’t use income benchmarks. They just use the person’s historical income.

  216. Brett
    | Reply

    My ex-wife is claiming I need to cover half of our youngest son’s daycare costs. I argue that I don’t have to because it is covered by the child support payment I already make to her. Can you please let me know who is correct in this case?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Brett – There are essentially no rules around how parents spend their money. Regular child support can be spent however the parent wants.

      Where a parent makes a choice – e.g. placing a child in daycare during their care time – it should really be up to that parent to cover it.

      You get credit from Child Support for how much care you provide. So 50:50 care should really mean that parents split expenses. 75:25 care means that the main carer should cover about 75% of costs overall.

      See Q2 on this page: https://childsupportaustralia.com/child-support-faqs/

  217. John Woods
    | Reply

    I received an account statement recently which advised my that I had an overdue balance due now.
    The interesting thing is that this is the first ever statement I have received from CSA. I have a private payment arrangement in place, so I am bewildered by what the overdue amount is for.
    I found phoning CSA is a waste of time because no one ever answers the phone (Yes, I do mean never!). The CSA message system is down, so I can’t enquire about the debt…what do I do?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t worry about contacting them. If there’s a debt, you can expect a follow up and probably a phone call.

  218. Matt
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I have 2 children, 11 and 13 with my ex wife, I have always paid child support since my separation and on top of this have equal custody of my two children. Even though I have equal care I still have to pay $400 a month in child support to my ex-wife. My ex changed jobs recently to a higher income and I have found out that she is pregnant to her new partner. She hasn’t completed her tax return to this date, a ploy which sees her continue to get the same rate of child support from me until her income changes and as far as I am aware there is no recourse for her to have to pay back any overpaid monies to me.

    On top of this, if she reports a drop in income because of having a new baby, I will then have to pay more to cover her drop. How can this be a fair system if she chooses to have a baby with a new partner who works and they live together? This isn’t my choice and I shouldn’t have to pay to support her new baby and her partner. There should also be a process in place to force people involved in the child support system to complete a tax return ASAP to accurately reflect income, or a pay back system for over payments by a paying parent.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      They seem to do different things with backdating depending on whether it’s the payer or recipient. They should just be fair.

      Agree that child support shouldn’t come into it when there’s equal custody: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RV8wHY0SX4

  219. Ryan
    | Reply

    A quick background into myself, I am currently 25 with twin daughters aged 8. Their mother cheated and left about 4 years ago. I had to fight in court for fair custody and i eventually won. Since then I have always maintained at least 50% care, for the last 2+ years I have been classified as the primary carer at 51% care.

    Before the split, during the split and still to this day i have maintained a full time job and paid child support. I have many discussions and disagreements with the Child Support Agency over figures and they simply don’t care to listen and they said its legislation.

    Since the split my partner has had another child, the child(i think) would be or almost be 2 years old. To this day, and before the child my ex partner hasn’t worked and there is nothing stopping her, no disability of herself or the child. Now my ex not working has meant her taxable income is low because all she receives is Centrelink, $19,604 to be exact for the 2017-2018 financial year and very similar previous years. My income for the same period was $68,555 and will climb to $75,000 for the 2018-2019 financial year.

    I have since re-partnered and throughout the split, court etc I have maintained the one full time position, only changing jobs 3 months ago to another full time position in the same industry. In that time my ex partner has not had a job and as far as I know, has not attempted to get a job.

    And this is where my issue is, I choose to keep my job and have a successful career while maintaining the care any parent should with their children, I spend the same amount of money as my ex whether it be on food, clothing, toys, school etc., yet time after time my child support fee goes up, the last two financial year my child support has DOUBLED just because my income went up. There has been no consideration that I have a house, insurance, rates etc just like yourself id assume. My ex currently rents.

    I cannot fathom this current child support system, I pay for my children, then above and beyond that I have to pay more and more to my ex because I chose to have a successful career, this child support system is a race to the bottom. I could quite my job and pay $0 like me ex, but then I’d be lowering myself to her standard.

    She has no reason to not get a job, yet she some how seems to get away with it.

    I am losing faith in this government and legislation. The mathematical equation into calculating child support is wrong in so many ways as stated on this website.

    It appears my only option may be a COA, Reason 8 stating my expenses are high and that my ex is more then capable to find work?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for telling your story Ryan. Note that a COA may not work. This is not what the legislation says, but Child Support like to return people’s income to a former level if they find against them in the COA. If the person hasn’t worked for a long time, they can’t do that and may just let them get away with not working.

      Note that Child Support has worked out what they can get away with under the law. They don’t actually apply the law faithfully. They just know what they can do without a court challenge going against them.

  220. Anonymous
    | Reply

    Hi, I’m posting this on behalf of my father, I’ve been trying to find a way to help him in regards to paying child support to my mother (his ex wife) but having no such luck, basically long story short, he has not seen his other two children in well over 9 years, the eldest of the two is now roughly 13, and he has not contact with them, has no idea what they look like or how they are being cared for and we also believe at least one of those children are not even his, he has tried going through court to get a DNA test how ever his ex wife never shows up and moves houses so she has to be tracked down again, the amount of child support he is having to pay is putting him in debt, he didn’t work for three weeks and had no income and for that three weeks child support expects him to pay roughly $2000, which he doesn’t have, I personally think this is not fair, I honestly believe that a DNA test should be mandatory if child support is expected to be paid due to the ill effects it can cause to the parties in question. Also on a more personal note, I whole heartedly believe my mother should not be aloud to care for children as she is not a suitable caregiver, she is an alcoholic, at times abusive mentally, emotionally and physically. Hence why I left home at the age of 13 as did two of my other sisters. So in regards to this there should be a system in place to investigate claims made against people like this to prevent children coming to harm by people supposed to care for them and to protect the children and the other parent that has no contact with these children. I have put in claims and requests through DOCS and other services but keep coming up short because there is no help.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for sharing your story. You highlight the need to introduce some controls over receiving child support. People would quickly stop doing the wrong thing if their child support payments were put at risk (withheld or reduced). It shouldn’t always be so automatic that money is taken from one parent and handed over to the other.

      Please be aware that Child Support often take funds directly from people’s bank accounts. Your father should try to cooperate with them and agree on a re-payment plan or something. It may help make Child Support less aggressive in chasing debt. They will ring him about any debts.

  221. Eseta. H
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I do not know why I’m here, but i wanted everyone to be aware of what happened to me with child support. i got two children, one is 14 and one just turned 18 yrs old. my husband wrote a letter to child support telling them that my son is 18 yrs old and not in school, child support believe him, child support did not call me to confirm this, because my son lived with me 24/7. child support change my assessment and send me a letter with online my 14 yrs old in it bit not my son. i called child support, and waited for 40 minute on the line, i explaint my situation and ask child support why they did not call me to confirm, he did not answer and i ask can they reverse the assessment to include my 18 yrs old in the assessment, he (Faz) said i do not find any good enough reason to reverse this decision at all, i ask can i give you the number for my son’s school so they can confirmed it, he said there is no reason for him to do anything for me. i was so angree and hung up on him, now my son is not included in the child support assessment, but with the money is a huge help for my son tutoring, he is in year 12 and he is smart, he is going to university to do forensic science, im so proud of my kids. child support had no idea that every help i get for my kids is a blessing for their future.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Eseta,

      Not sure why you’re angry with Child Support. They’re not investigators placed on Earth to do your bidding. Their time should be respected. If you have evidence, you simply need to present it.

  222. Damien
    | Reply

    Thanks Andrew, I am already doing that. The unfortunate part of that is – I get a bill for the backdated, unsubstantiated ‘assessment’, but when I prove the income (for the fourth time), it will take effect from that day, and unlikely to have any bearing on the ‘assessment’. My distain is due to the fact that I have ALWAYS been in credit with the CSA (Agency and Non-Agency payments), and have proactively tried to remedy assessments to be ‘real’, and have not disadvantaged my ex in doing so – noting the $5,000+ ‘overpayment’ would have been in her account 3 years ago rather than sitting in a CSA account if she had taken up my recent offer. I pay for my kids’ schooling because I want them to be educated, not for any offset. My ex doesn’t even insist they ATTEND school? So, the upshot will likely be $20-$30k going into her account, spent on smokes and alcohol (hopefully not for my son) and my son failing yr 10 due to poor attendance. Fair?

  223. Damien
    | Reply

    Hi – I am a Father….therefore the ‘offender’. Despite the fact I have offered my ex (mulitple times over the past decade) a reasonable approach via private agreement…she wants ‘more’, and CSA encourages this…and not for the benefit of my kids unfortunately. Despite contacting the Agency on 3 occasions last financial year, to advise my wage had gone up and being told it would not be adjusted until my Tax was done…that all changes when a COA is submitted. I earn a wage, and I provided all the evidence of this…but wait the CSA is now determined to get ‘more’. Effectively, by adding any credit to my savings account (regardless of source), my ‘wage’ is considered $40k more per year. This would be the punch-line of a joke, if it didn’t include the $5,000 returned to me from the Agency ‘Overpayment’ (representative of years of me paying more than my assessed amount, including times when they had determined that my Ex should pay me, which she didn’t – when I was living off savings). So, apart from overpaying for years, and paying full private medical insurance and 100% of 6 years worth of Private school fees for 2 kids, and declaring and proving my income, the result is that I am assessed as earning $40k more than I do (by recycling money that was assessed in previous years and selling-off my belongings?) . That’s not enough….let’s reduce my ex’s wage from $70k per year to $61 (yes, just over $1 per week). Ok, now we’re getting somewhere – an additional $130k disadvantage…let’s back-date that and ignore other facts. I’m still waitng for the Penalty to go with that (let’s call that Father Tax – not because I was hiding anything….it’s just the ‘System’). Meanwhile my kids suffer. Surely, if enough of us raise our voices to the Minister? Media? Courts?… surely we can create change? I don’t even blame my ex. If she was half-reasonable I would have suggested she raise a change of assessment, especially since the ‘System’ doesn’t allow for an increase in wage estimation without the required Victimisation of the innocent and distoration of the facts (read COA)….and of course extorting ‘more’, while being complicit in the dereliction of minors…but they are above the Law. I’m sorry, but I think the assessors have too little acumen to be given so much power. Also, we could redefine the CSA’s glossary – instead of ‘Dead Beat Dad’…a new term is needed for a parent that is unreasonable, greedy, apathetic for the care of their children, because they are not all Dads….

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Damien,

      There are review processes available to you. Suggest keeping it really simple and focus on the main points. Note that you may not encounter anyone with any accounting ability at any stage. Independent accounting advice may be useful to demonstrate that mistakes were made.

  224. Geoff
    | Reply

    Can one parent reduce their hours to reduce their income to avoid paying child support. The parent in question is a lawyer and has reduced their hours to earn between $80 and $100K a year less. This reduction has been large enough to make the lower income parent now having to pay child support

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Geoff, No – a parent cannot reduce their work hours to affect child support. The other parent can apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8).

