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From the Child Support YouTube Channel:

We Give Evidence to the Family Law Inquiry

Answer to the question on notice: PDF document

Child Support Recommendations

Family Law Inquiry: Interim Report

When parents ignore court orders

When parents don’t lodge tax returns

50:50 shared care

“Extra Care” formula

2143 Responses

  1. Wilkie
    | Reply

    I am the paying parent the my ex and my wife is due to have a baby is there a calculator to show how much my payment will go down by when my new baby arrives? Without my wife income I will be left to pay all bills plus child support and I don’t even break even when all added up

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The government’s calculator should be able to do the job, though is painful to use. You can assume that a parent having a child doesn’t have a huge impact on payments.

  2. Jean
    | Reply

    Looks like the final report has been extended to the 16th of December, hopefully good things come to those who wait.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unsure if the Inquiry Committee will do their job but, hopefully, the delay shows they are trying. See this video featuring Pauline Hanson, where she talks about a lack of major action from the Committee:

      https://fb.watch/8OYsr_q-xx/

      We asked that the Dept of Social Services and Treasury be jointly tasked with bringing forward options for Cabinet consideration. This approach would work. Will see what the Inquiry comes up with but will be disappointed and, frankly, furious if they don’t act to fix the stupid formula. The problems and solutions have been explained at length in many different ways.

  3. Amanda
    | Reply

    Hi, I agree this system needs a complete overhaul. I have stood by my husband through family court and the child support system over the past 13 years and to only have his ex lie blatantly about everything and produce false evidence which is extremely hard to disprove. She has manipulated the children so they don’t want to be with their father or have anything to do with him and has emotionally and mentally poisoned them against him and his entire family.
    We know the child doesn’t get the huge amount of money that he pays each month for 1 child. We struggle each month to live our lives whilst she is on easy street with her income, her husbands income and over $2000 a month in child support.
    I have spoken with many different male friends of mine who are in the same position where the mother refuses access to the children unless they pay for this or that on top of their child support. It is this attitude from certain mothers that causes the fathers to either change jobs, reduce their income or worse, I know of some that have contemplated suicide as the emotional blackmail from the ex is just so mentally exhausting. I am not saying all mothers are like this , far from it but it is becoming more and more common and the mother expects to be kept in a certain lifestyle but does not do the same for the child. Myself and my husband have no qualm with paying to support his child, (I dont believe it costs that exorbitant amount to raise a child) but to know that the child barely see’s a cent of it as the child actually isn’t living at her home most of the time, and she will not be honest enough with Child support to tell them that as she will lose thousands of dollars in payments.
    I for one cant wait to see an overhaul to save both the relationships between fathers and their children and also save the lives of so many fathers that see no way out but to take their own lives.
    I do hope it also takes into account for the mothers that are doing the right thing and encouraging relationships with the dads out there and are only asking for the help they need to raise their children.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – agree totally. The current scheme penalises parents doing the right things and rewards parents who do the wrong things. That ultimately harms children.

      The median income levels of separated parents are far below average. You’d have to think the child support scheme itself may have a large part in explaining that.

  4. Curious
    | Reply

    Hi, I have just registered ACN and I am the sole director of the company. Doing IT contract work for Govt. Will the child support be calculated on the salary I draw from the company or on the income of the company( as I work for the company)? Cheers.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Income for child support purposes is personal income only. For example, a company can pay the owner via franked dividends. Only the dividend payments (after grossing up the franked amounts) count.

      The only caveat is that Child Support can intervene and fiddle with personal income settings as part of Change of Assessment review.

  5. MARK
    | Reply

    I have just received my TPD benefit from my super fund. Will this affect my assessment?
    I haven’t worked in 3 yrs although I was on Salary Continuance for 2 yrs. That expired in May this year so as of now I have zero income.
    My wife works so I don’t receive anything from Centrelink.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you expect your taxable income to be lower this financial year than last financial year, put in an income estimate to Child Support ASAP. Same applies next year. Follow this strategy and you should be OK.

  6. Jae
    | Reply

    Hello Andrew. . .
    My ex girlfriend and I seperated 6 months ago and I have been paying privately (verbally agreed). It was almost half or sometumes more than half of my income so I applied for child support. She yesterday sent me a letter that was written by her lawyer its a consent of agreement but I do not want to agree because obviously its made so easy for her. In the end of the email it says I have to respond by next week otherwise they will proceed without further notice. . . What to do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s a common tactic for lawyers to make threats that they can’t really follow up on. Don’t sign would be my inclination. These things are meant to be worked out through mediation. You are in a negotiation phase. Don’t give things away. If she wants something from you, that gives you leverage to ask something of her. You should call up a mediation service ASAP. Far cheaper option than doing things through lawyers.

  7. Hannah
    | Reply

    Hi, I have 2 young daughters my ex husband is self employed and supports him self and his girlfriend but claim a very min income of 45k he does a lot of cash work, post about wanting workers and the work he is completing on social media platforms.
    Is the process to appeal it even worth it i feel like the system is so badly set up. I work full time and all this does is enable him to provide a very below estimate that helps him he has not done his taxes for 4 years.
    I feel so up set that he gets to live his life and take no reasonability of his children,

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Nothing you can do at the moment. Will be a different story if the Australian Government implements our recommendation to have a default income setting for parents doing dodgy stuff with their incomes.

  8. Anonymous
    | Reply

    Do we know when this will pass or expected to?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      29 Oct is due date for Family Law Inquiry final report (and dissenting report from Pauline Hanson).

  9. Sam
    | Reply

    My ex hasn’t made a full payment of child support for the last 5 years. We had agreed that he could pay what he could afford as long as he could take the kids every weekend which allowed me to have a second job at the pub on weekends, he’s now wanting some weekends without the kids to spend time with the new girlfriend, losing me $300 in income a weekend. The deal was that he was supposed to be paying the full amount and back paying me what he owed by the time the youngest started school which was 10 months ago. He has continued to shut down conversations about paying the full amount. Bank statements for the last 5 years shows that he’s under paid me $17,000+ in child support. He’s been paying nearly the full amount for a year $200/fn instead of the $225/he’s supposed to be paying. The child support site (and various legal sites from Australia) says I can only claim back at most 9 months, which would only be about $450. Barely a scratch off the $17,000 deficit he’s built up. Is that all I’m going to be able to get back?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you had some informal agreement, then there’s probably nothing you can do. What happened sits outside both the legal and child support systems. Once you enter the child support system, everything changes.

  10. Matt m
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    Can I lease a car to reduce my income ?

    Via work – not ABN

    Work will allow it.

    I earn over $197k

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No child support advantage here and possibly a disadvantage. Haven’t looked at car leasing in detail for a while but Services Australia wouldn’t let you get away with it. They will add any financial benefits back on to your taxable income when calculating child support.

