CSA complaint.

CSA Child Support Complaints Forum

How Can I Help?

To help bring change to the child support system, please go to this Child Support YouTube Channel, subscribe, and hit the notification bell.

We're trying to grow the channel to help raise awareness of how to better support Australian children. The more subscribers, the better the chances of politicians noticing. Thanks.

From the Child Support YouTube Channel:

When parents ignore court orders

When parents don’t lodge tax returns

50:50 shared care

“Extra Care” formula

1334 Responses

  1. James
    | Reply

    My ex-wife and I separated 4 years ago and are divorced. We have one 6yo child.

    At the time of separation she was working 3 days a week and I was working 5 days a week. Care of our son was 75% her and 25% me.

    Once the financial settlement was concluded through the Court (which was granted to her on a 70/30 basis and strongly influenced by her being the primary carer with 75% care), she quickly (within 12 months) agreed to my request for 50/50 care. This care arrangement has been in place for some time as a 5, 2, 2, 5 arrangement (set weekdays for each, other than Friday night which alternates).

    I collect our son directly from school every day when I have care and have never used after school care. She has him delivered (by the school) to after school care on the 3 days she works (only every second Friday as care alternates between us).

    I make child support payments to her of over $700 a month based on our combined incomes.

    Despite my requests for her to contribute more fairly to the financial costs of raising our son, she refuses to work more than 3 days a week (note she acknowledged in Court that her financial capacity had not been impacted by the marriage and she holds the same job/role as she did prior to our son’s birth, however she now job-shares the role). She has had more than 1 and a half years to find a full time job but has refused to make any enquiries with other companies (she is highly regard in her area of expertise and I am in little doubt she could find a job that provided her with full time work). I note that by her working 5 days a week, she would not be increasing our son’s after school care as I pick him up 2 days a week as I stated earlier.

    My question/query is: I have been informed by an officer of the Child Support Agency that the Registrar has no ability to reduce my payments to her as she does not fit the category of “not working despite having ample opportunity to do so” because she has not reduced her hours/changed her work pattern since child support payments commenced and that I would have to firstly lodge a Reason 8 request for assessment, have this rejected, then appeal against this in the Family Court. This would all be at my expense, save for her cost in responding.

    I was further advised that were I to reduce my hours to her part time level, it’s likely CSA would assess me as “not working despite having ample opportunity to do so” and calculate my child support payments on the basis of a full time income.

    This seems incredibly unjust/inequitable to me and as a gaming of the system (both at time of Court settlement for child/financial matters and then via CSA) but my only choices seem to be either incur $5,000-$10,000 of legal costs (which I can’t afford any time soon given the significant debt I have had to incur to provide her with a cash settlement resulting from the 70/30 property split) or I spend the next 12 years working full time, while she works part time (but continuing with 50/50 care) and pay her the difference in combined income through child support payments,. Is the advice from the CSA Officer correct?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – the advice you received is definitely correct. And I would not consider wasting your time and money with reviews and legal appeals. Appeals are much harder to win than the initial review.

      You can check the wording of the legislation and guidelines yourself. Child Support are required to look at changes in work patterns, etc after people have entered the system. They can’t go back in time and assess income minimisation strategies that began in earlier times.

      Getting repetitive to say, but this is yet another unfair outcome that wouldn’t happen if our reforms were in place. The 50/50 care is fair principle would stop this sort of nonsense, which is obviously detrimental to the living standards of your young boy.

  2. Vera
    | Reply

    Based on interim court orders, my former husband and I have a 1 week on 1 week off arrangement caring for our son. The CSA has assessed I am liable to pay my former husband $975 per month child support for him caring for our son 2 weeks per month .
    He is a self-employed in the building industry and reported taxable earning of $15,000 FY19. His prior year reported taxable earnings have varied from $200,000 to $80,000.
    How can I get CSA to review this loophole because I believe he is intentionally minimising his reportable taxable earnings? I suspect that there are cash-in hand jobs in this industry.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not sure that you can do much here. Child Support can investigate cases to see if parents have changed their work arrangements to reduce income and affect child support (you need to apply for a Change of Assessment). But they don’t go as far as investigating tax fraud, etc. So, don’t think you would get vary far, especially with construction earnings being naturally volatile.

      Our reform proposals would fix this very unfair outcome in 2 ways: (i) making payments just for the extra amount of care one parent provides compared to the other and (ii) allowing income benchmarks to be applied where a parent can’t show that they are a genuine low-income earner.

  3. Lee
    | Reply

    My ex and I have 3 children. My ex has one of our children for only one week a fortnight – leaving me with 5/6 of the care. Despite this, because my ex doesn’t work (by choice as my ex has repartnered and they worked out they get more child support that way) I am paying over $400 per fortnight for my ex to have our daughter there for 7 nights a fortnight – even though I have the other children full time and the eldest every second week.
    How is that fair? It’s not. And it’s not a sexist issue or men’s rights issue. It’s a flaw in the system. I am a high earning female who has the bulk of the Childcare, and an ex-husband who is living off his new wife whilst doing 1/6 of the care and still getting over $10,000 of my post tax income.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This doesn’t quite add up to me. You need to have at least shared care (35% of time) to quality to receive child support. Maybe the case just applies to one child (e.g. other two are over 18). You should inform Child Support ASAP if the care level they have you down for is too low.

      But you’re right. The income sharing scheme that’s in place at the moment can produce extremely unfair outcomes. It treats separated parents as if they were living together and have to keep supporting one another. Would be nice if people could just get on with their lives after separation and simply pay sensible amounts. That’s the proposal we’ve submitted to the Family Law Inquiry.

  4. Nancy
    | Reply

    Hi, my husband owns a house with a mortgage on it, my name isn’t on it. If he sells it to pay the mortgage off (he will only break even, no actual profit) will the woman he pays child support to be entitled to a percentage of the sale price? If I add my name to the title before it’s sold mean she isn’t entitled to a percentage?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support payments depend on taxable income, not on assets. If he owns the house himself and makes no profit from the sale, child support payments should be unaffected.

  5. Dianna
    | Reply

    I feel this site is a little unethical, although I do see the need given child support agency’s incompetancy or lack of resources. I am a child support recipient and I bet I have had more interactions than all these people put together. I have children who are at the end of the assessment period era and I am grateful for this. We have basically been in conflict since the kids were 1 and 3. I have had court proceedings, many tribunals, and private agreement (which ex initiated and then took me to court to try and have set aside). Even had the child support agency flying interstate to be at our hearing they were not even a party to. Had incorrect legal advice in writing to from the CSA, a case in their personal services for years. If you are putting out advice, please ensure in each and every statement, consider the children and what this support is meant for. Child support minimisation strategies are unethical. Maybe suggestions on how to get the children better cared for or the money in the hands of where the children benefit are more appropriate, noting some recipients are not fit parents, and some are.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you think more child support is such a great thing, then you have a narrow world view. What about the fact that the median income of a child support recipient is below the self-support threshold, i.e. below $25k? And the fact that 65% of the kids involved rarely, if ever, see their father? Along with the shocking suicide rates for divorced fathers, those are the biggest issues with the system. And exactly how does increasing child support solve any of these problems? It doesn’t at all, and tends to make the problems worse. You have your own story you can tell but I’m sticking by my ethical standards. I started this thing to help kids and save lives and I believe it’s working. The solution is to get appropriate amounts of support distributed in a way that doesn’t cause parents to do things that are harmful to children, such as not working, hiding income or alienating the other parent.