  225. Emily
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I am currently going through the objections process in regards to %age of care. On my assessment letters (which I will never really understand…) I have 87% and the other party 13% care. In my CSA express App I have 86% and the other party assumingly 14%, meeting the threshold for “regular” care. The objection was lodged on the day he was informed that I applied for CSA, vowing to the judge that I just had to apply for CSA and he would happily pay. The first assessment said I should receive $104 per month for 2 children, the next one $270 and now that he lodged his first tax return in 2 years, I am to receive $390 per month. My income decreased from %53.000 to $10.000 due to various circumstances. A month later he lodged a second objection referring to a timeframe of 10 months before I even applied for CSA. I was given no information as to what he lodged and nobody could explain what he was objecting to, but now I have to prove every night that I actually had with the kids for those 10 months… He submitted consent orders as evidence that were struck out by the registrar in February. I asked the CSA officer if this was submissible and they said that the evidence will be regarded by the case officer and be taken as true if I can’t prove my care… The current court orders spell dates of contact out until September this year. He suggests that he will have school holidays and at least 3 extra days over easter each following year. He might have a chrystal ball, but I can’t make assumptions as to how the judge will rule in November. I fled with my children and the judge hasn’t ordered us back yet.

    I agreed to extra contact in June, give him the benefit of the doubt. He failed to put the kids on the plane on departure day and claimed that the plane was overloaded. I talked to Qantas and they said that he arrived with the kids 10 minutes before takeoff. Even CSA officers said that this one night will probably push him to the next bracket. He spent nearly $3000 for the flights so he doesn’t have to pay me the full amount…

    I further asked the officer when I will be supplied with his evidence. I had two letters and in both it referred to evidence enclosed,… which wasn’t there. When I asked about this, the officer said that they can supply the evidence of the other party at their discretion,… they don’t have to give it to me but in the same sentence made the statement that any evidence I supply will be made available to him… all of it… and I better have it in by the due date. I said that I kept my diary on my company laptop which had all my emails and files from the last 12 years on it. The connection to the server was interrupted in January this year and I pretty much lost all my data (and calendar). He is the administrator, I doubt I am going to have much luck with the message “Please contact your administrator”.

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble. Can you answer the following please:

    1. we were seperated under one roof for nearly 6 months. As he worked remote, this wasn’t difficult. I had to remove myself from the matrimonial home before or upon his return. Every 2nd weekend I took the children. I cared for them in the home otherwise. Do I count the nights the children were in my care when he was remote?

    2. There was a period of 2 weeks where his daughter and his parents were with us. I stayed with friends about 4 nights of those 2 weeks. Those would count towards his nights? How do I count the rest? Give both 10 nights?

    3. I had a medical appointment with one of my son’s in Adelaide and he had the other one in his care. Do we both claim nights for that period? It was only 4 nights.

    4. What period will CSA consider? He will certainly be over the nights between June 17 to April 18, everything else is pretty much uncertain. I asked two different officers and they couldn’t really tell me. What period do I assume to appropriately calculate the %age of care? It must be a 12 months period I assume but I didn’t apply for CSA until April 18? And before that I received once $50 for the 10 months period.

    Thing is that I know that this won’t be the end of objections, complaints etc. If CSA work with a case file record, they might not have looked at it yet. He once put in 75 pages to an objection and was banned from talking to officers as they couldn’t handle him. Do they just try and give him what he wants earlier? Before it escalates? When his objection didn’t have the desired effect, he complained to the ethics commision and lodged another complaint with CSA…

    Thank you for your time,

    Emily

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Emily,

      I honestly don’t know what is going on here. I’m going to tell you exactly what I think, though you may not like it. Sorry, but there are more people than just you and your ex involved with this.

      You and your ex partner seem to be in dispute over a relatively small amount of money. And it seems you are both wasting the time of Child Support. Therefore, you are wasting taxpayer money (i.e. everybody else’s money).

      You say you “fled with the children”. In other words, you took children away from their father. Another way of saying this is that you stole the children.

      I have 2 pieces of advice: (A) Always support the children having a meaningful relationship with their Dad and (B) help Child Support do their job.

      Child Support are just trying to work out care percentages from the evidence available to them. Be concise and focus on helping them do their job. Everybody will win if you do this, including your children because you will free up your and their Dad’s time to focus on more productive things.

      Child Support will have to make some judgement calls. Just be honest and simply tell them who has / had care at different times, providing evidence where you have it.

  226. Jennifer
    | Reply

    Hi there
    My ex partner was employed in a full time role and also had his own business. He has never provided his true income to CSA (just the full time job). He has recently decided to focus on building his business so he has resigned from his other job. This has resulted is CSA advising I need to start paying him child support. It seems odd that I need to support my ex while he develops his business further, particularly when CSA didn’t do anything about the undeclared income previously. Could you provide some advice please?
    Thank you

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Jennifer,

      Child Support get income information from the Tax Office. So, you’re effectively accusing your ex partner of tax fraud.

      You could apply for a Change of Assessment. The review by Child Support would focus on whether the other parent resigned for a legitimate reason or as a tactic to avoid child support.

  227. Jane
    | Reply

    Please help us!! The child support agency is basically running our lives!! My husband and I agreed for him to stay at home and take care of our 2 children ages 1 & 3, the cost of child care is expensive!! So we started this to save money for our family, notifying CSA (My husband has 2 children to an alcoholic ex) It was ok for a couple of months then CSA changed their mind and hit us with a massive bill of $3500 and ongoing high $850 fought nightly amount!! Our family is now struggling financially and the abusive ex is living it up not working… now I know why and how this immoral CSA kills so many Australian people to suicide, there’s no other choice anymore

  228. AmNad
    | Reply

    Hi there I’m looking for some advice if possible.

    My partner has a 4 and 6 year old and they live in a different state 4 hours away, the town the kids grow up in isn’t fantastic and my partner moved away as there are better job opportunities for him to put away money for his children’s future. Currently he pays child support weekly and we have the kids every second weekend and half the school holidays. The odd weekend that he picks up an extra shift and cannot have the kids his parents will have them for the weekend. We provide the children with clothing, toys etc anything they need when she asks for it or when the school requires extra for extra curriculum activities etc.
    The mother of the children has a new partner who is living with them and now she is pregnant. Centrelink are unaware of these changes to her living situation. My partner just received a letter today form child support saying that his payments are going up astronomically as it states her job is lower paying that the previous financial year. It also states on there that the mother has recently informed them that my partner sees his children 0% of the time and has them for 0 overnight visits.

    What are his rights here? How do we prove to child suppport that this isn’t the case? Unfortunately we have already had to start keeping time stamped photos and records of their time together but I am very afraid that she may start keeping the children from him altogether due to pettiness and finiancial greed.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi AmNad,

      Your partner can and should inform Child Support that the care % is incorrect. And they should accept your evidence.

      If the other parent denies access, you may need to consider legal proceedings (which starts with mediation). Judges are inclined to maintain longstanding arrangements (i.e. every other weekend) if they are working well.

  229. ROCO
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew (from CSA Forum)

    You mention a new formula a number of times within the comment replies, who is working on this and is it in the public realm? When currently will it be debated or be in effect?

    Also I am a payer of Child Support and my children’s mother has just taken a voluntary redundancy. She will no doubt advise CSA of a change in circumstance and lower her income. However she obviously chose unempolyment. Is this a COA reason 8 matter that I should raise?

    Thank you for this forum it is very helpful.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for feedback Roco.

      The whole formula is on section 8 of the home page: “8. Time Sharing Support Formula”. No idea when it’s likely to be introduced. Depends on how our campaign to raise awareness goes.

      Would definitely look at applying for a COA if the other parent has no good reason for quitting work.

  230. Raymond
    | Reply

    Hi
    I would to know when it comes to private school fees why CSA does not take family mortgage into consideration when paying private school fees
    Also Is CSA in a position to mentioned to my ex to change private school charging $24000 a year to different private school where the charge $8000 a year.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As a general rule, Child Support does not get involved in how parents spend money. They mainly just apply a formula that’s based on each parent’s income.

  231. Chris
    | Reply

    Hi

    I have a question about the receiver changing their job to a lower paid position. My ex was a teachers aid while she was at uni getting her teaching degree. She obtained a permanent position and worked for just over a year before deciding it was too stressful. She now taken a job as a receptionist earning around half of what she was a teacher.

    I have no issue paying my fair share for my kids (both mid teens) but I feel that her changing jobs to a lower paid position will unfairly increase the amount I have to pay, as it is not my circumstances that have changed.

    About 5 years I wanted to change jobs (due to work stresses) and complete an adult apprenticeship which would have seen my income drop by a third. I called CSA and was told that if I voluntarily changed to a lower paid job, I would still have to pay based on my ‘earning potential’.

    what are my rights here?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Chris,

      You can apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8). Her income could be restored to its previous level for child support purposes. Based on what you’ve said and the legal provisions, your chances of succeeding seem quite good.

  232. Andrew
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I pay my ex wife $510 p/fortnight in child support for our two children. I work fulltime and I have the kids 120 nights per annum.
    My ex wife is a public school teach and her “substantive” position is “permanent full-time”…….however she is currently on “reduced hours post maternity leave”, ….a condition she is only entitled to remain upon when our youngest child turns 6.
    At this stage she will then have to make the decision whether to return to her substantive position as a full-time teacher, or elect to become ‘permanent part-time” teacher, thereby forfeiting her fulltime work status.
    I have always been supportive of her decision to work 3 days a week whilst children were not going to school. Recently however she has indicated that she would like to remain part-time, even with both children attending school (and I will point out both children attend the school as students where she is employed so many of the pre and post school hours care that most working parents face every day is negated….not all but most).
    I feel that her decision to remain part-time is a ‘lifestyle’ choice, and that it is unfair that I should pay additional child support when she has the capacity to be earning more.
    More so I am not asking her to go and look for full-time work…she has it already!!
    I can’t see the fairness in her having flexibility with her income level and hours of work, but if I was to cut my hours or lower my income by 40% I would be heavily penalised.
    I have told her that if she wants to remain on part-time employment conditions when both children are attending school (so either working at 60% or 80%) of her earning capacity that I shouldn’t be expected to be funding that lifestyle choice.
    My suggestion was that given we have “private collection” arrangements for child support that I pay her a child support rate based upon her maximum earning potential and that is as a full time school teacher. She can then choose to do whatever she wants as far as work goes. Of course my worry with an arrangement like this is that she only has to wait a couple of years and then ‘jump into the system’ by claiming I am underpainh her.

    Any advice on this matter immensely appreciated. I am especially interested in knowing what are the rules concerning parents that separate when they are on reduced hours and the expectations concerning their work capacity.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To be honest Andrew, while you have some perfectly valid claims, you might want to let this go. The system is geared towards allowing mothers to work part-time if they wish. You could test this through an application for a Change of Assessment however. Can’t see why the other party would agree to private arrangement.

      A couple of things to bear in mind: (1) full-time teachers are very busy these days, making it hard to put energy into child-raising and (2) the impact on child support of her working full-time would be quite small in your situation (because her having a higher income also inflates the combined income amount). Suggest you use the calculator on this site to see how much money is involved.