  11. Jack aka Deadbeat Dad
    | Reply

    more of an comment than a question…recently rang the AAT to find out process (3rd time calling) and have had 3 different versions of what will occur. for context I am the receiving parent (male). The person answering at the AAT was somewhere between brusque and rude in her communication with me…until she read I was the receiving the parent….nothing like unconscious bias at play…it’s an appeal about an objection to an income estimate…its the guy on the line…he must the drop the dad who is trying to get out of paying child support……….i couldnt help myself but comment on the apparent unconscious bias and that yes fathers do actually care for their kids – whilst A Current Affair likes to highlight the deadbeat dads there are a few malevolent mothers around…….

  12. Mel
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My husband has his daughter 2 nights per fortnight and pays child support through the CSA.
    There is a court order in place, but nothing specifying costs related to the child.
    The court order stipulates that the child is to attend a qualified psychologist, and the mother has booked the child into alternative therapy sessions, with someone without psychological qualifications. My husband has been paying 50% of these sessions directly to the therapist, and the mother expects that costs would also be shared equally if the child were to attend a psychologist.
    In addition she would like schooling and extracurricular activities shared between them.
    I am of the opinion that the child support payments should cover the costs of all of these. As he has his daughter 14% of the time he is unable to put this through CSA as a prescribed expense, and she won’t agree that it’s a child care payment.
    My question is, is there anything he can do to claim these extra costs, or should he just be refusing to contribute to this moving forward?
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The mother of the children is considered to be directly bearing all the costs of raising her daughter under the child support system. Her credit for direct care costs is 100% since the father’s care level is “below regular care”.

      In line with this, the father’s payments are meant to cover his full financial contribution. He is not obliged to pay for anything extra, short of court-agreed financial arrangements or if he agreed to private schooling for example. Whether he contributes more is up to him.

  13. Stressed Householder
    | Reply

    One step kid has recently left & relocated to their mothers house, one child has decided to leave home at 17 & the youngest is now 13. My partner is now liable for child support for 2 children. There is $5000 debt owing with CSA because nothing was notified as payable for about 4 months. CSA is pursuing repayment at an additional $350/ft when partner can only afford an addition $120/ft due to other debts he’s paying down including Centrelink. This would take 50% of his after tax pay. He has an application lodged for financial repayment stating this & provided all loan repayment documents & they have now requested 3 months of bank statements. As a holder of one joint account I’m not prepared to provide this. Your thoughts? We live in a rental & have minimal savings due to raising 4 teens until 2 kids left.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well, it seems that you have the choice to either (A) provide financial info to Services Australia and get relief on the rate at which debt is repaid or (B) not do this.

      I can’t really see any downside to option A. It’s not exactly top secret info and you could redact the account number. Also, they can’t meddle with joint accounts in the same way they do with individual accounts.

  14. Jayde
    | Reply

    Hi, My husband pays child support to his ex partner for their son. We have recently sold our home and are looking at purchasing another one for us to live in. The one we are currently look at has a tenant in it with a lease due to finish 4 months after settlement (therefore we would received the rent paid during this time). Will this then effect his child support paid to his ex? We cant find any relevant information online. Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support is based on taxable income. So, anything that increases personal income will affect payments.

      But, note, that the impact will only be in the following financial year. You can also put in an estimate at the start of next financial year for income in that year.

      As well, he could claim tax deductions for spending that contributes to the earning of income.

  15. Henry
    | Reply

    Andrew, I’m interested in your understanding of what the limits are relating to an AAT hearing on a COA and if it is limited to only ruling on the reasons originally applied for? I assumed that if the COA application relates to reasons X and Y then the AAT would only be reviewing evidence and making a new ruling in relation to reasons X and Y. Can the Member also decide to include reason Z if that was never part of the original COA application? If in your view they cannot add in reason Z, is there somewhere you can point me to in the act or otherwise? I’m seeking my own independent legal advice and will report back as well.

    (reasons changed for the sake of the question)

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you have something important from left-field for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t present it.

      The AAT may ask for new information and seem to welcome it. Thus, anything seems to be in scope. Their job seems to be to just get the right outcome. Because they are below court-level, I’m guessing they are not bound by the usual, extremely restrictive legal principles regarding appeals. Notwithstanding this, they and you should focus on the key point or points.

      Would welcome any constructive feedback from your legal consultation regarding the accuracy of this or any other information I’ve provided.

  16. Amelia
    | Reply

    Great ideas! I particularly love the ‘fathers matter’ part.
    I am the ‘receiver’ of child support – we have a 60/40 car arrangement. I don’t receive money per say, but instead get my daughters dad to pop money into her bank account for when she is older. I work and we go halves in her private schooling fees, that for me is more than enough. We have an amazing co-parenting relationship. I believe this is attributed to the shared care and because I do not need or ask for his money. Our daughter is very happy.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sounds like a great arrangement!

  17. Elias
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I requested CSA to conduct at re-assessment of my child support based on the fact that CSA has used the wrong information about my taxable income to make assessments for the periods November 2017 to May 2019.
    Even though CSA had the correct information about my taxable income for the 2017/18 tax year, the taxable income used for the child support assessments from 1 November 2017 to 30 June 2018 was more than four times higher.
    I didn’t pick up the error within the time allowed due to my ill health, Covid19 and the death of a family member so CSA say they cannot go beyond 18m to correct the error they made. The incorrectly assessed amount has now placed me in difficult financial circumstances, including the inability to meet living expenses, loan repayments and ongoing carer responsibilities.
    I’m told by CSA the only thing I can do is go to court to ask for a departure order to correct the error and that given the circumstances I have a solid argument. I have no idea where to even start, the cost and process for going about this.
    So with all the lip service given about helping folks in need right now, the simple ability to apply discretion to case to fix their mistake is beyond CSA? Appreciate your advice.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Services Australia seems to be advising you on the basis that you’re trying to apply for a Change of Assessment based on special circumstances. Refer here: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6/1

      However, an administrative error by Services Australia does not count as “special circumstances”.

      If Services Australia made an error that caused the assessment to be wrong, then you should be able to appeal against the assessment. The 18-month time limited should not apply.

      Without knowing the strength of your case, it wouldn’t cost much to appeal within the child support system first. They do an internal review in the first instance. A subsequent appeal would go to the AAT. If you go down this path, the focus would be on the specific error they made.

  18. Ali
    | Reply

    I had a problem with Child Support, I was stuck overseas from July 2019 for my mother’s illness and the Corona virus until July 2021, I remember in July 2019 I called Child Support and said that I lost my job and had no income. , But Child Support has calculated an income of about $ 50,000 per year for me, and I tried very hard to say that I had no income, but they did not accept, and now they have calculated a $ 6,000 bill for me and I have to pay , i don’t know what should i do ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There may not be much you can do at this point. It seems that they didn’t accept your income estimate. Given your income was, in fact, lower, you could appeal against an administrative assessment. But it isn’t clear from what you’ve written what the basis of the appeal would be. What exactly did they get wrong in the process of establishing your income?

