CSA complaint.

CSA Child Support Complaints Forum

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

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

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

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179 Responses

  1. Richard
    | Reply

    The number of legitimate issues raised here from so many different circumstances and perspectives really is concerning. I can only comment on my limited experience with CSA but hopefully it can be beneficial to someone in need if not the greater good.

    Matty makes an excellent point above regarding the Family Court and its prejudices and that it’s “very convenient having the Family Court and the CSA separately administered (for the most part), because no-one has to take any responsibility for outcomes.”

    Over 3 years in the family court I contributed an estimated $55k to my children’s mother. Combined with money from property settlement she spent $110k on lawyers and eventually got awarded the result she wanted: complete denial of access… Despite previously having access and complying with every court order no matter how ludicrous and despite many inconsistencies, I simply didn’t have the resources to contest the matter effectively. I had to pay her 1/3 my salary, pay the mortgage and all other usual household expenses and try to maintain full time employment (with the constant and literal threat that if I failed any of those tasks I would not see my children again), whilst she chose not to work despite having an earning capacity of ~$150k.

    There were periods that I literally could not afford to feed myself when I had to engage a legal representative for one of the eight applications made by the mother, who refused to negotiate reasonable orders outside of the court.

    The point being that CSA (dept of “inhuman services” ) did not care in the slightest. They simply recited their standard line: “we are not related to the family court” and made no attempt to question the mother’s earning capacity (Apparently the onus is on me to prove it…??) or acknowledge the litigious actions that were inhibiting my ability to pay at the calculated rate.

    Ultimately I was forced to sell my house and use what little equity I had left to pay for court costs of the final trial… Whilst the settlement went through I was forced to use every cent I had on hand to secure the services of legal representation (I should add that being allowed by judges to self represent in the family court is a fairy tale; you have income therefore you can get a lawyer + barrister, “what’s the problem?”). If you fall behind in CSA payments as a result, not only do you incur the penalty of the CSA and more debt, the court will cite that as evidence that you don’t care about your children.

    I entered a payment arrangement with CSA and honoured that arrangement. Regardless the CSA garnisheed my savings account without notice. When questioned, they justified that action with payment dates that contradicted my own bank statements and refused to respond to my requests to clarify their position despite numerous messages to do so.

    They have now removed the messaging service from MyGov and refuse to communicate in writing at all, other than issuing statements and assessments. They continually change my payment assessments based on previous tax returns, despite being notified of my current circumstances and that I do not have that employment any longer (yes, hard to believe taking 1 week off in every 6 to attend to court matters is not acceptable in the professional world, and that I was unable to function after being told I can’t see my children ever, and then losing my house… Just more evidence that I’m not a suitable parent I guess..). They refuse to retract the amount accrued since the change of assessment, which made the difference to me being in credit to being significantly in debt. They refuse to accept the reason I was unaware of the debt is because I knew I was in credit and had recently notified them of my income, therefore checking their statements on the “mygov’ site was not a priority for me.

    I have always paid more than required because my income is consistently overestimated, but they do not have a policy to account for over payment, and then threaten to penalise for underestimating future income, which at the moment is unknown.

    As I see it the core issues that lead to these problems are these:
    1 – No differentiation is made between parents that walk away and those that are refused custody.
    2 – The cost to maintain the financial need of a child does not automatically change depending on the income of a parent. In a family situation it may, but that is a mutual decision of both parents and not representative of separated parents complying with legislation.
    3 – The “self support amount” is based on a theoretical figure from the department of statistics that is averaged nationally and has no relevance whatsoever to the real world.

    Suggestions:
    1 – If a parent chooses to make application in the family court, child support amount should not be allocated until final orders are made, with the exception that any allegations of family violence or abuse that required the removal of the children are substantiated beyond doubt.
    2 – Payments are made to a card. That card is used for all expenses relating to the child(ren) and available for reconciling. Future budgets are then based on justifiable expenses.
    3 – The paying parent submits a living expense budget to be verified by the CSA as a self support amount or accepts a minimum living expenses allocation that reflects the area of historical residence of the family.
    4 – Human service training for staff at CSA so that every conversation does not revolve around them disclosing nothing whilst using deceptive language and attempting to gain a client’s confidence entirely for the purpose of obtaining incriminating information.

  2. Ange
    | Reply

    Hi there, just wondering if anyone has any advice on objections to CSA? I’ll try to make a long story short…

    My fiancé has 2 kids (8 & 6) with his ex-wife. For years, they managed a personal agreement where he would pay her a set amount per week and CSA was not involved at all. To paint a picture, she is the type of woman who after separating & then divorcing him, continue to ‘spend his money’ as though she was still entitled to it (ie. making sole decisions on what the kids should/shouldn’t have, buying it then demanding he pay for half of it). This came to a head when she organised a $1200 birthday party of their then 6 year old. Even though my partner wasn’t invited (she doesn’t feel that she should have to invite him to parties she arranges for them), she still demanded he pay for half & he refused. She has then contacted CSA to arrange all future support payments through them, which she’s entitled to do. I should at this point explain that my partner is by no means a ‘dead beat dad’ – he has always paid his support plus much more and aims to spend as much time as possible with the kids, so much so that he’s had to change his career in order to do so, now that they’re both at school. This is where problems with CSA really start. By changing career, he increased his care percentage which is fine. Unfortunately, he did take a $30k PA income loss…not great but manageable. As soon as this happened, he contacted CSA to advise of the income change and they amended his support payments, which worked out to be $70 less per week. If we look at the financial year as a whole, he paid the correct amount of support for his salary/care bracket for 10 months of 2017-18 and then when he changed jobs, paid the adjusted amount as per his new salary, which is also correct according to CSA.