  233. TA
    | Reply

    How can the community help to back this change of proposal?
    Im all for one that child support is needed and also needs to change.
    Im a single Father with 60% care after spending 2years and $85,000 in the court system to keep my children in my life from an alienating parent. That debt will contine to be paid off long after my youngest is 18years old. He’s now 8 years old. I work full-time, pay for everything for my children, use before and after school care and also pay child support. The other parent refuses to work or contribute. Ive tried change of assessment, with no change in results.
    I believe shared care should be just that. I look after cost in my house and they look after cost in their house.
    As well as the courts supporting parents who have less or no care who are paying for childsupport to actually be part of their children’s life.
    So what as a community can we all do to back this cause?
    Thanks

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for the feedback. Also, a great question. We’ll have a good think about how to get action. Unfortunately, there’s a long history of unsuccessful lobbying for change. Here, there’s a fully developed, realistic proposal that could be implemented quickly and successfully. Ultimately, just need to get a senior government minister on board. But, how to do that?

  234. Kayla Zarebski
    | Reply

    I have 3 girls and the father left me and moved back to Africa and I don’t know what move I should make to obtain child support. If there any info out there that would help that would be great.

  235. Carl Stanojevic
    | Reply

    I am unemployed and CANNOT work due to chronic back disease and now undergoing treatment for prostate , bladder and kidney issues. I pay $50 p/f from my centrelink payments to child support. Yesterday they contacted me asking if i can afford to pay anymore which i clearly cannot. Today my Bank Account is frozen as they have attempted to take $2000 from my account leaving me $1990 in arrears. My centrelink payment will now bounce back leaving me with $0 to pay rent and much needed Medication for my Medical Condition (which i explained to them)..After a total of 3 hours on the phone they advised me that they have contacted the Bank and that the freeze will be lifted. I have contacted the Bank ,they never received a phone call from Child Support and that my account will remain frozen until such time that arrears are paid….they are cold hearted and i’ve been treated like a criminal…not once have i refused to pay Child Support…yet its ok for my ex to take my kids and relocate to another state WITHOUT MY PERMISSION where i don’t have access to my kids at all….where is the justice in that???

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes, Child Support are known to get around the rule that limits how much they can deduct from pensions. They go straight for your bank account. This is how they bankrupt and destitute people. An absolute disgrace. Such a low act isn’t good for children!

  236. Michael
    | Reply

    The Child Support system works in theory i don’t believe the calculations are unfair…but. The thing that is broken is there is no incentive for the Parent in care of the child to return to work.
    I have paid and been paying Child Support for 13years and in that time the Parent has not returned to work at all meaning i Pay the 100% always. The caring parent has a Partner who supports them while they have chosen to Study and not work for 13years so as not to loose the Child Support and Centerlink payments. This is majorly unfair there needs to be an incentive for the Parent to return to work, maybe after 3-4 years when the child can go to daycare – school payments should be scaled back by a percentage yearly, to encourage that parent to seek an income that is not of the back of hard working Australians though Center link and the other parent of the child. i have been told i could go study and stop working to reduce my payments, what a joke i have my Family to support and Love and will always support my Other child, but at what cost i am going broke my payments increase every year. And this year has increased to a number i cannot afford i have a strict budget where all my money is allocated and i now have to come up with over $100 more a month. As yet another year has gone buy where the other parent has not worked.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your contribution. The proposed new system would take away any incentive for payers to avoid work. Instead, the focus would be on the payer’s ability to pay a fair amount. So, improvements are certainly possible.

  237. Kevin Pearson
    | Reply

    I have been paying support for 10 or so years, which has been stressful at times. Though I would like to know why is the payments based on gross income, not net income as basing it on gross income does not seem fair as it is not money coming into our pocket to pay with ? The system is wrong and is sexist I believe.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Kevin, we’ve looked at the gross income thing, and that’s not really the issue. Other variables can be adjusted according to whether it’s gross or net. But you could say that the rates are too high considering gross income is being used.

  238. adam
    | Reply

    All this talk of change is great – but when will the system be reviewed and changed? Its terrible and does not work.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Just need some effective leadership from Canberra. Would be support from public if someone with a “can do” attitude took it on.

  239. Steve
    | Reply

    Not so much a complaint but a question. I havent seen my 2 children for nearly 7 years. my daughter even longer, maybe 9 or 10. but, i pay my child support every time its due and im fine with it…. sorta. anyway i logged onto mygov today and suddenly my son has vanished from the assessment. i cant find any correspondence in regards to this and im alot confuzzled. why has he been removed? the amount i pay hasnt changed. But hes just not there any more and i have no idea why? He’s only 14 so i know its not an age thing.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No idea Steve. Surely it’s just an admin thing. Wouldn’t exactly be the first stuff up by Child Support.

  240. Kath
    | Reply

    My partner is paying a lot of child support for two girls he doesn’t get to see. His ex wife has remarried and had another child and they have moved around the state many times and because of this he has 0% custody. I have helped him with his budget and can’t believe how much he has to pay while he struggles to pay rent. I am a single mum who has always worked full time so child support has been very limited to me. For him to be paying this amount and still struggle with his own bills (and his expenses are very minimalistic) is hard to understand. She has been having more children with her husband so very unlikely to be working for a long time. How is this fair that he struggles while she can continue with her new life with no financial stress. I doubt my partner will even be able to have a mortgage in the future

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support destroys many people’s chances of home ownership. It keeps rising with income. Owning a home isn’t everything though.

  241. remianinganon18
    | Reply

    @Andrewlancaster
    Hi Andrew, I am confused, how does the new formula assist those who have 0% care (as in child is only over once a week and doesn’t stay). The primary carer refuses access so she gets 100% of CS which in our case is $1800 a month!!! will we pay less with your formula? Is it actually going to be implemented?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I believe the new formula (or something close to it) will be implemented, though it could be years away. Am too busy working on a massive project related to co-parenting to push it at the moment. But it’s time will come.

      How the new formula would affect someone in your situation depends on incomes. The new formula assumes both parents are responsible for 50% of care costs, which can offer relief to payers. However, there’s not much difference if a payer has 0% care and doesn’t have a big income. The new formula is about providing appropriate support.

  242. remianinganon18
    | Reply

    @PainfulHelen @Andrewlancaster
    Hi I thought I;d clear up / add my experience with private school fees and CSA. my partners ex raised a COA for him to pay 100% of fees after he said he couldn’t afford it anymore, The CSA looked at the case and decided that he had to pay 50% because he signed the form. So If Helen’s ex signed the form then he’s liable in their eyes. As long as it was signed for either primary AND high school or the primary school goes all the way through to year 12. If it was just primary and now you are trying to get him to pay for highschool then it won’t work. CSA added the fees to his child support assessment.

  243. Lisa
    | Reply

    I’m a paying parent now with 50/50 care and my ex-husband has put in a $0 income estimate now after he became unemployed in February. This unemployment came about due to him (in his capacity as a financial planner) giving clients dodgy advice and he has incurred a 5 year ban from ASIC which prevents him from working as a financial planner. I don’t see why I should be penalised for this and just want some feedback on it from others. He has only just done his tax return a few months ago for 2016/2017 and income came in at approximately $97K, then he lodged the estimate for $0 income again after that.

    I would be happy for him not to pay me child support based on not having an income but feel that it’s unfair that I should have to pay him, as his actions have put him in this situation. Has anyone experienced similar, and what was the outcome?

    Nobody has NO income. There’s always money coming from somewhere. Surely CSA should not accept a $0 income estimate?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Lisa. It’s definitely possible to have zero income. It means living off savings, or borrowing. You need an income above around $25k per year before your income counts anyway (which is more than Newstart).

      It’s hard to see why it’s unfair that you pay him. Wasn’t he paying you before despite having 50/50 care? It wouldn’t really be unfair until such as time as you’ve paid him more in total than he paid you.

      Child Support can change his income based on earning capacity. However, it may be difficult to do in this case because he can’t be expected to achieve his former income. They wouldn’t know what to set his income to for child support purposes.

      It may be risky to start a child support review to try to get out of paying. He probably needs every bit of motivation to find a new job and start earning to his potential. Any child support you give him would help the kid(s) out and may help him start over. He’s been supporting you, so it may be time to return the favour. The best outcome would be for him to get a new career going soon, and the best way to encourage that may be to just let things go for a while.

  244. Dave
    | Reply

    Hello all,

    I’ll give you all another example of the gross injustice I experienced, again at the hands of the CSA!! Unfortunately in September of 2015, I suffered a workplace injury, certainly no fault of my own! Now just to briefly state, my pay structure is made up of a base salary of 44k per annum, and the remainder of FY salary compromises of incentive pay for each job I complete in a day! Similar to a sub contractor where you get paid per job, the more you complete, the more $ you earn, however I am still classed as a full time employee. A few days post injury and after I had seen a doctor and put a compensation claim in with my employer, I also notified CSA what had occurred and of my financial circumstances going forward until I returned to normal duties at work. Now because I was injured and unable to perform my normal duties, my employer was only paying me my base salary of 44k per annum, been significantly less than my normal fortnightly net pay, due to me also have an open case for workers compensation. When I informed CSA and requested a change of assessment, they were completely unsympathetic or understanding at all! They told me unless I have a conclusive date of when I am returning to normal duties at work, they will not be reassessing anything! I was left absolutely flabbergasted beyond belief that they would do this! So anyway, yeah CSA continued to request my employer to garnish $952 per fortnight! I was grossing a little over $1500 per fortnight, once tax, my salary packaged car and child support were taken out, I was left with $0 net pay! Unfortunately this continued for nearly 4 months, where to be honest, I had to force myself back to work, just so I could support myself and my family! Cleary evident to me that CSA couldn’t give a flying hoot about me and my family, or our health and well being, just as long as I kept paying them to support my daughter and my ex!!
    Has anyone here ever tried to support themselves and their family on $0 per pay?? We couldn’t pay our bills or buy food and we had to defer the home mortgage repayments for 4 months, which is no easy task! We also had to borrow money off family and friends just to survive! Fortunately for me and my family, we soldiered on, we got through it, and I received a very modest amount of workers compensation when my claim was approved, just enough to fix up the arrears of our mortgage repayments! Still probably just about the toughest 4 months of my life. Basically CSAs conduct of my whole case for the last 17.5 years, especially in regards to the above, has been absolutely disgusting and disgraceful beyond comprehension and will haunt me for the rest of my life!

    Regards

    Dave Fitzgerald

  245. Michael
    | Reply

    Good Morning, I was wondering if there is any justice for the paying people or if we can sue the agency?
    My ex (with my children) was told by the agency to move inter-state for the best chance of 100% payments to her and if that doesn’t help make up a domestic violence order to support towards 100% custody for the money (basically lie to the courts about anything). I want to know why and how is this possible this day and age using children like that!
    After hearing this, I don’t believe domestic violence is rising at all, however; divorces are rising and lies are being passed through the judicial system, so that 1 parent can financially benefit from a divorce, alienating the other parent and the child abuse – utilising the children involved for leverage.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Michael – I don’t believe you can “seek justice” or sue the agency based on second-hand information. The information supplied by Child Support may be factually correct, and they have strong legal protections around what they do.

      Most people are aware, including judges, that many claims of abuse, violence, etc are false or exaggerated. False claims clog up the courts, lead to parental alienation, and make it harder for people with real claims to be heard. It’s a huge problem but not something that can be solved easily. Fixing the current child support formula would help though, mainly by lessening profit incentives to fight over care.