  19. Lauren
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Firstly, thank you, for all that you have done and continue to do in an attempt to protect kids from the time/money grab that the current system promotes and supports payees in.
    I am wondering if there have been any questions raised or discussions had on how the recommended changes will manage payees who have hidden income all these years to rort the systems but who overnight it will benefit them in regards to the amount they receive from the payer to report an increased income?
    Many thanks,
    Lauren

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks Lauren. That’s a good question. If the child support formula is changed, they will have to make it effective from a certain date. In other words, the old formula will apply for assessments up til a point when the new formula then applies. They’ll have to run 2 systems for quite a while to deal with historical information trickling in.

      With the proposed formula, payees wouldn’t have to report income at all. But they would still be accountable for historical income under the old crappy system.

  20. Csa rejected
    | Reply

    Hi there
    I didn’t put fathers name on birth cert when my child was born. Father then refused to sign stat dec as proof of parentage for child support. CS have rejected my application. Is court ordered DNA test the only way I can now get child support? Can I apply for testing at any time?

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You possibly aren’t getting a lot of help because you chose to produce a birth certificate for your child that didn’t bear his or her father’s name.

      Have you tried giving the father a reason to own up to being the parent, like (a) the prospect of knowing his child and (b) allowing him to prove parentage for himself without consequences?

      Otherwise, it looks like a legal matter (on which I can’t really advise) if you are unable to give Services Australia the kind of evidence they require.

  21. Matt
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I am on a Disability pension of $960 a fortnight, i am now required to pay $830 a month. The only other taxable income I have earned in the last financial year was redundancy payment of 18k.I informed CSA and Centerlink as soon as I received it. Centerlink cancelled my payments for approximately eight weeks but i still paid child support for that period.
    My my wife is claiming half child care payments.
    She is claiming special circumstances. She lives with her mother who receives a pension from overseas and I’m sure would be working cash in hand which is illegal because she is here on a tourist visa. It has also been backdated to when she lodged her objection, which means i received a child support amount of $3200 approx.
    Only one word for it disgusting!!
    P. S my wife has 100% care

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sorry – am struggling to follow exactly what is going on here.

  22. Shiftworking dad nsw
    | Reply

    Hello.

    Firstly Im at fault here for not lodging my tax in many years (currently lodging). The problem is according to the child support calculator I wouldn’t be able to fill my car up to get to work if I paid the full amount on my real wage . I earn a good wage working shiftwork but im heavily in debt as I took on all the debt when I separated . I live over an hr away from work and fuel is expensive when your travelling 36,500km a year just too get and from work. What makes no scence is that while my debts were high I could afford to support the kids and ex full time because I made sacrifices for the kids.but somehow instantly when they move out they cost twice as much and I can’t afford to live ? . So odds are I default on my car loan and I lose it meaning I can’t work so how is that in the kids best interest ? Ive Worked hard my whole life to get where I am in my career but it would be more affordable to lose income and the car and catch public transport to a lower paid job. The calculator doesn’t take into account the cost of transport I pay to and from work . Child support is ruining lives as its not at all accurate to the cost of living. Im currently paying 120 a week for my youngest 2 kids through child support. My oldest two I have a private agreement where I pay 100 a week and any medical cost and school excursions. Trying my best for my kids but I feel I’m going to have to sell my house if I do I was thinking about starting a business. But apparently that could be found to be deliberately reducing my income . It’s stopping me from moving on with my life.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yep – I can’t see anything incorrect in your assessment of the situation. And Services Australia would be perfectly prepared to bankrupt you if they deem that you have reduced your income with at least partial intent to lessen child support. They also see property as something you can easily sell to get money for payments.

  23. GA
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Your site did not mention loss of job. If I lost my job and can’t find work for 3 months or more and I have money in the bank for paying bills only, am I still required to used that remaining savings to still pay full child support even though I don’t have income?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As mentioned previously, being a welfare recipient is the quick way to get your income for child support purposes to be set to zero. Otherwise, they just look at how much you earn across the year.

  24. Jessica M
    | Reply

    My ex claims zero income, never loadged a tax return as he works with abn. He works a lot, pay his rent and has 2 cars. But still saying he has zero income. Child support accepted his income and because of that he has never paid a cent for his kid. He has only 50 nights per year. What should I do to prove that he works?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not much you can do. Have answered this question quite a few times already, including recently.

  25. daniel
    | Reply

    Hello,

    I have received a call from Child support today and they had advised me my liability has increased due to my ex having another child – is it true that my ex’s partners income is not counted but my liability can be increased due to their choice on having another?

    I have my son 50/50 and have always asked for more time – it kinda feels like its a money grab from her and her partner – of course i would earn more as i am working full time and she is a stay at home mum

    the more im looking into it it seems the system is broken and sexist – i cant have a child and stay at home on centrelink as i am a male but she can and i am required to pay more?

    one very confused dad here

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The more you dig, the more problems you find with the current child support scheme. And it is biased. No call in terms of scheme design has ever been made in favour of fathers as far as I can tell. Add up a bunch of systemic biases and you end up with a system that can be monstrously unfair, generally to men but sometimes to women as well. It is also biased against parents who do the right thing, the people who work hard and share custody.

      Parents have to pay for children who are not theirs, though generally not a lot, because of the concept of a self-support amount which includes an allowance for dependents. That aspect of the scheme should be removed obviously.

      Men can also get out of child support by not working. It happens often. But men find it harder to find a partner who will help support them and instead venture into dodgy financial stuff.

  26. JC
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    First of all I just wanted to say thank you for the work you have put into the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System.
    I’m pleased to see logic and reason put forward as suggested solutions to a clearly broken Child Support system.
    I’m looking forward to the committee releasing their final report at the end of October.

    If there are recommended changes to the Child Support sytem how long do you think it would take to have these changes implemented? Specifically changes to how assessments are made?

    While I will always support a fair system, I worry that it might take years before we see any meaningful change.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks JC. Big (legislative) changes to the child support system would take a while to be agreed by Govt, drafted, enacted and put in place administratively. 2023 or 2024 would be the most likely timing.

  27. Frustrated dad
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    I read your page and agree the system is broken and share my account below to further highlight the inequities.

    My grievance is regarding when the primary carer elects not to work for no valid reason. Both children are at school. A common acquaintance admitted my ex said to them “why would I work when I can live of child support and government benefits. If I work, my payments are reduced. I’m not silly!”

    According to the CSA guide they are supposed to penalise people for parties who do not work despite ample opportunity, however after 5 years of her not working there has never been any investigation into why she chooses not to work. Apparently I have to apply for this to be investigated through a Reason 8 form, but I seriously doubt if they take any action on this.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      They can only take action against someone for unrealised earning capacity in very specific circumstances. There actually has to be a recent change in income if you read the guidelines more carefully. They can’t go after someone for sitting on their backside for years.