    Now we get to tax return time…once both he and his ex wife have lodged their returns, he starts getting a barrage of letters from CSA – all of them are the same but display completely different amounts. In his old position, he was on $82k pa and his in new position he’s on $55k pa….one of the letters stated he was to pay x amount of child support based on a $131k pa income!!!! On 3 separate occasions over the past couple of months, he’s received a minimum of 5 and up to 9 letters at once, all dated with the same date and all with different income figures. One of the more recent letters is a fine for apparently underestimating his wage – they’re claiming when he changed his salary information with them that he told them he had only earnt $53k (he didn’t tell them anything other than what his new salary was) from his previous job for the financial year but because his tax return came in at $76k, not only does he now have a fine of $205 but apparently he owes his ex over $2000 in unpaid support. As mentioned earlier, he has paid the correct amount of support for his salary/care bracket for the full year & has in fact somehow managed to pay her over $1000 in addition to what she was due. He’s tried talking to CSA over the phone and they just keep carrying on about their formula and make him sound like a criminal…personally I find it really upsetting and it’s absolutely rubbish how Dads are treated by the system…I know there’s some not so good ones out there but the majority are just trying to do the right thing and they make it impossible.

    Anyway, apparently the only way he can oppose this additional $2000 is to submit an objection. Firstly he needs to provide a good reason as to why this wasn’t done within 28 days (we didn’t know about it and with the millions of letters from CSA, his time on the phone with them has been spent trying to work out whats what) and then he has to provide proof as to why he shouldn’t need to pay the additional money. If anyone has been through this process and/or has some helpful hints or tips, it would be very much appreciated!!!!

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ange – All the letters do tend to create confusion. Child support is based on taxable income across the financial year. So, it seems like he legitimately owes the $2000. He could ask them to take away the $200 fine because it was an honest mistake and due to miscommunication. I wouldn’t get into reviews as his income could be put up to his highest former income if the other party makes a Change of Assessment Claim based on earning capacity.

  3. Kate
    | Reply

    I disagree with CSA supporting a thread where fathers complain about paying child support and they are encouraged by biased admin. Children are a financial sacrifice whether the parents are together or not. I work long hours to provide for my children, plus have 77% custody and receive no child support due to their father owning a business which provides $21,000, yet plenty of overseas travel, new car and an overall lavish lifestyle. I know that my situation is extreme, but my point is that I go without so that my children can have a similar lifestyle that they’d have if they were supported by both parents. It’s hard, I get it. You have to go without, I get it. The thing that paying parents neglect to consider is that if they pay more, often the caring parent can work less. This means more direct care for your child, and that equals = more home cooked meals, more help with homework, a parent able to attend sports games and cheer the children on, a happier carer with less stress and more stability. Why wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to provide this for your child? (Even if it means that your ex may have a better lifestyle than you’d like them to have). I go without a lot for my children and take pride in that. They will grow up more well adjusted because of it and I know they do, and will continue to appreciate it. I hate child support threads that appear to forget about love for the children, are more fuelled by hate for the ex, and parents “rights” over the child’s right to be number one in both parents lives.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Kate,

      The new system we’re proposing would help you in your case (with the introduction of a general support benchmark) as well as the many thousands of fathers getting ripped off. Frankly, the number of men treated unfairly is far greater than the number of women, and many of those men are denied access to their children as well. It’s poor form to presume that their complaints are invalid or that they have inferior motives and moral standing to you. You’re not better than the rest of us. Please don’t label and dismiss people you don’t know and appear to have made no attempt to understand.

  4. Raymond
    | Reply

    I think these people are starting to be slowly exposed as the criminals they are… There is something very sinister going on trying to hide it’s ugly head. I believe it’s all to do with lowly Lawyers and solicitors making their way into high positions and pulling strings for financial gain. My ex was a school teacher, there was usually 10-20% of the class that required special needs and usually involved autism at some degree. Autistic people are smart to some degree, but lack in other areas, they somewhat make great government positions also for companies that want to make large financial gains, without any sort of compassion or morals on who they affect. These people I believe are slowly making their way into policies and decision making completely destroying families just to make a company, agency or judicial system look good and continue the greed for money. THE MODERN DAY STOLEN GENERATION, fuelling separation using children as leverage, children to these type of people are just seen as bags of money…

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Whenever lawyers are involved in anything, it seems the only winners are the lawyers themselves (apologies to my lawyer friends and family). Unfortunately, for some weird reason, politicians always turn to lawyers for advice about how to run the child support system. Wish they would stop doing that and understand that lawyers are usually a hindrance more than a help when it comes to public policy.