  246. Simon
    | Reply

    CSA is either run by the dumbest bean counters around, with no clue what so ever about families; or the most evil and corrupt people around and they know what they are doing tearing families apart for a few $$$, the modern day stolen generation.
    Rewarding 1 parent 100% payments for 100% custody… It’s really a no-brainer of what’s going to happen…
    People are inherently greedy and always want more, same as the CSA greedy scabs feathering their own nests with the ridiculous policies.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Simon – The Child Support people aren’t as bad as that – though they are extremely bad. As I see it, the fundamental problem is that people tend to equate providing “child support” to “helping children”. That kind of thinking has shaped laws and policies, and led to a culture of prejudice in Child Support admin. Everything, and I mean everything, is geared towards getting maximum dollars out of payers.

      People don’t seem to have the sophistication to realise that extracting money out of payers can have negative consequences for children and the community in all sorts of ways. It’s at the level where you wonder if children would be better off without the current system existing at all. You’d have parents cooperating more and working harder instead of the current debacle.

  247. Dave
    | Reply

    Me again! How’s this for justice! I informed CSA last month also that my FY18 taxable income is forecast to be 20k less than FY17! I have been paying child support on FY17 taxable, thus I worked out today also with the CSA Officer, that I have over paid CSA approximately $1200 this financial year! When I asked the CSA if I will be refunded back my money or even have the overpayment credited to my account, she replied ‘no they cannot backdate to before I advised them! Stiff shit basically, and you might as well have thrown $1200 on their doorstep, and walked away, cause that’s effectively what’s occurred. However if the situation was to reverse and I was to earn 20k more than FY17, then CSA would backdate to July 1 2017 and more than likely apply penalties, is what I was told! What a clear example of complete and utter injustice from CSA!! Just to note as well, my fortnightly pay can differ quite a lot and I am not on a set salary per annum, which makes forecasting my yearly income early on every FY, impossible!

    Regards

    Dave Fitzgerald

  248. Dave
    | Reply

    @Andrew Lancaster (admin)
    Andrew, I have briefly read over your report as per your reply. You appear to lack one important aspect! That is all assessable and relevant child support payments need to be wholly and solely calculated on net earnings (after taxation has been applied), a self support amount then deducted as well, with the remainder of net income remaining been relevant in assessment for child support payable! You have to ask yourself, why should hard working Australian parents whom pay child support have their assessments calculated on monies that end up with the Australian Taxation Office! For example, my taxable income for FY16 year was around 190k and I paid over 65k in tax to the ATO! It is extremely unfair to assess my child support payable on 190k minus a 24k self support amount, when in reality, my net income is significantly less than what CSA assess payable child support on! Surely you must see my point here! The whole system is flawed and has been for over 30 years, where all child support legislation should be completely scrapped and a new system implemented through parliament with recommendations brought forward from experts such as yourself, law experts and every day parents who are or have been products of the flawed system.
    Going back to my original post, put yourself in my shoes! Wouldn’t you like to know or have evidence that your child was indeed still attending secondary school and not potentially committing fraud by doing otherwise! I tell you right now Andrew, and exactly what I said to the CSA officer earlier today, that if I knew for certain that my daughter is still attending secondary school, then I would simply accept it, and move on! Evidently though, that this is not the case and I certainly have my doubts, I have every right to make enquiries with CSA for verification! If I am still not satisfied after CSA findings, again I have every right to follow up further through other means, such as making enquiries with the department of education and or exploring legal options, if I still sense there be the potential for fraud!

    Regards

    Dave

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The tax issue only matters for a small percentage of individuals who have exceptionally large deductions. For everybody else, it’s optimal to set rates in the context of the tax system. It’s easier from a program implementation perspective to set a lower payment rate and use pre-tax income than trying to use post-tax income. That is, you simply allow for tax. All the simulations I’ve run account for tax. Hardly forgotten.

      We don’t want “law experts” anywhere near a review of the child support system. They stuff everything up and only create systems that demand more lawyers. Every single time that happens. Any look at history tells you – keep the lawyers away.

      What I’ve designed is already optimal (or extremely close to it). It’s a maths exercise and, once you get the elegant, correct solution, you have it. No number of experts will improve on it substantively and, because of design by committee, would almost certainly make things worse. I would just like, at some stage, for government finance experts to look at the design and confirm that it’s “correct”.

      By all means try to prove that your daughter isn’t attending school. Seems unlikely but you never know. An initial review could be quick and low cost. If you make the whole basis of your claim that she is not attending school, things would surely be brought to a head quickly and the truth would be revealed.

  249. Dave
    | Reply

    @Andrew Lancaster (Admin)
    Andrew, so basically what your stating in your reply is that it is fair and just for CSA to just simply approve the application and extend the case until the end of the school year, despite myself not been provided with any evidence or explanation? With all due respect, that is and extremely biased and an extremely one sided opinion! I am not a door mat to be continuously walked over, to keep coughing up my hard earned dollars until the child reaches an age well into adulthood! Your response really just confirms to me, that CSA really do believe in sticking the knife in as far as they can for as long as they can and breaking it off!! Just for your information, I will be exercising whatever my legal rights are to object to any such extension, and will be seeking legal advice also! CSA have not changed at all, over the 17.5 years of heartache you pricks have put me through!

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Dave. Have some idea what I’m talking about. I took Child Support all the way to the High Court – and lost. And I actually had a case. Unlike you. And I’ve invented a better child support system, which you can read about on this site. Will be coming back to it at some stage to make sure it gets implemented.

  250. Dave
    | Reply

    Hi, my situation is, I have paying a ridiculous amount of child support for my daughter now for over 17.5 years! I have not had any contact with her for over 7 years, however I do know, that she now lives with her grandmother, and has been for 2.5 years now. Since she has been living with her grandmother and a new CSA case was created as a result, I have been forced to pay the grandmother $952 per fortnight, based on my income alone and not the grandmother’s income, which is absolute BS to be honest and so one sided. My ex has never worked and probably never will, therefore probably pays nothing! She has always sat back on easy street collecting center link and my money I was forced to pay her! My daughter is turning 18 years of age in August 2018, however I have just received notification today from CSA, that the grandmother has now made an application to extend the current CSA agreement beyond my daughter’s 18th birthday until the end of the school year, which I find absolutely outrageous and disgraceful! I mean, $952 per fortnight, is not that far off my mortgage repayments! Where has all the money gone, I am asking myself? She should have more than enough money to support my daughter well past year 12 with what I am forced to pay and have paid her for 2.5 years now! I see it as nothing more then sheer greed on the grandmothers behalf and an extra cash grabbing exercise! Furthermore, as stated above, I have no contact with them, I do not know where they live, or even if my daughter is still actually attending secondary school or not! CSA wont tell me anything either, due to privacy reasons! I have paid child support for my daughter since she was 3 months old, for gods sake! Enough is enough, this should end on her 18th birthday and not a day later! All the heartache, stress and anxiety it has brought to me over the years, I would not wish on anyone! Please can this just end on her 18th birthday, so I can move on with my life!
    I would just like to seek from anyone on this forum, for any advice that would help my situation, or as to what my rights are, etc. I plan to lodge an objection to the application as well, which I have been told I have 28 days to do and has to be in writing.

    Regards

    Dave

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Dave – An objection may not be a good move. There’s a provision to extend child support in the manner being applied. Hard to argue against. An objection likely to only bring more grief. You deserve huge thanks for supporting your child so well financially. But you won’t get anything resembling that from Child Support. They will grill you and then find against you in all probability. Sad but true. Maybe the money will help fund your daughter in future years. People do take longer to become financially independent these days.

  251. anon062018
    | Reply

    My partner’s son has recently returned to live with his mother full time.

    The new child support assessment is based on the biological mother not working for the last year (2016-2017 taxable income). As a result, child support payable by my partner is quite high.

    Mum’s circumstances have changed, in that she has recently gone back to work full time. This year’s assessment will be based on the 2017-18 financial year’s taxable income, which will be low obviously as the biological mother has only just started working again.

    Would this warrant making an application for a change of assessment on my partner’s behalf? What would be the best information to include to inform that, without having to complete all the details about assets/expenses.
    It’s just a change in her income, which she MAY choose to give an estimate for if she chooses (to my understanding).

    Thanks for your time and consideration.

  252. W
    | Reply

    Does anyone know of any case where the Paying Parent (Father) has successfully lodged a Capacity To Earn against the Receiving Parent (Mother) and had a COA as a result in his favour? Considering that she has not worked since the birth of the first child (15yrs) and the youngest is now 11. Wondering whether I should bother or not.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Paying parents who are fathers can win Capacity to Earn cases. However, there needs to be a benchmark income level for the receiver. Without this, Child Support have no way of setting the receiver’s income level for child support purposes. Unfortunately, the system encourages receiving parents to continue avoiding work for as long as possible.

      Note: the new, better system we are proposing would avoid this problem (along with many others). So dumb to encourage receiving parents to never work. How is that good for children? Such parents become role models for how to live off others without making a contribution themselves. Bad for children. Bad for Australia.

  253. Zac
    | Reply

    Hi,
    If a current working Dad paying the maximum amount of child support becomes a stay at home Dad in a few months whilst his wife returns to work, can anyone tell me how that would affect child support? For example, if I go from earning a taxable income to then receiving family tax benefit payments from C’link, how does that work with child support?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Zac – Inintially child support may drop. But it would almost certainly be reinstated if the other party applied for a change of assessment due to earning capacity.

  254. CSP Victim # 9274852
    | Reply

    System still isn’t fair. I cannot afford to get a lawyer and push for basic custody rights, and my ex-wife has told me not to see my son. How is it fair I have to pay those dole bludgers money for a child I cannot see. Without free legal aid built into the system to get basic custody rights I am left in a position where I’m forced to give money to assist someone preventing me see my child. The only way I could afford a lawyer is by selling the house, and then where does that leave me? Homeless, pennyless and at the mercy of someone who has never worked holding my son ransom. Thanks for nothing CSA.

    On top of this I’m forced to overpay CSP when I’ve had to swap jobs as they don’t want to re-assess me for a lower payment amount. The only solution left is to leave Australia or suicide as so many men do regularly. Take a look at the suicide rate in Australia CSA, and realise you are to blame. Here adds another number to your death toll.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You always have the option to self-represent in court, which reduces costs dramatically. There are some good support groups on Facebook, including Dads Who Care.

  255. Joe
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I’m a high income earner who is paying more for child support that the allocated self care of approx $24,000.

    How is it that self care is calculated at such a low amount for Men? And why is it that I’m paying so much more for 1 child under the age of 3? The child does not need to pay rent and bills but I do.

    This system is totally one sided, especially when the man is held at ransom to accept a financial agreement that is not in his best interest or have to wait out until a final hearing 4 years after seperation

  256. Tim
    | Reply

    Hi I’m actually to a man with 3 children this man is one of the fathers that does the right thing his ex kicked him out 10 years ago children at the time 5-10 -13 she lived rent free in their house 2-1/2 years was payed 500 a week plus extras the kids needed schooling extra he worked away so when he was home we had them for the week
    The ex decided that the drug world look good over her kids so I have taken them on we had the oldest from 15 she’s now 21 we have the son since he’s been 14 and is now 19 not working in between then we took the little one til she “sorted out her life “ so we had all 3 for 2-1/2 years but some how we still owe her money she never worked only now left the state so I’ve looked after the kids so how is it fair that we have a debt and she won’t stop csa because she has a debt with social security for lying and saying she had the kids how the hell is any off this fair csa seriously you say it costs $33000.00 a year for 3 kids where is our support!!!!!!!