  28. David Abbott
    | Reply

    I have been dealing with the CSA for over 30 years.
    there is serious problems the biast and restrictive nature of the legislation. There is also an open door to enabling a person to abuse the system to get some significant long term benefits without proper accountability to their obligations to the child. Where we have this grab for cash and property and total neglect of a child we have child victims of a system that will not listen. Openly state the welfare of children is not their concern and that their name of Child Support is not actually their role. I am about to see my son who is 81.6 years old launch a legal case against the CSA for mall administration that enabled him to live in a neglected state for 15 years and then took away his ability to obtain help he needed by his father due to taking away his fathers finances. Enabling the other party to cheat the system and act against the best interests of the child to perpetuate a river of money for her own savings whilst it was reported throughout the period that there was a massive problem with the actions of the receiver who did not provide the care and obligations of supporting the child for the purposes of pocketing as much of the support money as possible in savings. My son has lived in hardship and now has a highly disadvantaged prospect for the future. He has attempted to communicate with the CSA who refused to communicate with him even though he is an adult. They have given him no ability to communicate his wishes and actually banned him from speaking. He is now seeking council with Max Tippet QC and I think he would have a very strong case for compensation for so much loss and suffering because of the actions of the CSA who have refused to take responsible management and have mal managed the entire case for the last 15 years. They can not say they were not aware as they have been informed repeatedly for 15 years as to the individual circumstance however in their desire to collect income from the father they ignored what was being reported repeatedly for the 15 year period happy to continue to unfairly deal with the report of neglect and money hording. This boy deserves and needs some serious compensation because he has suffered significant long term loss and as a result has lost opportunity going forward. Has become extremely disadvantaged while his actual mother became very wealthy hording the money that should have been spent supporting him. The decisions made not in the best interests of the child but in the best interest of the receivers saving plan and bank balance. Net worth of this would exceed $750.000. The child has battled to get reasonable shoes.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      People think that going for large amounts of child support is good for children. Very often it’s not and the system would work much better if Services Australia chilled the f— out and took a more measured approach.

  29. DN
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, my ex is renting her property out for cash to avoid reporting an increased taxable income to CSA and the ATO. Correctly reporting her income would result in me paying less child support. Is there anything I can do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Nothing you can do really. Services Australia need exact information about incomes provided to them before they do anything. This situation could change if our proposal to have default incomes where suspicious activity is happening is adopted.

  30. jack
    | Reply

    hi there,
    I am the receiving parent with two kids in my care.
    I recently objected to an income estimate provided by the other party and that objection was upheld. The Agency replaced the estimate with the other party’s previously used ATI. This resulted in a significant increase in liability for the other party. The other party has now lodged an application with AAT for a review of the decision made by the CS Registrar .

    My understanding of the CS process is that the ATI is used to determine liability and that in an event an estimate is provided this is reconciled at the next assessment period.

    In this instance the Registrar had accepted an estimate that did not reflect (even closely) the income the other party was earning hence my objection.

    My ATI will be updated in due course when I lodge my tax return. From this a new assessment period will commence and a new assessment etc will be determined.

    I am struggling to see the point of a merits review in this instance. At the time of the decision I was under no obligation to provide an income estimate and for the purposes of the assessment both parties ATI was used. The AAT are wanting a SOFP provided and I presume for the purposes of using this to determine a new assessment. I am not sure of the relevance or need to provide SOFP given the decision being reviewed was whether the decision to replace the income estimate provided by the other party with ATI was correct.
    Any thoughts on process around AAT etc and obligation to provide information that was not relevant to the original decision

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) are lazy, lawyer types. They ask for as much info as possible and then go on a fishing expedition to try and see if there’s anything suspect in the evidence provided. They are not accountants and have never studied auditing or anything mathematical for that matter. There is no logic to what they do.

      As you realise, they are asking for irrelevant information. It is up to you whether you provide it. The downside to not complying is that they might get annoyed and try to find in the other party’s favour. They don’t feel they have to be systematic in their approach since a decision has already been made and they are only checking the validity of that outcome. This is how the legal system operates in general.

      Normally, when they ask for evidence, they are targeting one party only but have to ask for the same information from both. Without new information, the AAT people would probably struggle to reverse a Services Australia decision.

  31. kat
    | Reply

    hi Andrew! I find your site misleading and very bias, you are talking on a very ‘ one child’ approach and don’t seem to take into consideration individual children’s needs, such as children with disability’s or special needs. parents with higher incomes genuinely work longer shifts and have heavier work loads and would require the assistance of outside of hours care of relatives when priority should lie with the other parent who is available to take care of said child. time is money as they say! the primarily parent capacity to earn wether it be 75/25, 60/40 or 50/50 remains affected regardless and needs to be taken into account. i know the system id flawed in ways and child support, and courts need to work hand in hand together. i just think you need to take a more child focused approach would be my main concern with your content, as it seems to me to be very self focused on just the money side of things. what if a child is unhappy spending that 50 % of time away from parent? id gladly give up child support if it meant my child’s. wellbeing was being put before money.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      How is this site misleading or biased? If you have anything specific you can point to, fire away.

      If you want to highlight bias, I find it strange that you’d be pointing the finger here. How about looking at just about everything else to do with child support and parenting time?

  32. DD
    | Reply

    My ex has not declared fringe benefits (full time car use for work and personal use – inc. petrol, insurance, servicing, etc.; mobile phone and plan with large internet quota). I don’t think the ATO knows of this. I think it is a dodgy process on the part of his employer, too (?). He also lives rent and bill-free with his mother. He has told me his pays nothing to her. We have equal care. Our incomes (aside from the car/phone) are almost the same. I feel his expenses are minimal, and that I am carrying far more costs than he is. CS has deemed that he needs to pay me $7 per week. Should I fill out the application for CSA review? I don’t want to cause myself unnecessary stress. There will be arguments and tension and toxic discussions. Do I just ‘suck it up’?!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t have to ‘just suck it up’. What you should actually do is forget about it and move on. This is a psychic pain you don’t have to experience. Your ex’s financial affairs are largely his business. Services Australia won’t be interested in all the little details of his finances and neither should you. If he’s doing dodgy things with his tax, that’s a matter between him and the ATO. If he’s finding ways to save money, great. End of story.

  33. Bec Birkett
    | Reply

    My ex husband has our 13yr old full time (not by choice he makes her feel bad if she wants to see me). Anyway I work away and earn 100k a year. He has just lost his mining job due to a failed drug test and now claims he earns $0 per year but owns his own house and I know for a fact he is getting paid cash work detailing cars. CSA new assessment is that I have to pay $1475 a month ! I just can’t afford this and give our 18 yr old money when she needs it and gave her a car. I know he earns good money detailing cars in his back shed. It’s just so unfair, is there a way to get him investigated? Or is that just a waste of time ? At this rate I will have to quit my job and study or something full time instead. Either way I am screwed. I’m not disputing that I should pay him csa btw I’m happy to pay a fair amount!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The amount seems very unfair. But there isn’t a good way out of it.