  5. Single father at wits end
    | Reply

    Hi.

    I have reached breaking point. I seperated from my eldests’ mother when he was 2. During the time together I provided for all three of us off my income as she didn’t work.

    After we split, child support was enter d into as a ‘friend’ of hers pushed her to obtain finances to support the child – fair enough! (I WASNT against child support – and even now, I agree a parent SHOULD provide for their children).

    Flash forward: I have seperated from previous partner after 2 children (currently 4 & 6) – we were together 10 years; she saw the struggle I had with C$A and we have avoided that path for our two (would likely be that she would have to pay me, as she is on more – but guess what? She works for her money and I try my best to meet her half way with expenses as much as humanly possible because they are OUR children!)

    My issue is currently now: I have had inflicted on me, for the first time in 12 years – garnishing! Thing is, I was aware of missing maybe 2 payments of C$A, and one payment at approx. $150 lower than it should have been, however I wasn’t even given the option to pay this off – they have immediately moved to garnish wages. Is this even LEGAL?! I have called when I can (having HUGE issues – they are only open during ‘business hours’ – guess when I am at work? That’s right! ‘Business hours’! I have asked for alternative methods to deal with this – no email service OUT – but I can send my details, income etc TO them…)

    I did manage to get a call on a Saturday morning (when I had all three of my children – so was trying to enjoy our weekend together, as the eldest isn’t with me as much as the two little ones). The lady was very rude, and when I tried to explain WHY I was behind on payments (short story: single father, just moved into a rental which is costing 40% of my income, debt with Telstra after early termination fee – there is more, but you get the idea) I got a very warm response of ‘well, you’ll have to sort something out then!’

    With this garnishing, my two youngest, who I have card for 50% of the time (slightly more, in truth – but it usually evens out over a 12 month period) are now missing out on the ‘lifestyle they would have been afforded if both parents were together’ (to use a standard line from C$A…).

    My payments have gone up for my eldest – but considering I didn’t hear from C$A until now as I was paying on time and (believed) the right amount – but now get ‘you’re behind on payments, you owe $X’ and a nice ‘let’s not even consider a payment plan that allows you to cope with bills – we’re just going to jump straight into wage garnishing’ – how does this help myself, and more importantly – ANY of my children?!

    Hopefully my someone can explain what the purpose of C$A actually is – as if it’s to provide a standard of living for a child and ensure equality of care after a family breakdown, they really have missed the mark to the point I am hoping there is a class action against this agency…

    Please, if anyone can explain why they would run a single father to breaking point, I really would like to hear – and if anyone has ANY advice regarding being able to continue to support my children but still be able to make ends meet, I would appreciate any suggestions – because at this point in time, I can see why C$A have caused good fathers to call it quits (AND good mothers – contrary to opinion, it can and DOES happen to decent mothers also – just that men are over represented in regards to this agency, unfortunately…).

  6. Jess
    | Reply

    My comment is based solely on the matter of collection.
    In my case my sons fathers payments have been collected for over a month with anything being passed on to me yet. I would like to know, where this money goes in the interim? Who holds it? Who earns the interest from it? Because yes in our case it’s $500 per month but let’s multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of mothers and fathers who pay child support to the other parent for maintenance. Where is this money sitting for the 1 month to 40 days before its passed on to the right person?

  7. tayla
    | Reply

    im not a parent but my brother is in a situation where child support is taking majority of his pay every week and isnt leaving him enough for rent and he has to sell his car to be able to survive. The mother of the child wont let my brother see his son and won’t go privately to sought something out so he isnt broke every week. He can’t get a second job as he is a chef and already does 10 hours a day without a break, he has picked up hours at work to be able to pay his rent but he is no lead to do 15 hours a day of work, which i think it is wrong as he doesnt get a break and its leaving him to tired at the end of the day. I think it is so wrong that he is paying weekly and that it is so much, and to the fact that he doesn’t even see the kid at all. Like yea he is happy to pay child support but he doesn’t understand why it is so much and leaving him broke every week

  8. Mark
    | Reply

    I had a false DVO made against me as well…
    The judges will approve anything these days with the guilty until proven innocent agenda, after all it makes money for all these greedy APS workers and lawyers feathering their own nests.
    I don’t support or condone domestic violence at all, but because of the guilty until proven innocent policies. I don’t even believe that there is actually a rise in DV, I would be more inclined to believe that more lawyers are using the DV method and judges automatically approving them. I believe there should be more done about combatting this, possibly filing a complaint to police for defamation and perjury but it will be a costly exercise again. Nice Lawyers and the broken judicial system eating up your money again just to prove your innocence.

  9. Matty
    | Reply

    One of the root causes of child support problems is the Family Court and its prejudices. This court is easily manipulated by one party or another and the biases in CSA payments flow from there.

