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2701 Responses

  1. ANON
    | Reply

    I just found out that my child from a new marriage which I have 100% care, hasn’t been included in the child support assessment for the last 8+ years. Can I appeal that.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      What would you be appealing against? Yourself, for not informing CSA about your dependent?

      I don’t think there is anything you can do here. The financial difference may not be huge in any case.

  2. JackSky
    | Reply

    Totally messed up. Ex has kids 6 extra nights per month, and I have to pay $600 p/m. Was $1200 p/m while she holidayed between jobs. All the while re-married and household income more than double mine. During the darkest times, I had to huddle in the cold while she went on European holidays. CSA defaults to MPs. MPs regurgitate self-congratulatory talking points. It seems there’s nothing I can do about it.

  3. Mark Concepcion
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, I sent a letter to Hon Amanda Rishworth (Minister for Social Services) but have yet to get a reply or acknowledgement. If there is anything else we can do, please let us know. If the noise is not penetrating politician’s ear drums then we need to make it louder.

  4. Jim
    | Reply

    hi Andrew. I currently work in the health system and have done large amounts of overtime in the last financial year. Would it be reasonable to lodge a change of assessment hoping the large amount of overtime I’ve done would be taken into account to reduce my adjusted taxable income.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you think you taxable income will be lower this financial year, submit an income estimate for 2023/24 ASAP.

  5. J blogs
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    The new Single touch payroll system, my car lease that was a non reportable benefit using the Employer contribution method, will now be reported in my income statements. I have the understanding, now CSA has access to this information, I will now have Im assessable income including my pre tax deductions. I drive 700km per week to get to work. It doesn’t seem fair that non reportable pre tax deductions are now included in cases like this, where it costs me 14k per year in car expenses to get to work, is now seen as assemble income when it was non reportable. Have I got this wrong?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You may have this right. If this car lease is paid for by your employer and it’s now being reported as part of your income, it may potentially impact your child support payments. CSA work off annual tax return information however. I can’t say for sure how this one would be handled.

  6. Reece
    | Reply

    I seperated with my ex-wife just over a year ago and she claimed child support immediately after seperation for our one child. One major problem noted by you, Andrew, is the motivation to not earn as much money. Unfortunately she took it upon herself to take extended time off work therefore affecting this years assessment.

    Our care is 42/58 – she lives with her parents and hasn’t made an attempt to get a better job in order to provide better care for our child. Meanwhile, I have progressed in my career, purchased a new home and have moved on. This assessment has made it clear that I am now going to be penalized for progressing in my career and even more so for her not working as much this year.

    I maintain a full time job, with almost 50% care of my child, she chooses not to have a full-time job and lives at home with her parents who pay for all bills and all household essentials. I pay a mortgage, all utilities, my car loan, daycare fees, food and clothing for myself and my child. And this government formula dictates that I still have to pay, regardless of the fact that I physically cannot afford to.

    This is breaking me, this years assessment frustrates me to no end. It is not healthy for anyone and desperately needs a reform.

  7. Anonymous
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, Fantastic work for a very broken system. Sen Hanson is doing a great job however she doesnt have the support she needs to move it forward.

    Anyway….

    My question/s are around international CS

    My ex wife and children reside in the UK (Which isnt ideal) however when we seperated she needed support from her family and i agreed to her moving back to the UK with our children.

    We had a verbal agreement in place for child support and all was good.

    12 months later i received a call from Services australia that my ex had filed for CS which i was shocked and blindsided by.

    They did an assessment as per the formula and i started paying CS via services australia.

    My question is. For the assessment they used the Australian formula which has me paying over $3400 AUD per month. which makes it difficult to live and start again.

    Would it be acceptable and would there be any point in asking Services Australia to use the UK formula since the ex wife and children are living in the UK and that is where all of their costs are bared ?.

    Obviously i go back and see the children as much as i can. usually 2 or 3 times a year for 10 or so days at a time and have full custody when i am there. however this is at a very high expense however Services australia wont recognise this as yes its above 5% of my taxable income in costs but only just so they have said i should be able to afford this ontop of my CS payments. The UK model would drop my CS payments from $3400 a month to $2700 a month which would make life a lot easier and still provide my ex with a very comfortable standard of living especially on top of her UK State benefits she is claiming around another $3500 per month.

    Very long winded and just wondering if there is any point in asking

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’ll have to do your own research around the rules for using the UK system instead of the Australian one. It should come down to residency status (whether the children and mother are permanent residents of the UK).

      I find it strange that your high travel costs wouldn’t count when they are “just above” 5%. You could easily appeal this (i.e. it’s not administratively difficult to do in the first instance). 5% is the mark in the rules and that indicates the costs are high.

  8. James
    | Reply

    Hello

    My ex’s fy22 ATI was $0 as she was not working and I was paying the maximum child support during fy23. she initiated the application in dec-22 and at the time was working. If her actual income was declared at the time of her application it would have reduced my payments by ~$500 per month.

    It’s July-23 now. Is there anything I can do to recover the overpayments? What can I do to ensure I don’t continue to overpay?

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I don’t believe there’s anything you can do. Parents aren’t obliged to inform CSA if their income is actually higher (no matter what they say). She did nothing wrong.

  9. mat
    | Reply

    i can see why men theese days dont want to have children there is nothing good about it unless u are a women / it looks like at any point in time once she has children she has it the jack pot with getting free money even with a property seltlement ,can re marry and have a combind incom of 300 k with new patener and it wont matter yet the poor fella that has to give 27 % income because he has 2 children and to top it off his ex can have more children and use his money on anything she wants and do it all again if she wants to thats how im reading all the comments unless im wrong i have a gf that wants children i think i might just tell her to go look else wear ill get a dog instead

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well, there are risks to men from having children.

  10. Reneigh Ebdon
    | Reply

    I was wondering if there has been any progress with the CS inquiry. Is there anything we can do to push it along?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The inquiry ended with a long list of recommendations. Unfortunately, there were no really good ones, and very few, if any, of those made will ever see the light of day. The committee of politicians was hopeless. They just needed to make a few strong recommendations but failed to do so.

  11. Pat
    | Reply

    Why are telling payees to lower their income tax ? This is hoarding on child abuse. Their KIDS miss out and you are encouraging this? This unethical and I’ll be reporting this page. It’s fraud be that morally and if by the law.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Your statement doesn’t make a lot of sense. But I’m happy to debate ethics and morality around child support with anyone. Usually, people who criticise me haven’t done a lot of hard thinking about the topic, especially regarding system efficacy. I offer advice to all parents and have put forward various proposals that work both for and against payers.

  12. Anon
    | Reply

    Hello,
    My husband has full parental responsibility and 82% care of his 14 year old daughter who is currently refusing to come home from her mother’s house. He is currently the receiving parent and feel his ex will be very quick to contact child support regarding change in care arrangements. We are still considering our legal options regarding enforcing orders but assuming she can still make an application for change in care despite not following court orders? We have also committed significant funds to her schooling and medical/braces over the next 6 to 12 months, how would this be considered with any change in child support? He is currently owed about $8000 in unpaid child support and they very recently started garnishing her wages.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      CSA only care about the care arrangements in practical terms, even if court orders are being broken. The only exceptions are, I believe, for recent court orders (or maybe this was just a proposal – can’t find info on it).

      The number 1 priority is the care arrangement, not child support. If you get that sorted, the child support situation will be temporary as well.

      You could do some morally questionable things like disputing the mother’s version of events (e.g. saying the daughter stayed away briefly but has returned), which would then necessitate the mother producing evidence if she wanted to get paid. Child Support will ring your husband to see if he agrees that the care arrangements have changed.

  13. Mark
    | Reply

    Hello Andrew, great work that you do, and fighting for fathers and the unfair CS calculator.
    I have a question on when the CSA determine a ‘child support period’. How does that work? I understand it is different to that of a tax financial year.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t ask me why they do it this way but here’s how it works. The Child Support Agency (CSA) determines ‘child support periods’ based on your specific situation, not on the financial or tax year.

      A ‘child support period’ begins when a child support assessment is completed. The first ‘child support period’ can last up to 15 months, with its length depending on when the parents separated. For example, if parents separate in July, and the assessment is done in August, this first period might run from August to the October of the next year.

      After this first period, every following ‘child support period’ typically lasts a year, starting the day after the previous period ended.

  14. Jack
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m a payer with 35% care (5 nights out of 14). The current assessment uses my reported 21-22 income, and the receiver’s 21-22 reported income. My income for 22-23 will be about 7% higher than last year.

    I have a few questions for which I hope you can help provide answers.

    1. If I lodge my 22-23 ITR on, for example, 1st July 2023 and the receiver has not yet lodged their ITR, I presume there will be a new assessment which will be based on my new higher income and the receiver’s previously 21-22 income. Is this correct? And will the new assessment be made immediately?

    2. If the receiver lodges their ITR on 31st October 2023 and their income for 22-23 is higher than their 21-22 income, this will presumably change the assessment again. Will the payer be credited or refunded for any “overpayments” in this instance?

    3. In the above case, what happens if the receiver’s income for 22-23 is lower than their income for 21-22?

    4. Would there be a credit or refund to the payer for “overpayments” in the instance that the receiver’s estimated income is lower than their actual income?

    5. Finally, how is income for the receiver calculated if the receiver fails to lodge their ITR? Are they required to provide an estimate? How long do they have to make that estimate?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Jack, I think I’ve answered questions 1-4 in my response to the previous question. To be clear, CSA automatically issues new assessments and does backdating calculations. However, the onus is on the parent to inform CSA of an income drop. They won’t backdate in cases where you overpaid because you didn’t tell them that your income fell.

      Assessments are based on the last tax return recorded until such time as a new tax return is submitted. CSA don’t get involved in tax return enforcement.

  15. Lina
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew! Great work you are doing here! I pray to all the gods and universe powers that the changes are made to that shit of a job someone did while developing the current CS system.