  6. tom
    | Reply

    my ex girlfriends mother has our daughter we have been seperated for 6 years but it seems im the only one that has to pay her mother child support how does this work out

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      With these sorts of issues, I generally believe it’s not the job of a parent to concern themselves with the other parent’s finances and use of family, etc. Whatever the arrangements, you still pay based on the fact that you’re not providing the care.

  7. Brian
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew I’m 57 six years ago I found out the 2 children I reared are not mine through DNA I know there all grown up now but can I sue the both x wife & lover as children don’t talk to me now an I’ve wasted 30 years of my life in this

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sorry to hear about your story. Very sad.

      This is a legal question unrelated to child support that I’m not qualified to answer. But I’m guessing that you may possibly struggle due to the difficulty of (a) proving the actions of the other parties were calculated and (b) putting a dollar and cents figure on the cost to you. A judge might consider that you benefited from the experience of being a father to the children for so many years and that the subsequent falling out was unrelated to the parentage issue.

      You might want to do some research (looking at actual cases) before considering whether to seek professional legal advice.

  8. Martin
    | Reply

    Hi.my wife absconded Aus and took my kids without my permission to uk and isn’t returning.i have an abduction case against her at the moment for the return but now im paying 100% CS although i had no control over the situation.is there anything i can do as its not my decision not to see my kids but CSA don’t seem to care

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Just telling your story here might help others. An important part of our reform proposal is that court orders for parenting time must be honoured.

      I believe a parent abducting children only increases the payments to the parent with some delay. But, as you’ve experienced, beyond that, Child Support only care about actual care levels. They ignore criminal behaviour in this area, as child support legislation actually requires them to do.

      If you get any new orders or evidence to indicate that the children should be in your care, submit a change of care form and provide supporting documentation. That might at least puts the onus on the mother to prove that she is still illegally holding the kids.

  9. Connor
    | Reply

    Hi

    My father owes my mother over $10,000 in child support. He is supposed to be paying via private collect but we are scared if we switch to child support collects he will try to make our lives miserable. What can we do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Given there is conflict, I would have thought that going through Child Support (the Dept of Social Services) for payment collection would be easier over the long run. That way, they deal with each parent rather than the parents having to communicate with one another.

  10. brian fitzgerald
    | Reply

    Andrew
    I’ve been caught in a situation where i couldn’t pay child support for 2 years but now in a position to start paying the debt back (some $70K owing) – not something i’m proud of
    I wont go into depth on the reasons but would have lost a house (as CSA pymt was $3200 p.m and mortgage was $6800 p.m.) and my monthly income couldn’t afford both
    This relationship ended 1 year ago and since then I tried to get a settlement from proceeds of the house (legal fees $40K+) but failed and didn’t get a result due to further cost of legal fees to go to trial in court (another $60K).
    I am 58 years old and everything i had financially was tied up in the previous relationship / house and i have come away with nothing except the clothes on my back
    I was hoping this settlement of $120K would have helped me pay off this debt in one go
    How do i approach the CSA now and discuss a reasonable plan to repay this money?
    I am worried penalties plus the $70K debt will make the monthly repayments untenable as i try to regain financial security
    i want to pay it back and want to do the right thing – just need some guidance
    Brian

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re on exactly the right track with what you’re saying. The Child Support debt collection people are reasonable. They just want to make sure debts are paid. I’d outline your situation to them over the phone and ask if it would be possible for you to agree to a plan to pay off the debt fairly quickly in return for relief from any penalties.

  11. Darren
    | Reply

    I think there is a formula problem with Child Support. If we both make the same amount and have equal nights care, I pay child support. Also, I noticed if we make the same amount and the mother has a child from previous relationship, I have to pay extra because she gets a tax credit lowering her income. These are things I noticed. What do you suggest?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support shouldn’t be payable if you have equal nights and earn the same. The amount must be small.

      More dependents for a child support participant raises the self-support threshold, thereby providing a child support advantage.

      Not sure what you’re asking. Our proposal is for child support to not be payable when care is 50:50, irrespective of incomes. As well, child support wouldn’t be affected by the number of dependents the other parent has.

  12. Leigh
    | Reply

    My husband and I are still in the family court after 4 years, it’s a nightmare.

    A week before our wedding his x decided that we could have two of his three children live with us full time ( plus my two ). We received $530 CS for 40 weeks of full time care from her.
    One of the children has gone back to her and we are paying her a lot more CS than we received. We still have one child living with us full time yet she is demanding we pay all travel costs to see the other children. Do we need to pay any additional cost if we are paying her CS for two and we do not receive any financial help from her for the child living with us?

    Thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s customary to go halves in travel costs, such as by taking turns. Child Support do not get involved in these matters except where travel costs are a large percentage of a parent’s income, in which case the costs can be counted as credit towards child support liabilities.

      https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6/7

      • Bachleigh@icloud.com
        | Reply

        Thank you Andrew.

        Should we let child support know that we are paying half travel costs and get a reduction in the child support we pay?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Travel costs need to account for at least 5% of income I believe. Not sure if you reach this threshold and may not get anything if other parent also paying. Can be advantageous to pay all travel costs to get above the level. To get credit, you need to apply for a Change of Assessment (high costs reason).

  13. Luke
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Please advise how CSA access a distribution from a Family Trust to a beneficiary that is a parent. I know that a Family Trust distribution can form part of the parent’s adjustable taxable income, but does the CSA just access the grossed up 100% fully franked distribution amount or do they access this amount less Refundable Tax Offsets, i.e. 100% Franking Credits, as shown in an Income Tax Return?

    Like some parents here, I receive wages and the occasional Family Trust distribution.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Note that this really is a tax question and I’m not an accountant. I believe the amount added to your taxable income is the pre-tax or gross dividend. For example, if you receive $100 as a fully franked dividend from a large company, the gross dividend is $100 / (1 – company tax rate) = 100 / (1 – 0.3) = $142.86. That was the dividend before the company paid tax on it. So, your income for child support purposes goes up by more than you might expect. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Luke
        | Reply

        Well you also need to allow for the imputed tax credit to reduce the income tax payable on a distribution.
        So my question is, how does CSA access the distribution, before or after the tax credit is applied?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          I think I’ve already answered the question. Child Support are focused on a parent’s (gross) taxable income and I’ve explained how that is calculated with respect to dividends. Why would they care about the imputed tax credit? That’s not part of the formula as such.

  14. Nat
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, My Partner works full time and has realised that the estimate he earns is meant to be gross not after tax amount, so after finding this out it seems he has to pay ALOT more which is based off a income where he does overtime which he does say 60-70% off the time depending on how busy they are.Would we be safe to do our estimate on his set weekly hours which is standard 40 hours full time week or are we meant to base it on when it does overtime which is can do a extra possible 6-10 hours extra a week sometimes?Thanks so much

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you are putting in an income estimate, you should normally be conservative (estimate slightly on the low side) to avoid overpaying.