  257. JD
    | Reply

    I’ve just used the calculator/estimator and it came up with a figure of $1,669 a year of support that I should be getting for my nearly 17 y.o child, as primary (71%) carer. I must be doing something wrong??
    The time sharing figure is slightly better at $2,310.
    PS I’m on below average wage and my ex slightly less.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      JD – The figures you got sound about right. Child support is not just based on costs. It may be low in your case because (i) the other parent provides a significant amount of care (ii) the other parent has the lower income and (iii) the other parent’s income isn’t way above the self-support amount.

  258. Jerry
    | Reply

    my Ex applied for change of Assessment (money) & in a nut shell , the CSA Officer just issued a Decision , with no telephone conferences after my Response, she based the whole decision on an income figure five (5) times my actual income relying on an application I made for finance about a year ago for a credit card which I needed to survive. I am self employed I only have about $10k in Super, I live in a 80 yo crumbling house whilst my Ex lives in a 35 sq $2.5M Mansion in one of Melbourne’s most expensive bayside suburbs :owned by her parents”, living rent free, I ma being penalised for taking out a mortgage to buy a house so I can house my children & this figure is unrealistic & a gross injustice. I have 50% care of my 12 yo & the mother has 100% care of the 17yo after breaking the Court Order since 2012 which Ordered 50% care to me then she turns around after threatening my daughter to live with her & wants money. The whole System is sadly inadequate & irrelevant & the whole idea of having child support is totally lost, I mean how can I care for my child when the CSA makes these decisions ? How can I Object against this decision because I would turn into a criminal under these circumstances & I need to support my 12yo. help.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can appeal the decision. If it’s the first decision in this case, it will be reviewed by another Child Support officer.

  259. Nicole
    | Reply

    My 15yo daughter recently decided she wanted to spend more time with her father which I have no problem with at all she was averaging staying with me 2-3 nights a fortnight but over the last couple of months that has dropped and she is now staying with me 2-3 nights a month. My ex called child support and told them he has 100% care which I am not disputing even though our daughter spends time with me fairly regularly it isn’t enough to be considered regular care. Here’s the thing my ex is on 120K the assessment shows me at 52K after I withdrew some of my super to pay for our other daughters braces (she is now 18) (my actual inocme will be around 46K this year when you deduct the amount I withdrew from my super and add small pay increase) and child support have assessed that I need to pay him $401 per month which literally I don’t have. We also so have an 18 year old studying at TAFE who lives with me 100% of the time but she isn’t covered by child support because she is 18. When I spoke to child support I was told it was highly unlikely my request for special circumstances (I have a responsibility to support someone else) would probably not be granted even though I am providing our oldest daughter with food, accommodation etc because she is 18 and no longer in secondary school. We made a decision together to have kids why does his financial responsibility stop just because the child living with me is 18 even though the 18 year old is financially dependent on me.

    Your formula needs to be updated to be fairer for both parties when I had both girls 86% he was paying me $1400 a month (I was working 12 hours a week when we separated) that dropped to about $1200 when I started working full time looking back I feel that he was hard done by with these figures.

    The girls are supposed to have the same standard of living in both homes how is that possible when one parent earns almost 3 times the other and the lower earner is expected to pay child support even though in my case we each have a child living with us I just happen to have the 18 year old with me.

    I currently pay for our 15 year olds extra curricular activities and phone which is $130 per month if I can prove that which I can they’ll deduct it off the monthly amount that still leaves me with a bill of $270 per month I’m lucky to have $100 per month left after I pay my mortgage other bills and food and couldn’t tell you the last time I treated myself to anything more expensive that a cup of coffee or 2 a week.
    On the form I filled out for special circumstances there is not a reason for Paying the amount of child support calculated would cause the payer financial hardship which is exactly what will happen in my case.

    The final thing is the self care amount of 24k most people would be paying at least 15-20k a year in rent or mortgage payments that leaves 4-9k ($76-$173 A WEEK) a year for all other expenses, the self care amount needs to be looked at raised to an amount that would cover housing, food, electricity, gas, water and transport.

  260. RB
    | Reply

    Hi All
    I would like to share my situation with you and and seek your opinions. I separated about 3 years ago from my ex, and we have a 5 year old son. My ex has now moved to Africa where she comes (and basically kidnapped our son while she was at it). Last year i was earning $115k, with random performance bonuses here and there. CSA did an income assessment and asked me what my expected salary would be including bonuses. I said around $150k as that is what my 2017 tax return showed. I then told them that i was going to Africa for 5 weeks over January to visit my son, and they assured me that they would not make a decision until i came back in February. However i come back to Australia in Feb only to find out that the CSA has assessed my salary $230,000 and put my monthly payments up to $1,500 per month from $700! Not only that, they backdated the assessment to June and i therefore had an immediate liability of $4,000 which CSA was threatening to directly take out of my next pay in full. I spent the last remaining savings i had to pay CSA then lodged an appeal at the AAT. It turns out CSA had seen a bonus amount on my payslip and decided to annualise that bonus and add it to my base salary. The calculation they made assumes that i will be getting the same rate of bonus every month, which is obviously not the case based on my tax return. Anyway, AAT disagreed with CSA and are now changing my assessment to $150k reflected on my last tax return. AAT also pointed out something that i hadnt realised. My ex works for the United Nations and she doesnt pay tax on her income. They said that since i pay tax, they are going to apply a tax rate to her salary and gross it up to reflect a fair assessment on both parties. The UN publishes their salary scales on their website & my ex would be earning a salary of over $120k if she was working the same position in Australia. CSA has assessed her salary $67,000 using some dodgy exchange rate formula. However they have kept the cost of the child at $17,000 per year assessed on a child living in Australia (even though they know the child is not living in Australia), and they have also deducted the average Australian living cost of $24k from my ex’s African salary, basically reducing her percentage to like nothing. I have starting having mental health issues since i began dealing with CSA, they have caused more harm to me that the actual separation itself or anything else i have had to deal, because i simply cannot understand their motivation for taking these crazy and non-sensical decisions that destroy people’s lives. But with the AAT process, i had all the records from my CSA case released to me. And it turns out that throughout this whole process the case officer called Emma was having intimate communications with my ex about what decision she was making and how it was going to benefit her, while providing me with no communication at all. She knew i was out of the country and deliberately took the decision then so that i would not be able to question or provide anymore information. After reading the phone recordings and email exchanges between my ex and the CSA officer, i find it absolutely disgusting that Australia can have a system that allows some low-life CSA employee to have so much power over the life of another person. I was close to going into a mental breakdown and losing my job, how is that beneficial to the child? The biggest problem with CSA is that they do not have to be accountable to any action they take. Appeal to AAT & get them to reverse the CSA decision, it doesnt matter to CSA because they dont have to be held accountable for their actions, its no skin off their nose. They’ll just go and apply the same decision to someone else. AAT advised me that if i have concerns about the conduct of a CSA officer i should lodge a complaint with CSA or the ombudsman. We all know that those systems are design to frustrate you to the point that you give up on your complaint by yourself. So why put myself through anymore mental strain. AAT are reversing the CSA decision, i should just try and be happy about that for my own sanity. I will visit this forum for therapy sessions, because i know there is always someone out there who’s story is so much more worse its going to make me feel better about my situation!

  261. Brendon
    | Reply

    I have settled my commitment with CSA, as my child turned 19 last year. I was self employed for the last 3 years and had not filed my tax returns, they assessed me at around $63k from previous tax returns, the past 2-3 years my income was well below this, but had to pay the $63k rate. Am I now entitled to a refund of the over payments made when I lodge my tax returns?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not sure what the exact rules are but seriously doubt there would be any chance of getting a refund. CSA don’t do refunds for payers.

  262. Emma
    | Reply

    My husband pays almost $50k in child support for 3 kids, his ex-wife took 80% of all assets and 50% of super on divorce…so she has a house fully paid for, we have a mortgage for a property worth $200k less than her and less super than her.

    She has a job (finally!) and reported income of $100k pa. which led to our payments being reduced by $700 a month. Now Tax returns just done for 16/17 and because her last tax return was $0 taxable income our Child support has just gone UP again because they say she has no income, even though they know she does have an income of $100k… all avenues point to ‘too bad’ you have to pay up or registrar will look in to all assets and finances and basically screw you over and make you pay even more! How is this fair? Several conversations with CSA have been threatening. We live overseas with overseas income and the 17/18 tax return will show a 50% reduction in income and 18/19 tax return will show minimal Australian income – yet she will be able to force a reassessment with the registrar yet we can’t without risk of penalty.

    Anyone got any tips?

  263. R
    | Reply

    I was informed by a staff member of the CSA, that many of the flawed decisions made by the CSA were made by contract Solicitors who were simply feathering their own nests by victimising low income earners and making increased estimated earnings to self employed parents in order to get increased fees for themselves. It is well documented that self employed parents are targeted by the CSA, and they use this scenario to justify imposing increased earnings, which in my case they increased my earnings by over $50,000 more than I actually earned, and then locked it in for 2 years and despite my Tax returns confirming that I actually earn $50,000 lower than the estimate, the CSA refused to correct the figures. This then allows the contract Solicitors to claim additional fees for themselves, and to justify their own wages, in circumstances where if they made the correct assessment in the first place, then they would not get the additional fees. It has taken me 2 years to get my over assessment reduced and in the meantime the contract solicitors have, I believe earned over $40,000 in fees, from fighting me over money the CSA were not entitled to in the first place. If my fees were $250 an hour for fighting the CSA then I would get $40,000 as well, and so overall there is a cost of $80,000 for the CSA trying to collect $4,000 in Child Support. In the real world no-one would spend this amount of money to collect a debt, and yet because the CSA is backed by taxpayer money then there is a bottomless pit of funds that the contract solicitors fight over to line their own pockets to the detriment of the taxpayers. If there were no contract solicitors employed by the CSA, then the whole system would change dramatically. The full time staff would have no incentive to make ridiculous claims, and which quite often they do not, and so the CSA need to be transparent over how much money they pay each year to the contract solicitors versus their own staff, and they now need to change this system to prevent ongoing fraud. Every parent should ask the CSA if they are dealing with a contract solicitor or a staff member, when receiving calls, and you need to also get the details of the Solicitors full name and address, if they are a contractor, as contractors do not have to record telephone conversations, which applies to CSA staff, and this then causes problems as in my case, the contract solicitor lied to me over a number of issues, and the CSA later told me that the conversations were not recorded and so I could not prove the lies. I was told that the conversation was being recorded which was a blatant lie by the contract solicitor, and who later made a number of false allegations against me, which I could not challenge as they failed to provide any recordings.
    So make sure you ask who you are talking to and whether they are a contract Solicitor, as it could prejudice your position in any dealings with the CSA as all Solicitors benefit from privilage, and they do not have to disclose information on your case which could be damaging to themselves. In other words contract solicitors act under a separate set of rules to CSA staff, and unless you are warned about this in advance, could impact on your case. So I recommend that no parent enter into discussions with any contract solicitors employed by the CSA. Ask to speak to a staff member only.