    Question regarding your advices #7 from “How to Avoid Child Support Legally”. My husband was assessed last month by CSA using his 21-22 tax return (he was only part time employed) and the amount he has to pay to his ex from now till May 2024 is fair and bearable in our current circumstances. However, he started a new job in April 2022 with a higher income. Do you think they will automatically reassess us, come 1st of July, based on the new tax return from his employer or they will let us be until the end of the current assessment? And a more important part: the current job is a contract and we are planning a change of lifestyle within the next year that will see him becoming a stay at home dad to our three children and I will finally work on scaling up my business and be a main income earner. Can we use that “loophole” you talked about and file an estimate for the 23-24 being the same low as it was in 21-22 so they skip that year of high income in their reassessment and do not increase the payment by 5 times?
    We are not trying to avoid paying, we just want to keep it down to the fair amount and not inflated by that unjust formula. We are married for 10 years, have 2 children together and one from my previous relationship that even though my husband fathers since they were 2 y.o., the CSA does not count into the formula. Now, because the ex has a midlife crisis and is not happy with the private arrangements we had in place, we are at risk to be cashing out 1/4 of our monthly income to the child my husband has been prevented from fathering for the past 10 years.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To answer your question in a general way that others may find helpful, child support is normally based on the income a parent earned in the previous financial year. CSA will backdate and recalculate as required. It’s up to you to inform them in a timely way if your current income is actually lower than what you are being assessed on.

      When a parent submits a current income estimate, everything changes. The parent is then assessed based on estimated earnings for the current year. They will be re-assessed if their income turns out to be higher than the submitted estimate.

      A loophole exists because you can switch from using the previous year to the current year by submitting an income estimate. Hence, a parent can effectively skip a high-income year in their child support assessment.

  16. Richard
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, I’m employed by small business. When updating income estimates, the reasons they give don’t exactly fit my change, or at least I don’t fully understand the implications of each reason. My wife is managing director overall, I’m ops manager for part of the business. The business has ability to pay me more next year, so we want to up my wage from $25k to $62k (being 2nd year operations). I could put the reason as “change in circumstances” or “business related” but want to know what they look into in regards to these “reasons” they ‘re asking for. I could potentially put “new employment” since my role is changing slightly as well… any comments you have here would be helpful in relation to what they look at for each reason given. Thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I wouldn’t worry too much about how you justify your income estimate. There won’t be a Royal Commission into it. Ultimately, you will still have to submit a tax return. A ‘change in business conditions’ or something similarly vague is fine. Just have a simple, believable answer ready if they ring you to confirm.

  17. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    I’m anticipating that my daughter will need braces in the next 12 months or so.

    I currently pay child support.

    I have my children approximately 30% of the time.

    If my ex wife were to make an application for change of assessment (I’m assuming she will), what percentage would CS expect that I pay? I’m assuming 50%?

    Also if I were to pay the orthodontist 50% of the cost directly, could my ex wife still make application for a change of assessment?

    I’m worried she’ll try to double dip as she has a history of doing this.

    Thanks for your time.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re right – a 50/50 split is the likely determination for dental braces. It may be easier just to agree with your ex on payment (by email so it’s documented). She would need to provide evidence of costs, so shouldn’t be able to get away with receiving too much. I don’t think it would ultimately matter whether you pay her or the orthodontist because there would financial records of everything.

  18. Zacky
    | Reply

    Dear Andrew,

    I want to thank you for your impactful videos on the challenges surrounding child support. Like many fathers in this forum, I feel let down by the current practices of the Child Support Agency (CSA).

    It is concerning that some individuals can retroactively lower their taxable income, resulting in significant reductions in their support obligations. Despite raising this issue with the CSA, I received limited explanation beyond the notion that anyone can amend their tax return through the ATO. Consequently, I find myself contributing almost 90% of the support, while struggling to provide for my pregnant wife and two children.

    I have lodged a change of assessment and waited for what feels like eternity highlighting the tax amendment, adding my pregnant wife as dependent and other concerns I had, my efforts were short-lived. The assessment was initially reduced for one day, only to be reversed the next day because it was deemed that my wife’s status as a dependent could not be recognised due to her family visitor visa status. This sudden change has left me in financial distress, trying to support my ex-partner and older children, while making ends meet for my immediate family.

    It is disheartening that the child support I pay rarely benefits my older children, as I encourage them to reach out to me directly for additional support. This raises concerns about fairness and leaves me unsure about the appropriate channels for addressing these issues.

    I am still waiting for the final written decision and intend to object any unfair decision, but I would greatly appreciate any guidance or advice you can provide to navigate this complex situation.

    Thank you for your commitment to promoting fairness within the realm of child support.

    Sincerely,
    Zacky

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The details in your Change of Assessment case may be complicated, but most cases usually boil down to 1 or 2 points. There are only certain things that are actual factors, and often people get caught up in details that are irrelevant from an administrative viewpoint. So, my advice is to try and keep it simple.

  19. James
    | Reply

    I was underpaid for 4 years and received a lump sum payment in 2020.
    I paid child support on this at the time with no issues.
    2 months ago the ATO did a tax review of those 4 years and I received a substantial tax refund.
    will CSA take this into account at all?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s hard to see them intervening to help you out when we’re talking about variations in the timing of receiving income. It’s all a bit mathematical. Your tax return data would be revised. If they don’t act on that, then you need to apply for a Change of Assessment. May not be worth the trouble.

  20. Jack
    | Reply

    Just a brief note to pay attention to the detail in your assessment…..

    Briefly, I have two children that I pay cs for and 1 toddler having remarried and is dependent child

    My eldest recently turned 18 and with this change to assessment occurred – I didnt pay attention but with the change to assessment the provision for my toddler was removed from the assessment for some reason only known to the CS – this error will no doubt be corrected – i write as a warning to all readers of this site to remain vigilant with checking what CS send you and dont just assume that because you have previously provided information that this is reflected in your current assessment…..I am sure I will be told ‘the computer did it’

  21. Mike
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Firstly, thank you so much for offering your advice here – it makes a huge difference to know there are other parents being taken advantage of by the CSA.

    I found a new job (in February 2023). My previous employer paid me more than $80k (pre tax, the results of unutilised annual leave and long service leave). What can I do to stop child support using this amount in their assessment of future income? My income next year will not be as high.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Do nothing until 1 July. Then submit an income estimate to Child Support (online) for 2023-24. Aim for a little under what you expect to earn.

  22. Yama
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Thank you for all the good work that you do. I found it very helpful and it’s a relief that I’m not the only one having these issues. My question is in relation to an income increase post separation as a result of a new job/position. I recently found out that you can exclude extra income earned post separation if the separation period is within 3 years but I separated from my ex more than three years ago. What is behind this regulation that only permits exclusion of post separation income within 3 years only, after separation?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Seems like most people aren’t aware of this provision, which can help payers, until after the 3-year time limit has passed. I can’t see a reason for the limited timeframe other than administrative simplicity (which is a legit consideration to some extent).

  23. anon
    | Reply

    I have just lost my change of circumstance reassessment objection. My ex gave up paid work and now “works voluntarily” for her millionaire defacto’s business, earning zero dollars. I have my daughter 50/50. Despite ex having a history of earning $50k annually the DM found in ex’s favor. The DM also made the statement in their decision that its not unreasonable nor unfair to use zero as ex’s income in the assessment. She voluntarily left employment and now I am getting held accountable for more $$. I am beyond stunned. I didnt think this was possible. This makes no sense to me. DM did set ex’s wage at $35k, but that statement and drop in exs income used in calculation is just wrong

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      For a Changes of Assessment (Earning Capacity) to be applied, the legislation requires a number of specific conditions to be met. If they’re not all met, it is technically correct to reject an application. I don’t know if that was the case here. It looks like they didn’t try hard to find in your favour though. They’ve have done all sorts of dodgy things in the past to make payers pay, but aren’t so enthusiastic in the other direction.

  24. Ryan Simmonds
    | Reply

    Hello, my ex recently filed a change of assessment and the assessment has come Bach which says I owe 50k and that I need to pay $1,999 per fortnight. the issue is that I only earn $1,948 per fortnight which means I can no longer afford to work. I have interests in businesses which are all trading insolvent and I’m in the process of winding them up. I personally owe approx 20k in tax bills and the businesses I have an interest in owe approx 625k in tax debts, 325 k of which I am liable for. I also have to pay $270 each time I want to see my kids for 2 hours, and to date I have paid over 12 k to a supervision agency just to see my kids. I owe my parents over 100k, and without ky parents helping I have no idea what I would do. my parents are retired and this is now putting them under financial pressure. just wondering I could engage a human rights lawyer, surely they can’t do this, it makes death or 18 years in prison look like a better option.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can appeal a Change of Assessment decision, which is an internal review in the first instance. If you go down this route, keep it simple, factual and evidence-based to make it easy for CSA to make a different determination.

  25. Mark Concepcion
    | Reply

    Hi, You have no idea of the relief I felt when I saw your videos. I knew other fathers were doing it tough but I didn’t realize a lot of other fathers are going through the same thing I am going through. My ex wife declares next to nothing yearly income and I have been constantly earning more every year. I have not seen my 14 year old daughter in over and year and I am paying 100% child support. So unfair. Has anything happened to the enquiry? Please let me know if there is anything we can do to get more noise on this and have them change the child support payment scheme. Thanks.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There’s been plenty of noise but it doesn’t manage to penetrate the eardrums of most politicians.

  26. Cameron
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I have 2 children 17 and 15 and no care. current assessment is myself 89k , ex 57k. Both based on ato tax return 21-22.
    Just recently the ex had a assessment increasing her income to 72k , then quickly changed her income back to 57k. within 4 days (seems, 72k maybe her 22-23 income).
    I on the other hand have changed jobs and earning 220k . However my 22-23 tax return will be roughly 110k due to starting the new role only recently. My question is this, Am I right to not estimate my income mainly due to only having to pay based on the lower amount?? Also when the 220k year (23-24 financial year) is used for assessment there will only be 1 child used instead of 2. Another question is .. If the child turns18 enrolled in school but refuses to attend can the assessment stop?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t have to tell anyone when your income goes up. And definitely don’t submit any estimates because that takes your old income out of all calculations.

      Payments beyond age 18 are contingent on the child still attending Year 12. You would need solid evidence of a change in the situation.

  27. Vincent
    | Reply

    Thank you for your service and your frank responses.