      Note that you should not put in any income estimate for the current year if there is a strong chance your income will be higher than last financial year. By putting in an estimate, Child Support will ultimately use your actual income for the year rather than last year’s income.

  15. Darlene
    | Reply

    Hi my ex has only ever had to pay minimum cs as hardly works. Last year he got a good paying job but of course lost it in January due to covid, so he’s been back on centrelink for most of this year. How will the new assessment go this year as he won’t be working? Will they take into account he now has no job? I’m worried I’ll end up with a centrelink debt over money I will never get from him. Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support will take into account the fact that he’s not working, meaning you may receive little money from him. Any changes to his income for child support purposes are forward looking, meaning they only apply after Child Support is informed or otherwise gains new information. That makes it unlikely you will be hit with an unexpected bill.

      • Darlene
        | Reply

        Thank you Andrew that’s a huge relief

  16. jadasm@hotmail.com
    | Reply

    My youngest turned 18, ex still owes $24,000 in arrears. What happens now, what is the process?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Read further down … But, in short, an 18th birthday has no impact on debt collection.

  17. Paul
    | Reply

    My ex and I are in the middle of a custody battle with mediation unsuccessful there is an interim parenting arrangement until court. I currently have the children 21% (4days/fortnight) as part of the arrangement. I have paid her CS for the last 2 years without fail and provided extra assistance with medical and school expenses when needed.

    I have written proof that she was willing to give me 50:50 care via email. She also stated that she was planning on returning to part time, which was all going swimmingly, until the financial settlement was finalised.

    Out of spite and bitterness she as now backflipped and refused to increase care or return work. She has also recently threatened to relocate and stated she will be moving our kids out of their current school (which we both reside near). This will not only cause disruption to our children’s schooling environment, but will make mine and my partners work schedule difficult to work around/ drop off pickups harder. Im hoping the courts will see this as being obstructive and not in the best interest of the children. However, I know this is more a legal matter but will impact child support ultimately. Is there anything I can do to prevent her from relocating our kids and making significant changes to their schooling? There are no court orders currently in place and she has the greater care percentage. I feel hopeless and she is not only making it more difficult to see my kids dictating, but is dictating my place of residence and work life.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re right: this is a legal question. The Court can quickly put interim orders in place that expressly forbid her from taking the kids away. Please seek legal advice.

  18. Heather
    | Reply

    I am paying child support and would like to undertake further study, which would be fully claimable as a tax deduction. While I would still be working full time, I’m just wondering whether the payment for my course fees will simply be added back to calculate my child support. If they are, I probably won’t be able to afford to do further study, which will mean that I cannot further my career (and ultimately increase my capacity to provide for my children / whatever the system). Do you have any advice around how this will be assessed?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The self-education expenses should be treated as routine work-related tax deductions, meaning Child Support shouldn’t add them back on to taxable income.

  19. Charlotte
    | Reply

    My mum won’t pay child support and hasn’t since my parents split up. My dad,(who has my sister and I), is struggling financially and we really need the support from my mum. She doesn’t even call or see us. I really want to help my dad, but I can’t do anything about it because I’m only 13. I feel really upset and I just want my dad to have enough money to pay for next week’s groceries. He didn’t go to university (and doesn’t want to) so he works minimum wage. My dad tries his best but my mum’s not paying anywhere near as much money as she needs to. Does anyone know what I can do? I think that the financial situation here at home is very bad and I want my dad to have a proper job. I know there’s nothing I can do. Can anyone give me any advice?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t think there is much you can do to increase the money coming in unfortunately apart from doing some work yourself if possible (e.g. babysitting, helping a relative with chores for pocket-money, etc).

      You may be able to help save money though, in small ways that can add up. For example: eat oats or Weet-Bix for breakfast, help with cooking meals instead of getting take-away (e.g. offer to do mashed potatoes), make sandwiches for lunch, shop for specials on clothes you need, find activities to do in your local area instead of driving, etc. Living well doesn’t require spending all the time.

  20. Cooper
    | Reply

    Hi. My ex is now on his second lot of school holidays failing to have our child for half the holidays. He has only had our child 2 nights in each holidays when he is meant to have 8 in each holidays. His child support is based on percentage of care. I have just got a new assessment and he has failed to tell them his amount of care has dropped. Should I be calling CS? Will this be back paid in CS?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      First check whether his “days off” would actually affect the assessment. Only matters if you have shared care (at least 35% care each). https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/4/5

      Changes in care levels are forward looking, meaning Child Support won’t normally backdate.

  21. Dave Thorne
    | Reply

    Any idea if and when the Proposed New Formula will come into effect ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The Family Law Inquiry Committee knows about our proposal. If they recommend it be considered by government, the new formula (or something like it) could be in place in a few years or so.

  22. Robert Wells
    | Reply

    my 18/19 financial year income was 122K. 19/20 will be 128k as our roster increased over COVID. that has now finished and ill earn 122k again. so im guessing my estimate will be 122k until i do my tax return which is 128k. if my next yearly income is 122k but my estimate is 128k, will i be in credit for paying too much? how does that work?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Getting confusing with all the estimates. 2020-21 will ultimately be based on your 2019-20 income unless you put in an estimate. Doing an estimate will prevent you overpaying. But you’re only supposed to submit an estimate if you expect an income drop of 15% or more.

      After everything is reconciled: (i) the income setting for 2020-21 is normally the actual income you earned in 2019-20 (ii) putting in an estimate for 2020-21 means the income setting will become the higher of your estimate and actual income for that year.

  23. Bron
    | Reply

    My ex owed over $5k in CS by the time CS started garnishing his pay. After they took that first debit he “lost his job due to covid” and changed his annual estimate to $0.
    Questions:
    – How can CS accept $0? It is impossible for someone to live on $0!
    – Why is evidence not required to support such a drastic change.. $110k down to $0!
    – Even without “any” income, he receives rental income from his investment property. This would all have been declared previously so why cant CS request he proge that he doesn’t receive this income?
    Lastly, we are about to go through the process of trying to reach a financial settlement, if his bank statements prove he has been working, what happens then? Would I need to provide the bank statement as evidence so the assessment is backdated? In these circumstances, how can CS, being a government agency, not charge for fraud?
    Thanks for any advice.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You may want to ask Child Support to review this. Income estimates are for the whole financial year. If you lose your job during the year, all income earned til then still counts. They shouldn’t have accepted the estimate.

      See what the new assessments are for 2020-21. You can apply for a Change of Assessment (Earning Capacity) if he continues putting in low-ball estimates.

  24. Jill Esdaile-Watts
    | Reply

    Hello
    I’m bemused as a large sum of money ($7,000) was deposited into my account last Friday. It is interesting that after 30 years of not getting anything from my 4 children’s father, I started getting $50/fortnight at the beginning of the year, then this! Do I get a letter of explanation from the CSA or a phone call? Thanks in advance. J

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Congratulations. The father probably has come into some money. Child support debts remain until paid.