  264. Casper
    | Reply

    The CSA system is so corrupt, it’s setting up Australians to fail. Australians can’t invest into their future anymore under their own name.
    If we invest in our own names now, for our future family the CSA takes your money and feeds it to the past EX. I invest through my new partner now, it’s all about hiding cash because CSA is ripping off payees way too much.
    My children would of been costing $200 per f/night easy, now through CSA it’s suddenly $800 f/night…
    That’s a $600 f/night seperation reward for EX’s from the CSA.
    CSA is trying to send future families into poverty, against their own policy and rewardig wimon for separation! corrupt and evil system, their policies state it all…

  265. Casper
    | Reply

    CSA is stealing money from fathers; I will be suing this agency too.
    CSA is rewarding 1 parent 100% of some astronomical made-up amount, children don’t cost that much at all! My 2 children averaged about $100 per f/night, now with the grubby CSA involved it’s costing me $800 per f/night.
    How the hell is that fair CSA?
    Where do you think all the extra money is going to CSA?
    I can tell you 1 thing… It’s not the children!
    If I earn extra money, it doesn’t mean that I spend it on the children straight away!
    It goes straight on the house mortgage or investments!
    CSA doesn’t know anything about a family budget at all; CSA does however know how to tear families apart by flashing $$$ to potential Ex-wives. Have a look on the CSA website, the family termination calculator is there, if you leave your partner now, you ‘ll receive a reward of $25,000 per year!
    Mark my word, I’ll be suing you for this CSA!
    This agency is thieving money from 1 parent’s hard work, so the other can be lazy.
    My ex hasn’t worked in over 3 years because of this unethical and criminal agency, CSA is creating a mass of lazy mothers that never need to work again.
    Congratulations on tearing apart Australians morals, ethics and values in families CSA

  266. Soni
    | Reply

    Hi
    I wondered if I might have some feedback please, I’m at a loss as to how to cope with the situation I find myself in. I am the single mother in this scenario, divorced for 13 years having separated from my ex-husb when my two daughters were quite small. I have always worked full-time, supported myself and my girls and they have been my sole focus since leaving an abusive marriage. In spite of the circumstances I have always encouraged my ex-husb to have unrestricted access to his kids. He did not want an equal share arrangement for the first 4 years but agreed after that to have his children 50/50. He has always been self-employed, on a 6 figure income. Until he met his current wife. The civil co-parenting was immediately severed and it has been a toxic relationship ever since which has been incredibly stressful and upsetting, for both myself and the girls. He exited the business he co-owned with a colleague 2 years ago and promptly commenced a new business in exactly the same industry, but placing ownership 100% in his wife’s name. His income from that time has effectively halved, despite his obvious financial success (new house, vehicles, holidays etc.) Their collective income appears to be substantial, despite his reduction in wage (as a highly qualified electrical engineer) and his wife being the office manager in a part-time capacity. He routinely lodges his tax return approximately 4 weeks after I lodge mine, however late I try to wait. The situation has now arisen where his salary is (incredibly) below mine and I will effectively have to pay him child support within the next financial year. I queried CSA on the validity of his taxable income, given that his profession is the same as it has always been, and he is in a senior supervisory role. CSA said they do not look at the correlation of his income halving with the business being put into his wife’s name. I do not begrudge my ex-husband any success yet I do not want to have to pay him unwarranted child support because he is manipulating his income. I am not party to his wife’s income so I cannot submit the required ‘evidence’ to CSA to request them to investigate if there is any disproportion between their wages. i.e. his wage is $54k and hers might be $120k, regardless of the fair work benchmark minimum wage for each role. They have told me that they accept what the other party lodges with the ATO without question. I would be more than happy to not receive any CS payments from him but I am furious that I have no avenue to fight the situation. I am a single income parent with no partner. How on earth do CSA turn a blind eye to this kind of dishonesty??
    Sorry for the emotion, I’m exhausted from having to deal with the constant hostility and dishonesty from the other party. Please help, any advice would be gratefully accepted.
    Thank you, Soni.

  267. David
    | Reply

    Exactly the same happened to me Vern…
    CSA is a tool now for exe’s to get revenge, by not working, preventing child visitations and draining your finances…
    I’m paying my ex $2000 per month to live free at her parents place, she hasn’t worked in 2 years now…
    My kids were setup to have private education prior to separation, after separation the ex dumped the kids in public education (free). So the CSA doesn’t even benefit the children at all as a prior standard of living. CSA is just destroying all involved except the government, CSA’s main aim is to turn every Dad into a centrelink store, just to relieve the government of family payments…

  268. D
    | Reply

    I have researched into the CSA and it’s a Terrorist organisation. it hides behind women and children for financial gain and causes over 3000+ suicides per year driving payees into debt. The government loves this because it’s relieving the government of subsidies. This is the modern day “Stolen generation”, the government made money back then, why stop….
    My ex jumped on the CSA website and looked at the calculators that they flaunt, she packed up and left taking the kids. 8 months later she issued a DVO to gain 100% custody just because she felt depressed, lawyers use this tactic for leverage (DVO method).
    My ex won’t let me see my children (2 years now), she is scared that it will reduce the payments to her…
    Thanks CSA!! once all this comes out in the wash, I will be suing the hell out of the agency for setting up a reward system in destroying families.
    Absolutely an evil and unjust terrorist agency.

  269. Leanne
    | Reply

    This system is a farce.

    My husband has a legal custody document outlining the care arrangements up until the children are considered adults (18 years) – a document he had to fight for via the Court System. However despite this, child support only have to receive verbal advice from the mother that the children have made the decision to no longer visit their father (no reason or justification required). As such, child support then re-calcuate the assessment, increasing the child support to be paid to a grand total of $2500 per month (an additional $800 on top of what she was receiving) and while they are at it they back-date it a month! Tell me another system where a legal court document isn’t binding? And where individuals are rewarded – in this case financially – for breaching a legal Court document. What a joke!

  270. C.T
    | Reply

    I have been separated from my ex for 12 yrs. To start with it was 50/50 shared care. Went ok for 10 yrs. I paid my child support as required. Two years ago my children moved in with me as i had a transfer to the coast. I had 100 percent care. I finalised ALL RELEVANT dealings with CSA and moved on. No need to deal with them finally…(i thought).
    After a minor disagreement with my kids over schooling THEY decided to move back with there mum. Their mother informed me she did not want child support, and was happy the kids were back , just help financially where i can.
    I moved into a smaller house, met someone and got on with life. Twelve months later i had over HALF my monthly salary missing from my pay . I rang CSA ( as it was on my payslip) and they inform me i have a 20,000 dollar bill and 1500 a month liability and they also taking 1000 a month(which makes it 2500 a month) to pay the debt. Ongoing monthly until November 2019.
    They were sending letters to my old adress where i hadnt been for 3yrs month after month. My phone number hasnt changed and Centrelink found me 3 months after the kids moved out as they rang to sort out a family tax benefit over payment as i forgot to inform them.
    But CSA wait until the last minute and garnish your wage with no contact or notice.
    I have a good wage and set my finances to reflect that, but my life has been thrown into termoil by two TEENAGE kids who decide to leave because they dont like rules, and a child support system that is totally unreasonable ,irrational and simply doesnt care. I cant afford to live anymore. CSA tell me that this arangement is non negotiable. My ex partner is the only one with any authority over this matter and until she rings them nothing will change. Who would pass on 2500 a month! She is in no hurry!
    After all my bills ,loan payments and motgage comes out and CSA take their cut i have 100 dollars to last a month! That is for food,fuel to get to work etcetc.
    I ring them every day,and i notice the more i ring the longer i am on hold. At the start it was 10 mins now its more like 50.
    If you dont enter your case number it is quicker…Why is that!
    Caller ID or a customer call ranking based on previous calls?
    I am considering quitting my job which i have had for the last 15yrs and working for cash until my kids turn 18.
    CSA DONT CARE.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      CT – You’ve been poorly treated, but DO NOT quit your job. You’ll still be required to keep paying at a high rate. Even if you’re forced to live on the streets, they will still go after the money.

  271. Dan
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I’m currently working very remote in a difficult place to live with my new wife and young daughter. We chose to go there to try and get ahead financially. I currently pay child support for 4 children from my first marriage at a rate of $960 a fortnight on a $136,000 income. We can’t stay living and working remote but it will be a big pay cut to go back to civilisation. My young daughter needs to socialise with other kids and get ready to live near a school. Will I be allowed to change my assessment to take into account a $46,000 drop in income or could my child support payments stay the same if my ex does not like my drop in income in favour of a proper lifestyle for my new family? How should I approach this?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Dan,

      You are in a tricky situation. If a change of assessment is requested by the other parent after your income drops, you have to prove that your decision was in no way motivated by child support. And how does one prove what was on one’s mind when a decision is made?

      You could demonstrate your intentions and reasoning ahead of the move. Would suggest gathering some evidence of how your daughter is missing out and needs to be in a different environment. Maybe get written advice from a psychologist or social worker recommending a move. Also, document your attempts to find the highest paid work you can away from a remote area.

  272. AC
    | Reply

    As a woman who has been separated for 15 months and paying my ex child support I have so many issues with the system. Firstly, when I rang child support with enquires, I was repeatedly told that child support was based on the number of nights. The informal system we had in place was me 5 nights a week/him 2 nights. I had no idea if he was working or not, but he seemed to have money and I was paying all expenses for the children so I applied to child support. Well, suddenly the story had changed to “special circumstances” and it was now based on the number of hours. Suddenly I found myself having to pay him child support which was a huge shock as am not high income, but he had declared his income as $0, even though he was paying more rent than me and seemed to be enjoying a similar standard of living as me. This income is likely to have come from his family in the form of ‘loans’ or ‘gifts’ but these don’t exist apparently because they are not taxable income I was told over the phone. However the change of assessment rules state that financial resources are considered in a COA – so which is it? Because I am working full time and he is ‘self-employed’ and at home all the time, he was able to spend time on the phone to CSA, researching and figuring things out. I am working the same office hours as CSA and had to spend copious amounts of time on the phone, not to mention the stress and loss of concentration in trying to figure out how the hell this assessment had been reached. I’ve lost count of the number of times I had to leave my desk because i was so upset over a call I had just taken. No problem, I thought, I’ll put in a COA. I was told that this would likely result in a lower assessment. When the evidence (finally) came in from my ex, they gave me the impression that even though he had some financial resources, that if they were gifts or loans from his family (which I’m sure he would arrange for them to be) that these do not count as financial resources. My assessment was based on the last year’s tax return where a redundancy payment (that I had used to pay for school fees) had resulted in a higher income assessment which does not reflect my current income. No matter, I am still paying based on this income and was informed that this was not adjusted at the end of the financial year, the best I could hope for was to get my tax return in quickly at the end of the financial year to have it adjusted in future.
    As a single working parenting I don’t have the time to figure out how they come to their assessments and the goalposts seem to change regularly.
    The other issue is that if the other parent decides to change up the so-called parenting plan (getting court orders costs $1000s and is time consuming) the nights of care are based on actual nights, so the payer has to pay more even if they don’t agree to the change. My ex works from home and is able to collect the kids or coerce them to go to his house after school, where I can’t recover them. This system rewards parents who do the wrong thing. I am constantly worried about upsetting him which will lead him to ‘punish’ me by taking the kids and threatening to apply for more child support.
    I now have no incentive to work harder or go for high paid jobs, because I am locked into paying child support for the next 8 years. Because he is self-employed, I will constantly have to monitor his standard of living, question the children as to what they did on the weekend etc (to find out possible increase in income) so that I can put in another COA. It’s too easy for men to hide their income or play the system and I don’t feel CSA care that much about ratting them out.
    I am now finding myself not treating the kids as much since there is resentment in being caught in this unfair system where I will be unable to get ahead, all because I am out doing the right thing and working hard for my kids and my ex is playing the system and not making much effort to find employment because he has some other means of non-assessable income.
    I could go on but I have a life to get on with.
    It’s all very demoralising for someone who considers herself a fair and reasonable person.