    The main issue with the current calculations from my bitter experience is it incentivises bad behaviour and does not reward true coparenting. For example there is a huge difference between 1 night of care per week and 0. In my case the difference was over $500 a month which gave the other party a big incentive to fight all the way for full custody and use whatever means were necessary to get it.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I know. The calculations are stupid. They were devised by a bunch of amateurs who, in trying to be clever, put all these hills and valleys in the formula in terms of the relationship between parenting time and payments. In being “progressive”, they also created huge incentives for parents to do the wrong thing.

  28. Lance
    | Reply

    Why should I pay child support around $300 per fortnightly when my son 14 doesn’t want to see me anymore since September 2021.
    I suspected devil ex is brainwashing my son to stop me having care arrangement. She got 100% full time care but her mother in law is looking after him too when ex is away on holiday or event. Hello i am here but they won’t let me.
    No wonder why I pay more even i am struggling to live on $100 every two weeks on food and fuel after all normal bills and rent paid. I have stop eating my lunch for last 5 months and very small serving of breakfast and dinner, sometimes i don’t eat dinner if none in the cupboard or fridge.
    I should quit my work but the problem is i will be end up in homeless, no good.
    I can’t wait for fecking 4 years suffering pay more more more more money to CSA, what a greedy.
    I know ex is getting $54,000 and also allowing to have Centrelink Family Benefits A so she can get concession card for cheap on medication. For me, can’t get it because i paid $62,000 over limit even i am spending $120 on my medication every month.
    I have no support family law that i lose a house to her and also i have to pay her $129,000 from my super to her cash. So she is rich than me. I get zero $$. I give up on everything as i am on deep debt on everything. They can throw me to jail if they want to…
    Bye

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re still a parent whether your son is seeing you or not.

      Your tone sounds defeatist, which may be understandable given the circumstances. But it is pointless to dwell on negatives. Focus on what you can control, which includes your spending, and trying to provide for your son as best you can. He may come around, especially if he learns that you are doing better in life.

  29. Anne
    | Reply

    My ex resigned from his employment voluntary, abducted our two children so he could claim child support from me, and relocated. I spent a year in court fighting for their return. Once I was granted the relocation of both children, he no longer wants to see, or pay for his children. Child Support accepted a change of assessment under reason 8 and he was required to financially support his children based on his earning capacity. He appealed the decision through Child Support and his appeal was denied. He spent the best part of last year continuing to fight for his right to pay $0 towards his children. He eventually won an appeal through the AAT in a decision I still find unbelievable to this day. He remains unemployed and supported by his wife. He hasn’t paid one cent to support his children and will never do so. Now as a father of two children his total legal obligation is $36 per month. Wow, we all know what that buys today don’t we! It’s all just lip service and one big scam.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Frankly, I don’t buy a lot of what you’re saying. It’s a very one-sided story and there are details missing. I hope you’re careful about what you say to others, including your children. Whatever happened, the current situation isn’t good and possibly could be improved.

  30. It's unfair.
    | Reply

    Are there any updates to the situation?
    I’m paying $900/month for 50/50 and she earns 90k a year. I live a modest lifestyle in Canberra but living costs are triple CSAs estimations. Therefore child support takes most of what spare income I have left at the end of the month.
    When can we see change? I’m struggling to cope.

  31. Colin
    | Reply

    I have long since accepted the unfairness of how child support payments are calculated, however would still like to express my opinion.
    A fundamental problem is it that it does not consider family income in the same manner that family tax benefits are calculated…..i.e. double standards on what a family is.
    For child support we have this hang up that only the biological parent has a responsibility of care, not the ex’s new partner that they live with..…the partner has no obligation of care and is therefore not included in any assessment. However, my expectation, in the best interests of the children, is that my ex’s partner does have an obligation of care and is expected to treat and care for the children as if they were their own……and for this privilege, which they have knowingly accepted, they should be considered in the assessment for child support payments in the same manner as family tax benefit assessments.
    For my situation I share 3 children 50/50 and still need to pay $1100 per month in child support……I earn $120k, ex earns $27k part time………however ex’s new partner earns >$200k with no other child support obligations. Why should I still be paying?…..the ex has much more family income than we ever had together. It is interesting also that the ex had only started working 6 months ago, however the extra $27k the ex earns has no effect on how much I pay. A fair assessment, in this case, would be that I don’t pay any child support.
    Colin

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      We’ve taken a different approach by proposing that the government should pull its head in and stop playing God in the way it redistributes money. Your case is one example where they lack the information to successfully do their meddling.

      We’ve proposed a formula whereby the payer, who provides less care than the other parent, pays compensation to them. The amount is not exorbitant, reflecting general living costs, and is reduced if they lack financial means. This may not produce the utopia of equal living standards for all that seems to be desired by the powers that be, but it would at least work far more effectively than what’s there at the moment.

      Currently, parents are reducing their incomes, including by not working, and lying about their incomes. The extent of this behavior is massive, judging by income stats.

  32. CC
    | Reply

    Please help regarding an estimate.

    My partner has an estimate in for this financial year, and is about to start a new job (we didn’t expect this to happen, that’s why we did an estimate). The estimate is for $120K and he is new wage is $190K, but we are also going to receive allowances in this months pay (Up to $20k) for the move. Do you know how the new estimate will be calculated? Will it be on $28,109 (54 days left of year wage) + $20,000 = So $48,109 across 54 days. The new estimate for the remaining 54 days is based on a $325,185 Annual Income??

    The only other option would be just to cope the penenaties for under estimating. I’ve tried calling Child Support but that wasn’t helpful.

    Thank you for your help.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There are no penalties for underestimating one’s income. They simply ensure you pay the correct amount overall once your taxable income is finalised. Not a problem unless you are in the habit of spending everything you have and can’t cope with an unexpected bill.

      Your partner should just put in the new estimated income and see what they come up with. If the figures look wrong, just keep the savings on standby.

  33. Anon
    | Reply

    Next financial year I plan to work full time for 6 months and then reduce my time fraction to 0.5 to care for my newborn child for the next 6 months. In the past when my wage has changed across the year (and I have updated child support of changes throughout the year) I feel like when I did my tax return it wasn’t worked out fairly (based on my taxable income – I had to pay back where I underpaid, but was not reimbursed where I overpaid). So if my wage is 100,000 for 6 months and 50,000 for 6 months, how do I avoid paying based on 100,000 for 6 months and then paying based on 75,000 (taxable income) when I’m only earning 50,000.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re right. The way CSA deals with income changes in terms of their calculations is completely and utterly insane. They are nuts. They don’t allow you to report that you’ll earn X amount for the rest of the financial year. They forcibly revert to an average figure using income already earned.

      You could put in an estimate for $0 income at the halfway mark of the financial year. That would exactly give the correct average across the year for them based on the figures you provided ($100k for 6 months + $50k for 6 months).

      But a better approach is to estimate your total income for the year early in the financial year. Aim for a bit lower what what you think you’ll earn to be safe. If your income turns out to be higher, no big deal. You will just have to make up for that after you put in your tax return.

      Try not to give them too much info since they will be liable to misuse it.

  34. Ashleigh kate Zalewski
    | Reply

    my ex is saying he is not working and single when he actually is partnered and works full time,
    he currently is paying $8 a week child support if when he does his tax return that shows he earned say $60,000 instead of $19,000 will he have to back pay child support or???

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      His relationship is irrelevant when it comes to child support assessment. Yes, he will owe extra after filing his tax return if his income comes in higher than he estimated. Any refund will be confiscated and put towards the debt.

  35. ASHWIN SHAH
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Thank you for all your responses on this forum.
    My query is related to a father of the children who earns $160,000 and the mother who earns $40,000. They have a 50% caring arrangement each. They share the costs of state school fees, uniforms, books, shoes, three extra-curricular activities, laptops and medical expenses. The father claims that because he is sharing these costs, the mother is not eligible for Child Support payments from him to her.
    Can you confirm if the father is required to pay the Child Support payments to the mother and whether or not the payments are dependant on the total amount of these expenses?
    AS

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – the father is required to pay child support based on his higher income even though care is 50:50. That’s the system.

      He would still be expected to help pay for general expenses even after paying child support, though it may be fairer for the receiver to be gracious and cover many of the expenses using the funds received.

  36. Peter
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks so much for what you do.
    I had a mediation
    private payment agreement (not binding). I was against private school and wanted public school. We had mediation. If I agreed to pay for private school fees, charges, uniforms. shoes, texts, laptop etc.. That I wouldn’t need to pay my ex child support.
    The week after my child started private school and after I paid for everything as agreed. I was notified my ex had decided to go back to CSA collection and then needed to pay almost $400 per fortnight taken out of my pay.
    I spoke to CSA and basically they advised change of assessment etc. and private agreement wasn’t worth the paper it was written on eventhough both parents signed it.
    Q. Can I pull my child out of private school as I really didn’t want it in first place and only went ahead because of the informal private mediation agreement. Now my ex has reneged on the private agreement is that possible? As I have another child 8yrs and can’t really afford both with interest rates going up..
    thanks for your help

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you’re going to remove your child from school, do it quickly. Otherwise, CSA will conclude you agreed to attendance, the child would be overly disrupted from a change of school, and you essentially should be responsible for at least half the fees henceforth.

      There are too many factors at play for me to give specific advice on a course of action. It’s about negotiation with your ex, your child’s views, and what school-related documents you’ve signed.

  37. Andrew Carrasco
    | Reply

    Hi,

    My situation is the following:
    I received salary continuance insurance payments in FY20 for periods when I wasn’t able to work, from 2014 to 2018.

    I reported these payments as  Part E payments. $234k was received with $62k tax withheld.

    The ATO, I believe, applied a tax offset. I understand this is to tax the income as if it was earned and received in the year it applied to. Even so,  the ATO assessed an additional tax debt of some $12k.

    What’s worse though, Child Support Australia made no such distinction and assessed  the full amount as income for FY20, generating an extraordinary debt of $30k to my ex-partner.

    This fails to take into account the significant debt I had to incur through the periods I couldn’t work, and which I had to repay with those the salary continuance payments once they were finally received.
    This seems obviously unfair and clearly inconsistent with the ATO principle of recognising the years to which these payments apply, and offsetting the  tax payable  accordingly. 