  25. Abe
    | Reply

    I currently pay child support for my 7yo. My ex partner has recently had a new baby and is in a relationship with the new dad. To show how flawed the system is, my child support went up 20% for no other reason then her having a new dependent. Surely the new father would be expected to meet any rise in household costs due to the new baby.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have heard many complaints about how an ex having a baby increases child support, meaning you pay for a child that is not yours. Payments also go up because the parent normally cuts back work hours as well.

      This problem would be solved in two ways if our reform proposals were implemented: (1) the self-support concept would be dropped and (2) the receiving parent’s income would not be part of the calculations.

  26. Mark
    | Reply

    What I don’t understand about child support payment is that the payment isn’t deducted from the taxable income. Eg. Of you make $100k
    And the other makes $20k the difference is $80K, but the payment should be calculated after the child support is deducted eg. If the annual payment is $8k then that should be take away from the 80k.

    As child support isn’t income and it’s not profit, then it should be either deducted from the payer or added to the payee.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support is simply a cash transfer based on each parent’s taxable income. It’s done in a post-tax world. Nothing wrong with that really. But you could argue the payment rates are too high considering with how little income is left after tax, especially with one parent paying much more tax than the other.

  27. Nikki
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.
    My partner has a child to his narcissistic ex who does not let him have any contact with him whatsoever.We have recently bought a house together and currently also going through the family court system to gain access to him which is costing us thousands. He pays for private school aswell as 100% child support (which he did have 20% of then she purposely changed to gain more $. My questions are, if we ever sell or decide to lease our property can she touch that money even though its mine aswell? And also can CSA take inconsideration the private school amount he pays which is fairly expensive? Thanks!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Assets such as property aren’t normally part of child support calculations. Only income matters (which includes any capital gains from selling assets, and rental income).

      Private school fees can count towards child support and the other parent can be required to contribute through a Change of Assessment. It’s important to demonstrate that the other parent was involved in the decision for the child to attend a private school (i.e. your partner didn’t volunteer to be responsible for paying for the fees prior to the child attending).

      • Nikki
        | Reply

        What if they paid half each for the private school for the last 3 years? Even though he did not want to he still did to keep peace. Can that still be included in child support than?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Don’t think Child Support would give special credit for school fee payments. They can review the circumstances and each parent’s financial means. But, by the sounds of it, each parent paying half the fees sounds about right.

  28. Pang
    | Reply

    My ex has changed his estimate to lower so he pays less due to covid. He has now gotten a new job that he has been working at for 2 weeks. As he is a volatile character i dont want to call cs and they will call him. Will this be rectified whem he does his tax return? Will i get the money im owed then? Will the estimate automatically change when ato/tax time gets involved??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t have to do anything here. Not your business to manage your ex’s income estimates.

      For 2019-20, the final payment amount will be based on the higher of his income estimate and the income on his tax return.

      For 2020-21, his income for child support will be the same as for 2019-20.

  29. Ju
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I am currently paying child support that is calculated on my previous year taxable income. I want to apply for a change of assessment since my hours of work are now reduced.

    My question is: What happens if I inform that I will earn $110K but instead I ended up earning $120K or $130K (because I decided to do some overtime)? I know they will deduct from my tax return anything I owe, but do they charge my a fine or somenthing else on top of the owed money?

    Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have heard plenty of concerns from people about penalties, etc for underestimating income but don’t think it really happens. About the worst thing that could occur is that you struggle paying off the debt once the correct payment amounts for past periods are calculated. Can’t see any problems with moderately underestimating income.

  30. Pina
    | Reply

    My partner pays for the mortgage on the house his kids, ex wife and her new husband reside. Settlement is yet to be agreed upon. When he realised the ex started redrawing on this mortgage, 20k over 6months, he blocked it. She hasn’t allowed him access to the kids since and has also gone to CS. He now pays mortgage of 700 week and 840 a week for CS and doesn’t even get to see the boys. We know CS doesn’t seem to care the children are being used for her financial gain but can the mortgage payments go towards CS? We have provided loan documents and statements to C S but the ex says the mortgage is for their investment property and CS believes her lies over documents proving otherwise. What can we do? Great Service.. hope to God the CS laws change soon

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This should just be an accounting issue if the divorce settlement hasn’t been made and if everything is properly taken into account. But I’d be trying really hard to separate financial affairs as quickly as possible. Selling is the cleanest option.

      Mortgage payments can count towards child support but there should be clear documentation and, preferably, agreement that it is a form of support. Looks like that isn’t the case here, so you probably won’t get anywhere with Child Support.

  31. Annon
    | Reply

    My partner was tricked into being a sperm donor by an older woman when he was younger.

    He stupidly took the bait and had a 3 night fling with this woman over the period of a few months and unfortunately was too intoxicated to know what was going on. Yes, he was stupid.

    The woman has been quoted as saying “I was approaching 40 and I wanted a baby and I wanted his DNA”.

    When CSA tracked him down he demanded a DNA test which came back positive. CSA and Legal Aid sent threatening letters to take him to court to pay child support and made him sign a stat declaration.

    Fast forward 10 years he has seen the child sporadically as he moved interstate before she was born. The woman has never returned back to full-time work and ensures she earns below the threshold so she gets the maximum child support amount.

    We recently moved interstate near the child and since then the mother has not let him see the child. She is stating the child is confused and emotionally distraught not having a father around all the time and states she is currently taking the child to see a psychologist. We believe this has all come about for the purpose of her ensuring we do not seek care so her payments are not reduced.

    Question I have:
    What can be done to change the legislation so women do not do this to men in the future?

    I believe child support should only be paid if the father was in a relationship with the mother so women do not do this.

    I believe the government is incentivising women not to work and to use/ trick/ trap men for financial gain.

    These children don’t know why they don’t have a father stated on their birth certificates, absent during their childhoods, and to be told their mothers were never in a relationship with the father. I can’t imagine what these children go through.

    It has to stop. When is the government going to wake up and realise the system they created to protect children is doing the most damage. It’s creating generations of women not gaining employment, children not having fathers, and men being financially drained, alienated and emotionally ruined.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Understand what you’re saying, but don’t think you can get away from the argument that men must take responsibility for their actions that cause offspring to be brought into the world. The children have no say in it.

      The new formula we are proposing would lessen incentives for unscrupulous women to go down the unfortunate path of bludging off the system and men. The incomes of receivers would be excluded from calculations, thereby removing work disincentives. Working women tend to be more open to sharing care responsibilities.

  32. Jennifer T. Delagarde
    | Reply

    I want to asked if I can file a petition to the court of me having financial hardship and my child needs a proper living .we are still processing for letter of administration and seem difficult to get the grant and we don’t have capacity financially to sustain a living .how about my child is it better to protect the child share than to give the child a decent living food ,shelter ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hard to understand what is happening here. You should allow the other parent or someone else to look after the child if you can’t do so properly yourself. But you should obviously keep in close contact with the child while you work towards improving your finances.