    For example, a female can easily make fake allegations of DV against a male and all the expected stereotypical thinking is activated in the family court: in this age being a male is to be guilty until proven innocent. Once you’ve got “custody”, you’re set, the CSA payments follow, and one party is left terribly aggrieved because their access to their children is minimised. The CSA system acts as an incentive for parents to behave badly in the family court. Fair outcomes will never be achieved without removing this incentive and addressing all the prejudices, biases, and incompetence encumbered in the Family Court – it makes no contribution to harmony and it represents very significant economic wastage for the nation. Considering fairness concerning child support is nothing but window dressing surrounding an ugly broken court house and all it represents.

    The issue is never ever addressed because the CSA will simply state (correctly): the Family Court system is nothing to do with us!!! It’s very convenient having the Family Court and the CSA separately administered (for the most part), because no-one has to take any responsibility for outcomes. It’s a fake industry, but hey, family lawyers and CSA bureaucrats earn great money!

  10. Cassie
    | Reply

    I would just like to say that there are so many fathers on here complaining about having to pay child support. Yes children cost money ALOT of money and if you cant afford to pay for them get a second job!!! Work hard sell off your assets dont have any luxuries. DO what you can to make their lives easier and stop complaining about how hard it is to pay child support on your 6 figure salary. What I have noticed the most since becoming a single mum is that all these people on high incomes complaining about how hard it is for them forget that a single parenting payment is 20k per year!!! Yes that is right us mums are expected to survive on 20k per year. And not to mention the fact that our super contibutions stop as well. And you know what most of us single mums do???? We get off our butts and make a good example for our children and work our butts off studying or working or doing anything we can to make our childrens lives better. All of our money goes to our children all of the hours we spend each day taking care of our children and working for our children and we Do not complain!!! I would just like to add that I think the current child support system is great and doesnt need changing. It is making all those complaining daddies out there take some sort of responsibility for their children even if its not the outcome we desire because we would all love to have a great daddy for our kids but when they do turn in to total w$&# jobs at least the goverment is making you guys contribute to the upbringing of the child you created and not leaving it up to the tax payers!! My sons dad was not happy when he got a big payrise from work and had to pay me alot more childsupport he even tried to lie and say that he was having our son 13% of the time. Child support dealt with his lies quickly and efficiently by denying his claim. It makes it frustrating that I am unable to go back to my old job as my sons dad refuses to have shared custody or provide any kind of routine or notice as to when he is having our son which puts me into financial difficulty and I worry about providing stability for my son as I would like to buy us a house to live in but its difficult when you dont have much of an income. Since my sons dad got a payrise we are now $100 per week better off which is going to make a huge difference to our lives as we have been living off $50 per week for food and $20 per week for petrol so when your complaining about having to pay that little bit extra in child support there is probably a mum on the other side getting excited about being able to buy her kid that new swim suit he needed or not having to drive around with the bloody petrol light on again!!! But at the end of the day the hardest thing for me is seeing my three year olds tears and heart ache when his dad cancels a visit yet again or doesnt make contact for weeks at a time and to me getting my sons father to do the right thing is more important than money and I would give anything to have shared custody as this would be the best possible outcome for my son. Also to finish up I would just like to let all these fathers out there complaining about paying child support know that most weeks we go without the basics. I dont have home internet I dont buy new clothes or shoes, we dont have health insurance or home insurance, we dont go on holidays, most weeks we go without tissues, deodorant, cling wrap, foil, snack food, take away, meat, butter, cheese, I dont own any make up or get my hair cut, all these things are considered luxury items. So when you go without all of these things and drive around in a car that needs servicing and fixing and your wearing rags from an op shop then come back and complain

  11. Ash
    | Reply

    Hi
    I recently received a child support assessment stating that my ex made $159k last financial year and my child support payment would be going up as I have 100% care. I recently received a new assessment stating that he has made a complaint to child support stating that his estimated income is $57k for this current financial year- I know it’s not and he can earn to a couple of thousand a week. therefore my child support payments are now at the bare minimum which is causing financial difficulty being a single parent studying. How is that even possible?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ash – Who knows why the income of your ex has gone down. But, if the estimate turns out to be wrong (income on tax return turns out to be higher), he’ll have to make up for it. It may be unwise to keep relying on child support from your ex to pay the bills. Hope your studies lead to a good job in the future.

  12. Sam
    | Reply

    Hi there,
    My ex-wife and I have been separated for a couple of years, and she has been working part time in stable employment. We share our child 50/50 care but I earn more than her so pay her an amount.

    She has a new partner and has decided to have another child with him. She will go on maternity leave, a period of which will be at lower pay. Will my child support be adjusted as a result due to her lower annual income for the approaching year?

    What if she chooses not to go back to work? I’ve read other stories online where the CSA has declined a change of assessment in this specific scenario? How/why could that happen? It is her choice to have a child with another person and sacrifice income that should have been available for my children?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sam – Yes, her estimated income will likely go down and you’ll have to start paying more child support. Her self-support amount will also go up after having the child. The increase in payments might be smaller than you expect because you have 50 / 50 care. “Choosing to have another child” is not a reason Child Support can realistically use to make a manual adjustment to payments. Your child is gaining a half-sibling. That’s got to be a good thing for them.