    What remedies are available via the ATO/CSA/AAT to have the payments recognised in the years in which they apply so that the assessment that Child Support Australia uses comes in at the appropriate amount? Either that or have CSA/AAT lower their assessment in some other way? 

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I can’t see how you change this. You’re trying to retrospectively change an historic event for which CSA has made a decision already. You would still be liable for something if the lump sum income has been spread across the years (for any previous child support years when you were assessed as having a low income). You received the money as income, it was available to be used for the kid(s), and it was allocated to the other parent. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

      The initial appeals process for CSA is just an internal review, which is open for you to pursue. I don’t see an angle here that is likely to be successful however.

      It may be worth calculating the approximate impact on overall child support payments (across multiple years) from the money being received all at once instead of spread out. If there is a large difference, you could perhaps argue that the assessment was unfair and didn’t reflect your actual capacity to pay.

  38. Chris
    | Reply

    I just want to say thank you. This is a tremendous resource for Australians.
    Child Support, and the Liberal, Labor and Greens politicians who support it, are a disgrace.
    You talk about the Laffer curve, but it also comes down to basic capitalism – if there is no incentive or reward, then people won’t work.

  39. Cath
    | Reply

    My husband left a high paying job and started consulting to his overseas company, so we cannot find out his income. For decades he has had an extremely high income in Australia but everything changed on separation. The CSA say that because he hasnt lodged a tax return, they cannot assess child support for our five children. Is this right or are they being lazy?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      CSA are lazy, especially at senior levels. We proposed a simple solution to these kinds of problems, which is to apply a default income level where parents are uncooperative and appear to be hiding income. It would work in your case. But no-one took up the idea for reasons I can’t comprehend.

  40. Cat
    | Reply

    My son turns 18 in August of this year. Does his Dad need to continue paying me child support until the end of his Year 12 schooling year?
    Once the child support ceases (either in August or at the end of this schooling year) is that it for child support? Or because the payments cease in the middle of a financial year, do they still look at both of our tax returns for taxable income in July 2024 to make sure our incomes were what we said they were?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – child support continues until the end of Year 12 for kids turning 18. You will need to apply for this. If someone has put in an income estimate, I can’t see how they could close the child support case until after that was verified.

  41. Christian Gough
    | Reply

    Good morning Andrew.

    My ex-wife has been working fulltime for approximately two years and is not updating her income assessment with CSA and deliberately not performing her annual tax returns as a means of disclosing her income.

    I have brought this to CSA’s attention on numerous occasions and they simply reply with a statement, words to the affect that they can’t force someone to perform their tax return.

    I became unemployed approximately six months ago at which time CSA have recalculated payments to me of approximately $80 a month however none of these payments have been made and there is over $300 in outstanding payments noting that my ex-wife is well paid, over $100,000k annually.

    Is there any advice you can offer to get something happening with CSA, most importantly regarding the issue of the dishonesty around stated income?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not much you can do here. Think of it from CSA’s perspective. They need numerical figures to calculate child support, including income data. They’re not detectives, are not the ATO, and can’t just make up numbers. What would you have them do?

      Note: We have proposed a simple measure to handle these kinds of problems (default income settings for uncooperative parents) but the lazy politicians and bureaucrats haven’t taken it up thus far.

  42. Paul
    | Reply

    Hello Andrew,

    Is there a mechanism to claim overpayment of child support based on income change?

    The scenario is for a high income earner parent with 3 children. 2 are in the ex-wifes care who has zero income and 1 child is in parents care with lets say $200,000 on last years tax return. Child support is then estmated at $1324 per fortnight based on this income a paid from parent to ex-wife.

    The parent looses job after 8 months into finiancial year and only really earns $150,000 for the year. Based on this income child support should only have been $971 per fortnight.

    Crunching the numbers shows total support paid for the year of $24832 but in reality it should only have been $18487 based on the actual income earnt for the year. Therefor about $6000 extra paid.

    The system doesn’t seem to allow you to be compensated for paying extra per month based on an higher income you never recieved.

    Then, even if you are still unemployed the system will automatically set next years child support to be based on the $200,000 tax return until you submit a new estimate or next tax return recieved… doesn’t seem fair given the current robodebt royal commision…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A parent can put in an income estimate online at any time. That’s what you need to be do when your income drops to avoid over-paying (or receiving too little). The onus is on you to do it. If you don’t, you won’t be compensated later.

      To answer your specific question, there is no mechanism. Technically, you paid extra based on your income in the previous financial year (which you actually did earn).

      Child support is re-calculated back to 1 July when you submit a tax return for the financial year just gone.

  43. creagh swaine
    | Reply

    my ex lives with her mum (has been for 10yrs) and partner with my two girls under 13yrs.
    How does her de facto relationship effect my child support, if she hasn’t declared a de facto relationship?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Partners are irrelevant when it comes to child support. Only the incomes of the parents count, along with the care split.

  44. John
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m currently paying child support and 50% of the private school fees. My ex is the primary carer, and I have my daughter 4 days every fortnight.

    Since the split, my ex has presented me with receipts she claims she has spent on our daughter to get an additional 28%. I do not have a problem paying for things, but the other day I was presented with a couple of receipts that are 2 years old which are for glasses and told to pay an additional cost.

    There had never been a prior discussion of all these expenses spent on our daughter. Often I’m presented with receipts from a few days before or 2 years ago. I have been paying additional expenses to my ex’s bank account. Am I obliged to pay for something I’m not aware of? Can I ask for proof that it’s genuine spending on my daughter? Is there any validity period for expenses? I am frequently asked for additional payment, and I cannot find detailed information on my obligations.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To be honest, I’d ignore these receipts. But maybe that’s just me. With your care level, you’re assumed to only be covering 24% of total costs. That’s all the credit you get under the formula.

      If your ex wants you to pay for things, she should either ask nicely or work out an arrangement in advance. She shouldn’t be buying stuff and sending you the bills. You could volunteer to pay for certain kinds of things or just pay for stuff yourself. You could ask that she check with you before spending on things she expects you to help cover the costs for.

      If you’re going to pay for things, you should have some control over it.

  45. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew. I pay child support and now my ex is asking for more money for things such as school uniform and school camp fees. My children go to a public school.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Apart from essentially major dental, medical and private school fees, there are no rules around about who pays for what. This is a moral question that depends on the circumstances and people involved. Messing around with receipts is an ugly way to do it. Better if each of you chips in as they see fit for different kinds of things.

  46. anon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I’m back with one more question.

    The ex wife did not lodge a tax return for last year and provided only an estimated income.

    This might be a question for ATO but may I seek your experience, if any, as it has implications on my CS payments to her:

    “Can she file her tax return for this year without filing for last year? ”

    Thanks .

    Cheers,

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Can’t see why you wouldn’t be able to file a tax return despite not doing so the year before. You’re not even required to file one in a year when you have a low income.

  47. Zac
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I recently lost my Father and was shocked to learn I could travel when I was cunningly asked to go to different counters stating my passport isn’t scanning. my flight was leaving 6.30am and they made me sit there for 45minutes almost close to final call! then 2 afp (female and a male) comes to me says polightly I cannot travle today however will make sure I don’t have a no show and will let me travel again once I have sorted issue. when I can questioned him his response was: we are not sure its probably CSA debt asked if I was sent any paper work to which I responded No since I never received a registrar notice pertaining to DPO. he was empathizing with my situation and said will talk to travel counter and ensure once my issue is resolved they will allow me to fly without additional charges which they confirmed. I also suffer from depression and this is making things worse and I am worried about my mother if she finds this out she have serious impacts.
    I also informed them previously stating they have falsely assessed me on a higher income and I will be appealing it.

    I really need to be with my mother at this point of time and how can I resolve this mate?

    I like to thank you for your dedication and assistance on this forum!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Zac,

      Unsure why your passport doesn’t appear to be working. The business with going to different counters and AFP officers might just be standard procedure. I’m not a passport and travel expert, but would suggest you try the Passport Office first to see what they say. There’s a number here: https://www.passports.gov.au/passport-care/damaged-and-faulty-passports

  48. Singlemum
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I asked a question a few days ago about an increase in the PP’s income and you told me I had to wait until the end of financial year, but that would just be an update in assessment. In fact, I called up CS and they said I could put in a COA and that would override any current assessment and in all likelihood more than an updated assessment since it’s based on a completely new income. You might want to share this with your forum readers so they have the correct information.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well, that’s not what I said. Don’t misquote me. I’m happy to receive feedback however.

      Yes – I could, and probably should, have provided extra information and written that you’re entitled to apply for a Change of Assessment and seek to have his higher income take immediate effect. Yes, you can do that. I’m sure CSA would love it.

      It remains true that he doesn’t have to inform them of his higher income. But maybe he will because he was foolish enough to tell you.

  49. disgruntledPayer
    | Reply

    HI Andrew,
    Is there anything we can do to assist in pushing forward the child support formula that you suggested?
    Would like to help but not sure what I can do.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      We’ll probably need a change of government before anything good will happen to be frank. Users of this site helped out with lobbying in 2021 and we made a good push, but all to no avail it would seem.

  50. Luke
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    not sure if you are able to answer this one.
    My ex constantly stops my daughter from staying at my house purely to keep her share of the care percentage up. However my daughter routinely has sleep overs at her friends houses- why is my ex allowed to claim these nights as part of her care and I can’t?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I can answer. Your ex is in control of the situation. As such, you can’t go running to Child Support claiming extra nights. They’ll believe your ex first, and she seems to have the ability to retaliate by dominating parenting time.