      Services Australia can’t handle dealing with situations when the exact amount a parent is making is unknown. They are pathetic in this area and we’ve recommended reforms to help them out. Not too many problem solvers there at Services Australia.

      Unfortunately, you have to somehow provide the evidence for them, which seems kind of impossible.

  34. Tony Skillachi
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, I’m encouraged to hear that you’re working on a CSA review and I’ve sent you an email via Linked In but would like to cover off the following from my own personal experience:
    1. Sadly todays’ childcare system revolves around money, and how much any one individual can get from their partner for them and not their child. It’s almost become an outsourced business arrangement or model with no KPI.

    2. The Child Support assessment should be about direct ‘support’ for the children (i,e, clothing, food, & everything to do with the child). I’ve always made payments to support my children but questioned what the payments are spent on, as it saddens me when I see my children wearing worn out second hand clothes. However their mother continues to spend the CSA payments on her addictions – alcohol, clothes, parties, socialising etc. I’m also aware that my money is paid by the CSA to my ex and a portion of it is diverted to her partner who gave her a cash loan to keep the house on, and in return he gets to hide money from his ex wife. I pointed this out to the CSA at my last assessment review and it fell on deaf ears.

    Note: I currently pay $2,400 for two children with absolutely no ‘check and balance’ as to what the money is spent on. I believe the CSA needs to make the payee more accountable and request receipts from the payee.

    3. The payee is at liberty to have the payer investigated in regards cash in company. In my case I was deemed to have enough profit in the company for my Salary to be set by the CSA at $500,000. My salary was in fact $120,000 which with all factors taken into account should have been approx. $1500 p/month

    Note: this is totally unrealistic and offers the payee no incentive to seek employment. The CSA should follow CentreLink’s model in that it must check in regulalry with the payee to determine whether a genuine effort has been made to seek employment before full Child Support benefits are paid out.
    4. Family Court System (its influence on CSA)
    I’m sure I speak for many parents when I say that the current system is archaic and exacerbates the CSA problem in that it’s used and abused for one parent to claim more time with the children and therefore more money. In my case I fought for 3yrs in the courts to have a genuine 50/50 access and as my children are 12 & 14 thought that this would not be a problem. My ex fought back on the grounds that she didn’t think it was in our children’s best interest when the genuine reason she dragged it on for so long was she will continue to receive a higher than average Child Support and knew the courts would not resolve the case for many years.

    Note: The Family Court and most definately the Legal Aid System needs a radical overhaul.

    Keen to hear if the above will be addressed in the CSA review. best Tony

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for sharing. I’m keen to see what the Family Law Inquiry will recommend (in October I believe). Pauline Hanson was complaining at a rally that the rest of the Committee were a bunch of do-nothings. We’ll see what happens.

      Many of the problems arise because people just can’t bring themselves to treat men with the same care that other people are treated. The disgusting thing is that people in power, including judges, politicians, women’s advocates, “independent” children’s lawyers, child support officers, etc don’t realise the broader impact of never giving men a break. Children especially are hurt when their fathers are attacked to the point of being broke and alienated.

      With child support, the current formula is just stupid and plain wrong. We’ve shown the Inquiry Committee an exact alternative formula that is far better. If they can’t fix the formula, what hope is there?

  35. INCOME REDUCED c19
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.
    I posted a previous comment about payee starting a new job (much higher income).
    Another thing I’m about to hit is Running out of annual leave.
    I live in Vic and work in QLD. I have received my last paycheck due to lockdowns and am receiving the 750 per week disaster payment.
    If my annual income will likely be similar to last year (lost 40k last year due to lockdowns)
    Do I just Leave it as is if I can manage the payments or do they take into consideration my current financial stress?
    If I do have it lowered, do they just increase my future payments to cover the lower payments because this year’s wage will be similar to last year? I know whenever I have overpaid they have never put it into credit.

    Thanks again

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can get relief from paying child support if you are unemployed and receiving government benefits. Basically, Child Support piggybacks off the welfare system in determining whether you can or can’t continue paying child support.

  36. HIGH PAYING FIRST JOB primary carer
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.

    My x hasn’t worked since the beginning of the CS agreement several years ago.
    She has finished studying and is working full time and capable of earning 65k-90k per year.
    She is currently based on the previous year income 28k her and 75k
    me.
    Does this allow for a change of circumstances application or do I just have to wait until next year when she does her tax?
    If a Change OS application Won’t do anything and payments remain the same, and she lodges her return several months after jume 30 next year, will I get credit or just loose the overpayments.

    Very much appreciated thanks Andrew

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I guess you could apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8) on the basis that your ex’s income isn’t properly accounted for in the current assessment. If you don’t have evidence and she isn’t cooperative, you could struggle though. Am also a bit concerned about karma here. Now she’s earning, is it a good idea to try to change child support straight away? It could backfire, such as through her reacting or Services Australia taking her side.

      Maybe talk to Services Australia before applying.

      As you indicated, the alternative is just to wait until the assessment changes after this financial year.

  37. Chase Kemata
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    Is there any way of keeping your exact financial income details private from your ex while paying through csa? I always pay the correct amount on time and often more because my ex likes to hold against me the fact that she knows I earn ‘x’ amount of money each year and should in her opinion be paying even more than csa have assessed. Quite frankly I don’t think it’s any of her business to know those exacts figures as long as she is getting paid support each week.
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There’s no escaping finding out what the other parent earns. You could always calculate it based on the amount that must be paid.

  38. Michael Yung
    | Reply

    Hi there

    I am the payer of support for 1 child to an unfortunately difficult mother. I have no problems paying for my daughter but am considering suggesting a binding agreement to secure my own personal financial future. I believe this way will allow for us as parents to keep separate lives with more financial freedom to earn as much or little as we each want without csa changing each financial year and potentially leaving one of us owing money to the other.

    Do you have any experience with/suggestions on binding child support agreements?

    Any help would be grately appreciated thank you!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There are rules around what constitutes a binding child support agreement, particularly that legal consultation is required, mainly to protect people from entering into a bad deal. You may have to pay a little extra in order to get the other parent to agree.

  39. ajmedcalf64@gmail.com
    | Reply

    After watching the 50 50 share I feel a lousy Dad .My Story I left my wife when my gorgeous son was nearly 11 I moved into a unit about 500 mtrs away gave my son a key and made up a room for I choose not to fight over shared custody due to his age I thought the upheaval of me moving out was enough without the insecurity of changing his surroundings as well to this day I feel that decision was right If he had been younger I would not have made that decision l spend every weekend with him Saturday and Sunday and he will be 16 in October and we are close rowing golf and many other activities as I can think of I pay for haircuts cloths activities extra tuition my wife is kind and encouraging but I feel that the csa system would be better served by using a different method than night’s at parents house this only work for children until adolescence then it causes friction and worse the fracture of one parent to stop fighting over children and using them as a financial weapon a percentage of salary to be payed to partner on less but capped this way parents would be happy to share kids I pay 385 a week for one child I am on33 dollars an hour I take every hour of overtime I can yes I tiered some days I can’t help but cry but I think of my son and just push on he’s a A grade student and l love him to bits so when Child Surpprt make me feel like a useless dad because I don’t have him overnight the hug I get at the makes it all well while anyone got a spare tent

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Interesting story. Please put some full stops in next time you write. Overnight care is important for spending time with kids. With child support, calculation methods are sometimes based on hours, not nights, when a parent sees a child a lot but without overnight stays.