  273. Marty
    | Reply

    My taxable income is $24,000. I have little to no assets.
    My child support $6,780 based on CSA change of assessment.
    How am I supposed to be able to pay this?

  274. Jimmy
    | Reply

    I just wanted to share my experience with others and am also pretty frustrated with the system. I work on the books, pay my taxes and lodge returns each year, the CSA know exactly what I’m earning. My ex works cash jobs and a few hours ‘on the books’ so the CSA (and I) have no idea what she legitimately earns. We had a somewhat amicable split around 7 years ago and I just agreed to what she wanted to make sure I could still see my child. I’ve paid child support regularly since separation on private collect a little above what the calculation is to round it off – its based on the CSA calc and I’ve increased it to match new earnings and calc letters over the years. At the moment I have 20% custody although I’d love to have more and my ex would generally encourage this however child support $ would have to be unaffected! I also pay for half of school and medical fees and other major expenses as well as fully covering weekend sport fees.

    I’ve re-married and have a step son who I also support and we have never received a cent from my wife’s ex for anything as he is unemployed, but we know for a fact that he is working off the books and has ABN etc. He was drug affected, gambling addict and abusive, we feared for our son’s safety with him and had to fight hard (also lots of $$) to make sure the appropriate orders were in place to protect him.

    My new partner and I had another child together, so she has stopped working for a while. My ex has also re partnered, bought a house and their combined income is greater than my household’s income – they both work full time.

    I’ve recently cut my hours back at work slightly to help at home with new baby and also study to help with my career growth. In my household my partner is not working and I’m currently part time.

    My issues with the system are:
    * It does not encourage either parent to earn more $ and honest people are disadvantaged – a lot of people go ‘off the books’
    * It does not encourage up-skilling by reducing work hours to study.
    * It does not encourage more time with father’s side – the CSA calc would reduce mother’s payment and in most cases I know mother would not allow this without going to court.
    * It does seem to not take new partner wages or support (if they are not working and a dependent) into account.
    * It does not calculate fairly in my circumstances – I have an extra dependent step-child however they are considered a dependent only of my wife, who is now no longer working. She does not receive child support payments from her ex or any government assistance (that ceased the moment we moved in together) for my step son. I need to pay to support both of them at the moment, as my wife cannot work due to having a baby recently, however this is not factored into my own CSA payment with my ex. CSA calculates the same if father is single or if they have re partnered with new unofficial ‘dependent’ kids who are not receiving any financial support from elsewhere.
    * It does not easily factor in flexible arrangements, eg. nights of care can change due to weekend swaps, extra nights, holidays etc. – this is supported from an amicable split so I can’t complain on that front however the financial side does not factor this in.

    We are managing at the moment, I make a decent wage and can afford to temporarily cut back work to study and be around more for my kids. I don’t generally worry about this however whenever my ex asks for extra money or I bring up the topic of my daughter living with us more, its like walking on egg shells so I generally just cave in to avoid an argument. I start to question the fairness of the system and agree that it needs reform.

  275. Vanessa Hood
    | Reply

    Another excellent approach to the very broken child support system. Why have they continued to ignore this and the many other official investigations into the unfairness of the child support system? I am the wife of a Payer, 3 teenage children and we are staggered that his ex can request and get a change of assessment doubling the child support she gets because “the kids are busy on weekends and don’t stay at their dad’s much”. Which is true, but we have them periodically over the course of the year for weeks at a time. She can break a parenting order and CSA instead of making her prove the change of care, we are told we have to prove the care we have. I also have a huge issue with CSA not taking into consideration the $’ooo’s step parents pay out for children who are not theirs. who do they think has to pick up the mortgage, bills and food when they take more than 30% of someone’s income????? It costs the same to house 3 kids part time as it does full time with the exception of food bills yet this is not even considered. Also she can refuse to accept any cash payments provided for school items towards CSA. I’m so angry about this system, it is stealing from my family to pay for someone elses! The kids also have part time jobs and earn $300 a week and they don’t care!

  276. Vern.
    | Reply

    The Child Support Agency has ruined my life. After an acrimonious separation, my ex took my children and would not let me see them. There was no valid reason for her doing this other than to spite me, and to maximise the child support I paid her. At a later court hearing she actually said to the presiding Judge: “If you let the children spend time with him my child support payment will be less” infering that the family court should not let the children be with me so that she could get maximum money from CSA. After spending close to $40000 on legal fees, the family law system eventually worked and found in my favour and I now have 1 week per month with my kids, slowly rebuilding my relationship with them. It is a crime against children that a father should have to go through this process; spending $40K and 5 years of his life just to be able to hear a Judge say to the mother: “be more normal”, as he awards custody of the children to me in exactly the terms I had requested. The very first call I received from CSA will stay in my mind forever: They said I had to pay a large amount of money to my ex. (I had always paid her, I am not a deadbeat):
    I explained to CSA that this perceived debt was because:
    a) She was deliberately not working;
    b) She had income sources that were undeclared;
    and
    c) she was deliberately not letting me see the kids to manipulate the CSA formula in her favour; The CSA agent on the other end of the phone said (and I quote):
    “WE DONT CARE”.
    This was the tip of the iceberg. Things have not improved. I have no respect for this system, everything you say here on this website is true, and it all happens. There is no incentive for me to get a better job, or to study, or to improve my lot in life. My ex delights in continuing to control me through the power she can exert via CSA. They believe everything she says and nothing I say. She is far wealthier than I will ever be, but I still have to give her $300 per week. They fabricate false incomes for me (always in my ex’s favour), and I have to spend hours every month on the phone trying (unsuccessfully) to convince them otherwise. I maintain a home in the town where the kids live (some 400km from where I work) so I have a base where the kids can be with me. CSA do not care about the $20000+ I spend every year the keep this roof over the kids heads….I am essentially homeless when I am away from them working. I do what I can for my kids; I spend almost all my money on them. I have no social life, I dont drink or smoke or gamble or take holidays. I just work for 3 weeks straight so I can be with my kids for 1 glorious week each month.. The Australian Governments catchphrase: “Its not about the money’ its about the kids” is nothing more than propogandist lipservice. I abhor violence in any form, but I understand fully why there is so much domestic violence in Australia and why suicide is the leading cause of death for men in my age range.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Fantastic story Vern. Inspiring to hear how you’ve fought to provide for your children but, more importantly, to be the responsible parent that they need.

      The way the CSA attacks fathers is infuriating and I have no doubt that they drive the suicide rate up. They come in on top of relationship breakdown, loss of contact with your children, and being mistreated in the family court system (by everyone). They then target you as a deadbeat and cripple you financially. What’s the point of living at the point? But then only thing you can do is keep fighting.

      As is if some bozo bureaucrat at the CSA knows what’s best for your children and should be the hero intervening to ensure their welfare. Your children are your flesh and blood for crying out loud. Stronger fathers = better outcomes for children.

  277. Brendan
    | Reply

    I changed my estimated income and it was objected to by my ex . They were using an old income of $104,000 and i had it changed to $73,000 which i felt reflected my income more accurately . The CSA then changed my income back to $104,000 as a default after siding with my ex , although calculating my income at $77,500 themselves !! Now they want me to backpay over $1,000 dating back to when i changed my income . They have based this on $104,000 as default instead of the $77,500 they calculated themselves ? How is this legal or ethical ? Can i have them remove this ?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Brendan,

      There’s a formal Change of Assessment process you can initiate (involving significant paperwork). If you take this further, they’ll need to set out clear reasons for whatever decision they make. They have the right to increase the income amount if there isn’t a justifiable reason for you earning less.

      • Brendan
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew , i appreciate your answer . I have already been through the assesment ordeals, however my question was more along the lines of whether they are allowed to backpay my ex using a default figure of $104,000 from last year instead of the income that was calculated by csa themselves in an objection decision letter . Its mpossible to deal with them and was wondering what is the best avenue to take in regards to objecting to the backpayment .

  278. Stephen Little
    | Reply

    I find it utterly hopeless and too stressful to resolve anything with CSA. Even when they eventually almost agree with my income estimates (verbally), the electronic letters they send have inflated figures. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    I have worked on contract at many places since 1980. The contracts can vary from 4 weeks to 4 years. The CSA computer system seems to be designed purely for permanent employees. How out of step with reality are they?

    Over recent years (I am now 58) work has become scarcer. I regularly update my income estimates with accurate figures but the CSA system pushes my figures much higher. My previous estimate was $33k total. They made it $99k (A 200% jump) and started deducting from my Newstart payment which doesn’t even cover my bills anyway, thus CSA make life more difficult for me and my 10 year old son? I only had 9 weeks work which I told them from the beginning but they decided it was for the whole year even though the work started in October 2017. So they are saying I was working from July 2017 to June 2018. This doesn’t even make sense.

    My current estimate is $56k (I just started a new job on 20% less than the previous one) They have calculated $78k (a 40% jump). Surely this shows how broken the CSA system is. They are not even consistently wrong.

    They refuse to acknowledge my calculations which are correct. They can garnish my tax refund anyway so why make me pay more especially when I have no redress.

    Now that I am working (6 month contract) I cannot spend 30 minutes on the phone while they stare at computer screens. Just use a pen and paper – simple addition provides the correct income amount.

    CSA’s computer system is severely flawed and does nothing but cause stress, grief and anguish. My doctor recently doubled my anti-depressant medication dose due to the stress caused by CSA.

    I have records of my dealings with CSA. Can I sue them? How do I afford that?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Very unfortunate Stephen.

      Amateur and dishonest accountancy is rife within Child Support. You can appeal against an assessment, though they also have a policy of ignoring past mistakes if it works against the payer.

  279. wayne
    | Reply

    I have had a quick look at your efforts and they have been considerable. What stood out for me was that FTB A and FTB B is not mentioned in the discussions especially in relation to 1 parent working and 1 not. Nor is the difference between accessible income and taxable income. CSA is not concerned by taxable income it is concerned with accessible income.