  51. Nat
    | Reply

    I’m so confused!
    I’m a father with 50/50 care of my son and daughter. I’ve been paying a good amount of child support for years. My ex wife has landed herself in a situation where she owns her own house (lump sum insurance pay out, plus a big payout I had to pay her from our divorce so I could retain the family home) she works full time but low income and always working jobs where she gets perks on the side as apposed to a good declared income and throws the perks she gets in my face and through the kids. She used to earn more than me but suddenly her wage dropped when child support started (about 5 years ago). I appealed and took it all the way to the ombudsman but they rejected my claim because her taxable income was correct. I tried a reassessment and got nowhere there either. They would not look into her financial status and said I had to prove it. I had to prove the dates she received all her money and the exact amount. I don’t have a copy of what she paid for her nice house or a copy of her bank accounts. So I couldn’t prove anything.
    I’m paying a large mortgage. It’s been a real struggle since interest rates have risen. It would be cheaper for me to have my children fulltime than pay child support. I’ve always been told by child support from the start that I also need to pay 50/50 for children’s schooling and medical expenses which I do. Plus I do ALL the running around for my son who I got onto the NDIS for his disability. I know this can’t be legally enforced but I was told paying 50% of expenses was the correct thing to be doing.
    Today, a lady from Child support told me that with the amount I’m paying I should not have to pay ANY of the childrens expenses and that I should be filing a reassessment to consider what I’ve paid so far in their expenses, plus to highlight her earning capacity and I can go back 18 months with expenses. I am so confused. I’ve been told very different all these years. I’ve also looked on the app to claim expenses and it’s not applicable for 50/50 care. Is she wrong? Is a reassessment worthwhile if It’s failed in the past because they refused to investigate and I don’t have copies of her bank statements or assets.
    I reassessment is a lot to go through and not sure whether to try again if it’s a bum steer.
    Any thoughts?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If parents don’t agree on contributing to certain major expenses, such as private school fees and medical or dental work, there is a Change of Assessment process to get the other parent to contribute. Normally, this amounts to 50/50.

      Beyond that, in essence, there are no rules. Each parent can spend how they like when they have the kids. It’s up to the parents to decide how to contribute towards things like clothing and sports fees.

      Most people have a sense of fairness. If one parent is paying large amounts of child support, the other parent may use that to cover costs without asking the other parent to help. But neither parent is compelled to spend money if they don’t want to.

      You can’t go back and change things. You had every right to contribute to the children’s living standards and that’s what you did. What would you be protesting about?

  52. Mike Rowe
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I’ll be receiving a one-off, lump-sum ‘cost of living’ payment from my employer next month. While this is a nice gesture and i’m grateful for the help, it makes me angry that it means that I will end up paying more for the next 12 months after I lodge my tax return.
    While i’m not on any type of income support, I found an article on the DSS website that one-off gifting of up to $10k may be exempted.
    Source: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/lump-sums-while-income-support?context=22196

    Is there such a exemption for payers who aren’t on any income support?

    Thanks,
    Mike

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Mike,

      Well you can read the lump sum exemption stuff for yourself and see if you qualify. The other option is to submit an income estimate to Child Support on 1 July for the financial year 2023-24.

  53. DisgruntledPayer
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I am seperated from my partner with which I have 2 very young children and 50-50 shared care. I am working full time, and require to put the kids in childcare during the days that I work. I have done this to try and provide the most I can for them. My ex has chosen to work only 2 days a week or not at all. I therefore have to pay child care fees as well as child support on the additional money that I earn for choosing to work full time, and I don’t get to see the kids as much since they are in childcare so I can work. Is there anything I can do about this? (other than reducing the amount that I work, as I don’t consider that to be in the best interest of the kids)

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You choosing to work and put the kids in childcare technically has nothing to do with either child support or your ex. It’s a calculation and decision you’ve made.

      You may want to look at adjusting the parenting schedule to have more time with the kids outside of work hours and less during work hours. Parents can mutually agree to any such arrangement at any time. It may be cheaper for your ex to be paying for childcare.

  54. Fulltimemum
    | Reply

    I am the full time carer for our two children, and my ex has just advised me that he has secured a job with a significantly higher income which will mean a big change in child support. How does this work? Does he have to advise CS of his new income now, or does the new cs amount only kick in after the next tax assessment period? Our eldest will be 18 later this year so it won’t need to be paid for him much longer anyway. Do you know for Year 12 which month the payments stop?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      When income rises, the assessment changes once a tax return is submitted. They backdate for the weeks or months in between 1 July and the tax return info being received. The full effect won’t be felt until 1 July the following year, after he’s had a full financial year on a higher income. He can notify the Dept of Social Services of his income, but is not obliged to do so.

  55. j
    | Reply

    hi I’ve read Pauline Hanson said she wants to change to system plus also I read somewhere about reassessing the cost of children tables. have you any idea when this may come about. it’s bizarre how a child turns 13 they are now more expensive to care for as to when they were 12.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not much is happening at the moment on the reform front. Bureaucrats and academics may be looking at updating the costs of children but I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for significant improvements unfortunately. They are only good for tinkering and making things more complicated and often worse.

  56. Kb91
    | Reply

    My husband took a couple of months off work at the start of this financial year because we moved interstate and he was looking after our 1 year old while he looked for work and while we secured childcare (he has had access withheld to his daughter for 10 years now – but that’s not what I’m here for) and then he commenced work in September and estimated that he would earn $95,500 between September and the end of the financial year. CSA have now done a new assessment and have annualised his income and are saying that his income for the year is $123,000.. that means he is paying child support based on an income that is nearly $30,000 more than he will actually earn for this financial year.. that seems really unfair and no one seems to be able to explain it and if we can get it changed.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The Dept of Human Services have a stupid method for calculating estimated income. They are idiots. They don’t let you simply estimate your total income across the financial year.

      When you put in a reduced income estimate for the financial year, they assume you have been earning at your old income level for the first however months of the year has passed. They kind of lock that in. When put in a new annual income amount, they apply that to the remaining months as a new salary yet to be earned.

      In general, you have to subtract your “locked in” income already earned (according to them) from your estimate of total income for the year and submit that.

      I’d suggest you simply put in a new income estimate online and subtract $30k or more from it.

  57. Robert
    | Reply

    my wife and I separated still I haven’t paid any child support. Does she need to lodge child support or it is automatically paid from my account?. she is seeking full custody and child custody case is in court.please advise me

    Andrew Lancaster (admin)December 15, 2022 | Reply
    You’ll receive plenty of info from Services Australia about having to pay child support. She needs to make an application and then it begins. You’ll receive a monthly bill.

    However, I forgot to mention that I and my wife have been separated 18 months ago in my previous comment, since that I haven’t paid any child support and battling for child custody. Do I need to pay all my outstanding amount? And I haven’t received any info from service Australia.
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Nothing will happen until a parent applies for child support with the Dept of Human Services. The effective commencement date is the day they apply.

  58. Frustratedpayer
    | Reply

    Hi there,
    To anyone that can help me.
    For the last five years I have been paying child support to my ex-husband for our two children. The care has always been 50/50 other than a brief 4 month period last year where I had full time care due to him being homeless. During this time I didn’t bother changing the assessment because I felt guilty! (What an idiot!!)
    Once he finally secured a rental property the children were with me 11 nights out of a fortnight, and the payments went significantly down. So as not to poke the bear, I decided to leave it as it was as I was now only paying a smallish amount and didn’t feel it was worth poking the bear.
    My ex-husband and I have gone back to 50/50 care now (and he has been in full time employment since January).
    My payments to him have now increased to $600 per month. I noted on the recent tax assessment that his income is significantly lower than what someone in his job would earn. I could wait until the next tax year and just keep paying, but as child support isn’t backdated to support us payers Id knowingly be letting him get away with way more than he should be getting. I should mention here that the money is not spent enriching my children’s lives, but technology for his own benefit – hooray for Google homes!
    I might also add I am paying for all health insurances, dental, optical etc, plus extra curricular activities the children attend.
    I’ve spoken to child support and their advice was to start an application for a reassessment to have his income looked into.
    I downloaded the forms and started filling these out, but I’d like some advice from anyone on what information I am obligated to share. The form is very detailed and I understand that copies of the form will go to him as well. I don’t think it’s his business to know all of my financial details, I have worked hard to get where I am and I don’t want him knowing specifics about me!
    Does anyone have any advice about what I do and don’t have to share in the application to change the assessment form?
    I really want to proceed with this form as I know that he is now earning a lot more than his stated tax assessment (he commenced full time work in January and so therefore has only been earning since then).

    Could someone PLEASE give me some advice about filling out this form please? I feel so incredibly alone in this…
    Thank you to anyone, in advance..

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      With respect to the form, just skip sections or put totals if you feel like it. They don’t use all that information anyway. It all comes down to income really.

      He is also not obligated to provide information.

      I can’t see any issues here to be honest. You write at length about the past as if it’s relevant. Unfortunately, it’s not.

      What’s also irrelevant are your feelings and various accusations about him. Playing the victim doesn’t work with child support. But many people do feel your pain when comes to paying child support in a 50/50 custody arrangement. It’s obviously wrong but that’s the current scheme we have.

      He is currently being assessed based on his lowish 2021-22 income. That’s correct. From 1 July 2023, his higher income will kick in and the assessment will change (backdated after he submits his return).

      If any major spending comes up, ask him to contribute.

  59. [email protected]
    | Reply

    Hi, I’m trying to help my friend resolve a problem he has with child-support and they claim that he owed them $50,000 to start with when he was not working the company he was working for went bankrupt. They would not accept a zero income from him he has been incarcerated for the last four years, they are now claiming he owes 200,000 and have put cave yet’s on his house. He was not working. It does not owe the money the kids have all grown up. Is there anything we can do please help?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He should submit tax returns.

  60. Paul
    | Reply

    I’ve just been assessed for having to pay $30,000 a year for a 15 and 17 year old. This is nearly a third of my post tax salary and will leave me in a position where I cannot service my mortgage, and other finance. Due to my location, location of employers, schools etc and my living arrangements the other party has 100% care but I am quite sure that when we were together it did not cost 30K a year to feed, clothe and support two teenagers !

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You might like to suggest to the other parent that they save money for the children because child support stops at 18.

  61. Robert
    | Reply

    my wife and I separated still I haven’t paid any child support. Does she need to lodge child support or it is automatically paid from my account?. she is seeking full custody and child custody case is in court.please advise me

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’ll receive plenty of info from Services Australia about having to pay child support. She needs to make an application and then it begins. You’ll receive a monthly bill.