  33. Tegan
    | Reply

    Hi,

    My husband pays child support and has 50/50. Due to our situation his child support at times can be basically nothing. In turn we have be happy to go halves in bills, such as schooling. Since she should not be slugged with the full costs – being fair here. However we are now in the position that we are paying child support. The ex has said she is only paying half of the schooling fees as that’s how it is and to contact CS if we don’t like it. . . Can we pay the bill and claim it on CS or does she have to agree?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Both parents are responsible for paying for school fees because, given the history here, both have effectively agreed to the child(ren) attending the school. Your husband should just pay his half of the fees.

      • Tegan
        | Reply

        But doesn’t child support calculate public schooling fees into the payment?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          I was assuming the school fees in question were large, private-school fees — in which case, Child Support could be involved as part of a Change of Assessment. But, because the fees are just for public school, Child Support could care less about them. Not their responsibility.

          Child support payments are not for anything specific. It’s a cash transfer that is normally independent of everything else.

          Parents have to work out spending between themselves. For a 50:50 care arrangement, the natural starting point is that you go halves in things. But what spending decisions parents make is for them to work out. If parents can’t agree, the next option might be mediation.

  34. Jennifer
    | Reply

    My ex husband has continually over the last ten years found ways to avoid paying or minimising the amount of CS to be paid. When we first divorced he worked cash in hand for a friend and was only paying the minimum amount. Then he went for a couple of years not submitting his tax return. The last few years he has been attempting to get his New wife residency so he has had to abide by tax laws and report all earnings to prove that he can financially support her. So he has been reporting his earnings in excess of $100k. Now this year he underreported that he was only going to earn $55k and had in fact earned in excess of $110k, this has resulted in myself getting a FA debt for Family tax A being overpaid to me. Which is hard for me as I have always claimed the correct income and now I am being punished as he did the wrong thing. I have worked full time the whole ten years and have always had roughly the same income, between $60-85k per annum and I have always paid for all extra expenses being braces, schooling etc even though I have earned less than him and have never asked for additional funds from him. Now this year he has advised the CSA that I will have 100% care of our son even though he will continue to see him fortnightly. I am very concerned as he has always financially found ways to hurt me. I don’t want to agree to his new arrangement with CS as I am worried that he will turn around at the end of next year and demand me pay him CS for the time that he is spending with our son. What game is he playing as he has always tried to avoid paying CS in the past but now he is willing to pay 100% and it smells rotten? PS I have changed my family tax A to be paid at the end of financial year as well as I don’t want another debt incurred because of his false reporting. I try to do the right thing by our child financially and am trying to get ahead in life but he still wants to control me even though he has remarried and I am still single. Any advice in the right direction would be appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Looks like he is claiming to have no independents or something. A bit strange, as you noted.

      But all looks safe to me. If and when he wants to increase his care % again, they won’t backdate the assessment. Care changes can only take effect from when Child Support is notified.

  35. NikiB
    | Reply

    Currently dealing with parasites at Qld public trustee regarding my late father’s estate of which over $4k child support owed (to him) is listed as an “asset”. Child in question is 21 and will be 30 by the time the arrears is paid in full at a repayment plan rate of less than $21/fn!
    Although deceased estates are exempt from (trust) tax returns for the first 5 years, the incompetence at Redcliffe see fit to charge the estate $120 p.a. for trust tax return not required advice to the ATO. My question: As a beneficiary, is there any way I can get the child support owed to the estate be “forgiven” or waved, so the estate can be wound up and I don’t have to deal with PT any longer than necessary?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The receiving parent can choose to end a child support case. You may have trouble doing the same.

      Would have thought an accounting method could be used. You need to effect an asset transfer and get the money going into a bank account that sits outside the estate. Obviously, you need to contact Child Support and see what is possible and what paperwork they need.

  36. Keith
    | Reply

    I have two children with my ex and two with my current wife. My current wife and I both work full-time and send our kids to daycare five days a week. I am considering dropping to 4 days a week and looking after the kids one day a week as daycare is very expensive. This would mean a 20% drop in my income. In your experience do you think that this could create any COA Reason 8 issues for me? Or is looking after young kids an accepted reason (for a man)?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Looking after pre-schoolers always lets mums get away with not working. So, I think you should be safe even if the mother applies for a COA.

  37. Ash
    | Reply

    Hi, Andrew.
    My husband has a private child support contract with his ex through their private lawyers. Based on the contract, he will have to pay regardless of his job security or new family situation etc. Now with the coronavirus, he earns 20% less than before and became a part-timer at work. We will have a baby next year ourselves, and I am hoping the amount of money can be rearranged either through him or possibly myself. I can see very clearly that the ex will say no and become crazy about the replacement of the contract- but is there anything ‘I’ can do about? The contract is saying that my husband can’t change it- so I’d like to do something about it if necessary.

    My husband already bought his children and her a 4bedroom unit. She has brought 2 differnt guys so far to live ther with her and kids. We haven’t complained about that at all, but now probably we should. Can we get rent from any other non-essential tennents she brings in?

    She is doing a lot of private lessons, cash-in-hand, so not paying tax. Though she does tax job too- so the government only considers her tax job.

    Can I report somewhere her cash job as well?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A deal is a deal. She has no obligation to re-negotiate and I can’t see that you have anything to offer her. You probably should just forget about this and move on.

  38. Dave
    | Reply

    My wife just had a new assessment. Despite her providing DHS showing her business (she owns 50%) made a net profit of $120k up to feb but her income has been assessed at only $30k. I have the kids 6 nights a fortnight and pay $800 to her a fortnight. Her business pays for her car and other personal costs. Even if i assume she is on govt benefits only, after i pay 4 days daycare a fortnight (she has 2 day care days) and i pay her child support, she has $500 extra cashflow for all other costs than me each fortnight. 2 complaints really. 1) how has her income been assessed so low by dhs 2) how can i (assessed ~160k) have less in my pocket each fortnight, after child support and day care, than someone who doesnt work. She is also up on domestic violence charges yet i feel i am being made out to be the criminal.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The child support formula is failing you. Payment amounts are way too high considering your income and care level profile. This would be fixed if our proposed new formula were introduced.

      You’re right about the sexism. Child Support do crazy things with business income when a male payer runs a business. But don’t know if the $30k income level is fair or not. Nothing child support can do about any dodgy tax accounting. Her income wouldn’t matter under our reform proposal.

      It is effectively govt policy at the moment that men only are responsible for domestic violence. If children are involved, suggest you try to make it all about protecting them.

  39. Dee
    | Reply

    My child will turn 18 at the end of the year, she will be going to uni next year.
    I have heard cs payments continue if the child still studies.
    1) how do we assure this happens
    2) does csa still collect /garnish his wage (as per current arrangement)

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Payments only continue until the end of Year 12, not university, etc.

      • Karen
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew, I love your initiative, nice one, thank you for your efforts!
        I’ve been trying to find out what happens with the $16K debt the other parent owes to me when our youngest turns 18 in a few months. I was told by CSA many years ago that the debt would persist until paid off, but I don’t know whether CSA/ServicesAustralia will try to collect it as they do now. Do you know?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Thanks Karen. Yes, the debt will remain on their books until paid. Your child turning 18 doesn’t really change anything. Automatic debt collection methods, such as confiscating tax refunds and adding interest penalties, will continue. I don’t imagine Child Support will take the initiative to try and chase up the debt harder than that. You may want to push them a little when you can be bothered. They can, for example, clear money out of bank accounts if they have the account details.