  13. Quintin
    | Reply

    My wife and I recently divorced, and since then she is pull all the stops to try and get one over on me. The newest in this is contacting the CSA and claiming that I refuse to spend time with my kids because I went on two reenactment weekends earlier (which was prearranged as the same events happen every year at the same times), in the year which was about 4 days in all. I have asked to make up the time but she has thus far refused. We have 50/50 care, but now she has put a claim in saying she wants it to be 67/33 in her favour. Accompanying this in an email with outrageous claims against me and mostly slander, as she was clearly aiming to catch the eye of some bleeding heart, which it clearly did. I was asked to provide proof that I did spend the time with my kids, which I did. Today I was told that the bleeding heart had decided against me and concluded that I somehow go to events once a month, which is impossible since there are no events once a bluddy month and only a couple of times a bluddy year!!!!!!! Not only that, she has also granted my ex one free weekend a month just so out of her own and completely bypassing, not only the Family Relationships Centre but also the Family Court system. Now isn’t that nice of her?!?! How is it that the CSA is allowed to employ these very clearly man hating, sexist, incompetent fools?!?! Tomorrow I will be putting in an official complaint, not that I think it will do any good, and then I will be calling a lawyer. Hopefully I can sue this woman directly, and if not then the CSA.

    My ex has also since May not paid a single cent in child support. I complained about this a few times but all I get are shoulder shrugs saying can’t do anything. Isn’t it lovely to be a mother in this country, seeing as they have all the rights and fathers have non!!

  14. Protest for fathers
    | Reply

    It seems all these posts are regarding fathers being treated like Rubbish. I would like to organise a protest at the centrelink in Sydney CBD. All fathers who would like to help organise please contact me here or email sonnytank2014@gmail.com
    Its time fathers took a stand against this rubbish

  15. Dan
    | Reply

    I make 82k a year on a contract meaning i dont get annual leave or sick pay. My ex partner makes 69k a year. I have my son 35% and she has 55% care. She is entitled to centrelink benefits where i am not. After tax and after benefits she makes more than i do. I pay $100 a week. But while i was unemployed between jobs she only had to pay $100 a month…… child support doesnt make sense at all. Why is the system so anti male. All this equality bs is being highlighted in Australia yet there is no equality for fathers. We just get dragged through the dirt. After i pay child support and after her benefits from centrelink she takes home 400 dollars more a week than i do. What does child support think when i have my son 35% of the time i dont buy him dinner? Lunch? Breakfast? Clothes? Toys? Why are fathers entitled to absolutely nothing!!! The court decided that i get 35% care….. not me! I wanted 50% but im forced to be broke because im a father. Her lawyer even said, dont worry, you will get primary care as you are the mother. So please tell me why good fathers are treated like crap? Punish the fathers that are crappy fathers. Not the ones who want to be a good parent!!!!

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There’s a bias towards “caution” throughout the court and child support systems at every turn. So you end up with children being handed to mothers and money being funneled in that direction. Little thought is ever given to the importance of treating fathers with decency. Fathers are incredibly important to the welfare of children. That point needs to be better understood by many people. The experience of fathers interacting with these systems is absolutely horrendous. When almost every process is tinged with bias against men, the total effect is like a tidal wave of injustice. It’s not intentional by the people involved, but it seem so stupid that they can’t recognise what they do.

  16. Louise
    | Reply

    Please explain how a Father (paying parent) is considered equal in Child Support matters. My partner is self employed and his income increased by $10k, we get a $1k debt. His ex (who has not done a tax return in 5 years and has been calculated on $14k income, yet we know for a fact she has been working – small town etc) finally did 1 Tax return for last year, income was in fact $20k over this estimate, yet we received no credit? How is that if my partner wants to improve our lifestyle and earn more , she automatically gets an increase to payments, yet when she does the same, we get nothing? So basically we have been overpaying this woman for the past few years, yet CSA call my partner a bad dad for not paying this debt? Your call centre needs training in empathy, and should not be calling my partner a bad dad, or telling him that he favours our 2 kids over his daughter, just because we cannot pay a $1k debt upfront, or miss a monthly payment (tradies unfortunately do not get paid weekly, fortnightly, etc)

  17. Lyla
    | Reply

    Hello there,
    My husband has a 16 year old son that he has been paying child support for since he was 2. We also have two children together who are 4yrs and 1yrs old. His Sons mother had 100% care. My husband works offshore and thethey get taxed at a really high rate. Last year before tax he earnt 100,000 but in actual fact we took home $67,000 as we had a very hard year with illness and a new baby etc. How can child support not look at what we as a family with yong children actually take home? Now we are having to pay $1200 a month for child support, which is around $15,000 a year! When we took home $67,000 this hardly seems fair! Do we just have to cop it till the child turns 18? It’s ridiculous and so frustrating. I understand the need for child support , I just don’t see how they can’t pay attention to what we as working families actually take home after tax.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Lyla – using pre-tax income generally makes sense from a scheme admin point of view, but it doesn’t work for all people (e.g. your husband). You’re obviously paying far too much. Child Support should look at your case and make an appropriate adjustment. That’s in their power, though they would probably deny it. They demonstrate little interest in fairness, with their practices geared towards maximising payments. Remember, though, that, these days, many parents still support their children financially well beyond 18. I’d presume that won’t happen in this case.