  280. Remy
    | Reply

    I have only recently been dumped into the Child Support System. I have three kids, youngest is 5, so there is a long way to go for me before I am clear of it.
    I went through the family courts and they gave me 4 nights a fortnight with my kids which I am grateful for but nowhere near what I wanted.
    My initial thoughts on the CSA are that this new lifestyle is unsustainable. I have no debts, I have no expensive assets, I have paid off all my lawyers fees, i dont drink, i dont smoke, i dont date, i dont socialise and I have a very well paid job but after I pay my tax and my childsupport I struggle to pay the rent for my 1960’s asbestos shack that should be condemned.
    On top of that every time I report into the CSA they seem to deem that I need to pay more. I think it is a case of unrealistic expectations, sooner or later I won’t be able to keep up with the payments and then I fear the inevitable bankruptcy will follow.
    The impact on the kids is that they have to come and visit an empty house devoid of possessions and things for them to do.
    The contrast in kids lifestyles between my house and the ex-wifes house is on top of their minds every minute they spend at my house and they count down the minutes until they can get back to their more comfortable cushy lifestyle with all their mod cons.

    • Ann
      | Reply

      If you are in the first 3 years of your separation talk to child support on 131272 about post separation income

  281. Aneta
    | Reply

    Living overseas but paying like Australian

    I have situation when I had to move back to my family country to support my mum. My income even in maximum capacity in my country is now 25% of my previous Australian income. However CSA decided that I have to pay child support based on my Australian income from previous year. Amount of child support I have to pay is now equal of my salary. Its ridiculous, not fair.

    • Ann
      | Reply

      talk to child support on +61131272 about lodging an estimate of your income.

  282. LT
    | Reply

    I’d like to point out that it’s not always the Dads who are the paying parent. I pay for my two kids that I share 50/50. Their Dad works for himself, via a company structure, from his home. He was well provided for in our financial settlement and CSA accept that his annual income is $9,000. I’m not sure how they think he lives on that. I continue to pay the kid’s mobile phones and private health insurance on my own.
    The child support system desperately needs to be reviewed. It is too hard and takes too long to get a review in process. Apparently school laptops are non-necessities however I’ve yet to see my son pull out an actual book since he’s been in high school. The Dad refuses to pay half the public school fees, even though one payment of child support covers it but was able to go on six holidays last year. When reported to the CSA in a review application they considered the holidays not relevant.
    It is just far too easy for people to abuse the system, regardless of whether they are the payer or payee.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Agree with your comments LT. This is partly a formula problem. Shouldn’t have to pay when it’s 50-50. The better off parent normally ends up spending more anyway. So it’s totally unfair double dipping.

    • PainfulHelen
      | Reply

      Hi LT

      I totally agree. The process takes so long as I have children at Private Schools and each year the fees increase. My ex is still paying Year 5 costs and we are now going into Year 9! Why aren’t computers included? We have a $1200 x 2 Technology Levy which gets ignored – don’t pay it you don’t go! What a mystery. Too unfair.

  283. Norm
    | Reply

    I think the best and only way of bringing about change is to petition parliament. There are online petition sites available that could be used. The Govt cannot ignore the harm such a ridiculous system is inflicting on people. Having said that, Australia has an embarrassing record in human rights!

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Petitions can help Norm. But I think many in government (politicians and bureaucrats) are numb to complaints at this stage.

      From having worked in government, the best way to get change is to have a minister on board. That’s difficult when there aren’t practical, politically nice solutions in front of them. This is the case because of the failure of the policy people at the Department of Human Services.

      Interestingly, here’s an exchange between the current General Manager of child support policy and the PM. Maybe Ms Bridger could take heed of the PM’s words and get her teams to do something.

      https://www.pm.gov.au/media/2016-04-20/address-australian-public-service-canberra

      MAREE BRIDGER: Good morning Prime Minister. I like you have also spent some time in the private sector and I think there is much the public sector and the private sector can learn from each other and given that, my question is; innovation and agile policy development relies on risk taking and occasional failure by departments and their ministers.

      So how can ministers best support this in a political and media landscape which relies on ‘gotcha’ moments and characterises any changes in policy direction as ‘backflips’?

      PRIME MINISTER: Maree that’s an excellent question. Really you put your finger on a very important question, an important issue. Now this is and again I’ve addressed this before but I’ll repeat what I’ve said before. We have to be very up front and we’ve got, we being the Ministers, we’ve got to say when we produce a new policy, we’ve got to say that this is the best policy solution we have available to us today. This is our best solution, our best idea if you like and we’ve looked at it very carefully.

      But if it turns out to be deficient in some respects then we will change it and if doesn’t work at all then we will dump it and if we find that somebody else is doing, addressing the same problem better and more cost effectively then we will happily plagiarise them. In other words you’ve got to ultimately, the obligation, is to do the right thing by the Australian people. Now what I’ve described and you may recall me making pretty much those remarks when we announced our Innovation & Science Agenda, I know some of the Press Gallery found that a bit shocking. The reality is this is how the real world operates.

      Every business is constantly calibrating whether the measures they have are working and if they don’t work they change them because they’re driven by that strong KPI, that strong measure of the bottom line and of course the measure, the measures of success, in public policy are more complex and you’re dead right if you get yourself into a position as a politician where any change of policy, where you’re going to be putting yourself in a position where any change of policy is seen as a backflip then of course that means that you become completely inflexible. You may end up defending something not because it’s working but because it’s a proposal that you had in the past.

      Agility and being very open about it is very important. What Australians need and demand from me as the Prime Minister and my Ministers and from the Government more broadly, including the APS, is that at any given time we are delivering the best policies we can put together and we can afford to meet the problems that we face. That’s our job. That is our job and that means that those policies will change and evolve in the light of experience. The alternative is you never take a risk, you never change anything and you know, organisms that are not changing are dead. So let’s be frank about that. So agility and responsiveness are absolutely critical and we should be very upfront about it. So thank you for that question.

  284. PainfulHelen
    | Reply

    Private School Fees and Other Stuff

    I don’t understand if both parents have signed contracts with Private Schools why is the mother who is chronically ill, has Income Protection which is lower than “Low Income” and the ex-husband says he has NOT had a pay rise in 6 years, is now a director of 4 companies and is a shareholder of a National Commercial Property Company and is also working in Senior Manegement for another Company (for the same money).The sick mother has been asked for her bank accounts as the father reduces his income via the companies. The mother has the children 100% and is left with all the medial, school levies, camps, book, sport and based on you calculator is getting 10% of the school fees??? Really??

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’ve raised a few different issues Helen. Child support isn’t really intended to cover massive private school fees. The parents should normally make an arrangement for who pays before signing contracts, etc.

      If earning capacity is being under-reported in some way, that’s dealt with through a Change of Assessment manual review.

      Child Support routinely asks both parties for financial info when doing a review.

      • PainfulHelen
        | Reply

        Thank you Andrew. I just wish my lawyer or the CSA had told me from the start about this stance on Private School Fees. Both schools were very happy to take my exhusband to court for his half of the fees. He signed the legally binding contracts and the children have been at these school for 8 years. However, I was too sick at the time and the schools were worried I couldn’t handle more court as stress is the worst thing for my chronic (life threatening) illness.

  285. Casper
    | Reply

    Reform is Needed

    This needs to be addressed sooner than later. The CSA indicated that it’s not a gender-based system but it sure feels like the dads seem to have it worse. I agree that we need to help and support our kids, no issue there but I would like to see the money I spend actually be spent on the kids. I have to continue to buy my two daughters clothes and amenities because their mother doesn’t. Receiving parents should have to provide evidence of where the money is being spent and that the kids see the benefit of it. The receiving parent can simply spend the child support on whatever they want, for themselves or for the new husband. It sounds crazy to me one person has to pay for the decision of both parents to get divorced. I am ready to fight and support a reform in this area, no longer should one person have to pay without having the basic access to their kids. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that one day this will end, I can’t wait!!

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Casper,

      Agree that the amounts of child support paid are often over the top. Young children especially really don’t cost much to look after. So where do thousands of dollars of child support actually end up going?

      The challenge is to improve the system without creating other problems.

      Requiring receipts would reveal big differences between payments and spending. An issue is that it would create a lot of paperwork. Plus, it wouldn’t allow for shared expenses (e.g. children benefit from higher spending on cars, housing, holidays, etc). A partial solution is to set child support closer to actual spending in the first place, which is what the new formulas are about.

      Very true that there shouldn’t be a monetary reward for denying access. The system could certainly be improved here, including by Child Support recognising court-ordered care even where the orders are not being followed because access is being denied. The primary carer missing out on a few bucks is less important than promoting the participation of both parents in a child’s life.

      • FE
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew,
        I disagree strongly with your comment that “small children do not cost that much”. Your statement does not take into account that a mother looking after young children does not have the opportunity to work long hours or accept higher paid positions. Thus, less money comes into the household. If they do work longer hours, they have to coordinate before and after school care or daycare.

        Also, let’s consider if the child is not well (as my daughter was quite a sick baby until the age of 2). Who has to take the day off work (unpaid) to take her to specialist appointments? The mother of course! Who has to take the day off work and collect the sick child from school? The mother of course!

        Young children do cost just as much to raise. It’s just not paid labour, and it’s not recognised, and it’s clearly not valued in this patriarchal society.

        • mm
          Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          FE,

          To be honest, your attitude is sexist. People should be treated equally, irrespective of the genitalia they happened to born with.

          I know many women to work in demanding jobs while raising children. My mother, for example, did a masters while working full-time and raising 5 children. My last female boss had huge job responsibilities and excelled while raising young children.

          Do you also think that men should be paid if they choose not to work and stay home with children? Or is looking after children just women’s work?

          Men are also capable of doing things such as taking children to appointments. Do you think women do that because men a unwilling or unable? Really? Many separated men never the get the chance.

  286. Mike
    | Reply

    Problems with Overpayments

    Hi it’s good to see someone is trying to address the issues of the CSA here in Australia. Basically the system has major issues but I am sure I am not the only person to say this. As a male I feel that I am severely disadvantaged. Courts still deem that a child’s natural position is with the mother. A mother finds out quickly the potential financial gain in keeping the children away from their father. A few short words to a child will have them believe that staying with their mother is their only choice.

    As a self employed person I have had to face a diminishing income each year over the last decade. Unfortunately, as you are aware, my child support was calculated on the previous tax return. It was impossible to have my tax returns done within a short period after a financial year (due to related companies in the USA). So when my returns were done it was found that I had paid too much each year. The CSA stated that I could not get credit on overpaid child support as “we do not want to place the receiving party under duress”. However in this case the receiving party is a millionaire.

    Overpaid child support should be construed as a credit. They are the only organization in this country that does not recognize an overpaid account.

    Furthermore, there is no correlation between a court asset settlement and child support. In my case my ex wife was significantly over paid for my company valuation in 2010. Since that time the business relatively collapsed (along with my income) yet there in no adjustment for this. So she ends up with most of the money, takes away the children to another state and leaves me in financial ruin still borrowing money from relatives to pay the CSA!

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your feedback Mike.

      Yes – a clearly unfair aspect of the system (intentionally ignoring overpayments). The philosophy seems to be that the child comes first. Therefore, everything has to the favour the primary carer, no matter how unfair it is to the other parent.

      The attitude is outdated and wrong. A child’s welfare depends on both parents. It doesn’t help children to always favour one parent over the other. This acts to weaken the primary provider and, by making them dependent on other people’s money, the primary carer as well. It really is a foolish way to try and help children and should be seen for what it is – theft by the CSA. I really hope this incredibly dodgy aspect of the current scheme is discontinued when reform happens.

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