  40. Fiona Bayldon
    | Reply

    My husbands 14 year old daughter has had a child. Does that have any affect on child support payments?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unsure – the system is not really set up for children having children. It probably doesn’t have an impact but maybe could if the grandchild is classified as a dependent of a grandparent.

  41. b
    | Reply

    Hi there,

    I’m now having to make direct payments to CS.

    When making deductions of 30% which is court ordered. Does this cover medical, kids phones, etc. It would be great it there was a list of thing that are are eligible. VIC Australia – do you have a link to a list?

    Thanks B

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support is just an untied cash transfer. The receiver can do whatever they like with it. No rules.

      Only a few types of large expenses, especially private school fees and major dental work, are ever dealt with in a formal way.

  42. Nate
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Your proposals for change are absolutely logical, especially #2 and #3. That CSA reward a parent for contravening court orders is a disgrace. Do you have any indication of when reforms may be up for legislation? When can we expect to see actual change?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Reform proposals should be outlined by the end of the year in the Family Law Inquiry’s report. The recommendations would then need to be accepted by the Govt and changes made. Midway through 2023 would be earliest I would imagine.

  43. Maggie Shox
    | Reply

    Hello,
    My ex has decided he is only going to pay a portion of CS owed. He owes me a back pay of 3500 plus another 1448 for overdue amounts.
    He has over 3,000,000 in money and assets but only lodges a tax return of 160,000 a year.
    Is there a way CS can get the money. I was told you can access bank account but he would just close bank account so they haven’t tried. I have done change of assessments and objections and am close to tribunal but as I pay for everything out of my credit card and have to wait for a monthly payment to pay back expenses, then being paid less than expected when he can well afford it is a form of financial abuse!?!
    How can the system be so flawed!!
    Also been told by my lawyer that courts won’t interfere if CS involved. Is that true??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I can’t help but think that you may be better off taking a more relaxed approach. Maybe he’ll start to forget his negative feelings and just pay the bills on time.

      $160k isn’t too far off the maximum income for child support. So you think being paid large amounts of child support, albeit not always on time, is a form of financial abuse?

      My suggestion would be to save some of the money you get so you aren’t living from payment to payment.

  44. Alex Lauber
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I want to acknowledge the amazing work that you do. The dedication you bring is appreciated and respected.
    I am the father of two children girl (15) and boy (13). After Court cases in 2015, I looked after the kids 5nights/14.

    Then in 2019 I lost my daughter to the lies of my ex, when she moved in with a new boyfriend and his teenage daughter. I never again saw or heard from my daughter again, and am unlikely to. Child Support promptly rewarded my ex with a higher assessment for me, contrary to the Court Orders.

    Confident with that success, my has been trying to take my son since then, with lies and manipulation. Also she has continually reduced her income, earning her more child support.

    I sought a change of assessment and was duly punished with an even higher assessment against me ($3500pm and rising). In short, Child Support believed my ex’s lies.

    Am looking to appeal the change of assessment by a “Departure Order” application to the Family Court. Can you direct me anywhere with info in this?

    I am broke because of Child Support, but I offer my help to you if I can assist. Anytime, anywhere.
    Alex

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks Alex.

      Something to bear in mind is that others aren’t as emotionally invested in this. If Services Australia believed your “ex’s lies”, that would only affect the case with respect to factual matters such as where a child spends their time. Often, there is a great deal of noise in child support cases that child support officers generally ignore.

      On this point, I doubt that you would have much luck with a departure order. The provision has been crafted by lawyers to confine it to very specific cases. Often, these provisions are essentially a waste of time because of all the restrictions. I would take a pessimistic, skeptical look at your case before proceeding. The system will be working against you, so don’t expect success unless you have a watertight argument to put forward.

  45. See above
    | Reply

    If I marry someone.. as a person who earns nothing and is supported by my new husband would my ex boyfriend who has 100% care of my children be able to garnish my new husbands wages?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Partners don’t enter into the child support equation at all. Their earnings don’t count and have no impact.

  46. TR
    | Reply

    Hi, you’ve made mention a number of times how the late lodgement of a tax return for any given year results in a revised assessment backdated to 1 July of the following financial year. This isn’t the case in my experience.

    My ex always lodges her tax return for any given financial year around May the following financial year. CSA then issues a revised assessment but only for the period starting in September or October of the following (i.e. current) financial year. For example, the agency has issued a revised assessment dating back to 1 October 2020 after my ex lodged her 19-20 tax return in May 2021.

    Is there some rule the agency follows here that’s not readily apparent? Or is this an error and should the revised assessment cover the full financial year?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This is getting complicated. Services Australia can have their own ‘child support period’ for each case. See here: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/3/1 I don’t know the history that could explain why they started from 1 October in your case.

      Why they wouldn’t use 1 July for everyone is beyond me. I will change my language in future, though it gets complicated to explain how child support works without fixed dates. Hopefully, the system will be reformed in the not-too-distant future and these sorts of needless complications will disappear.

  47. Child enrolled in school the week they turn 18
    | Reply

    Hi
    My middle child turns 18 in a week. He finished year 10 in December 2019. The week before she turning 18 my ex enrolled him in TAFE and applied to extend child support until he finishes school. He has been working part time since finishing school. Can the system be manipulated in that way to impact child support as well as Centrelink family benefit?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      TAFE isn’t school as I understand it. Child support extends beyond 18 only with respect to ‘secondary education’. TAFE is vocational education.

  48. CS
    | Reply

    Hi, I pay nearly $3,400 a month for two kids who live in the UK. She is deliberately keeping her income to a minimum to keep payments high. Has anyone had any experience with a successful application to reduce child support where the other parent is deliberately keeping their earning low? Given she’s in the uk it falls on the CSA to chase up the revenue office in the UK and this has not occurred. She is also not obliged to complete a tax return!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Services Australia don’t have to chase up people with respect to lodging tax returns. And ‘keeping her income to a minimum’ doesn’t trigger anything with respect to a Change of Assessment. You would need to demonstrate, under Reason 8, that she deliberately reduced her income recently with intent to affect child support.

  49. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi there does a 16yos weekend job affect cs payments? Purely a summer job way under the tax free threshold.
    I have full time care of kids. X is taunting I owe them money.
    They are not above shifty behaviour either. Am I being had?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can read the rules for yourself: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6/10. There are provisions to intervene and change an assessment when a child is earning an income. But they aren’t meant for cases when the income amount is not much.