  62. Jen
    | Reply

    Why does one Party A have to divulge every detail about what they spend every cent on every month, how much their home and cars are worth, what loans they have etc in order to request that Party B supply their YTD to prove they are not making a true estimate of their income? Party B leaves their income estimate based on previous years taxable income which is now $40,000 less than it will be. So another year goes by that they are forcing Party A to pay a higher amount of child support. But when it reconciles, nothing happens. To prove Party A is paying an incorrect amount, they have to provide all their personal details to Party B who doesn’t have any right to know Party A’s personal information. How does Child Support justify this? Why can’t Party A just request that Child Support ask for Party B to submit a YTD?? Why does it have to be CS1970 form with all that info?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t have to provide Services Australia with detailed financial information or any financial information for that matter (unless a court order or some kind of special compulsion is involved). You can pick and choose what info to provide. Financial forms often go overboard with how much detail is required. The officers themselves who receive the info are unlikely to spend much or any time looking at it.

  63. Anonymous
    | Reply

    I have 0% care of my child – despite court orders giving me about 20% care. My co-parent has submitted a COA requesting I pay half of braces. If these are a legitimate medical expense, do I have to pay half (50/50)? Or can I argue to pay a smaller portion? I earn considerably less than my co-parent and have 2 dependents with my new partner. Additionally I was not part of the decision (e.g., able organise alternate quotes etc). Can I ask that evidence is provided of out of pocket expenses?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Change of Assessment (COA) applications for things like braces are assessed on a case-by-case basis. The default is that both parents pay half. Services Australia will probably go off the info the other parents has provided them. A dentist simply writing that the braces are needed is normally enough to satisfy Services Australia. They’re unlikely to get involved with issues of you not being consulted and other payment issues. They may deviate from 50/50 if there is a big income disparity.

  64. Andrew
    | Reply

    My ex-wife has 65% care of the children. She works part-time, and has been offered full time work and declined it from her employer. I am trying to understand how it is fair for me to work 11 day fortnights to earn a good income and there is no expectation from child support that my ex-wife attempt to gain full time employment, when there is no reason for her not to. Also with the formula…we recently changed care so that my care of the kids increased by 2 days per month. When this was formalised by Child Support, my repayments went down by $18 per month. This indicates that it costs me $9 per day to have 2 children in my custody, so essentially, I am worse off than I was before and my ex-wife is financially better off? I am struggling to see why the harder worker is penalised for doing so. The more I earn, the less incentive there is for her to work full time. I am now hearing that she is planning to go back to 3 days a week from 4 and that will result in my payments going up even further. I find it unrealistic and unfair that a single parent can make the decision to work less at the expense of the person working hard to maintain a good income. Surely there is some kind of criteria that requires more effort than this on the part of the payment recipient?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’ve described some flaws in the current system well.

  65. Simon
    | Reply

    Hi, my partner’s ex has recently freely decided to have 0% care of his daughter and subsequently has been paying the mother $1300 per month as he has a much higher income. His income has been consistently high for ten years but 3 months into paying has conveniently predicted his income to be half off before. He is self-employed and I suspect that his business will be re-directing half of his pay to his new wife to lower his personal income, thus reducing his payments. Is there a process in place to check these kind of dealings? Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Your partner can apply for a Change of Assessment. However, there is little Services Australia can do if he chooses not to provide all the financial information they seek.

  66. Tomas
    | Reply

    G’day Andrew,
    Thanks for your time. Love your forum mate!

    Question, I have been paying child support for 6 years.

    My ex wife with our property settlement and super benefited more with a 55%/45% split.

    My ex wife since our divorce has resided in a home purchased by her parents and I don’t believe there is any mortgage or rental transaction during that time.

    Over time both our income has increased year on year, (with myself having greater earnings). However, in the last financial taxable year, her earnings have dropped which would lead me to believe she has gone part-time or not working to her capacity, which in turn has resulted in much higher payments.

    Do you think I have a case for a CSA?

    I was thinking I would list reason 5 (property settlement) as the agreement for higher split was to ensure a house could be repurchased and 8A as I don’t believe the housing situation (living in one of her parents investment property) is fair and just and 8B based on her earnings have decreased.

    Appreciate your feedback
    Cheers mate.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks Tomas. You might have a case for “Reason 8 – Earning Capacity” Change of Assessment if you had evidence that she cut back on work hours in order to improve her child support assessment (which you probably don’t).

      Reason 5 would require demonstrating that a certain transfer within the property settlement was for the child’s benefit. Hard to see that working with an even care split and with the time elapsed.

  67. Drew
    | Reply

    Two parents that have 50/50 care. After assessment one pays the other $25 a week. The payee now states that the $25 is to cover all expenses and refuses to pay for anything else including school fees or any other expense. What can be done?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well, the $25 is obviously irrelevant. It’s a tactical battle now. Normally, it’s best with even care if you split categories, so one parent pays for certain types of things and the other parents contributes elsewhere. If you’re paying, that puts you in control in many ways. You can use that to your advantage. There’s not much that the system offers in terms of help, aside from major spending items like medical expenses and private school fees.

  68. Anon
    | Reply

    Example: two parents with two young kids. one parent earns 25k the other 110k.
    10 days a fortnight with parent (25k) and 4 with parent (110k). The online calculator has an annual amount of 14766 listed (567 fn) But if it is worked out with the nightly amount of 188.79 listed (Beyond 50/50) this equates to 6 nights x $188.79 = $1132. Fn.
    so my question is why are the calculations different. And is either ok to use.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Glad you could follow along with the calculations for the most part. But it’s only 3 nights per fortnight above 50:50 (10 nights instead of 7). So, the figures do actually match.

  69. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi, just wanted to ask why there is a per night calculation and an annual calculation?
    As one seems to be more than the other.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not sure exactly what you mean. But there are 365.25 days per year on average. Maybe that helps.

  70. Sam
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Just the other day i received a call from CSA stating my ex had now wished to collect CS off me. We have had a private written agreement in place for the last 4 years and have had no problems, however she is now pregnant with her 2nd child to her new partner, so no surprise why she is going for it.
    However in our past written agreements, we both agreed that we would take the combined household income of both parents and their new partners into account when agreeing on payments to ensure they are fair and reasonable.
    We also both agreed that if either of us decided to take a break from work due to a pregnancy/parental responsibility we would calculate payments on the last tax year that either party (who decided to take a break from work) for CS until the other “parent” is back in full time work again.
    I would like to know if this agreement is actually enforceable, or was just a nice peace of paper i wrote on and she contributed too, and would be used in a Change of Assessment?
    Also as now she has decided to collect CS from CSA can i apply to deduct certain payments that i make for my daughter like health insurance, clothing, holidays ect when i have her?

  71. Jack
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Can a parent who constantly uses the process available to them eg COA and continues to have determination from that process against them have some form vexatious applicant declaration made to stop them making unnesessary applications ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’m not aware of a way to stop people making nuisance review applications.

      When you’re required to make a response, you can do it quickly and effectively so that the other parent is inconveniencing themself much more than you. Just mention that this is another nuisance review and provide a minimal response (but with evidence) to defend yourself. You don’t need to provide all the info requested, or any info for that matter.

  72. Mork
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I have just been hit with a child support claim. Up until this date we have simply split all costs 50/50. We have 50/50 care of our 2 girls aged 3 and 6 in a 2/2/3 fortnightly cycle.

    We both earn good money – she earns around $150K and I earn in the vicinity of $250-$350K.

    Our childcare won’t take payments from both parents so my ex is paying for childcare for the 3yo and I transfer the monies. The payment is a direct debit.

    Can I simply tell her that because I’m now paying child support that I will no longer be paying any additional childcare (or any other) fees? If I do so, what are the potential areas of recourse she might have?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      With childcare, whichever parent is using the service needs to pay for it. That’s not something involved with child support.

      Not paying when you equally benefit from the service is not OK. She has no recourse but would be unhappy about it and there may be consequences from that. You probably should just leave this alone to be honest.

  73. AR
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My ex-partner’s income was $39500 as declared in the Jul20toJun21 Tax Return. The income significantly icreased to $165,000 for the year Jul21toJun22. Is my ex-partner required to declare the increased income for Jul21 to Jun22 earlier in the financial year? In absence of any declaration of the increased income, CSA used $39,500 for the purposes of CS calculations during Jul21 to Jun22. Can I request CSA to recalculate the CS Payments for the period Jul21 to Jun22 using my partner’s increased income? There was 50%-50% care of the child.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Parents are asked to estimate their income when it goes up, but are under no obligation to do so. Your ex has done nothing wrong. It’s also normal for income rises to affect payments with a lag since the system is based on the last recorded taxable income.

      I don’t believe you have any grounds for going back in time and having payments re-assessed. Maybe you should just be grateful that your ex is now earning a lot of money. Unless you’re earning as much, you’ll be getting a bunch of payments for doing nothing.

  74. AR
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I wish to lodge FormCS1970 as the income of the other parent was substantially higher than the estimated income from previous tax return.
    On Form CS1970, does one declare just the income or income and assets? If assets are declared, does it affect the Child Support Payments?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Assets don’t normally affect child support (unless very large and the parent has low taxable income). You don’t have to declare everything on CS1970. It’s nothing like a tax return. Is just a form for them to collect info. You can skip whole sections if you don’t think the info is relevant.

  75. Will
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    The CSA system is broken.
    As an educated person is find if difficult to read CSA assessments – so how on earth can we expect the average Joe/Jane to interpret assessments?

    Before I ask my question, please consider the following;

    1) Abducted children rob me of a meaningful relationship with my children. There’s no recompense or factoring of care percentage acknowledging this. Double whammy.
    You pay someone to rob you of your children? WTF?

    2) Payers have no incentive to earn more. In fact they will try cash in hand or reduced hours etc.

    3) Giving kids pocket money to give them some self esteem and mini-freedom AND take the fiscal strain off mum is not allowed as NAP

    Question:
    Should the Productivity Commission launch an enquiry into the Child Support Agency – with reference to the monumental hidden costs to the payer, family members, economy and mental health issues.
    Particularly the lack of incentive for the payer to earn more to forge a new life.
    The CSA divides families and apparently is the leading cause of Mental Health issues, Suicides and DV cases affecting men in our modern era.

    Thoughts??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Most of the key changes required to fix child support require legislative change. Personally, I wouldn’t trust the Productivity Commission to enlighten anyone. I sought a recommendation for Treasury to look at the issues but even that wasn’t agreed by the useless, time-wasting politicians who worked on the Family Law Inquiry.