        • Karen
          | Reply

          Hi again, what a surprise; CSA responded within a few days to my emailed question about debts.

          They said that after my youngest is 18, CSA will continue to collect money (when possible) in the same way as they do now. and they will continue to send any they get to me in the same way as now. They will do this until the debt is paid off.

          At the moment I am actually getting some small regular payments that look like they are being taken out of Job Seeker, so it’s excellent that this might continue for a while. If he manages to stay on Job Seeker, then at this rate the debt will be paid off in 13 years.

  40. KM
    | Reply

    I recently had my child support calculated based on both our earnings, although I think the amount is unfair as he earns $25,000 more and also only has child for 14% of the time and the amount of child support I receive as a full time mother and full time worker is just ridiculous.
    I also found it extremely unfair to have my pay details sent to my ex partner when it should be confidential- if child support require this information to calculate the amount paid – that’s fine and understandable but I was shocked to see that my ex was sent my earnings in a letter to him. He has no right to that information and child support have no right to share my personal and private information like that with my EX.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support is based on income. If it weren’t disclosed, you could estimate the amount from the assessments anyway.

      You’re not getting that much because 14% care is some magical mark where payers suddenly get credit for a huge chunk of the costs of children.

      • Anon please
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew, Re putting money in silver, platinum or gold bullion now and then not withdrawing for next 10 years when children turn 18 to use towards uni expenses: what is the ATO and CSA’s role in their income calculations? I mean, will they find out if we put money into bullion? Will ATO/AUSTRAC report investment in bullion to the CSA and then, will CSA use it to increase CSA payments by the investor? Thanks Andrew.

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Investments affect child support payments only to the extent that they affect taxable income. When capital gains are realised (such as when you sell stocks for a profit), that adds to taxable income. But just leaving money in an asset without selling normally doesn’t enter Child Support’s radar.

  41. John-Paul Griffiths
    | Reply

    Hi just a question about Mother’s dodging paying child support to fathers I raised my daughter from the age of 6 till she was a adult her mother did not see her at all through this time she avoided paying child support buy ringing and telling them her income is 0 every financial year I tried to put in a change of assessment but most of the information regarding her employer where she lived etc I had no idea. Child support would tell me they are unable to do anything without that information, this woman was making 100000 a year and would never do her tax return and dodge child support for 12 years. I would ask child support can’t you just contact the Australian tax office and get more information and apparently they can not. This just shows how one-sided this child support scam is .

    I’m looking at taking legal action but I am unsure because now my daughter is 18 and child support tells me there is nothing they can do about it is this correct?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not sure on this one. Check with Child Support if the case is still open. Specifically, ask what would happen is she submitted all her old tax returns now? Would that generate a debt for her, or have they effectively closed the case?

      You could still take legal action anyway.

      Note: Out proposed reforms would have prevented this from happening. She would have been moved onto a higher child support income until such time that she submitted all her tax returns.

  42. Kahu.p.murray@gmail.com
    | Reply

    Hi, I was subjected to a RE-assessment due to going from full time work to an invalidity pension. During my transitional phase I was asked to provide 12 months of my bank statements (which I did) and also a future statement from my Super fund detailing how much I was going to get paid from a certain date onwards (which was 75% of my full wage when I had to retire for medical reasons caused by my employment. Even though I provided all the information requested, the CSA delegate estimated my income to be 90k when I clearly provided information to substantiate my future income was approx $65k as it was a pension, also I received approx $13 per F/N as a incapacity compensation payment. Whist on the phone with the CSA delegate he stated Quote-“how do I now that your not just hiding other income”? I was furious that he implied that I was being fraudulent based only on his assumption and abruptly told him that I have provided everything you asked me to and was now expected to disprove his theory when such correspondence did not exist. He made his decision to lock in my child support at 90k for 2 years and told me to appeal if I wanted to but his decision is final. So, I then appealed the decision to the AAT, (I was slightly late with my appeal as I was hospitalised for 4 weeks due to health non physical conditions (work related). I was contacted by the AAT (female, name unknown) and I was informed by her that because I had redrawn from my super under hardship to pay for family lawyers and a new CSA debt because I had to back pay on my new “imaginary income of 90k” in that financial year that it would incur another substatial debt and her recommendation was to withdraw my appeal for face a big debt and fines for under paying. Needless to say, I, involuntarily ended up back in hospital for some time.

    Apologies for the long explanation.

    So my question is how can I have this addressed and can I request an audit be done to remedy my over payment and applying credit to my CSA account? For 2 years, my tax returns were garnished from me in excess of 11k for a debt that I should never have incurred. Thanks in advance for any advice.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Too late to do anything now. With regular appeal processes exhausted, the higher income you were assessed at is locked in until the Change of Assessment expires.

  43. Cheers
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, the formulae for assessing child support seems to be skewed heavily towards a public servant. As in, a constant pay cycle year in, year out without consideration for variance in monetary gains. Is there any sort of method for a PAYG scheme, where you are able to make your appropriate payments (not trying to avoid, just trying to live) on a pro-rata basis. Working in the construction industry I honestly have no idea what I am expected to make month to month, let alone year to year. (Can make 4k one month and 16 another) …surely it is understandable that this does not allow me to invest in my & my children’s future, but instead condemns an otherwise good earner onto living hand by mouth.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      3 things you can do to handle pay fluctuations (i) bank savings when you get a chance to cover tougher times (ii) submit a conservative estimate of annual income at the start of each financial year and do another estimate once you pass it and (iii) if you have to go into debt, negotiate with the debt collection people at Child Support to pay it off over time (so they waive penalty interest fees).

  44. Luna Brennan
    | Reply

    Has this happened to anyone or any advice ?I was supposed to be receiving child support from the time my partner and I had split up from the age of 2 years to the age of 7. His father finally contacted me to change child support payments though I had not received a single cent throughout that time after contacting child support they had told me it was being paid into an incorrect account I had called child support numerous times as the amount was roughly $1700. They had stated to me the amount had gone into an account and I’d need to contact the bank as it was their issue.I contacted the bank and they had directed be back to child support as they could not do anything to due to privacy of the customer the funds had been deposited in. I then recontacted child support and explained I had gone into the branch and informed them of what I was told,they had said there’s nothing they could do and it there lies with the bank essentially being redirected continually from one to the other

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Highly unusual situation: for payments to be going into the wrong person’s bank account over many years. You need to find out how this error happened. You could try asking Child Support for any documents on the bank details that were supplied to them. If it was their fault, then they ought to be responsible for getting the money to you. If it was your fault, you may not be able to get the money back. I would be holding Child Support responsible in the absence of any info to the contrary. Note that I’m not a lawyer and don’t know the full details of this case.

    • Ash
      | Reply

      Luna, this happened to me also. Very frustrating.