  50. Shay
    | Reply

    What happens in the kind of reverse of these situations? I got myself a pretty good paying job in December last year. At that time my daughter was residing with me and I updated my income with centrelink.

    I went from an 8k estimate (estimate accepted as my estimate was 15% less than my previous tax return showed) to being offered my dream job and earning $85,000.
    I spoke to CSA and they helped me work out my new income estimate and we landed on something around $46,000 for the year.

    What my ex had to pay went up.
    Our daughter moved to her fathers a few weeks ago and I have been paying him at whatever rate CSA set when we did the change of care arrangements at the $85k I advised them I make.

    But now that we have both done our tax, CSA are saying that I don’t have to pay anything to him as they are going off my tax return amount and he earns more than me.

    But in actually I earn 20k more a year than he does.. Surely this cannot be correct.. When I do my tax next year and I going to end up with a 6k debt?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support assessments are based on taxable income in the previous financial year unless you submit an estimate. What you are earning right now won’t impact on your assessment until 1 July 2022.

  51. Jen
    | Reply

    My ex husband abused me financially, physically and emotionally he maxed my credit cards and withdrew money off my mortgage (I’d purchased a house prior to meeting him) I ended up having to go through court for 2 years because he would no show or hang up the telelink call, eventually leading to Have to go to family law court and pay for a barrister plus the already 2 years of solicitor and other costs leading up to this. I have 100% custody after he failed to attend. As a result of extreme financial burden because of him and not being able to return to work due to having a child (baby at the time) I had to sell and now am on a debt 9 agreement and blacklisted while I pay back money’s he racked up plus rent and may never be able to re-enter the housing market or save for a deposit. He was working FIFO and earning great money he works with heavy machinery and earthworks and his ‘Toys” that he plasters on social media including, earthmoving machinery, luxury cars, bikes and dripping in brand name apparel. His lifestyle and his assets do not reflect the estimated income of 50k that child support use to do his assessment because he doesn’t file tax returns and works under the table and as a contractor. So far even on his estimated income he is in arears of nearly 40k. But they say there is nothing they can do as his assets must not be in his name or they can’t find and income source when clearly it is not the case. It’s heartbreaking and frustrating and I know I am one of many in this position. The laws need to change so that people hiding money or assets are more accountable.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      “The laws need to change so that people hiding money or assets are more accountable.” – Absolutely correct, and some of the reform measures we’ve proposed would help you.

  52. Brad Hall
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I was made redundant on the 6th July 2021 and paid out a few days later. I have completed my 2021 tax return as per normal. I know that I must re estimate my 2022 income now. My question is, do I include my redundancy payment that was tax free in my child support estimate?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Why would you estimate your income for 2021-22? Just leave things alone.

  53. James.
    | Reply

    Good evening,

    I have a question regarding new partner with children.
    I myself and divorced with one child to my ex-wife, and have happily paid support for raising my daughter for years now.
    Now my new partner has a fantastic 3 year girl, but her ex pays no child support as on paper he earns just over 20k per year, all though he seems to work full time as a marine mechanic, his income does not seem to match the job title.. he has a house and new car,my partner earns minimum wage with her daughter 75% of time.
    I earn a very healthy income of 100k+, so she is unable to claim family tax benefit while I am her partner.
    So it has fallen upon me to be largely responsible for the financial costs of raising her child, and is dependant on me as a provider.
    Is there anything we can do or assistance my partneror myself can get, as it is just not right that the financial burden is placed on me to raise her, as biologically she is not mine.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t think you can do much here. The current scheme rewards parents who hide income and overly penalises those who work hard.

  54. Steve
    | Reply

    Dear Dr. Andrew,
    Really like your proposal. Would like to know the full details of the proposal. YOu tube video is only small but makes sense. Why to penalised custodial parents. It’s all about great life for children. If one parent is looking after children and taking care of them than they need all support. Family court can deal with how custody is granted and that’s not child support issues. Once child custody is granted than child support needs to be fair to raise those children. ATO needs to be proactive in this case and when self employed parents who work for government as contractor needs to be audited. Its not good enough for a parent to say they wont provide their income details while working for government. Such things cant take several years to resolve while cutodian parent and children have suffered. Another point is Child support mostly ask custodian parent to be forgiving and let go of past. When we are dealing with children suffering than such things makes no sense. Finance is based on formulas and when a cheating parent is caught they need to back pay. They knew how they were manipulating the system and making their own children suffer. Such parent need to pay back what they owed so that those children who suffered in past can have better future and education

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Comments noted. I thought Services Australia normally backdate and chase up debts. Sometimes they might find it too hard and ask the parent owed money to forget about it.

  55. Steve
    | Reply

    A very different but extremely common scenario with immigrants who come from a male-dominated society where a man gets away with anything and never pays child support. For him to punish women he leaves the children with her so that their life is misery. WOmen will not be able to work pr marry again. She and her children will live in poverty as a punishement. ANyway, the case is father has domestic violence and evicts the mother and children. He refuses to have any visitation or custody of the child when child is only one year old. Mothers live in fear and raises the child of her own. Meanwhile father moves on and marries again and again and fails and divorces few more times with no children. He works as IT contractor with top IT government organization like Workover, ASIC, ATO, earning $1000 (150K -200K per annum)plus per day but manipulates his earning and tax return only shows his income as 40K.(his accountants needs to be audited) Buys BMW and sends money offshore to avoid paying child support. He never provides any salary statement or business activy staement for lose and profit and expenses. Once he has manipulated the system for over 14 years , he decides to go for a Permanent role of $170K income. Child support increases child support payment for next year. But this manipulative father gives up his job after earning enough for the year to avoid increased child support. While the mother who is equally qualified and takes care of child 100% and works hard as well. Child support just blames ATO for not correcting the actual earning. Mother complains to ATO for his income investigation but no result. After 15 years of injustice, the mother has an accident and gets a permanent lifelong spinal injury. She gets TPD payment and then suddenly child support and child support tribunal wakes up and counts mother TPD as her taxable income and puts her in high bracket of income not only for one year but subsequent years. Child support says they have to abide by AAT (Perth) decision even if it was wrong. They ask the 100% custodial mother with a disability to goto a Federal court and warns her that she will lose the case and will have to pay more money to the father who never looked after the child. Why AAT from Perth has to take cases in Sydney where legislation and case demography is so different. ATO clearly says that TPD payments are taxable but its not salary. Mother has been left with no child support for one year and 25K plus overpayment for no fault of hers. Now she has no security for her old age and lost her career. WHere is justice???? With new proposed system custodial parent in this case mother would have not been impacted. She is taking care of the child for last 15 years of her own. only one year she got TPD payment and child support started using that as her income for that particular year and years after. Father washed his hands and got away for 15 years and for the future as well. When custodial parent income is irrelevant many fathers who want to abandon their children to avoid child support will think twice. Its not only about money but the impact of abandonment by parents on children. Custodial parents has financial responsibility plus everyday what she goes through to deal with challenges of raising a child who has been abandoned by his father. This includes cost of counseling, extra-curricula activities to keep child busy and motivated, spending time with the child and compromising on her own career even when child is older than 7years. Most of the problems start when child is in high school. But Centrelink thinks magic is number 7 when all problems stop. A disabled mother expenses and father’s expeses are same How????? A disabled mother who has to use thousands of dollars in therapy and surgery ….and TPD was for that purpose not for a child. So why TPD was used as mother’s income.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re right. Counting disability payments as income when those payments are partly to compensate for disability-related costs is unfair.