  18. Chris Clark
    | Reply

    First and foremost, I want to make sure I am doing what is right by my children. I have been paying child support consistently for over 2 years now, I have never missed a single payment, or been late to make a payment. I have done the right thing by keeping Child Support Australia updated on my income and care arrangements as they change.
    Keeping one step ahead of this agency is a next to impossible task, time and time again I try to do the right thing and am left punished financially and robbed of precious time. As a payer of an account I feel like I am in constant communication with CSA, I am consistently met with the challenges outlined below:
    • Consistently on hold for 20 minutes or longer every time I call 131 272, no matter what time or day or night I call. I have diarised records of 2 years of this.
    • Consistently takes the case worker between 40 minutes and 1 hour to process my request, no matter how simple or complicated the issue.
    • Calling me using a private number
    • Leaving messages on my voicemail with a lack of information about why CSA are calling me, voicemail says MyGov calling please call back on 131 272. No reason given.
    • An overload of useless, confusing and irrelevant letters and paper-based letters and documents delivered to me, even after I opted in to receive correspondence via MyGov.
    • Multiple Assessments (3 x) each time something is changed on the account. Including retrospective assessments 12 months old. Out of which, I have a pile of estimate paperwork in front of me and not one of the most recent set cover the current time period (I have no idea what my next monthly payment amount is.
    • Things happening beyond my control with no opportunity to respond or object before a change is made – for example,
    o setting up employer contributions with no valid reason (I was ahead on payments and had been consistently paying on time)
    o changing the amount, I am required to pay with unfounded and incorrect details provided by the payee
    o using my Tax refund to pay an outstanding amount BEFORE I have the chance to object.
    o entrapment by your staff and being coerced to confirm information such as conflicting care arrangement details
    • Being notified I owe additional child support money when I do not.
    • Being fined for an income estimate being out for a period of six months, when in fact over the whole year (it is a reasonable assumption that the estimate I gave was annual) the estimate was within 10% at the time it was given.
    • I provide an income estimate based on my salary only to have it adjusted to show more than what I actually earn, increasing my payments unfairly
    Basically, I am doing everything I can to keep CSA informed and up to date, yet time and time again I am treated like a criminal / dud Dad.

    Changes to any of the above practices would be welcomed from my end.

    Thanks for reading

  19. Emily
    | Reply

    Andrew,
    Emily here, I posted a while back and heeded your advice to get on with the job and disclose any relevant info to CSA in regards to an unfounded objection by my Ex that he had 50% care for period June to Dec 17. I applied for CSA in April 18, so the objection was outside CSA involvement. It was granted… resulting in credit of $272 to him. When I enquired why that was, nobody could answer and I am still awaiting a call back (gave up on that). During the 1st objection my Ex filed a 2nd objection, claiming he will have regular care going forward, including all school holidays and 3 extra days every Easter. I submitted my evidence on grounds of current orders and that no arrangements are made after Oct 18 but assuming contact in line with his daughters arrangements of half school holidays. Again, his objection was successful, resulting in decrease of CSA for me of $1200 a year. On a $0 income for me and (him $50500) I receive $68 per week for 2 growing boys, 8 and 10 where the older one needs probiotic supplements to prevent constipation… This alone costs $40 a fortnight. He is lactose intolerant and needs special milk and cheese, on top of that he is autistic and requires additional care. He will only eat certain types of food which I now cant afford. I asked for shoes, haircuts, clothes from my ex, pleaded with his mum. I was told the shoe shop was closed, no shoes.. nothing… He is currently $700 in arrears. My usual shop per week is about $200… I need to beg for food… eat their leftovers… the older one started keeping me some of his aside… This is so wrong… unethical on my ex and CSA’s part. My ex will probably complain next that the kids don’t get fed properly… cabbage soup 3 times a week… Yes, I can go to the appeals tribunal… another job…

    His ex lodged a change of assessment and his income in her case was adjusted to around $70.000. This of course does not carry over to my case. Got to lodge my own change of assessment.

    Questions:
    1. Is the responsible objections officer obliged to return calls? She never seems to be there when I ring or return any calls or replied / acknowledged emails. I was told that nothing can be done… when I got a tad emotional, my ability to care was questioned.

    2. According to CSA guidelines all information to an objection provided by a party is disclosed to the other party. During the 2nd objection information from relationships Australia was provided by the other party. I was told it was not relevant evidence for the decision of objection but is listed in my outcome letter as evidence that WAS considered. I did not receive that document as part of disclosure. I had to fight for every single piece of information… Can I still request the document even after the decision was reached or do I have to lodge a freedom of information request?