  76. Paul Coates
    | Reply

    Hi, On one of your pages you wrote that The Family Law Inquiry will make its final report, which is all about child support, in late October 2021.
    Did this happen ?
    And what if anything did or is going to change in relation to the proposed “New Formula” for assessing payments ?
    I have been getting fucked over for years by the mother of my child who claims Centrelink payments & Child Support payments from me while for the last 8 years she has been working as a Prostitute earning $450/Hr cash so she pays no tax & therefore has the right to Centrelink & Child Support payments while all the time committing tax fraud.

    I have made numerous complaints to all 3 government agencies about this over the years & they all seem to respond with “It’s too hard for us to prove that a person is working as a Independent Prostitute for cash payments”.
    I would think that the adds on various internet sites such as – Red Escorts & Locanto & Escorts and Babes ETC would be enough evidence to at least get them to investigate my allegations further but apparently not & I just have to continue paying the whore child support every week or forfeit my tax return each year.

    I bet if I committed 8 Years of Centrelink & Tax fraud that I would be spending the next few in jail.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yeah – nothing happened with the Inquiry. Only Pauline Hanson had the will and brains to want to do anything.

      Ironically, one of the easy proposals I put forward (putting an income benchmark in place) would have helped with your problem of undeclared income. But there’s nothing to help with that in place at the moment. You may want to try not to contemplate your ex anymore.

  77. Leigh
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I have been paying child support for close to 3 years 2 kids. As part of the property settlement an investment property was sold. I received 38% of the property pool. It was agreed that $15k was set aside in trust to pay the majority of the CGT. My ex wife still refuses to work full time and I’m guessing this will be the first time a tax return is lodged. I lodged my tax return and my salary is around $162k however it shows as 182k due to the investment property etc. Clearly it’s not income in terms of my salary and was purely part of the legal orders / divorce settlement. My ex wife received around 80k. CSA used my Tax return and have now said I earn $182k and my support monthly payments have risen by $100. (I have 6 nights a fortnight care 50% school holiday) I currently pay $1370 but it will now be 1,468.67 ) I seem to get different information from them each time but now I was told because it’s not 15% over my normal yearly income they won’t exclude the income from the investment property but for her they will clearly as it’s over by a large amount I imagine her income is. Just seems rather unfair as it was a settlement and I already lost so much house, car, all belongings and had to spend 85k just to see my kids and force her to court. I’m almost at the point of just giving up on it but it just does not seem fair that I’m never on an equal playing field. They did say I could have her accessed for potential to earn as she just chooses to work under 20hours and has no medical issues and kids are in school. However that will just create more drama etc and make life hard for myself and the kids. Just wanted to know if you had any advice.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have you put in an income estimate for 2022/23? That would negate your higher income in 2021/22. You can do this online. It’s just an estimate and you’ll ultimately pay based on whatever your income for 2022/23 turns out to be.

      You’re right about the unfairness. It’s disgusting, especially with new generations of very sexist young women seeming to appear on the scene all the time. They treat men poorly and with tremendous bias and seem to fill all the public sector jobs related to parenting matters.

      One of the key goals of this site is to help parents take a breath and treat financial matters with a bit of calmness and logic.

      I’d suggest you don’t express any displeasure about child support where it can be recorded. That would help prevent a Change of Assessment (Reason 8) if your income ever drops for any reason.

  78. Stewart
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I have recently been advised that my ex wife has opened a claim of child support on me, even after she gave me her word in writing that she would not, if I continued to pay for 100% of my child’s (15yo) expenses – which I have ALWAYS done with no argument.
    The matter was going to be a private collection with my offer to pay her in the region of $13,000 per year with many more additional expenses I offered, until she changed her mind and decided to have the matter listed as Services Collection.
    I am now assessed to pay almost $2,000 per month for my 1 child who she has 100% care of. That’s over $70,000 over the next 3 years until my child turns 18. Seriously??? How can CSA justify that?
    I will be lodging objections with CSA on these 3 conditions;
    1. The ex has an earning potential of likely double her current annual income due to the fact that she recently qualified in Cert 4 for Mental Health care. The fact that she does not use her qualification means: (a) she can claim more from me, (b) if she was to get work using her qualifications, she would lose out on gvmt benefits like Centrelink and a Concession card. This point means that the CSA is basically enabling her to abuse the system, and have me responsible for her lifestyle. NOT FAIR! I have already paid her close to $200K, which includes my inheritance from my mother who passed away only 4 months before she told me “it’s over”. Makes me think she was just hanging around for the money to clear.
    2. We have another child together who has just turned 18 in September. Just because he is no longer considered a ‘child’ does not mean he is not financially dependent on me. He lives with me 100%. Therefore I will be submitting form CS1970 – Application to change your assessment Special Circumstances (Reason 9: I have a duty to support another person)
    3. At the time of separation, when she gave me her word (in writing on an email from her to me) that she would not claim child maintenance from me, I was earning a flat salary at a new job. I was excluded from any financial rewards (such as incentives, commissions or bonuses) while on my probation period. I will therefore also be submitting form CS4120 – Application for post separation income to be excluded, which from what I have understood means that the assessment will be locked at the separation date salary, and the rest of my income will be ‘quarantined’ or ‘exempt’ from the assessed amount according to my tax records.
    My questions to you and the other followers are;
    (i) Are there any other forms or applications available to me to object to the assessed amount?
    (ii) Has anyone had success/history with these types of application?

    Please make no mistake, I am willing and able to provide for my 15 yo child, but at $2,000 per month??? That is excessive and extreme!
    Thanks for your time and response.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There are fairly simple rules around child support assessments. I think you have zero hope with 1 or 2. She can’t be penalised for not earning to her potential (though there is a provision for when people deliberately reduce their income). You also don’t have a “duty” to support an 18 year-old.

      With 3, it depends on the details. You just need to check whether your circumstances and timing match the rules around this provision. You should be able to figure out with high certainty whether you qualify for income quarantine or not.

  79. Jim
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    How does salary sacrifice effect assessable income for child support assessments?
    Regards Jim

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      They automatically add salary sacrifice money back on to taxable income when working out your child support income. So, you get a tax benefit but zero benefit in terms of child support.

  80. Anonymous
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Can I please ask for your clarification for a child who is currently finishing year 11, turns 18 in early January, then starts year 12 (repeated) at the end Jan. Usually the paying parent will continue paying until the end of the school year, but the CSA rules state clearly that if a child turns 18 prior to school starting then it can’t be extended. Is the CSA likely to uphold this policy?

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      CSA follow the rules. I can’t see any way that child support would continue for an 18-year-old about to repeat Year 12.

  81. Vanessa
    | Reply

    Hello,
    I have a question please. My partner currently pays child support for 2 children from a previous relationship. We are planning to have a child of our own and I will obviously need to stop working for some time. I was wondering what CS takes into consideration in this situation, as I will be fully dependent on him financially while I care for our child.
    Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      His payments will reduce somewhat from having an extra dependent child. That’s built into the formula and is the only allowance.

  82. AR
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Are Child Support Payments solely based on income of each parent? Do assets matter in the calculation of Child Support payments? What happens if one parent had a low income in year Jul20 to June 21, did not provide any estimate of Jul21 to June 22 income which turned out to be five times the estimate used by CSA, whilst the higher earning parent continues to receive Child Support payments from a lower earning parent, when the care ios shared 50% each? Are you able to suggest a lawyer who can assist in submitting Change of Assessment Form?
    Anon

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A lawyer is not normally required for Change of Assessment applications. You just need to state your case and provide any relevant evidence to the Dept of Social Services. It’s not really an adversarial process.

      Income changes normally affect child support assessments with a lag. That’s a consequence of using reported income from the previous financial year. The other parent has done nothing wrong and you are in line to get your money eventually.

  83. CONNER MCLEOD
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.
    what about when the system completely fails the paying parent? the mother of my now 27yr old son in nz falsified documents lied under oath and was awarded an order now the debt is almost $200K csa know of these facts and still do nothing. I am a sole parent of 2 children both with disabilities i myself suffer depression and the system does not want to help at all. CSA tell me if i want to fight i have to go to nz but in the same breath tell me that if i try to leave Australia, a dpo will be placed against me, then they tell me that i need a lawyer and, in the sentence, tell me that they will be taking my tax returns and taking money from my careers payment, and then tell me to get a job irrelevant that i am raising 2 children on my own, then say that they will take 25% of my wages. Where is the justice in this?? where do i go to for help in this?? twice i have tried to end things but it has been my boys that have always pulled me out of that dark place.
    When did the government care more about another country over their own citizens.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To work through this, I think you need to separate what is under your control from what is not. Note that there are some personal legal issues here that I’m not in a position to address.

      An order was made in the past and you now have a debt to the other parent. Those seem like things that are fixed and out of your control. If you’re not planning to take legal action on the order (such as seeking compensation), then you may need to move on psychologically. Undoing the past may not be part of the equation.

      The reality is that CSA is going to continue trying to claw back the debt. While you may be deeply unhappy about this, you may need to accept that earning an income will come with a greater penalty than just normal taxation.

  84. ANITA
    | Reply

    My partner has been divorced/separated from kids mother for 9 years. He recieved MRKA lumpsum and CSA has now changed his income from 89,000 to 140,000 for her and 213,000 from 89,000 for the fling he had. Some lump sums cannot be treated as income and MRKA is one. How can csa keep getting away with this unjust unfair criminal behaviour reducing vets to suicide. My partner is back there because of them. He is so injured, so depressed and let down.
    This is obsurd considering his Army wage was always round 55,000 for many years and that was good enough for all 4 kids, but now not for 3….

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If this was an income adjustment not tied to a Change of Assessment, he can put in an income estimate for the 2022-23 financial year to effectively over-ride the adjustment.

      But I’m guessing it’s not, in which case: The System is Rigged!

  85. Lin
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I completely agree on what you said about the system is unfair by rewarding the bad and punishing the good.