  45. Shane
    | Reply

    My husband ex has been living 750km apart from one child whilst poorly caring for another , but claiming 100% care for both. We know she has lived away from one child since July last year. The oldest child is living alone 17years old in her housing commission home whilst she lives at her parents place with the other child practically in a different state. We reported her to csa and about a month ago my husband received a call from the CSA to say his ex was going to terminate one child’s payment . We didn’t pursue it further and waited 6 weeks for their investigation to complete The decision has come in writing today that she is still in 100% care of both children . It was basically one line saying the care rate will stay the same. It is currently self collect , paying less than the CSA rate , because she is obtaining Money elsewhere and not declaring it. but she is now obviously going to go through CSA after this decision which will now be $530 a week instead of $380. We want to know what evidence she would have had to produce. Would she have had to supply school enrolment details if we requested CSA to supply this for the investigation? We know she is residing there through family members but they are under 18 and they can’t be used for statements. Can we get a copy of the voice recording of the phone call received from the CSA saying she was going to terminate one child’s payments ? Can we be told what evidence has been produced for them to come to that decision ? Can her bank statements be requested by them to prove she has been in the area consistently ? Can they tell me if my son has been receiving Jobseeker allowance .? We will be objecting , purely for the principle that we know she has had less than 35% care in the last financial year and is a snake in the grass. She has supplied evidence , but we don’t know what she has produced to help dispute the CSA deciding in her favour. Any info on objecting this decision will be greatly appreciated. This woman has used child support money to buy breast implants in the past and has rorted the system for years , working cash in hand . Enough is enough and my husband has always buckled. He has no contact with either child because of her , the whole situation is revolting and we just want a fair go which seems to be impossible after reading some of these posts. Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I agree with Child Support’s decision based on the info you’ve given. You should let this go and do something more useful.

      She doesn’t have to be with the children at all times in order to be responsible for their care in a financial sense. Getting help from family is normally a good thing. She is putting a roof over their heads. Your husband has 0% care, which is why he must pay the full amount.

  46. Adrian
    | Reply

    We have 50/50 custody in practice but not paper.

    My issue is that the system gives my ex-wife no incentive to work. She works casually, even though she has been offered full time positions. The income disparity means that she receives large child care payments, which are close to what she would earn if she worked full-time. So why bother?

    Couple this with the large financial settlement from the divorce, which she chose to not use to buy a house and instead she can “afford” to go on holiday to Spain, Bali and Mount Hotham all in the one year.

    In the meantime, I have to work full-time to to recover from the financial settlement and to continue to support myself and my children.

    The harder I work, the more I pay.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      At least you’ve got 50:50 custody. Reduces payments significantly, though you wouldn’t pay anything at all under our proposed new formula.

  47. Cynthia Wong
    | Reply

    Me and my ex separated since last June. We have 3 kids. We separarte because he was addicted to gamble. he never pay us Child support. From the beginning he need pay 3 kids around 700 each month.
    However, He reported that he didn’t work since this Jan2020. But actually he was working as Uber driver all the time. Now in child support own as around 4000, call child support many times they said will follow the employer for us. But since he is Über driver which make things more difficult. What should I do? How can I can my money back?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I believe his Uber income will automatically be reported to the Australian Taxation Office by Uber. The income should be known by Child Support when he does a tax return. You should get your money eventually without having to do anything.

  48. Chris
    | Reply

    This whole child support thing along with the processes of the Family law courts is disgusting and i’m sure there would be a lot of Fathers that would agree.
    I fought for equal custody of my Twin girls and and the door was slammed in my face on every occasion by a lot of these so called professionals who make decisions based on a meeting of an hour or so on the outcome of your time spent with your kids.

    You go to court and spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a fair result and get screwed over by the system and on top of that you have to pay ridiculous amounts of child support .

    The whole child support should be based on if you win in court with custody in a normal open and shut case scenario ,no drugs ,no violence etc just plain and simple it should be a matter of you pay for them when you have them in your care and if you loose you pay for their care when you have them it should in a case of for example you win and have 9 days a fortnight and you sir have 5 days a fortnight but still have to pay ridiculous amounts of money even though you’ve lost .
    It’s bullshit . Needs a massive overhaul that’s for sure.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Chris – This is a very common story unfortunately. Judges tend to be conservative and hold the totally incorrect view that shared parenting is only appropriate if everything between the parents is just fine (which is essentially never the case if you’re in court). Hence, they rarely award 50/50 shared care. All the professionals you encounter in the system know this. They also serve the judge in some sense (since the judge decides not just cases but also what legal and other services are to be ordered). Hence, to keep things between them and the judge smooth, everyone works towards a pre-determined outcome where the mother (if she appears half-competent) gets majority care.

      Child support is based on a ridiculous formula that starts with the fantasy assumption that the parents and children are together in the same home as an intact family. As a result, parents share their incomes as if they were together. When the formula was introduced, exactly zero consideration was given to the possibility that parents could profit from child support and might do things to increase their profits. Thus, we routinely get unfair outcomes that are damaging to children. What has happened to you and your girls was always destined to happen once you were assigned to your particular judge.

      • Chris
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew,
        Thanks for your feedback mate it’s interesting to read.
        The whole system is very misguided and so out of touch but what can you you do unless you have a tonne of money to waste in court a lot of guys are going to be continually let down by the system and therefore miss out on a lot of valuable time in their kids lives its sad for Dads and even more sad for the kids..

  49. Brendan
    | Reply

    hi,
    Im no longer with my ex wife and we are now divorced.
    Because i’m not in that relationship anymore i have been able to get in front financially and have saved some money to invest in shares/CFDs which has increased in value a lot.
    Is there a way I can not get this extra included in my Child support assessment?
    I think it is unfair just because I take the risk with my money and invested it, i shouldn’t be punished by having to give her more. I have given her enough through our settlement. We have 50/50 care and always have.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Having up and down years in terms of assessable income has child support advantages. Income can be estimated early in the down years to avoid overpaying.

  50. Jenn
    | Reply

    Hi,
    What happens in a situation where you’re paying more child support than you should be as the child’s mother is working but has not declared it? Have spoken to child support on phone but they said they cannot do anything about it from this end as she has to declare it. It is cash work but these payments are based on her not working.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Within reason, there is nothing you can personally do to prevent tax avoidance by other parent.

  51. Something needs to change
    | Reply

    I would like to know why my daughter’s father owes over 18,000 in child support and this has been going on for 13 years and it’s still going up. He can buy a brand new car and boat. But can’t pay his outstanding child support. Why are you not doing anything???

  52. Ange
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Can you please help us to understand what happens at the end of the CSA assessment period when the child turns 18 and there is no further extension or payments. Does the CSA finish at the exact time of the last payment, or only when the final tax return for the FY June 30 has been reconciled after the payments stop? If both parents don’t lodge returns for some time after this period, is there a possibility of an overpayment or underpayment at the time at which the payments stop? I suppose my question is, when does this ordeal officially really end?

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The ordeal normally ends after the child has turned 18 and finished secondary education and all payments have been made. But, as I understand it, re-assessments of payments could happen because the case will still be in the system. For true finality, you probably need the receiving parent to apply to end the case. Search “terminating events” for more info.

