CSA complaint.

CSA Complaints Forum

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

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

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

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

16 Responses

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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