    Thanks for your time.

    Emily

  20. Andy
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Firstly, thanks for creating such a detailed, and intelligent (and dare I say ‘common sense’) site that highlights so much of what a lot of typical parents ‘trapped’ in the current Child Support model with that whole feeling of being stuck for years in an unfair system.

    Quick summary of my situation, separated for 3 years with three children under 15. In the year or two after separation I tried tirelessly to resolve our issues as I figured our kids deserved to grow up in a household with two fulltime parents. This in hindsight was a mistake as I now realise our issues were deeper than the standard ‘money\lifestyle\interpersonal’ problems that a lot of married couples eventually run into, and I’ve since moved on and am a much happier person these days, but during the time of trying to reconcile, I did what was in my mind the honourable thing and took on all of our combined debt (credit cards, car finance etc) to show my ex that I was making a real effort to resolve the financial issues that were affecting us in the first place. Mistake number one. Anyway I’m now stuck paying off a fairly large loan, and as part of that process, and the fact that I was only ‘allowed’ a few days a fortnight care of my kids, I took on a second job to help the repayments, and keep myself above board financially. Now of course that money is taken into consideration by Child Support for the assessment and I’m now paying a premium per month (around $1500) on top of almost $1000 in loan repayments because I decided to take on a second job and work hard to get ahead. I’ve also hit many roadblocks in my request to move to equal living arrangements as in my opinion the mother would lose out on too much child support as a result.

    So yeah, pretty much trapped at the moment. My options are basically to keep pushing for equal living arrangements to try and reduce my child support (still would be around $600 for equal custody, go figure!!), or to move out of my home and rent it to cover the mortgage, then quit my high paying job of 18 years and live off my second lower paid income and continue to pay the shared debt loan out. Obviously this would in the long run, reduce the standard of living for my kids, but I honestly am now looking at the second option as a viable one because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to cover all of my living costs on top of child support going forward.

    So that’s a very quick summary of the crap situation I have found myself in, all because my ex decided that the direction we were taking in life wasn’t to her liking.

    So getting back to the site, thanks again. It’s amazing to get on and start reading articles and watching the videos, and see so many examples that mirror what I’m going through (and obviously from some of the other posts, what a lot of other Aussies are going through also), but it’s also very frustrating to see that this ‘common sense’ analysis of how unfair a system we have is, that there is no real process that I’ve seen to fix it.

    So my question is this. Are we stuck in this system for the next 10 years of my daughters childhoods? Or is there real efforts underway to get they system reviewed in depth, and hopefully changed to one that doesn’t see a guy like me looking to drop $100k per annum (which then won’t be available to my kids) because it’s becoming very apparent that it may be my only option?
    What can I\you\we do, to get such a system scrapped or at least reformed, so these sorts of examples don’t happen. In the latest video you make very valid points about how Children lose out, and I am a very real world example of three kids in the system who could in the near future be losing out, all because it may become my best option to continue to live and pay the bills. So how do we start to get this looked at, and start to get real changes made?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your comments Andy. The system will change eventually, but I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen. It needs leadership from a senior minister. Part of the reason for the site is to start to educate the Government about what’s wrong and how easily it could be fixed. I think politicians probably see the issue as polarising / divisive and so don’t want to touch it. In the meantime, many Australians, including thousands of children, are paying the price for a terribly flawed system.

      In your case, would caution against lowering your income. Could affect your career long term. Also, Child Support could reinstate your old income for the purpose of calculating support amounts.

  21. Renee
    | Reply

    Hi, my husband incurred a child support debt, even though he had been paying weekly. Now that he has this debt child support are garnishing $357 a week from his wage. We have two dependent kids together (7 and 5). We are struggling financially with CS taking so much each week. Our previous payments were $130/week at the beginning of the year, rising to $275/week in May, and now we have to pay $357 (since the start of August). We are completely struggling every week, chosing which bills to pay and which we can not pay. CS are not budging on taking this much so we sent in an objection which was also rejected. Is there anything else we can do to reduce the payment? It’s just not affordable, we don’t live an extravagant lifestyle nor own a home (we rent), we currently can’t register our car because it’s not affordable at the moment.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Renee – doubt you could do much because Child Support made a deliberate decision to garnish his wage (so they’re unlikely to reverse that, even though they could easily). They don’t think twice about driving parents into bankruptcy (it’s for the kids remember). You’ll have to look at other financing options (e.g. get a loan from someone).

  22. Mary
    | Reply

    Hello, my friend with 2 girls, mistakenly thought he didn’t need to pay child support on a disabiity pension. He has to repay and is happy to do so. He spoke to child support 6mths ago and then this week, in response to notification of the need to repay and pay support, which he doing. He has his girls 30% of the time which CS was unaware of. He told them this at the initial call and again this week. They don’t have a record of this at the initial call (?) and won’t modify what is owed for the last 6mths. Can we do anything? Thankyou.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Mary – no you can’t do anything. It may not matter anyway, because he’d be on the minimum payment amount based on what you’ve indicated.

  23. Jules
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My husband pays child support ($650 per month) plus half of private school fees and school expenses. We have care of the children 50% of the time who are 11 and 13 years old. The children’s mother is now refusing to pay for basics – like runners, sport etc. Unless we also pay for half. We pay for everything here as well during our care. This really doesn’t seem fair – if we don’t pay, the kids miss out.
    Thanks for your advice,
    Jules

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Jules – each household should be paying for about 50% of things overall (because you have 50:50 care). Take some credit for the money you guys pay by spending on the kids directly for the small stuff like clothes. If she wants you to cover 50% of costs for everything, then you take control of spending decisions and ask her to provide reimbursement.

  24. Jess
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I was wondering where I stand if I am collecting child support privately and my ex-husband wants to take a few holidays on his own. We currently have an arrangement for our daughter to spend two nights a week at his house and every second weekend, the rest of the time she is with me. Am I entitled to ask for more child support if he isn’t going to be out of Australia for a few weeks and if he refuses to pay an extra amount, because we have a private arrangement do I have a leg to stand on?
    Thanks so much

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  25. Ian Bassanelli
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  26. Rachel
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  27. Julie
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  28. Raine
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  29. Brandon
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  30. em
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  31. Joanne
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Seems like a matter for the ATO.

  32. Brett Dalton
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Her time, her responsibility.

  33. Lu
    | Reply

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

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

    Thankyou

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  34. Chris
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  35. Brett
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

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

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

  36. John Woods
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  37. Matt
    | Reply

    Hi,

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

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

  38. Ryan
    | Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

  39. Anonymous
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

  40. Eseta. H
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Eseta,

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

  41. Damien
    | Reply

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

  42. Damien
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Damien,

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

  43. Geoff
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  44. Emily
    | Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you for your time,

    Emily

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Emily,

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

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

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

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

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

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

  45. Jennifer
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Jennifer,

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

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

  46. Jane
    | Reply

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

  47. AmNad
    | Reply

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

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

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi AmNad,

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

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

  48. ROCO
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew (from CSA Forum)

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

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

    Thank you for this forum it is very helpful.

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for feedback Roco.

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

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

  49. Raymond
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  50. Chris
    | Reply

    Hi

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

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

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

    what are my rights here?

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Chris,

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

  51. Andrew
    | Reply

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

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

  52. TA
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  53. Kayla Zarebski
    | Reply

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

  54. Carl Stanojevic
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  55. Michael
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  56. Kevin Pearson
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  57. adam
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  58. Steve
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  59. Kath
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  60. remianinganon18
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

  61. remianinganon18
    | Reply

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

  62. Lisa
    | Reply

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

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

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

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

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

  63. Dave
    | Reply

    Hello all,

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

    Regards

    Dave Fitzgerald

  64. Michael
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

  65. Simon
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

  66. Dave
    | Reply

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

    Regards

    Dave Fitzgerald

  67. Dave
    | Reply

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

    Regards

    Dave

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

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

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

  68. Dave
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  69. Dave
    | Reply

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

    Regards

    Dave

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  70. anon062018
    | Reply

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

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

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

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

    Thanks for your time and consideration.

  71. W
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

  72. Zac
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  73. CSP Victim # 9274852
    | Reply

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

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  74. Joe
    | Reply

    Hi,

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

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

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

  75. Tim
    | Reply

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

  76. JD
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  77. Jerry
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  78. Nicole
    | Reply

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

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

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

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

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

  79. RB
    | Reply

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

  80. Brendon
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  81. Emma
    | Reply

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

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

    Anyone got any tips?

  82. R
    | Reply

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

  83. Casper
    | Reply

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

  84. Casper
    | Reply

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

  85. Soni
    | Reply

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

  86. David
    | Reply

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

  87. D
    | Reply

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

  88. Leanne
    | Reply

    This system is a farce.

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

  89. C.T
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

  90. Dan
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Dan,

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

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

  91. AC
    | Reply

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

  92. Marty
    | Reply

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

  93. Jimmy
    | Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

  94. Vanessa Hood
    | Reply

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

  95. Vern.
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

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

  96. Brendan
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Brendan,

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

      • Brendan
        | Reply

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

  97. Stephen Little
    | Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Very unfortunate Stephen.

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

  98. wayne
    | Reply

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

  99. Remy
    | Reply

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

    • Ann
      | Reply

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

  100. Aneta
    | Reply

    Living overseas but paying like Australian

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

    • Ann
      | Reply

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

  101. LT
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

    • PainfulHelen
      | Reply

      Hi LT

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

  102. Norm
    | Reply

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  103. PainfulHelen
    | Reply

    Private School Fees and Other Stuff

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

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

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

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

      • PainfulHelen
        | Reply

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

  104. Casper
    | Reply

    Reform is Needed

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Casper,

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

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

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

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

      • FE
        | Reply

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

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

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

        • mm
          Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          FE,

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

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

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

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

  105. Mike
    | Reply

    Problems with Overpayments

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

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

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

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

    • mm
      Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your feedback Mike.

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

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

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