  53. Sylvia
    | Reply

    Hi, I am a single mother working as a teacher trying to support my children. I am amazed at how many men are complaining on this site that they feel ripped off by child support. I am sure more men rip the system off than women!In my experience, my x has found the loopholes so I only receive $16/month! I have 100% care because he refuses to even have his child overnight. He is a plasterer and works cash in hand. He claims he only earns $22 000/year. I know he earns over $80 000 /year. He has recently bought a $70 000 car as well. What can I do to convince CS (and the ATO) that he is ripping them off as well as his children?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I think you’ll find that the men who are complaining on this site normally have very legitimate complaints. Characters such as your ex tend not to make themselves known.

      You could make a Change of Assessment application but probably won’t get very far given the circumstances of the case and because he probably won’t provide necessary financial info. Hence, I don’t think there is much you can do.

      Our reform proposals would help in your case, and many others, by setting income benchmarks that can be applied when participants fail to do the right thing.

      • Ashleigh
        | Reply

        I think you would be surprised at how many men are very manipulative and convincing but in reality are abusers and selfish and don’t want to take responsibility. It’s your child, contribute to making your child’s life better.

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Men can be dishonest. There are also plenty of women who play the victim. People should be judged by their actions.

  54. Drew
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Not a question but a comment…wanted to pick up on some advice you gave a little while back on salary packaging and child support.
    You gave the advice that salary packaging does not have an impact upon CSA payments…..it definitely does.! Some of your readers won’t be too familiar with the notion of salary packaging so I’ll spell this out……
    Salary packaging essentially is remuneration for your labour that is spent PRIOR to the assessment of income for tax calculation. That’s technical so to explain further…..
    Let’s say you earn $100,000 per year with no packaging and no deductions…..from that you pay $25,000 tax.
    ( Keeping these figures ’round’ for ease of understanding).
    In terms of child support CSA calculate your payments based on an assessable income of $100,000. Pretty simple so far.

    Salary packaging complicates matters….
    Say I choose to salary package my home loan repayments (can do actually as I work for a benevolent hospital) to the sum of $18,000 per year.
    My assessable income for taxation purposes has dramatically dropped and the benefits to me is a taxable income far lower and I pay less tax. I am not actually earning more money but I am paying less tax.

    CSA however don’t just look at your taxable income…..”reportable fringe benefits” on your group certificate will show the total amount of benefits that was taken as pre-taxable income.

    CSA calculate your child support payments NOT just based upon reportable fringe benefits plus taxable income but on the financial benefits (tax savings) as well.

    Someone earning $100,000 but salary packaging $18,000 will be paying child support based roughly on a figure of about $107,000.
    The figure higher than the $100,000 is made up of the tax savings which is added to my CSA calculation despite it not being part of my assessable income for tax.

    I have heard of some very high income earners (eg FIFO workers on $190,000 that can for instance package huge costs such as fortnightly car rental and their 26 flights a year ) getting shocked when CSA assesses their child support income as much as $35,000 beyond what they actually earn.

    My advice would not be to don’t do it….on the contrary…..in actual fact because of the rates of tax versus child support technically both parties remain better off with the payer getting a higher tax savings than what they have to pay in child support and the payee getting more money.

    Just be aware it definitely does impact child support calculations.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for this explanation of how salary packaging increases a payer’s child support payments (but may be worth doing for general tax advantages).

  55. Daniel Vernon
    | Reply

    I have been out of child support payments cents January 2020, I now have received a 57000 dollar bill from child support.
    Now they say I owe this money for the child, now she is 18 she does not live with her mother but I owe the mother this money ??
    The mother has never had a job in 18 years and I have always paid child support.
    is there anything I can do to lower this amount ??

  56. Julia
    | Reply

    What happens when the payee doesn’t submit a tax return, and then eventually does when the ATO catches up with them? Is there an adjustment or credit for the payer?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There should be backdating once tax returns are eventually submitted, with an adjustment in favour of the payer. I think the payee would be required to make payments.

    • Nicole K
      | Reply

      My ex hasnt lodged his tax in 16+ years. He owes me almost $60k in CS based on “provisional ” estimates. When he finally does his tax he will owe me alot more as he is a FIFO worker and has been for years. Retrieving those payments via CS is another story. As soon as CS catch up with him. His leaves his job and starts a new one to avoid his wage being garnished. The debt never leaves him. If it has to come out of his superannutaion I will wait. Our daughter is 20 this year. I’ve not recieved a payment or any financial help from him since she was 4.

    • Karen
      | Reply

      Hi Julia, I was in the same position as you. After 4 years, my ex eventually submitted a tax return (to get the Rudd government stimulus package in 2009). The CSA recalculated what he should have been paying and raised a $25K debt. He did not pay the debt. I did get around $1000 at the time, which was the refund the ATO owed him. Sorry to hear you are in the same situation as me, it sucks.

  57. Sara
    | Reply

    If the courts remove parental responsibility, am I still liable to pay child support

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t stop being a parent because of a custody order. Child support is still payable.

      • Sara
        | Reply

        Bugger, was hoping he wouldn’t be force to pay when neither chose to be in this situation.
        Definitely not fair on him.

  58. Dave
    | Reply

    I recently lost my job due to COVID19 and have done and estimate for this financial year.
    My income before was about $120k and I was paying support based on this.

    This year, my taxable income will be $85k due to the loss of job.

    If as of 01/07, I estimate my income again (because I am still unemployed) and then later gain employment at $120k per year, do I have to tell CSA that I’m earning $120k again, or will they revert back to the $85k that I will earn this year…

    I don’t want to stitch myself up if I obtain employment a few weeks into the next financial year and not get the benefit of the $85k that I should be assessed on

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s simple really.

      If your income drops, do an income estimate immediately. And do another at the start of the next financial year.

      If your income rises, do nothing.

      • Dave
        | Reply

        The problem is that if I estimate my income down to $25k (centrelink) and then my income goes back to $120k, and I don’t re-estimate up, not only will I need to back pay, I’ll also be charged a penalty.

        Obviously I don’t mind paying the support at the $85k I earnt this year if I’m back at $120k next year, but I don’t want to risk having to pay 11 months at $120k if I make an estimate for 1 month at $25k.

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          I should say that you need to manage things once you have done an estimate for the current financial year. You can do a new estimate at any time of your expected income across the financial year. Child Support will normally forgive any penalties that might be imposed if you are seen to be cooperating (e.g. by doing another, more accurate estimate before the end of the financial year).

  59. Ivan
    | Reply

    I am thinking about paying one years worth of child-support in one lump sum. This would be about $4000. We are registered as collect so I would be paying this to the child support agency. This would be a convenience for me, but are there any negatives associated with a lump sum payment? Would it be assumed that I have a lot of money and open up a can of worms?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Is it really convenient for you? Takes less than a minute to set up a monthly payment online.

      Never smart to pay a lump sum. Something may happen to reduce your payments and you may struggle to get the money back once it’s handed over.

Leave a Reply

Your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *