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1632 Responses

  1. Mr Paul mayes
    | Reply

    Hi.

    My ex moved back to the UK with our children which is very difficult .

    We had a verbal agreement when she left however she has since gone through child support and I am now paying more than a dual income family in the UK . she is also getting state benefits which means and not working.

    I have been assessed on the Australian system.

    If I did a calculation based on the UK system I would be paying over 1400 less per month.

    I am more than happy to support my kids and want what’s best for them but the money I am currently paying is crippling me aa I have debts to pay off from when we were married. I have tried to do a coa but it was rejected because the CSA believe I have enough to live on. I’m now living in a bad area struggling to make ends meet and start a new life . is there anything I can do ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Other than moving to the UK, not much you can do I’m afraid. UK system is more realistic than what we have in Australia.

  2. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My husband is the payer of child support to his ex. His income has increased from $55k to $130k with a new job he started earlier this month. He has gone online to CSA to change it and provide an estimate, but it says to only lodge one if his income is 15% or more lower than the actual income for the last financial year. Does this mean that we leave the increased amount for now and it will work itself out for the next assessment period next year? Or should I get him to call them to adjust it? We don’t want to end up owing his ex thousands of dollars come tax time….
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      STOP!!!! Do nothing. You don’t have to tell Child Support when your income goes up. Doing so just means he will pay more this financial year.

      He might be underpaying from July 1 2021 until he does his tax return. But that’s hardly worth worrying about at this stage.

  3. Stacy Leitch
    | Reply

    My husband has 3 children we have been paying child support for 10 years. We have a consent order in place from back then, as she was with holding the kids. We have had them 5 days a fornight since then, give or take a few times she has kept them. We have been paying 100% csa for the older 2 over the last 4 years as they have stopped coming. The third child (15 years) moved in with us 2 months ago fulltime, he does not want to be with his mother. She is disputing care, even though she has made no attempt to see, or contact him. CSA are still garnishing my husbands wages and paying it to her. We were told they would make a care decision on the 18/11 after we proved he was living with us. We have now been told she is filing for mediation and getting her court order (consent order) re-instated by the court. Why are we paying financial assistance for a child we are caring for? And what can we do about the situation? Conveniently when my husband calls CSA his case worker is unavailable, no one can answer his questions, and no one will return his calls

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sounds like very dodgy behaviour by Child Support. This would never happen in a million years if the genders were reversed.

      Some things you could try: Keep putting in estimates of the care level along with evidence. Ask for a review of the case by a senior officer. Put in a Change of Assessment application.

      What they are doing won’t stand up to scrutiny. Be polite but don’t let them get away with it.

  4. Name withheld
    | Reply

    Mother is refusing father to see his child, it has been 50 50 since they split up, will not let him see 2 year old without her being there. Waiting for mediation but it is a wait 🙁 and then she will wait till it goes to court, it may take till next year, does she have the right and what can father do? She is on centerlink does he still have to pay? How can she get away with this? It is hurting the child and so many other people.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      When a parent is preventing access, everything can be sped up. Tell the mediator that the situation is urgent and they must issue a notice of mediation failure if the mother refuses to show up or cooperate. Put in an application for parenting orders, including interim orders. 5 minutes before a judge might be enough for the judge to agree to make interim parenting orders if the orders being sought are reasonable. This is a time when paying for a lawyer is worthwhile.

  5. Sim
    | Reply

    Hi there
    My ex has zero custody of our child.
    Our child is legally blind & has additional needs. Year after year he claims to have a taxable income of $0 via the taxation department. I know for a fact that his business is thriving, he has new cars & is in the best financial position possible. I know that because until recently I worked there. It seems so unfair that he gets away with bit providing for his daughter & additional needs.
    He pays the bare minimum per month, which is lucky to over a t-shirt & pair of socks. I’d appreciate any possible advice on the above.
    Thanks in advance

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not much you can do under the current scheme. You would need to provide Child Support with detailed, reliable info about his hidden earnings.

      This problem would be solved if our proposal were implemented of having benchmark income levels for payers.

  6. Kylie
    | Reply

    Hello Andrew,
    I have a question about the “Cap” on child support payments. My husband and I separated a year ago and I have always been the main breadwinner and because I can earn a high income, I could work part-time and still provide adequately for the family. Now, however, I am liable for the highest level of child support for 2 kids aged 9 and 12 (in a 50:50 care arrangement) as he has ‘zero’ income and intends to live off centrelink and child support. He will be very well looked after in our financial split and a lumpsum in spousal maintenance. Because I also take care of their private school fees and extras (books, uniforms, sport, music – as he claims he cannot afford it), I will only just be scraping by to earn the 230K (and pay the cap amount of child support). I am willing to work hard for my children and could increase my income more, but I have been told by friends that he can ask for a COA so that the cap doesn’t apply? Is this true? I feel if that’s the case, I will never be able to get ahead again. I am starting my life and finances over almost from scratch.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support follow a formula that has maximum amounts (caps effectively). But they don’t really have another way of working out how much payments should be. I don’t believe you would be in any danger of being asked to regularly pay more than the maximum.

      The rules for COA assessments are mostly strict. You might only encounter a problem if you reduced your income intentionally and that affected the amount payable under the formula.

  7. Ron
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I got a call from CSA today. The lady started to ask for my personal information and refused to tell me what is the call about. I wasn’t comfortable giving my private information to a stranger calling my number as I could not say for sure she was indeed from CSA. I asked her to either send me a letter or send a message via MyGov site with the details of what she wanted to discuss. She refused to do so. She said she will send me call them by X of December.

    Do I really have to call them if they refuse to give details of what they want to talk about? Can I ignore this letter?

    Thanks,
    Ron.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yeah – it’s weird when someone rings you and asks you to provide personal details. But they need to confirm identity.

      You can choose whether or not you talk to them on the phone. You can play the game and just get info out of the call if you are able to keep your cool. If they start asking questions you’re uncomfortable answering, I agree with your approach of asking them to put it in writing. Information you supply on the phone may be used against you.

      When dealing with CSA, you should be courteous but, at the same time, freely divulging info about your situation doesn’t have much upside.

  8. Jack
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Are you able to tell me if my CS payments will be affected if I were to receive a redundancy package from my employer. I pay CS monthly and have done without fail every month, however I am wondering if i was to get a redundancy will this make my payments rise?
    Also if I was to take a redundancy package then was employed months later, will that redundancy be added to my bew salary amount and i pay child support on that whole amount. For instance if i am paid out $60,000 and my bew salary is $80,000, will my CS payments be based only on the $80,000 or the combined amount of $140,000?
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Anything that adds to income can affect child support, including redundancy payments. But you don’t have to inform Child Support that your income will be inflated this year. And you can put in an estimate at the start of the next financial year to ensure your payments won’t go up after submitting your tax return.

  9. Kathleen
    | Reply

    My partner has 0% of his two children aged 12 and 17 due to the mother constantly moving the children around the state. He pays approx $1700 per month in child support. His ex recently moved away from the children – approx 1000km – the youngest is living with the step dad and the eldest is living with a friend and her mum. We have asked the children to come live with us but they chose not to. We advised child support that she has 0% care now however she has disputed this. Child support has asked us to provide evidence that the mother does not have care of the child. Child Support considers “Care” as emotional and financial support. We may still have to pay the $1700 per month to their mother even though she doesn’t have the children in custody because she is stating she still cares for them and provides financial assistance (like a boarding school situation). She only earnt $30K last year and wouldn’t be able to provide financial assistance on this wage as she needs to support herself. We want to pay the child support directly to the eldest to help her through school and want to pay the step father directly for looking after the younger, however Child Support won’t allow us to do this. Has anyone else had this issue???? And how does the determination of the % now work?? My partner can provide as much parenting now that she can – so should this be 50/50??????

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – Other people have had this issue. She has 100% care based on the info you’ve provided. Your partner has 0% care since all the care is provided through arrangements set up by the mother. You can’t claim a care % because you don’t like how the other parent is managing / delegating their care responsibilities.

  10. Shaun
    | Reply

    If my ex partner shares my tax return information to third parties is that breaking the law?

    After a new assessment I had my taxable income shared with a third party from my ex which has caused me financial loss.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t know the legalities but I don’t think your ex is going to jail anytime soon over sharing info about your annual income. Most people’s income can be guessed or estimated just from knowing what job they do.

  11. Hans
    | Reply

    Hi
    We had an informal arrangement for 50/50 care and 50/50 expenses for our girls with me paying child support via CSA. Due to undeclared capital gains being picked up by the ATO.My ex has to repay me appox 5k in overpayments.CSA are withholding my payments to my ex until its cleared.My ex is now refusing to pay half expenses for school medical bills etc beacuse of not recieving child support anymore. What are my options? Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hard to answer. Parents need to sort out spending between themselves – somehow. With school fees, you might be able to split the account. You can also claim private school fees in a Change of Assessment.

      Best policy is normally to take care of different things so that you’re not constantly having to cooperate over dollars and cents. You could offer to cover something (e.g. school-related expenses) if your ex covers other stuff (e.g. minor medical or dental expenses). This is really getting into the territory of parenting agreement negotiations.

  12. Cathryn
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My ex was not paying child support when on private so I changed to CSA collect. After almost a year I began to receive some child support which stopped within 2 months. I have been told that he was fired. However, he worked for a business owned by his parents and I know that he still works there currently. He told me that now he doesn’t get “paid” to work there and that the accountant had set it up so that this is legal. Is there any thing I can do? This doesnt seem fair.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8 – Earning Capacity). I expect you would win and they would restore his income to it’s former level for 2-3 years.

  13. Steve H
    | Reply

    Hi there, I am in a 50/50 care arrangement with my soon to be ex-wife (separated a year filing for divorce currently) and am paying child support through private collect at the same amount that the csa calculator says. On top of that I am paying for 50 percent of daycare fees as the kids are in daycare 3 days a week. Is this correct or am I within my rights to say that this amount or a percentage of should be factored into the child support I pay her? I pay a fairly high amount to her weekly because I earn a decent income and she is claiming full government benefits and would like to get some form of reprieve to better things on my end.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You shouldn’t normally share the costs of daycare. Only one parent is responsible for a child at a time. Who has “custody” during the day?

      The simplest and safest way to go is for each of you to cover your own costs and avoid shared expenses as much as possible.

  14. Receiving arrears long after a child has turned 18
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    My ex partner didn’t submit tax returns for 7 years. He ended up owing me $14,000 child support. I have received $8,000 so far.My daughter is now 23 so I no longer received ftb. Would you know if I will have to repay ftb on any arrears lump sums I receive. I have called csa but they didn’t seem to know.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I doubt you would be required to repay FTB after so many years. Like the CSA, I can’t say that definitively. Depends on the rules and the ability of the system to reconcile everything over time.

  15. Leonore
    | Reply

    Hello, I have recently had child support changed to 100% my care and 0% for my ex husband. Our daughter lives with me solely now. Therefore his child support payments have increased. We have a private arrangement where he pays me fortnightly directly into my account. He now says he cannot pay the entire amount of the new sum. What can I do to ensure he does?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A very sad situation where a father and daughter are no longer spending time with each other.

      To get the extra money, you could forget the private agreement and have Child Support (the Dept of Social Services) collect the funds for you. The risk is that this would further disenfranchise the father and maybe cause him to avoid paying in other ways, such as by earning less in the future.

  16. Concerned
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for this forum. My fiance is a parent of 2 boys, 9 and 5 years old. He has been separated from the boys mother for 4 1/2 years and has been very responsible with paying child support in full and on time. His relationship with her is not amicable, and recently after an argument over sunscreen, his ex-partner dropped her income from $126K to $0 overnight, which has more than doubled my fiance’s child support from approx $800 per month to more than $1600. She was previously “employed” by her new partner (of approx 3 1/2 years) business. She has previously threatened several times (in writing) to do this each time they have a disagreement. She hjas no reason to not be working, she is currently studying but has been for the past 3 years. She has no health conditions and the children are in full time school and Kindergarten (due to start full time school next year).
    We have lodged a COA to CSA stating Reason 8 (capacity to earn), however have just spoken to CSA who have advised that she has stated her reason for dropping her income is that she is fully supported by her new partner. We believe she has said that she has potentially been “let go” from the company, and can now be supported by her partner hence not needing to return to work.
    The children want for nothing – they have jet skis, quad bikes, dirt bikes and are spoiled with expensive items and holidays regularly.
    Does she have an obligation to return to work when there is no reason other than “not needing to because her partner is supporting her” when clearly she has made this adjustment to income to spite my partner?
    I should also mention that she has requested to set up a private financial agreement with us, so that CSA would not be involved (which would mean her income would not be taken into account when calculating child support payments). We have recently discovered that her new partner has done the same request for a private agreement with his previous partner and mother to his child to whom he pays child support.

    Thanks so much for any advice you have!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sounds like you have a slam dunk case with the COA. Parents are expected to provide for their children. Being supported by a partner is no excuse at all for stopping work and not looking for work.

      COA decisions only last for a limited period of time (e.g. 2 years). So you should seriously look at the offer of a private agreement.

  17. Tanya
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    For 5 years I have had the majority share of care for my son ranging between 57-70% care. I have never formally asked for child support through the system because I felt it would negatively affect our ability to co-parent. I saw my ex deal with his ex with CSA and it drove a wedge that never recovered. So for now we split outside costs (i.e. school fees, medical expenses) 50/50 and no other financial support is provided.

    Recently, we found out our son has a chronic illness and because of that expenses have gone right up. I still have a greater percentage of care, and his father is often working late even when he does have care of him, so if anything I would like more care rather than less.

    This week I asked him to consider financial support along with a change of our percentage of payments in order to help with the finances. I told him how much I make, and did a CS estimate based on us making the same amount, but I expect he makes more than me. He has since refused to tell me how much he makes and now is saying he wants 50/50 custody if that means he doesn’t have to pay me. I worry that he’s just focused on the money and not the care of our son and his best interests.

    Should I just forget trying to work it out together in a friendly way and apply for child support through the system or is it better to keep trying to work together outside of the system?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Tanya,

      This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the payment levels and reactions of your ex. Trying to work things out informally is a good option because, as you’re experiencing, the child support formula creates a race to the bottom, with each parenting gaining by reducing their income or getting a higher care %.

      I suspect your ex would be significantly worse off if you apply for child support. That gives you leverage to negotiate something fair for both of you. I would probably be tougher in negotiating since you seem to have the stronger hand.

  18. Leon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Up until very recently I had a private collection with my ex. I paid the amount CSA formulated on top of school fees (private), health care, uniforms and some extra curricular activities.

    The amount CSA formulated recently seemed very high so I questioned it and tried to negotiate with the ex a fair amount. Her argument was that she never asked me to pay any of those things (health, orthodontics etc)
    She has now went to CSA and they are saying I’m in debt 3 months of child support and there’s nothing I can do.
    How can 1. She be allowed to go back 3 months when we’ve had a private agreement for 5 years.
    2. Why can private school fees not be included in CSA calculations? Yes we both agreed many years ago… but she gets a massive subsidy on her half with a health care card.
    3. Can health and extra curricular activities be included to reduce how much I pay? (I’ve uploaded supporting documents for the last three months.)
    Do I just upload receipts every time I pay for something? How often do CSA reassess each case. Do I physically need to tell them I’ve uploaded these proof of extra payments or do they get notified and readjust accordingly?

    My advice from CSA was just don’t pay these things any more… the sad thing is the only people who will now miss out are my two children if that was the case.
    I was also warned that if she did go to CSA she would have the upper hand which it does seem to be now.

    I’m sorry to go on. The system is great in some peoples circumstances whicb o can see but I just feel there’s some massive flaws…

    Anyway any advice appreciated a caring father.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The advice you got from Child Support seems about right.

      Child support is just a cash transfer from one parent to the other based on incomes and care levels. It’s mostly up to the parents to sort out everything else from there.

      You can get credit for payments to the other parent that were obviously meant as a form of child support. Your half of private school fees doesn’t count since this is discretionary, non-essential spending that you agreed to.

      Unless you have 0% care, you’re expected to pay for things beyond your child support payments. If you feel your financial contribution is far too much, then just go easy on the spending and, hopefully, the other parent will do the right thing and be more generous. But stop spending money with the expectation that you should get something beyond the benefit to the kids.

  19. L
    | Reply

    My ex-partner claims that the Child Support has been deducted from his salary prior to him receiving the remainder of his salary last month. The Child Support is being withheld by his employer and then paid to CSS. We had a change of assessment on the 1st of October increasing the Child Support. The due date was on the 7th of November, though it is overdue now. What can I do to recover the Child Support, apart from CCS that claims they wait until the end of the month to further enquire? That’s an excessive to me, though I cannot seem to regain a clear answer. I don’t think it would be wise of me to call his employer or call him out on a lie perhaps. Please advise.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not your responsibility to chase this up. Why are you talking to your ex about child support payments? No need for it.

      You should always have some funds set aside so that you can easily handle any delays in receiving child support payments.

  20. Jill
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    Currently my ex and I share the children 50/50 and I pay him child support. He has requested that we increase my care percentage (to maybe 70/30 or 80/20), as a result I would be paying less child support. We currently share their private school fees and I believe that if he stopped paying his share that it would reduce his child support payments, but if the cost of his half of the fees was more than the child support amount he was receiving, and he stopped paying the fees, would he have to pay me child support due to my having to cover the entire school fee costs? We have both signed the enrolment forms.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He would definitely be paying you child support if your care % goes above 65%. You can check using the calculator on this site.

      Private schooling (and the associated fees) is normally a private matter unrelated to child support. If you both agreed for it to happen, you should be paying half each or whatever else you agree. It’s not something that’s automatically linked to child support payments.

      But you can also apply for a Change of Assessment to force a parent to contribute towards a few things such as private school fees. The normal starting point for a payment decision is 50:50 but they can make adjustments if there is a large difference in incomes.

  21. Steph
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    If one parents is paying child support and the other parent decides they want to send the children to a private school and the paying parent says they won’t be responsible for the school fees. Then years later the receiving parent decides they can no longer afford the fees due to their own changing circumstances, is this the problem of the paying parent when they have been paying child support for the entire time of the kids schooling and never agreed to paying the school payments from day one? It was also made very clear by the paying parent that they would not be contributing to private school fees when there was nothing wrong with the public school close by.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If only one parent wants private schooling, that becomes a personal spending decision of that parent. Hence, the other parent is not responsible for paying fees. You may need evidence to prove this if both parents signed enrolment forms.

  22. Amy
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I now have over $28000 outstanding in child support due to non payment, child support agency are doing nothing to recover, they have his address, but don’t know where he works, really, it’s the Australian government and they can’t find that out! Is there any other way to recover what is outstanding? They let him get away with it.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      See the video above: 4 Child Support Recommendations. There’s not much you can do and we have recommended that the Govt address the problem of accumulating payer debt.

  23. Finances don't cover cost of living
    | Reply

    My ex has moved my children far away from home and enrolled them in private schooling at $8000 per year. I feel this is a ploy until final orders are made as her income is less than 20k and she also has a rental, family hospital cover, private swimming lessons. Its great they are getting all this but unless she is getting cash work her figures don’t add up at all. Can this be investigated?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Spending a lot on children isn’t something Child Support will have a problem with. So, no – it’s not something to be investigated.

      Whether you may be forced to help pay for things like private schooling depends on whether you have agreed to it.

  24. Sharlene
    | Reply

    Hello, I’m hoping to get some advice as I am in a really tricky situation. I separated from my husband 10 months ago due to his abuse & alcohol abuse. I have 3 children aged 7,9&11. Due to safety risks he put the children at during visits I now care for them full time. The father has refused to help support the children with child support payments & on paper earns $26,000 per annum however I have evidence in bank statements that he has earned over $70,000 & has been claiming benefits he is not entitled to. As much as I want to sort this with the father it has just become impossible & I am really struggling to provide for my 3 children by myself. Please can you offer me any advice
    Thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The child support system is in place to take care of things for you. You don’t have to manage your ex, especially since you have 100% care. You have financial problems to deal with but I wouldn’t be looking to your ex to be the solution. Payments sometimes arrive with a long delay after tax returns are completed.

  25. Bob
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I pay CS for two teen girls from my first marriage. When I split from her the youngest had only just been conceived. I was new to Australia at that time. I have never seen my girls from my first marriage, they are in the past now.

    I moved states and took up a partnership with a woman who already had a baby son to someone else. Within 8 months we conceived our first child together and the rest is history…we have married and currently have seven kids between us and her eldest son (also a teen).

    Could you please tell me how I can get CS to see and validate this oldest son as my dependent? And how can I include him in my CS assessments?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As far as I’m aware, step kids aren’t part of the child support system. You would have to adopt for him to be considered a dependent.

  26. Greg
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    You are doing an amazing job and so thank you!!

    Is health insurance considered a prescribed non-agency payment? CSA have referred the question to policy support?

    And I have purchased my daughter a laptop from the school book list for high school next year. Can I prepay uniform or anything else.. Maybe i buy the school books too?

    Thanks in advance,

    Greg

  27. Olivia
    | Reply

    Hello just wondering – do you have to pay extra child support when the percentage of care changes due to your ex partner withholding your children?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Generally yes – Child Support only care about the actual care level. But there is a delay of some months before a new care % is recognised when a parenting order is in place.

  28. Matt
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Question on Private School Fees:
    50/50 care of children. Should private school fees be shared 50/50 out of pocket? My ex partner is trying to claim that I must pay more as she has access to a healthcare card to reduce the fees but will get the school to invoice me at a higher rate if I do not pay for the kids lap tops in full.
    I heard that if I pay more out of pocket, it can be considered a non agency collect payment if it was via the agency. However we have a private arrangement.
    Advice?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If it’s outside the child support system, there are no rules. What happens depends on negotiations, the agreement in place, and whether you are willing and able to enforce the agreement.

      Parents often go 50/50 with private school fees. But they don’t have to. Child Support decisions may account for the differing incomes of the parent to arrive at an unequal split.

  29. alex
    | Reply

    Help
    My ex has quit his job and now won’t pay child support. What do I do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Maybe search this forum and elsewhere for “Reason 8” and “Change of Assessment”. You haven’t provided enough detail for me to comment further.

  30. Thanks
    | Reply

    LB
    Hi Andrew, I have read through this forum and I haven’t come across anything like our case. So, my (now)wife split from her ex husband who was and still is a well established chiropractor. After they seperated they came to an agreement on how many nights he would have the children and also the amount on how much he would help out with money and things were great between them for sometime. Fast forward a bit, I come along and so does his/chiropractors new partner. Once she was in the picture it changed dramatically. He stopped paying the agreed cs, and started demanding more nights with his 2 children but the issue was he was living out of his clinic. Fast forward a little more and his new partner moved here from intersate after a month of being together and bought their first property. For sometime afterwards my wife didn’t get any cs, he just paid for their daughters sport. FF again and the last 4 years my wife was getting a mere $30 a month for 2 children she had almost most of the time. 1 for 100% of the time and their daughter for 70% of the time as they, (ex&partner) moved interstate. Now for the past 10 months our daughter decided she would live with her dad and is there now. The ex called cs the very next day after our daughter arrived there and advised them of the change. We weren’t aware of this till months later because suddenly we my wife gets a call saying she owes back pay, and is to pay $450 a fortnight in cs going fourth. This is after him saying he won’t go for cs. This is based on him earning 25,000 a year. All his earnings he puts in his wife’s name through their trust. How is it he is allowed to get away with this and is there any other avenues we can take other than COA’s. Absolute BS!!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Looks like the other couple have really done a number on you. Child Support only really care about current care levels and taxable income. I don’t think I can add much to be honest since you seem to be well aware of your options. Increasing the care % would obviously help. For a COA, you need to be specific about what you are claiming and have supporting evidence. Be concise.

  31. Joe
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    The average cost of raising a child in 2019 was 170 dollars a week for a middle income. At the moment my partner limits my visitations to my 13year old daughter to less than 1 night per week so she can claim 100% care I am paying $413 per week and have asked for an agreed amount of $250 to $300 per week explaining to my partner I could be injured or unable to work but can always afford to pay the agreed amount and this may stop using a child to benefit financially, however unfortunately I am currently seeking parenting orders through the courts.
    My main concern is if my income lowers due to my choice (Not working as much or lengthy holiday etc) so that the CSA assessment is close to the $250/$300 per week mark or even if I become ill or injured with no income is there a risk of still paying over $400 per week as my income has not changed for 4 years, I strongly believe in supporting your child financially and would welcome a fairer more realistic system I am sure the courts and mainly the children would too.
    Many Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you lower your income deliberately, there is a risk of the other parent applying for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8 – Earning Capacity) and, after the review, your income being set to its former level for a certain period of time (e.g. 2 years). A COA process will almost certainly go against you if there is any documented evidence that child support could be a motivating factor for you to reduce income.

  32. Natalie
    | Reply

    Hi my husband pays child support for his 16 year old who lives 100% with her mother, and now her boyfriend has moved into there house too, which the mum would be getting funds from him for rent ect…does my husband have to still pay full child support if his daughters boyfriend is living with her/ them ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – partner income / support is irrelevant.

  33. Miriam
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My ex works as a supervisor in gas and has earnt up to $280k for many years now but each year tries everything under the sun to not pay child support including paying late, missing months at a time, falsifying his income, claiming to not work and not lodging tax returns etc. Each time he has been caught and had to pay back pay but somehow this year he has claimed he is only earning $40k. This information has come through the ATO. He is still working offshore so this is a vast, vast underestimation of his earnings.
    It has been suggested that I lodge a change of assessment and that all my financial information will be required as well.
    My question is, if my circumstances haven’t changed in the last 6 years and my updates and taxes etc are always lodged and my earnings correct, then why am I having to provide information? Any CS officer can easily see his history and see the lengths he has gone to every year, so why is that not enough to be grounds to undertake a review of his earnings?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support ask for lots of financial info in the hope of discovering anomalies, hidden income sources, etc. Most of it isn’t relevant to the assessment review. Nothing will happen if you don’t supply all of it, though you do want to at least appear cooperative.

  34. Kathleen
    | Reply

    I have been bringing up my own child who is now 17years old. My ex husband has been paying only $25per month and only bothers to see my son once every 6 months, even though he claims 25% parenting. He has not done is tax returns for 16 years and claims an extimated income. I am assuming that he is waiting until my son turns 18 before he does his tax returns on the belief he will not have to pay anything. It would certainly be nice for my son to receive something before his starts University in a year. What are my rights? And how does someone get away with not doing their tax for so long?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You should change your care level, which can be done online. The debt will remain until paid.

      We have policy proposals that would prevent people from getting away with not submitting tax returns or leaving debts unpaid. These are simple and would be extremely effective. But not much you can do at the moment apart from things like going to court.

  35. Colin
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I lodged 3 estimates in the last FY which were all accepted and processed by CSA. My combined estimates were in excess of my adjusted taxable income per my tax return. The ex is now seeking an extension of time to lodge an objection to the ‘acceptance of the estimates’. The law seems to be clear that the estimate is an election of the parent that is required to be processed by CSA, though CSA can decide to refuse to process it in certain circumstances (which did not happen). I’m struggling to see how processing an estimate as directed in the law can be a ‘decision’ that can be objected to? If I’m wrong, is the decision to be reconsidered then looked at with the benefit of hindsight – ie circumstances that changed later?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Agree that everything happens automatically. If an income estimate is too low, that gets cleaned up by an adjustment after the tax return is lodged. Child Support normally do not have to go around policing income estimates.

      Your ex can object but that doesn’t mean the objection will get anywhere.

  36. Dyl
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, i have a daughter and I’m not with her mother(she has a new partner and another child) I currently have a partner (she has 2 kids) plus we have a baby on the way, currently i am paying $600 a month in child support and the mother doesn’t let me see my daughter. I know i have to pay support to my child but given that i also have 2soon to be 3 other dependants, plus the ex also has a partner and another child, should i be paying that much?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Your payments will reduce a bit after the baby comes along. Child support calculations only factor in the parents and the kids of those parents. Partners, step-children, etc. are not part of it.

  37. TAMARA
    | Reply

    Hi My ex is earning about $ 20 000 for the tax and I beleive he is earning more for the joint ABN.I only receive less than $50 per month 2 kids.I beleive ex is not disclosing the correct income.How can I get child support agency to chase this.They ask me to provide his employers details which I don’t know.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8 – Earning Capacity). But the process probably won’t work for you if they lack info on his financials and he refuses to cooperate.

  38. Will
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I have recently received a new COA from CS which as a result now has me paying $1000/month when our kids are in 50/50 care and have been for the last 10 years. This latest increase is due to my ex-partner not working due to health issues but she is receiving insurance payments i’m led to believe. She is also working for her new husband from home as well as breeding/selling dogs for cash on the side. Is there anything i can do to report her as i believe her work from home and dog breeding are cash based? Also, am i able to request evidence on where my CS payments are being spent??

    Thanks in advance,

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No and no are the answers to your questions. Reporting her for earning cash on the side won’t lead anywhere. And child support recipients are under no obligation to justify how they spend the money.

  39. Matt
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My ex has decided to start an at home business doing some beauty works. This is a complete shift from her previous employment as an Education Assistant.
    She has quit her job and her new partner is helping support her whilst she gets established. During this period, my CS obligation has significantly increased due to her asking for a new assessment as unemployed and claiming all available benefits.
    We have 3 kids, youngest is 7.5 and we have 50/50 care.
    Is there anything I can do here to reduce my CS to support her new venture?
    Cheers, Matt.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Your only option would be to apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8 – Earning Capacity). It’s quite a process. You would need to convince Child Support that her decision to quit her job was, at least in part, motivated by a desire to affect child support.

  40. Adam
    | Reply

    G’day I would like to take legal action against CS, as they are making me pay 54% care for my children to the mother who is lucky to want to see them once a fortnight and then it’s only for a couple of hours. The children live between myself and their Grandmother when im at work. The grandmother has applied for CS and we have a private agreement in place for one child but CS wont allow her to claim for both as the mother will go without this has been going on for six years and CS side with the mother and because I work I have to pay. I pay for everything for the kids school fees alone are $450 pm, the mother helps with nothing and refuses to work and claims she has mental illness due to drug abuse which she is supposed to go to rehab as a court order but wont go, the money I pay doesn’t go toward the kids it just funds her lifestyle, I am trying to buy a house and the CS payments are affecting my borrowing capacity, do you know of any Solicitors who may be able to assist me with this.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I suggest you narrow your focus onto the actual issue here, which seems to be that the grandmother is only able to apply for child support for one of the children and not both. You haven’t provided much detail on that, so can’t really give advice.

      Most of what you’ve written is irrelevant to improving the situation. And, frankly, taking legal action against CS just seems like a bad idea.

  41. Eden
    | Reply

    I just moved here in Australia last February 2020 I got separated with my Australian ex-husband last year we made all our settlement agreement in HK last year (since we are living in HK that time) about financial settlement and financial support for the kids. I have 2 kids with him age 6 and 4, since May 2020 he stops sending financial support for the children and never follows the settlement agreement we made last year. He is still living in HK until now. I am a Filipina and I don’t know anything about the law here in Australia. Is it right that father cannot be chase about his neglected responsibility to the children because he is not living in Australia? even though he is visiting Occasionally here in Australia to his other relatives and first family. Please please I need your help desperately.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t know really. This is a complicated legal question that depends on the terms of your settlement. You could try applying for child support in Australia and see how far you get with that.

  42. Jack
    | Reply

    Hi, I pay a large amount of child support to my ex. My current wife and I have had a baby and she is now on leave without pay. Is there any scope to lodge a COA as I will be financially supporting her whilst she remains on leave without pay to care for our baby? (My current assessment includes the new baby)

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No – you can’t get allowances for supporting a new partner. Likewise, new partners aren’t responsible for supporting your child(ren) with someone else.

  43. KG
    | Reply

    Hi ,my brother and sister in law got separated 10 months ago ,my brother was paying 500 dollars/month to his wife without any contract,for maintenance of their 3yr old baby .Now she is claiming extra amount through child support authority.what should my brother do ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As soon as a parent contacts child support, the other parent should normally stop making direct payments to the parent. You may have trouble getting credit for them. There should be clear, documented agreement about the purpose of any direct payments.

  44. Judy
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    My ex recently has gottenout of prison. On exit he completed tax returns for a number of years and I received 6k of a 9k debt. Child support have advised the other 3k has been wiped from his debt due to legislation relating to incarceration ? Any idea about this or where I can get more information or even lodge an appeal?

    Thanks again
    Judy

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Haven’t researched this but would guess that there is legislation protecting people from accumulating debts while in prison or something. Why are you proposing to appeal without any indication that a mistake has been made? Do research if you want but I imagine it would be a complete waste of time.

  45. Andy
    | Reply

    Hi, i have not filed tax returns for the last two financial years in which my income was a little higher due to extra overtime. this year i settled into a different work role with no overtime.
    should i just do my returns asap? i am worried about overpayment for this financial year to date due to a decrease in my income relative to the two years with extra overtime. can i call child support and report my income for this year then file my returns so i only pay extra for the years in which i earnt more? or will child support just adjust my income for this year to match the previous two years regardless once my returns are filed?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No point in delaying doing tax returns. If your income has recently dropped significantly, you can put in an estimate for the current financial year.

  46. Louise M
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, just wondering who would we contact to complain about the CSA payers rights in to overpaying because of late Tax Return lodgements. Back story, we usually lodge a year or 2 late because it costs so much in Tax Debts. Except the mother lodged hers 5 years late. She receive all the entitlements and refunds/backpay. My partners income was estimated provisional nearly $20k higher than his taxable income, CSA said they know it isn’t fair but he will not receive anything. Even when questioned about her, she replied, yes it is not fair on the fathers at all. Is there anywhere to write to explain how this is affecting Male Mental Health? How is it fair to push men in to further more debt and anguish?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I honestly don’t think there’s much point just complaining about the system. They’ve heard it all before.

  47. Colin
    | Reply

    Many thanks Andrew
    if I can just clarify re the second part of my post – would my current year increase in taxable income (over last year’s ATI currently used in my CS assessment) be a factor that the CSA would taken into account in this change of assessment income review, even though not raised by the ex in her application?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unfortunately, yes. If they make an assessment determination for a certain period, they are likely to use your current income. That would be unfair because a rise in income normally only affects the assessment for the following year. You could frame your case as one that argues there should be no deviation from the usual formula assessment.

  48. Colin
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I am the payer of CS and have received notification of a change of assessment request – this relates to a period of leave without pay I took last year from my FIFO job to move interstate. I moved across the country to live in my state of employment – to avoid the onerous air commute each shift and cost of same. Covid intervened and I was off work for 2 months in the end before I could get back to work. I will explain these circs in my response – am I likely to be successful? Also, i see i have to provide a current payslip in the response. My income this year is higher than last year, – i went from part time to full time, and am now not spending the deductible travel costs. Even though this isnt a ground of the claim, would the CSA person take this into account in determining my income is higher than the current assessment reflects, in the change of assessment?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can keep your response to the Application for a Change of Assessment simple. The applicant must demonstrate that affecting child support was, at least in part, a motivation for your decision to take time off work. However: (A) You seem to have a clear reason for the change in work hours that is unrelated to child support and (B) You have resumed your historical work pattern. If you tell your story simply like you have in your comment here and supply any relevant evidence you have handy, that should suffice to be successful I would have thought.

  49. N Buksh
    | Reply

    Hi

    My step kids father is asking them to bring child support money with them when they go to visit him as he says already pays enough for the kids in CS. He would eat in front of kids when they are with him without giving them anything for the duration they are with him unless we send money with the children. Is this legal?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could write him an email with words something like:

      “I’ve been advised that your stated unwillingness to provide for the children when they are in your care, including potentially denying them proper nutrition, is a very serious matter. I have further been advised that I should consider alerting Child Protective Services if I consider that the children are at any risk of neglect, and that I should seek full custody of the children through an urgent application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. As any responsible parent should know, the onus is on you to provide the basic necessities for your children, and more, when they are under your parental care.”

  50. John
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My son is overseas on a scholarship. Can I pay directly without consent of the mother? He isn’t receiving the full amount I am paying through CSA to her for his living expenses.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No, you can’t. Spending you can automatically get credit for is limited to certain “prescribed non-agency payments”.

      Micro-managing how payments are spent is not really something Child Support does.

  51. Norm
    | Reply

    Where do we read the finds of the family law and child support reform inquiry that was meant to be reported on the 7th October 2020?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      “The committee was originally due to present its final report on or before 7 October 2020. On 31 August 2020, both Houses of Parliament agreed to extend the reporting date to the last sitting day in February 2021.”

  52. Farzana
    | Reply

    Hello
    My daughter is 15 years old. My ex-husband is assessed to pay $700 monthly based on his tax return according CSA. However, he doesn’t pay anything. I receive $50 fortnightly as child support from Centerlink. He is now in overdue to pay app 20k. What is my option to receive child support from him?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have answered questions about debt collection many times before. Not much you can do.

  53. Kev
    | Reply

    Advice greatly appreciated. My child’s mother requested a reassessment claiming I am earning more than the amount on my tax return, which I’m not. I have spoken to CSA and they accepted my request for objection, which is a relief considering I was over the 28 day cut off. This was only because I found it very stressful and I had no clue what to do, so I put it off. It was only after I received a letter with the increased amount now owing that I called them. Stupid to leave it late, but my fear was that if I object, i will no longer get access to my son. Anyway after speaking to them they accepted my request to object.
    My problem is: on the phone when I called CSA, I said I’d be happy to show them my bank statements. So on the letter I have received confirming my objection, it has a ‘reminder‘ that I agreed to provide 12 months of bank statements. Upon reflection, realising that my child’s mother will get copies, I do not want her to see my bank accounts. I’m finally free of the controlling behaviour and tbh this has triggered anxiety caused from years of having to explain everything I do, every dollar i spend, to then be punished for it. Now I feel pressure to hand over my financials for her to go over, and it doesn’t feel good.
    Do I ‘have’ to hand over my bank statements? If I don’t share them, will it impact the outcome? Will my objection be dismissed? I simply can’t pay anymore than I’m paying now.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Gee – Just work through the processes calmly. Personally, if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. Simple.

  54. Mel
    | Reply

    I am new to child support and separated 3 months ago. I haven’t received any child support yet and it says my ex is $802 in arrears – he swears he has paid this. Is there a delay between when he pays this to child support and when I receive this and if so how long is the delay ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Could be a delay if was paid very recently, especially if it was close to or after the deadline. I wouldn’t know since I’ve never received child support. Maybe someone else can answer.

  55. Blakey
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I have 2 children from two relationships. I have a private arrangement for one, and csa collects for the other. CSA refuse to take into account the private arrangement amount and continue to assess me as thought its non existent, at the highest level. Regardless of my tax returns, the amount never changes on the basis of a capacity to pay. I was previously in my own business which the ex embellishes. I am now a payg and they garnish my wages for current and arrears. How do l get a reasonable outcome?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The issue may simply be that they have an automated system that doesn’t allow case officers to adjust assessments to allow for the combination of private and non-private arrangements. I’m not aware of a solution to this kind of problem other than bringing the 2 cases together – either inside or outside the system. You would have different negotiation considerations depending on which option you went for, with a different parent affected for each scenario. Should be do-able given the financial gains available.

  56. MMH
    | Reply

    My husbands ex hasn’t lodged a tax return in 2 years. In this time frame she has also halved her wage by purchasing a business, this has allowed her to ‘estimate’ her income. She is clearly underestimating her income so he is overpaying child support to her. I am wondering if we should request a change of assessment, as since opening her business there has been no consideration to the assets she now holds. We think she has been able to get away with her career and income change using health reasons. However it’s seems unfair she can write off her income and have financial assets that we seem to be paying for. He can not estimate his income as has a regular wage.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You seem to have developed a series of loose arguments against your husband’s ex. Frankly, I think you have an attitude problem and I don’t believe you’re capable of working through these issues rationally at the moment. If you want something done, you need to identify a specific issue within the assessment framework. And you need solid evidence too. Please re-think your approach.

  57. Concerned Parent
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.

    I am paying child support and private school fees are also being garnished from my wage.

    I have recently learned that my ex hasn’t been using this money for my children s education and is now in arrears approximately $20,000 with the school.

    The school are now starting to ask me how I’m going to pay this back.

    I do not have the money to do so and are struggling with the child support as well.

    Where do I stand with Paying excess child support for private school fees if my ex is accruing a debt with the school?

    Concerned Parent.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can start paying the school fees yourself and claim the expenses back as a form of child support. But be careful, to ensure you get credit. https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/5/3/1#Payment

      A big problem is the wage garnishment. Have you been uncooperative in the past? While this is happening, you don’t have the flexibility to put your child support payments towards school fees.

      You need to a have a good conversation with a child support case officer from the Dept of Social Services to get this sorted out.

  58. James
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My partner’s ex husband owes more that 6k in CS.
    he is self employed and always delays filing tax returns and very often just submits ‘estimates’
    The CS agency have assessed this amount as owing, but seen to have no powers to enforce payment as he is self employed and they have no banking details of other relevant information.
    Wondering if there is any other way to look into to retrieving this outstanding amount?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not much you can do to enforce debt payments. Child Support have their own methods (such as intercepting tax refunds, wage garnishing or raiding bank accounts), which, as you’ve experienced, don’t always work. You can do something via courts or debt collection services but the size of the debt ($6k) probably doesn’t justify such action.

  59. Big Bird
    | Reply

    Probably more a comment / whinge / gripe 🙂
    Our learned friends at CSA give inconsistent and wrong advice. My (ex) wife and I each share the two children on an (essentially) equal basis. I am happy for there to be no CS as is the mother (given she is paying). You would think it would be easy to cancel a CS case…after ringing and getting advice from 2 officers……..i believed that cancelling the case (as the receiving) parent was the appropriate course of action………i pushed the button on cancelling……….and later that day i received a call from Sir Humphrey to tell me that no if cancel the case that would be only for my case where i am the receiving parent and that the other case (where my other child is with her mother) I would now be liable to pay. CS had advised the other party that i would need to cancel the case they now advise me that i can only cancel my case and that the mother would need to cancel her case

    The advice from Sir Humphrey – keep CS in place; dont cancel it………

  60. Michelle Viney
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Great forum, thank you for (hopefully) taking the time to read this.
    My situation is similar to so many others, (which is disappointing to say the least) navigating the path of solo parenting, facing the unfortunate reality of the co parent; who refuses to acknowledge any financial or emotional responsibilty towards the children; a parent who openly sets out to make the already tough job of raising children, even harder. My ex-husband, after years of bending the rules to suit his needs, contributing (eventually garnished from years of tax) an amount under 4k in 9 years, has successfully managed to bring the required amount of child support for his 2 children, down to zero. On paper, he is unable to work and is on worker cover/compensation, from his employer, also his father. Like so many others, the cash in hand work allows him a lifestyle I struggle to come close to. With regards to his compensation; I am unsure if the amount he received/receives is disbursed to him in ‘half pay’ installments, or if seperate bank accounts are used, or he uses another way in which he is able to claim no income, which consequently results in over 2 years of ‘no taxable income’ or ‘zero amount payable’. I am frustrated as obviously the man does not live off thin air, has purchased a brand new car, takes overseas holidays twice a year, is building a house and openly and proudly paid for his current partner to relocate tobaustralia, is a visa and associated costs. There is never a contribution towards his children, and as he eagerly points out when I do find the courage to ask for help with uniforms, shoes, even a hair cut, he does not have any obligation to do so.
    I guess I am asking if there is there a way to have situations like this investigated? Is workers compensation not assessed as an income?
    Also, 18 months ago the home, of which we were joint borrowers on the mortgage, was sold with over a 100k profit, due to the clever manipulation of my ex-husband, my name was never included on the title deed, resulting in no rights, no entitlements and certainly no involvement in the sale of the property, resulting in my children receiving not a cent of the profit made. Profit from a property sale, seemingly is not an income and somehow this financial gain of his also went undetected, not recorded as a financial gain, therefore legally still living on a zero taxable income. I do understand that my enquiry is more suited to be discussed within the family courts, however I am just interested in your opinion as to what exactly is a reportable taxable income? I have spent more than I had on legal advise, and evidently given the wrong advise, and each time I contact the appropriate govt agency, am told that everything he declares is above board and basically my hands are tied – my only option to accept the situation. Be that as it may, is there anything at all I am able to do in the future, that would require thorough proof of the declarations made by my exhusband which somehow lift any financial responsibility from him? Where do the many single parents,such as myself, turn when we are up against pure determination, manipulation and a commitment to ‘make your life hell’. How do those of us who do the right thing, battle financially to raise and provide for well adjusted children, ensure that those who refuse, are found out; forced to contribute financially, to the lives they helped create

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A couple of things to bear in mind: (1) a parent’s income has to be above about $25k before it starts to affect child support and (2) profit from selling the family home does not count as income (because of a capital gains exemption for the “family home”).

      The Change of Assessment process is available but may not work well in your case because of lack of information about his financial affairs.

      We’re trying to get the system changed to introduce actual solutions. In your case, we would have benchmark income settings that would force your ex to comply with a Change of Assessment process or pay significant child support. The solutions have been explained clearly on this site and in submissions. We just need the govt to get moving and take them up.

  61. Ted
    | Reply

    I pay about $2200 pm CS. I also pay for extras for my child, school, medical, sports etc etc.

    I am considering lodging a Change of Assessment as my CPA ex is self employed (Pty Ltd) and up-cycles personal bills through the company so that tens of thousands in earnings vanish and volia, GST back as well. Kaching!
    There is also other non-assessed Govt support which is not currently considered. So Ex’s $100k looks, on ATO-issued-paper to be $50k .

    On the other hand, my income is simple & transparent.

    I have mentioned Change of Assessment to my Ex and the Ex says they will throw one back on me, purely on the basis of my larger income and special considerations process “Im poor and live in Sydney” basically. And the retaliatory threat is that Ex will put Change of Assessment back on me, (ex believing they have all the necessary justification as well) for payments over & above what the CSA process delivers.

    Question. Under what circumstances / how likely is it that a CSA would ever determine payments from the payer GREATER than what the standard process arrives at.

    PS great community service here, I have spent so much time here, greatly appreciated by the reasonable people out here.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Anything that can be covered in a Change of Assessment (e.g. school fees, extraordinary travel costs, large assets) can potentially lead to payments going up beyond the usual amount. But there are clear rules around most things. “Living in Sydney” is not a reason.

  62. Bert
    | Reply

    I’ve been paying child support for my 15 year old for 12 years, always on the assessed amount and on time.

    Because of my high income and the child’s mother never having a full time job in this time my percentage had always been 95-100%. During this time I’ve also paid all dental, medical and school excursions etc. We share custody with 50% of nights each.

    She spent the last 4 years not working at all and getting a uni degree, which I was happy for as I expected it would improve her earning capacity. Well after 2 months of full time hours, suddenly She tells me she’s unable to work full time.

    Currently I’m paying 100% of some very school fees, for a school she signed the enrolment papers for. So I’m paying child support, all of the school fees and IT device levies.

    The problem I have is she has now reduced her hours claiming she can’t work full time (unexplained health reasons) and is refusing to contribute even a token amount to fees.

    Would a change of assessment form based on her not working to her earning potential have any chance?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Your chances of being successful with a Change of Assessment are hurt by the fact that she only worked for a couple of months, meaning her annual income would still be low. But you could try. An assessment could also look at whether she should be making some contribution towards school fees.

  63. Timur
    | Reply

    Please, tell us what to do in order to contribute to fix this broken system. I am currently going through the separation and considering quitting my job which I like very much as my (ex)wife is doing the same. She wants to make my life as difficult as she can so I am even thinking leaving this country all together. No one will benefit from this but I don’t care anymore. The system is built so that you either commit suicide or earn nothing and live on centrelink which is bad for government too.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Dodging child support by quitting work or leaving the country would be counterproductive and stupid. Whatever your gripes, you need to let go of the self-pity and make smart decisions.

  64. Michelle
    | Reply

    If I have a private agreement in place with my ex, which includes him paying extra for private health insurance, and he now won’t pay the insurance side of things, where can I go for support to get this from him? He’s breaking the binding agreement.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Your options depend on the agreement, including whether there are remedies within the agreement, and whether it is legally binding or could be recognised for child support purposes. If it’s just something you agreed between yourselves, the document may carry little weight.

  65. Tee
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.

    I have a 5 and 7 year old and have been separated from their father for three years now. He was employed full-time when we separated but quit his job as soon as I left, telling me that he is ‘going to do cash in hand work so he doesn’t have to pay child support’ and this is exactly what he has done for the past three years. I have never been bothered by the fact that he wasn’t paying. I learnt that it is what it is and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I wasn’t working myself but managed to get by.
    However, I have since gained full-time employment and because we have 62:38 care, I then became the paying parent. I havent been happy about this at all as I also pay 100% of private school fees, ALL medical expenses and most of the time have to pay to make arrangements for my boys when he decides not to show up to collect them from school on ‘his’ days.
    Originally because I hadn’t worked a full year, it was determined that I only had to pay $10/fn, which although I did not agree with, I didnt feel there was much I could do about it so have been making the payments.
    The bigger issue now is the fact that I have been at my job for a full financial year and because this tax return is a full annual salary (still quite low might i add), I now have to pay him $100/fn.

    I currently live week to week and struggle to get by. That $100/fn is going to make things very difficult and I just dont know what to do.

    He is clearly working and even advertises his business on social media. I have reported this to CSA and CL multiple times however they don’t seem concerned.

    I really don’t know what my options are now but I can’t keep going on this way.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could make a claim for a portion of the private school fees if there is evidence that attending private school was a joint decision in some way. You need to apply for a “Change of Assessment”. In terms of argument, your case would have 2 parts (a) the fees represent an expense for which you are both responsible and (b) he has greater earning capacity than indicated by his reported earnings.

  66. Self assessment
    | Reply

    My ex tells CSA a self assessed amount when ever the new financial year starts. He’ll then do his tax for the previous year and would have earned $10-25k more than he self assessed at. CSA will do the adjustment which have been from an additional $3-6k added to his CSA payments. The issue is he isn’t actually paying the outstanding amount and it’s now accumulated to $17k in unpaid CSA over the past 8 years. Centrelink FTB have now told me I have a $6.5k debt because I’ve received an additional $17k in child support payments, because they’ve over paid me in FTB, based on CSA payments received.
    I haven’t received the $17k, but now have to come up with $6.5k, how is that fair, how do I get Centrelink to deduct it out of the $17k owing, rather than me having to now try and find it.
    Why does CSA keep allowing him to self assess a lower amount, when it’s proven that he’s lied every time he’s done his tax.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Surely, the issue here is debt collection rather than self assessment. A debt can be pursued whatever income is being reported. Social Services have a number of debt collection methods, which usually work but may not where they lack info on the parent (e.g. no bank or employer details).

  67. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi there. My fiancee pays over $600/fortnight in child support for his 8 yr old son. We are dictated to when we can have him. Whenever we do get to pick him up, he is always sick, no shoes and filthy clothes. He lives in a 3 bedroom house with 8 people. He still wets the bed every night. Until just recently, his mother would put pull ups on him to go to bed. He has 3 1/2 siblings living in the same house. Im at my wits end on what to do. He constantly gets bullied at school and his older step brothers pick on him all the time. He has no self esteem and no confidence at all. He is socially awkward (if we go out anywhere he will just stare at the ground). Any advice on the next step forward would be much appreciated.
    Thanks
    Sarah

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You may need to go to court. The process starts with mediation, which could help by itself.

      First, see whether you can gather good evidence that carries weight in court. Here is a video I created that may be useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNcRIuOiW8w

  68. Shane
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I have had a change of assessment go against me, which even with 40 pages submitted in evidence showing I don’t own a company they still set my income high. I was forced fed that it wasn’t worth an appeal as I left a job to look after an estate business and it was less money it’s my fault.

    Is a super inheritance classified as a windfall and shouldn’t be included as normal income? CSA said it’s a financial resource.

    Lastly me ex upon receiving my tax income, shared that with my sister who I am fighting an estate and they used that income to threaten me. CSA said she can share my income with whoever she wants. Is that true?

    Is appealing a judgement worth it? CSA told me it’s not and they will be very harsh even though I’m not a shareholder and only a director of the company owned by my fathers estate.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Social Services pretty much do whatever they want when it comes to setting income. They ignore conventional accounting and tend to grab money wherever they find it.

      They do this because they know the difficulty of successfully appealing against their decisions. That said, it may be worth appealing (internal review and eventually Administrative Appeals Tribunal), depending on the circumstances of your case. You need a commonsense explanation of why the money you’ve received can’t be put towards the raising of your child. If you can’t do that, they may be right in indicating that you should give up.

      Dumping loads of paperwork on them is counterproductive. Income can always be calculated from child support assessments.

  69. Help needed
    | Reply

    My partners ex always reduces her estimated income for the new financial year straight after she does her tax return. For the past 3 years she has earnt double the amount she estimates. How is this fair? We have told child support that she works and they talk to her and she claims she is casual and “cant” estimate her financial earnings for the year. What can we do to stop her ripping us off? We are happy to pay child support, we have 50/50 but how can she keep getting away with fraudulent activity?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could put in a Change of Assessment application based on earning capacity. She should be repaying the money after she puts in tax returns anyway since underestimates are voided when the actual income comes in at a higher level.

  70. Pablo
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Once your child turns 18 and if you are up to date with all your payments and you lodge a tax return from a previous year, does your case reopen?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I believe that once a case is closed it should stay that way. But it may be kept open while there are still outstanding tax returns.

  71. Jj
    | Reply

    If a child, I haven’t seen in over 4 years is not mine (paternity test) will they wipe my outstanding child support debt of $40K?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You may need to check out case law (past court decisions) to see whether you can have your debt cleared on the basis that you are not the biological father. I suspect the odds are stacked against you. The fact that the debt is unpaid shouldn’t matter in a legal sense. But it could help you convince the mother to agree to the debt being wiped. May be worth seeking legal advice.

  72. Darren Longmire
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    I have a long standing CSA debt of about $40,000 (over about 10 years) of which I have a payment agreement in place and I’m up to date with all payments.

    My parents have offered to give me their home as they want to move and buy another house but I am concerned that CSA will order me to sell it and pay the CSA debt in full.

    Also, would it make a difference if I were to reside in the home or rent it out to tenants ?

    Would really appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you !

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support are generally not interested in factoring in assets such as homes into their assessments.

      I wouldn’t be worried. How would they find out about you gaining the asset? At the very least, the other parent would have to apply for a Change of Assessment. And, if you were required to pay off the debt quickly, you have a property to borrow against.

  73. Clive Fletcher
    | Reply

    Hi My sons girlfriend up and left him when she was 6months pregnant. She has moved state to make sure that he can’t see the child and hes worried that her new partner will want to ado[t his child. How does he stand on having to pay child support if someone else takes his child as his own and my son will never get to see the child anyway? Appreciate any advice you can offer. He lives in Queensland. Regards.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This from Legal Aid Queensland: “Do I still have to pay child support? Once the adoption order is made, your parental rights and responsibilities are removed and transferred to the adoptive parents. You are no longer required to pay child support.”

  74. Mike
    | Reply

    Hi
    I have a sales role and my annual income isn’t set in stone.
    Halfway through the FY I had CSA assess my YTD and increase my assessment from 70k (my elected salary amount) to 100K despite my pleads regarding a very inconsistent monthly income.
    My tax return has come in at 65k for the previous year, can / how do I claim back the amount I have clearly overpaid?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Tricky situation. Seems like Social Services made a mistake in not accepting your income estimate.

      There are 2 problems here: (1) once an income assessment for a payer is made, it normally won’t be revised down in retrospect and (2) you may have done something to contribute to the mistake, such as not providing sufficient income evidence.

      You might want to try speaking nicely to a case officer and explaining that you believe you did everything to get a fair assessment and yet you have clearly overpaid. I’m not aware of a particular admin process to fix this, so you might be relying on goodwill and intervention by Social Services. I would ask them what you need to do to get this fixed and what procedures are available. Please let us know how it goes.

  75. jh
    | Reply

    JH
    Hi Andrew, I have a 16 and 14 year old. I have always supported my children. Previously I had a private agreement with my ex. She then had CS collect from my wage. My son has decided to live with her (wasn’t my choice and not part of parenting plan and i literally have no contact with him ) and recently my daughter has decided for the benefit of her studies she would prefer one house. Here’s the interesting curve ball. My ex has informed me if i want to communicate with the children it has to go through her, meaning now i have no contact with either child as they wont respond to texts or calls. I am beside myself that this could go on. To make matters worse, the ATO issued me two group certificates last year (I work for a gov department) but my accountant only processed one. Really my question is – why do fathers have to pay child support if they are denied access? Not only am i struggling through the psychological pain there is now a financial burden as well.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The child support part is fairly simple. They don’t pass judgement on how a parenting arrangement came to be. But child support payments are there to help with the costs of raising children. Naturally, this requires the person incurring few costs to pass money to the parent who is carrying most of the burden.

      There is also income redistribution involved with the current scheme, which can make for harsh outcomes (depending on the particular income and care levels). That’s an area we are trying to fix.

      Without knowing the family situation, I would have thought it would be possible to make an arrangement where you regularly catch up with each child. Surely, there is something you could do with each child once a week or fortnight that they wouldn’t object to? It’s important to maintain some level of contact and communication. You may need to compromise and make some commitments to ensure connections are not lost.

  76. Tom
    | Reply

    Hi
    I’ve been in 50/50 shared care of two boys for 5 years and paid child support private collect plus 50% of EVERY additional expense .. public schooling, haircuts, excursions, private health etc.

    Recently with some denigration and manipulation, my son has desired living more with his other parent. The older child seeks to remain.

    I’ve entered a mediation process to update the parenting plan however they have decided not to wait for that to be finalised and start a new arrangement.

    I’m keen to understand what additional to my child support private collect is reasonable to pay under 50/50 and in a scenario, regardless of whether I lose care of one child from 7 nights down to between 3 nights or 4 nights, my combined child support doubles. I cannot afford the additional $210 a fortnight ($420 total) so wondering do I have to pay anything in addition to the child support except for things I do whilst in my care. For a child that I’m begging to have remain in my care 50/50 but looking like losing, this is not only heartbreaking but financially crippling even with evidence of manipulation.

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There are few rules around who pays for what. But you’re generally not expected to pay for things beyond your own care expenses when you have a low care % and are paying significant amounts of child support. The child support formula assumes a parent’s expenses are roughly in proportion with their care %.

  77. CJ
    | Reply

    I have just finalised financial settlement with my ex through the courts. She is self employed and is classified as a low income earner, approx $15-20k per year (by choice). I work full time and receive an average salary. After separation I paid for in full ($18,000) via a personal loan for Essential orthodontic (braces) treatment for 2 kids, without treatments the kids would have had ongoing medical implications for their entire life, as documented by the orthodontist . The orthodontic treatment was agreed to by both the ex and I, 2 years before separation. After separation the ex refused to pay or contribute saying she was a low income earner. Can I apply to recover her share of cost responsibility via the “Special Circumstances” Medical needs?
    I already pay a substantial fortnightly amount of CSA based on 50% and 30%.
    As part of financial settlement the ex has received over $120k in cash and other large amounts in Superannuation and assets. I am not trying to avoid CSA, I am trying to make it fair as she has the means, the assets and the cash to contribute her %. The $18k was paid 18 months ago and now the ongoing fortnightly loan repayments are substantial. I was advised back then by CSA that if applying for this at the time would have prolonged the financial settlement process and caused further ongoing financial pressure, then to wait until settlement is complete. Any help appreciated

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’d say it’s too late to trying to recover the dental costs. Child Support won’t be interested in helping you. There may be some technicalities around exactly when child support was first claimed and when the procedure was agreed to or started. Her lack of income would also be a big consideration (and not how much you’ve given her in the past). There seem to be too many justifications for a claim by you being denied. Hence, you may be better off accepting the situation and just trying to maintain or build goodwill from it.

  78. Itsannoying66
    | Reply

    My partner pays child support and we are in the midst of a new reassessment as the mother is moving across state to move in with her sugar daddy. Obviously she will (should) lose her single parenting payment from Centerlink as both she and he have stated in our court documents that he will be financially supporting her, which unfortunately means her annual income will be less which means we would be paying more. How come Centerlink take into consideration partners incomes but Child Support doesnt? It doesnt make sense that she can claim her annual income as $19,990 (current 2019-2020 assessment) with it becoming less, if any, in our new assessment because of the amount her partner earns…. I really don’t understand why we have to pay more because her partner earns too much which effects her centerlink… It’s not really fair…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The child does not belong to her new partner! Note that income becomes irrelevant once it drops below a certain level (typically around $25k).

  79. John
    | Reply

    I need advice re orthodontics and child support (CS).

    The father received a quote for child orthodontics from the mother of the child, asking if he would pay half or whether she should go to CS for a change in assessment. Therefore risking CS assessing the father to pay a higher percentage.

    The father then called three orthodontists in her area and gave them the item number from the provided quote. All three quoted prices very similar to each other, but considerably lower than the quote provided by the mother.

    The father replied to the mother with the lower prices and details of where they were obtained. He advised he would be happy to pay 50% of the lower prices.

    Her response was that he has no say in who she goes with and repeated her request for 50% or she would request assessment by CS.

    My three questions are:

    Would CS take into account the fathers reasonable suggestions, and assess based on the lower quoted prices despite the mother going ahead with the more expensive option? (Most likely to spite the father).

    Would child support typically assess the father to pay more than 50% based on him having a lower care percentage and higher salary?

    If the answer to the above is, the father would be assessed to pay a higher percentage, would they take into consideration the mother’s request for 50% and the fathers acceptance?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      1- The Social Services officer should take account of the different quotes for orthodontics (given the dispute) but may not.

      2 – The percentage of costs apportioned to each parent might be adjusted to reflect incomes, but not care percentages.

      3 – The 50% offer sets a benchmark that Child Support would most probably use as well.

      The father could consider this approach: agree to pay 50% of the costs but only if one of the more affordable options is chosen while explicitly refusing to be involved with the more expensive option.

  80. John
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My child turns 18 in Jan 2021 and have been paying my ex. wife directly for the last 17 years. I intend to continue child support for my child while she completes secondary school but wish to pay her directly instead of my Ex. (who will no doubt request extending child support past her 18th.). Can I pay my child directly & if not, can I structure an agreement with my ex. of how these payments are to be expended? This is to avoid my ex. from using the funds for her own personal needs. Thanks Andrew.

    Cheers, John

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi John. Answer: Nice try but don’t think you’ll get very far with this. Child support is designed so that payments go to the parent with essentially no strings attached. You can get credit for certain types of non-agency and prescribed payments but you can’t control the use of funds in the way I believe you are wanting. Another option is a binding child support (private) agreement. But I somehow doubt your ex would agree to it unless you have something significant to offer.

  81. Jen Floyd
    | Reply

    I haven’t been paid child support since 2007. My ex is using an alias. He is working full time & being paid in cash. He has no assets in his name but when you google him. He is named as the “owner” of assets above $30 million!
    Obviously he is living beyond his means ! Yet because he has an expensive accountant I get ZERO.
    AND we had a private agreement that he would continue payments after the age of 18. Till the children finished university- IF I was supporting them full-time. Yet the CSA won’t chase private child support FAMILY COURT STAMPED DOCUMENTS!
    I live in a different city and can’t afford to hire a private investigator to get evidence.
    He owes CSA about $80k.
    And it really IRKS me that I don’t get any interest from 2007 but the CSA DO!
    I still have a daughter at Uni. He owes me about $500k by now – but I get no support unless I GET THE EVIDENCE MYSELF !!!!
    He told my daughter- he would NEVER put assets in his name. He uses his Uncle or Mum.
    How HARD would it be to find these assets.
    Just google his name CSA!
    The USA system of threatened jail time is the best IMHO.
    AND I’m a pensioner due to really bad health problems- WHY do these Dad’s think they are paying ME – when it’s the $60k school fees he left me in the lurch with. I had to get a bank mortgage.
    His alias has been advised to CSA but NOTHING GETS DONE!\
    Dead beat Dads – open a web page and name and shame them – so people will see their names !
    If it’s true and they OWE why don’t you name them.
    I’ll give my consent. I’m just flummoxed 😩😩😩

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have you tried hiring debt collectors on a ‘no recovery, no fee’ basis?

  82. AG
    | Reply

    Hi, this is just a complaint more than anything, if any government agencies happen to be reading this. My ex husband earned a very high income while we were married, however I have since discovered he was not paying even close to the tax he should have been paying. He also gambled and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I had no idea at the time as he controlled the finances. I was a stay at home mother. When we divorced (due to emotional and financial abuse) I went back to work but we had no assets to split so I have to rent an expensive small unit close to the kids’ school. He quickly found a girlfriend and moved into her 4 bdr house with pool an hour’s drive out of town and insisted on having the kids half the time and making them commute to school. He keeps his income low and from what I see it’s cash in hand and he pays little tax if any and probably lives rent free. Also as we know two live cheaper than one, so he has someone to share bills with etc. So now, I am trying to establish myself financially from scratch, live alone, so I have to pay all my bills myself, support my children, pay half school fees plus pay him nearly $700 month child support. I used to spend that money on my children – activities, eating out, and other entertainment. Now we have to stay home most of the time and I have to watch what I spend even on myself while my ex has more disposable income than I do and I can’t see much evidence of him spending it on the children. CS don’t care that he’s a gambler or tax cheat (I gave them court evidence) with questionable morals who doesn’t even pay his half of their expenses. When I pointed out to them that he doesn’t have the expenses that I do, they just said “you wouldn’t complain if it were the other way around”. What? That makes no sense. It’s NOT the other way around, and it would still be unfair even if it was. This is the level of intelligence that we are dealing with at CS. Every time I think about it, my brain just can’t see how it’s not grossly stupid and I just fork out this money every month and wonder why as a woman after I am abused by my ex for years, and then again for years to come by the government . I can’t believe that supposedly intelligent people came up with this system. What kind of government supports this ridiculous system? I thought Australia was supposed to be a modern country but this makes our government look like a bunch of third-world incompetents. By the way, Andrew, everything you suggest on your site is logical makes perfect sense. Why aren’t you Prime Minister? You certainly seem to have more brains than all of Parliament put together. Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for sharing. I learned from my time in the public service that one smart person working hard on a problem can easily produce a better solution than a committee of “esteemed” people who are not putting in the same effort. The current scheme was created by committee and totally sucks, as you’ve discovered.

  83. Mike
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My ex decided to start collecting child support (CS) again, after a number of years.

    What I don’t get is why the officer calling on the phone about starting payments again, said about deducting CS directly from my wages. I asked and she replied, we don’t want to be chasing you for it.

    Even when I used to pay a few years back, I’d pay on time etc.

    1.is there any say in the matter or let it be?

    2. Your article says about lodging tax returns early if income is low, what if your income is high?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t know what’s going on with them wanting to garnish your pay. Could relate to a comment made to them by the other parent. I would ignore any requests in this area and, if they want to talk about it, just say that you’re happy to keep paying on time out of your own bank account.

      When your income goes up, you don’t have to do anything. Just lodge your tax return as normal. If you delay submitting it, you’ll eventually have to pay the extra money anyway.

  84. steve ross
    | Reply

    for me CSA started in 2014 and didn’t advice me about “Post separation income exemption”.
    CSA staff are bullies and often caught not using legislation’s from the CSA guide. CSA assessed me above taxable income which is against the guide I then took CSA to the AAT and won. CSA is designed to grab monies from a paying parent and reduce monies from wellfare to the receiving parent.

  85. Norman
    | Reply

    When the Inquiry is handed down on the 7th October 2020, how long will it take to implement the child support reform? (new formula).

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Getting reform in place would take a number of years – even though we have presented ready-made solutions that don’t require much work.

      First the recommendations would need to be accepted by the Inquiry Committee and included in final report. Then the Govt would need to agree to an internal govt options report. If a report were started early-ish in 2021, final recommendations might be agreed, say, in the 2nd half of 2022. Implementation and phasing out of the current scheme could mean that the reform wouldn’t be in place until 1 July 2024 or perhaps 1 July 2025.

  86. Chris
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I have a 14 year old that I had never met until she was 13 I had tried many times over the years with no avail. The mother had re married and did not want me in her life so is it fair for a father to pay child support when the mother refused visitation and even refused help from outside organisations over 12 years but wants outstanding money .?.?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Services Australia can backdate payments to when an application was first made. Apart from required payments, it’s up to you what you want to do for your daughter financially.

      Personally, I would focus on providing things for your daughter directly (e.g. buying her things or setting up an education fund) rather than handing over money to the mother. If your daughter or the mother want you to be a big financial provider, they should also allow you to be a father in a broader sense.

  87. Jason
    | Reply

    Hi andrew…
    My daughter is 17..been paying child maintenance for all that time.
    We separated when she was 10months.
    Now my m has bought me a house in my name.
    Can my ex get or force me to sell my house for child maintemsnce ??
    I don’t think so?

    Can u advise ???
    Thanks

    Jason

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You should be safe from your house being used against you in child support assessment. Assets aren’t part of the formula and a house is a fairly normal thing to have.

  88. Ella
    | Reply

    Hi please i need your expert advice im new to the child support and i got no idea how does it works, so what happened was since i applied the child support rarly January 2020 and got rejected due to lock of evidence since he been seperate after he got me pregnant. Then i went through all courts and that to fight for a paternity testing and yeah he was the father and applied my child support right after I receive a letter stating that he owes me from January up to August monthly rate was 1,000 but then after that I receive again another letter September to November drop to 500
    And now I receive another letter that he ask the child support bot to cut his salary and will pay me 115 per week. What im getting upset is he never visited his child even once never since she was born and im totally zero income please advice what should i do next 🙁

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You must try to avoid relying on child support payments to get by. They can be delayed or drop depending on what the father is doing.

      Maybe you could suggest that the father take care of his child at least 1 night a week in the future since that will lower his payments.

  89. Mr Joseph B lough
    | Reply

    I have my child for an amount of time but pay 100% and tell child support i don’t see her at all. All this to avoid court due to the threat of the mother taking her away if i don’t pay.
    And yes i can go to court and prove blah blah blah blah. In the mean time for months if not more i loose touch with my child through this dragged out and bias process while proving my innocence.
    It is very sad……. the system is completely stuffed.
    Imagine all the Dads that could be so much better if they didn’t resent everything to do with their child from a failed system.

  90. Brett
    | Reply

    Hi
    My ex and I decided on a private arrangement in February 2020. Court orders have us at 50/50 care, we agreed that on the 7th of each month I would pay $600 to her. We had a stat declaration certified and signed by both parties. Now CSA have intercepted my tax return, my ex has claimed that I haven’t made payment since March. So I send CSA my bank statements showing I have made all payments, and a few extra ( when she needed $)
    CSA have now called my ex for her to confirm, only for her to say they were not child support payments, and she wants an increased amount backdated.
    CSA have said that the stat Dec is not a binding document and she has the right to ask for it to be backdated at a higher amount as they have her as 51% and us as 49%. How is this ok? Surely, CSA can take over from the date that she requested (June 6th 2020) but not just override the private arrangement.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The child support legislation has a particular (unduly narrow) definition of what constitutes a binding child support agreement that aims to boost lawyer fees: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/child-support/binding-child-support-agreement

      Your stat dec doesn’t qualify without evidence that legal advice was sought prior to the agreement being entered into.

      It’s unclear from the details you provided, but you should at least be given credit for the payments you made. That’s just a matter of Services Australia weighing up the evidence that the payments were meant as a form of child support and doesn’t depend on whether a binding agreement was in place. Seek a review if you aren’t being given proper credit.

      Unfortunately, to be frank, Services Australia are made up of feminist lawyer types who try to act in the best interest of the mother. They equate maximising payments to the receiver as maximising the welfare of the child. That’s what you’re dealing with.

  91. Chris
    | Reply

    I separated from my wife early in 2019,
    She moved into her parents house and has reported that she “pays” $100 per week in board.
    She works part time, only because she wanted to be a “stay at home mum” (Our son is almost 14 and does not require his mother to stay at home while he is in school full time) In Early 2020, we agreed on a property settlement, in which i retained the house and she received a rather large payout (not classed as a taxable income) and around 80% of the furniture, In mid July 2020, i was made redundant from my position and unemployed. I contacted CSA and was informed that i was in credit for the support payments and would be in credit after that months payment went through, with no further payments to be made until i had found employment, i also received a letter in the mail stating the same. 6 weeks later i receive a letter stating that i was in fact $200+ behind in payments. I call CSA to enquire the issue only to be told that the person who had told me that i would be in credit, had told me the wrong information. Now, i have not been able to find a job for 6 weeks and am living off my savings, paying a mortgage, bills and supporting my son.
    (We have 50/50 care) My Ex wife works 3 days a week, lives basically for next to nothing at her parents home and has a lump sum from me in her bank, yet i am still expected to pay support because CSA “got it wrong!” She has not lodged a tax return and CSA are powerless to enforce it.
    It would appear that the CSA is heavily geared toward the female of the (Ex) relationship. So, it could end up with me having to sell the house and find other accommodation, while she sits pretty, spending the support money on drugs and alcohol (yes, i believe there should be a means test to claim CSA payments for either parent, so that the payment is spent on the child and not on the parents habits, Vouchers maybe?). And because she hasn’t lodged a tax return, it does not show her financial statement from the previous year and leaves me paying her support when she could in fact be paying me.
    As i stated previously, the system is geared heavily toward the female involved and destroys the lives of the hard working Father who only wishes to spend time with his children and see them happy.

  92. Michelle
    | Reply

    Hi My ex owes a large amount of child support. Hasn’t paid much in 15 years. Does not do tax returns. Now wants the debt wiped. Is he able to do this? Sounds very unfair to me.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Am not aware of payers having any rights to cancel their debts.

  93. Angel
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My stepson will be coming to live with us approx 4-5 days per week, and will stay with his Mum the other 2-3 days. He is also changing schools, closer to us by his choice. Previously we have paid child support and his mother has paid most expenses as he has been primarily in her care. We have no contact with the mother because of ongoing conflict and previous alienation. His mother demands CSA only and with the two incomes virtually equal, it is likely that there will be only a tiny amount of child support payable by the mother to us, not covering the fees at all. So just wanting to understand how CSA would view government school fees. Is it best to pay the school fees and then request credits via CSA even if we are receiving a small amount of child support and would those credits be rejected or accepted? Or do we determine a percentage split based on nights and request the school bills us for that amount? Challenging without agreement, but worth setting up well from the start.
    Thanks for your help

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As I understand it, public school fees are just treated as any other regular expense – meaning Child Support don’t get involved.

  94. Kerryn
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I would like some advice please. My ex husband has not ever paid any child support for many years and currently owes me and my children $70 k According to CSA it’s a $100 k with penalties. I call CSA every few months asking about what’s happening with our case and am told I need to track him down Myself and when I can give them an address they can contact him. I’ve explained I do not know where he is and he hasn’t seen or contacted the children for a long time but have given a mobile number multiple times which we think is current. He has not logged a tax return since 2007 and has a de facto partner with no children. He is also a sub contractor. Can you give me some advise on how to obtain the money as we have been struggling for a long time financially. Any advise would be appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Am not an expert in this area. You could try a private debt collection service for advice and help. Might be a way to get information by having someone call the mobile number. Potentially, after getting an address or employment details, you could initiate court action or report him to the ATO.

  95. Dan Tucker
    | Reply

    I think the animated video on the home page is inappropriate. The Man is depicted as unhappy tired and the woman as vibrant. It is unacceptable to show this or even if not intended I question your vetting. Men are not unhappy to look after kids but the system makes them unhappy when it is evident the authority in charge depicts in such a way.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Suggest that it’s time to get off whatever drugs you’re taking at the moment.

  96. Anna
    | Reply

    I know there are some very good loving and responsible parents out there but there are a hell of a lot who aren’t. Those cases I believe make up the majority of separated families.

    The entire family welfare, child support system and the family law act is an utter disgrace. If reforms are to take place, Centrelink needs to be reviewed also. Or child support needs to be fair enough that Centrelink income support is not required at all by the primary carer.

    Most families are not amicable and in most cases, one parent has well above 50% care. I’m in the 80-90% care range. I am single, working full time and my ex lives in another town with his partner. He only has fortnightly weekend care school holiday time because he chose to move away with his partner. Centrelink cuts income support for single parents as of a child’s 8th birthday. I do a 3-3.5 round trip to collect my Child from my ex’s home. To put things in perspective, his child support does not even cover the fuel I burn on the trip to collect my child from his house. I pay for everything, clothing, school, extra curricular activities, health needs – the list could go on. I am always stressed, I go without so much for the love of my child. But my ex doesn’t purely because he doesn’t have to. The law says his only legal obligation is the little amount of child support that he must pay. He left me when my child was a baby. I have worked from the time that my child was 12 months old. My ex has a partner of many years, they have two Full time incomes. They do lots of fun things with my child and I miss out on having much quality time with him at all because I’m working and busy up keeping a household. My child has to be in after school care also. It’s a tough life for us but if I am to provide for my child in this world today (ongoing), this is how it must be. I cannot rely on the pathetic amount of child support my ex is required to pay. I choose not to argue with my ex as he has a toxic partner, I prefer to keep the peace for my child. I have asked him politely for extra support but I get the “I’m doing all I can, I can’t afford any more” response. Yet, he owns a number of classic cars and has a good wage with his partner working full time also. They spend so much on themselves, I see what they have (and I shut up about it) but here I am busy, stressed, working so hard to make ends meet, worrying about how I’ll do life with my child every day. It’s not fair at all.

    At the end of the day, I can sleep well at night knowing that I have done all I can for my child and I always will. It is very lucky that I have good mental health but there are so many who cannot find ways to tell themselves that they’ll be ok no matter what. I know others who have a number of children in a similar situation to me and they are so depressed and stressed. It breaks my heart. The Family law act and the family welfare and child support system needs to be looked at altogether with a complete overhaul. It is outdated and doesn’t align with current times.

    I wrote to the welfare minister to express my concern and hardship for all who are in a similar situation to me and the response I got back was even more pathetic than the system itself.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Anna – I don’t think you’re being completely honest here or there is missing information. It’s mathematically impossible for a payer to have a good (reported) income and minimal care and be required to pay tiny amounts of child support.

  97. Hamish B
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I submitted a claim for prescribed non-agency payments (private school fees) on the advice of someone in the CSA call center. A couple of weeks later this was rejected for no reason I could understand. Back to the call center, I ended up speaking to a couple of people who said “we can’t see any reason why your payment wouldn’t be credited but unfortunately we can’t reverse the decision, you’ll have to object.”

    That’s all fine, but what was chilling was that they warned that my ex-wife “might be advised to initiate a change of assessment”, as if in retaliation.

    My question: should I file an objection, forget the whole thing happened and file another claim in future that might have better luck, or cop it on the chin to avoid a change of assessment?

    I did ask how I could be confident that a change of assessment would be performed correctly if even something simple like prescribed non-agency payments couldn’t be processed correctly – their answer was: “yeah”.

    Hamish

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You probably should just object. Keep it simple and courteous and point to the evidence that the private school fees are a joint responsibility.

      An initial review of a Child Support decision is no big deal: essentially, a senior case officer just reviews what happened.

      A Change of Assessment application is nothing to fear unless you have done something like reducing your income intentionally. Specific criteria need to be met for a COA application to be accepted and succeed.

  98. Andy
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for this forum really helpful. I have 50/50 care of my teenage daughters my ex had a baby with new partner and my child support has doubled while she is caring for this child which has nothing to do with me. I believe her maternity can last up to two years and then i believe she’ll have to quit the job. Im hoping that will be an opportunity to lodge a capacity to earn as while she is on maternity leave i can do nothing?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      She’s under no obligation to return to work / earn income after having a baby.

  99. Les
    | Reply

    Hey there I ve been fighting csa for years but can never seem to keep I’m always behind or there’s instances they told me I was up to date then after 2 years in one instance they told me I was 3500 behind ?? Other time’s I’ve over paid and that’s stiff so I’m told , then last year they were taking 770 dollars a week to clear that up then I lost my job which I told them about and went back to being a labour after three months done my tax which they took and then send me a bill for 7000 when I’m on a third of what I use to earn , I don’t know what to do anymore I’m at the end of it all 🙁

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You need to check your statements. Just pay the right amount and try to build some savings. Do an estimate if your income is set too high.

  100. Angela Izzard
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    My husband’s tax return has just been completed, and for the financial year just passed, his income decreased. On the CSA statement it says that the new amounts start from September 1. Can you advise, why the amended payments for him are not back dated to June 30?

    Thanks Ange

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The Dept of Social Services are not interested in trying to claw back child support that has already been paid out. That’s why payers should always inform DSS ASAP if income has or is likely to drop.

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