  56. Alessandro
    | Reply

    I am disgusted with CSA and the way they continually mislead you and indulge in unfair practice, i am on a very good wage (i work Hard), i was paying $1500pm and now i have been instructed to pay $2700pm, let me assure you thats just under 30% of my gross income, they said i must pay for 12 months and it will drop back to $1000pm, I do not get to see my children as the mother has taken them to Central QLD over 14 hours away, i am not behind nor owe anything to CSA, our children are both over 12, not sure what to do about seeing my children or these gross unfair payment demands.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well, you could move to Central QLD and accept a lower-paying job to be nearer your kids. That would solve two problems in one go. Otherwise, looks like you’re stuck in an unfortunate situation.

  57. Sam
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Ex-wife has told CSA that she has the kids more nights than she actually has and also at the same time she is asking me a fair bit over the calculated CS amount as per CS calculator (it should be $795/month and she is demanding $1250 at least a month). Her reasoning is that “if I were to hire a nanny or any services to look after the children without her doing so I’d spend way more than what she is asking… But hang on? Isn’t she the mother!? Shouldn’t she be accountable for taking care of the children without telling me that “it’s my fault we have children and I should pay for it” coz that’s exactly what sounds like when she says something like that and demands 40% more in CS payments. Generally speaking we are good friends and we have a good arrangement with the kids and no dramas, except when comes to CS… She always wants more and more. I don’t make that much money. I get 1200 bucks a week as a freelancer exc tax… I can’t survive on the balance and she also asks all sorts of extras on top of CS (extra curricular school stuff, extra things for the kids) currently we are doing pretty much 50/50 or so during the pandemic and lockdowns etc… I am completely lost and feel trapped and extremely extort. I have the kids nearly if not the same time as she does and I am paying hundreds of dollars per week and a lot more than what the official CS calculation was. How is that fair?? What do I do? 🙁

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’m guessing you’re paying extra because you don’t have an official parenting plan and are worried that she’ll keep the kids from you to some extent if you don’t pay over the odds. Hard to comment because I don’t know the situation in terms of personalities and bargaining power.

      But, bear in mind, that judges tend to favour keeping a certain custody arrangement in place if it seems to be working OK for the kids. You can protect yourself by getting evidence of the arrangement (e.g. her mentioning it in an email). If she ever withholds contact because of a money dispute, you can take your evidence and start self-represented court action – which actually starts with mediation. Court processes rarely reach a final hearing. Normally, one party gives in because they want it to stop. That’s the power you have here – to threaten court action if she does the wrong thing.

  58. Joshua
    | Reply

    Hi,

    Can the care percentage of a child be counted for a parent if the grandparents are in fact caring for the child on their behalf? The other parent lives interstate and has a higher care percentage because the grandparents assume care on their behalf. I keep a record of care, but not sure if I should be applying for a change of assessment or not. Any assistance is appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You just need to ask yourself what your care percentage is. If that’s accurately reflected in the assessment, you can’t start arguing about grandparents filling in for the other parent.

  59. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    – I have the kids 50/50 and work full time (managing school pickups etc).
    – Ex partner has the same time to work during the week as I do but doesn’t do anything (or does a few hours of cash-in-hand jobs occasionally).
    – Ex partner has been studying a 3 year course over an extended period of time and that has little job prospects.
    – Ex-Partner used to have an 80K management position, but has chosen to stay home even when kids reached school age.
    – Ex partner had large cash payout and super top up from divorce
    – I already pay as much as a mortgage payment each month (plus other costs) and now child support pay has just increased (children of mixed age now) plus inflation despite me not having a payrise for two years.

    My question is – does ‘Reason 8’ apply here? (Reason 8 – a parent’s income, property, financial resources, or earning capacity) Do I have any say ? Surely there is an ex partner earning capacity which is not being reached here – unreasonable amount of study. I understand I’ll always earn more and happy to pay for my kids quality of life – but I am working full time hours a week and have same time with kids. The amount was already more than fair. I really don’t get it. If I work more (or get a bonus) my ex partner gets more, if ex partner chooses to work less – they get more. This simply does not make sense.

    What can I do – and will this actually change or is it all just talk?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There are well-defined criteria around Reason 8. Unfortunately, don’t think you would have much luck. If a parent was recently on a decent income and then reduced it without justification, there is a chance Services Australia would set their income to the former level. Otherwise, no go. Regular assets and divorce settlements don’t really come in to it.

      I’m anticipating that the child support formula is going to change. Don’t see how it stays in place given the problems, widespread dissatisfaction and availability of a better alternative.

  60. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    It’s great to see your sensible approach to what has become a largely abused system. Whilst overwhelmingly agreeing with the concept of child support, many parents do take advantage of the loopholes and this leads to further disenchantment from people just looking for a fair deal . I have become unemployed during 2020-2021 financial year and whilst Centrelink views my redundancy to last for a number of days post employment into a future date within the current financial year prior. Child support assessed me as having a far greater income during the previous financial, thus paying approx 50% higher monthly payments for 7 months last year. My questions are;
    1) If I’m past the preservation age for super, are any drawing on my superannuation part of my csa assessment, now that I have met my csa commitment by using funds to support me into getting my next job?
    2) Are any centrelink jobseeker payments part of my csa assessment?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Anything that counts as taxable income adds to your income for child support purposes. They also add in things which could be use to get remuneration in another way, such as salary-sacrifice super. Your child support income is zero until it goes above the self-support threshold (about $26k currently).
      1) Drawing down super doesn’t normally count as taxable income and, therefore, shouldn’t affect child support. The ATO may tax some of your withdrawals (e.g. subtracting 15%) but not via your income tax assessment. There may be exceptions.
      2) Centrelink payments do count towards taxable income.

  61. Reneigh
    | Reply

    Hello,

    Are the new calculations coming into effect anytime soon???

    I too have 50/50 share care of my children and my ex is managing to pay a mortgage on his unemployment benefits! Refuses to communicate in any way and my change of assessment application was a waste of time as my ex would not cooperate and show his bank statements.

    My children have also told me on more than one occasion that ‘dad is working’ so it drives me insane that I am paying $500 a month in child support. Basically I am left with $50 after all bills and expenses are paid and it does not feel worth working…..

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yep – the current scheme rewards people for doing the wrong thing, like hiding income and not working. At least a couple of years before any changes could come into effect.

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