    I separated this March from my ex-partner and my 2 year and 9 month daughter is with me 7 days a week, and seeing her father 7 hours per week. I applied for the child support in May and provided them with the estimated income for both him and I, and after they checked with him, he lowered his estimate for his income by over $20000, so CSA accepted his estimate and calculated the amount accordingly. At the end of last month, I received new assessment notices from CS and it shows that his actually taxable income for the past financial year is $27000 higher than his estimate, so I contacted CS to check if he needs to make up for the monthly amount he paid me, but no, the system is fine with his estimate because his estimate for last financial was only applicable for two month since my application. Now he has claimed that he has no income for the next financial year, and I felt like the system is really encouraging this kind of behaviour and dishonest by not punishing them. If my ex-partner is a good man I would probably believe that he has difficulties paying, but he has the money to take me to court for custody, yet doesn’t want to pay the child support for his daughter. So I felt completely disappointed and betrayed. If there is anything I can do to help change the system, I would love to help.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks Lin. Petty behaviour on his part. He’ll have to pay the correct amount eventually. Putting in low estimates all the time doesn’t work. It will also backfire if his income goes up since the assessment will be based on the current year instead of the previous one.

  86. Unfair
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I am wanting to make more parents aware and more importantly, I am wanting to help change this bullshit system. I am a mother of now 3 children. My 2nd child is 13 to whom I pay his father maintenance although we have a 50/50 care arrangement. I am currently on maternity leave from my full-time job at our local hospital. My ex husband (father of my 2nd child) found satisfaction in me paying him child support through my pregnancy and still now paying.. He purposely does NOT want to work although he is quite able to do so Because he receives enough from Centrelink AND my child support! I am so sick of paying for my ex husbands drug and alcohol habit! What an unfair- broken system ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Correct. System rewards bad behaviour and punishes good. You should put in an income estimate ASAP if you expect your taxable income to be lower this financial year than last year (e.g. if you take some extra leave on half pay or something).

  87. Liz
    | Reply

    Hi, the father of my two children has outright refused to pay child support since he put intense pressure on me to have a “private arrangement.” he has not worked and doesn’t receive Centrelink however, oddly enough, the Child support assessment that I received two weeks ago shows his income to be well over $150 000 a year for 2020-2021. I am at a loss with it because I don’t know why they are sending this information to me now and what I can do about it as I have also gotten a debt from Centrelink as they think I have been receiving vast amounts of child support “income” and not declaring it! WTF! Aside from submitting an application to change from the private arrangement to an organised collection and requesting the backpay me what they can, I don’t feel like I have any way to sort this mess out- I am positive he does not have any income, and his family have confirmed this also. I am positive something sketchy is going on here, but according to Centrelink and the ATO, all income amounts are official, so what do I do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t have to manage your ex. Just control what you can.

      Until you learn otherwise, assume he came into a lot of money in 2020-21. That would have made him liable to pay large amounts during 2021-22 if he didn’t put in an income estimate for that year.

      The move to have Services Australia collect is a good one. If you also tell them that you’ve received nothing from him, they’ll probably accept that you haven’t received anything. He would need to prove otherwise. You could share bank records if they want evidence. Hopefully, they’ll adjust your Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A assessment accordingly.

      For collecting unpaid amounts, they can go back 3 months normally or up to 9 months in exceptional circumstances (refer here: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/5/1/4#exceptionalcircs When were you alerted that he was meant to pay you a large amount? The timing could be important.

  88. Brodie
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I am currently the payer and have been progressively been earning higher income year on year while the payee decided to go back to part time work after we separated.

    Our custody is 50/
    50 however the disparity in income is vast and growing.

    Each year I receive a new income support estimate from CSA and dread the increase I have to pay as I know it isn’t being spent on my daughter.

    One method I have looked at as a double edge sword is a pre-tax salary sacrificied charitable donation.

    Do you know if this pre tax deduction is excluded from your gross income when determining the child support payment?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – you can donate to charity, reduce your assessable income and thereby lower how much child support you’re required to pay. Services Australia don’t add charitable donations back to your adjusted income.

      It’s not complicated. You can simply make a donation to a registered charity, keep the receipt(s) and claim the deduction with your next tax return. See the tips here: https://childsupportaustralia.com/avoid-paying-legally/

      Salary sacrificing means you’ll have more disposable income after making the donation, as opposed to waiting to receive a refund after submitting your tax return.

  89. T
    | Reply

    Hi, I have a partner who has 2 children of his own with his previous partner of 7 years, he financially supported her and his children the whole time, after separation he received a letter of debt, his previous partner told child support they were never together and that he never paid, any help would be appreciated thank you kind regards

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This seems like a matter of just providing appropriate evidence. Your partner needs to state in simple terms what the care and financial arrangements were and then provide evidence. An affidavit from a witness may be useful, along with emails, text messages, bills and any other relevant documents.

  90. Bonno
    | Reply

    Hi i ensure i lodge my tax and pay my CS monthly as required but i just received an assessment from CSA where it states from Oct 22 im paying 5 x the amount of CS i normally pay …no reason and the calculations dont make sense or add up as neither my nor my ex cicumstances have changed at all both have same income ect so i called CSA and unfortunately got lucifer to dpeak to and asked why they assessed me for 5 x the normal/required amount when neither my or the exs circumstances have changed and given this how they concluded i need to pay 5 x more CS? I also stated how the ex can get away with never having to put a tax return in and CSA are good with a provisional income amount/ info from her when i di all the right things required of me and you CSA harass me for nothing ..this is clearly discrimination and harassment is it not ..how can they lie to lure me into contacting them off the back of fraudulent information from them demand 5 x more money from me based on no reason at all

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Services Australia don’t make up stuff or do things for no reason. Not saying that they’re always fair and reasonable but there is normally some sort of logic behind what they do. I can’t answer this unless you provide more specific information.

  91. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I’m in the process of separating and work part-time and my ex is retired and receives a superannuation income stream. He receives over $1000 more than me per fortnight, however, for the last financial year, the taxable element of the income stream is showing as about half of my taxable income. How is child support calculated in this instance? Is the untaxed element and tax free component of his income stream used as part of his annual income amount to calculate child support or just the taxable element? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I believe superannuation payments or drawdowns that don’t count as taxable income also don’t count as income for child support purposes.

      In the information about adjusted taxable income (here: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/4/4/10), there appears to be no mention of super payments received.

      The lack of attention to this issue may be for two reasons I can think of: (1) it’s fairly unusual for someone involved in child support to be retired and (2) super is something that you’ve already paid tax on, meaning you should be free to use it however one wants.

      Unsure how an application for a change of assessment would go in this case. Maybe you could ask that he contribute a little more outside of child support, though he may respond that his super has to last for the rest of his life.

  92. Ale
    | Reply

    Hi there,

    I’m currently working out a consent order for property settlement. I’m willing to support my ex partner through spousal maintenance paying half of her rent for a maximum period of 2 years. Would that be considered spousal maintenance?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Spousal maintenance doesn’t directly related to child support. So the question is a little of bounds. Instead of paying half her rent, why don’t you pay a certain cash amount each month and call it spousal maintenance payments? That would be simpler and clearer. You can say it relates to rent if you want but there’s no need for you to stay involved in her rental situation.

  93. David
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    I’ve emerged from a protracted and isolating separation from ex wife and 15year old child. I was ambushed a year ago when they decided I was worth 4 nights a YEAR and have been trying to re-establish a relationship with my daughter. Even now it seems to be on their terms.
    Now she is getting older additional items to BFA are popping up (16 year old parties, drivers learner permit and lessons,passports) with a proposal of 50:50 split of costs.
    I’m already paying substantial amounts and feel they want a relationship with my money and not me. I’m very inclined to say additional costs are shared per the level of care…hence 1% me and 99% them.
    Compromised…..

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well, you don’t have to pay for anything. That’s the starting point. If the mother wants more money in this case, she’ll have to offer something in return.

  94. Baz
    | Reply

    Hi i got a question ?

    What happens to me when the mother of my son has another baby takes time off work. How does that affect my payments i feel i’m going to get screwed over cause she wasn’t working and will have to pay extra or does the income she would get from the other Parent come into it ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Parents are free to reduce their work hours when new children arrive. And they face no penalty for continuing to do so after the children have started school.

  95. Anon
    | Reply

    A bit of an odd one – why is child support in Australia called child support?

    I’ve gone digging, but cannot for the life of me find out where it is stated that a receipient of child support is obligated to spend that money for the benefit of the child, or on anything at all.

    Is it a relic from some past era when the money was required to be spent for the child’s benefit?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      “Child support” sounds better than “other parent support”. The people who seem most confused about this are politicians and bureaucrats. They love making people pay more child support because they think they’re helping children by getting behind this cause. But the terribly low incomes of parents involved with the child support scheme prove otherwise. Child support tends to make children poorer.

  96. Censer
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I’m wondering if you can advise about late payment penalties.
    When any payment is made on a case with late payment penalties, does the payment first come off the child support debt (i.e. go to the payee) or go towards the LPP? e.g. $300 debt plus $50 LPP. If I pay $100, what does the account look like now? $200 debt plus $50 LPP or $250 debt plus $0 LPP? Or some other method? Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      LPP = Late payment penalty.

      These are payable to the Registrar, not the other parent. You can often have them removed if you do a deal with the debt collection people at the Dept of Social Services.

  97. Dan
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew I’m paying child support but only half of what I got assessed because I cannot afford it, my child is in Philippines and I’m planning to visit her this year. Would Child Support issue DPO even though my destination is the country where my child lives. Im paying monthly but still have arrears as I only send what I can afford.

  98. anon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew thanks for your forum.

    I wanted to share something with everybody.

    this article appeared in the newspaper in April.

    Baby bust: Victoria’s birth rate hovers near its lowest in history

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/baby-bust-victoria-s-birth-rate-hovers-near-its-lowest-in-history-20220413-p5ad49.html

    The author of the article does not recognise that parents who are financially, emotionally, physically able to have children are not having children after their first child was stolen from them for example my case in point.

    The author is avoiding this issue – I’m not sure whether it is intentional or it was a genuine and innocent omission.

    But in my case after my child was stolen by the woman and by the enabling woke political class of Australia, I will not have anymore children nor will I take on another man’s seed. I’m avoiding being step daddy at all costs.

    I recommend to all men not to be step daddy’s under the current woke political and legal system.

    With due respect to the genuine traditional women and men out there – men, don’t become step daddy’s, until women themselves takedown the family court one brick at a time, abolish no fault divorce and change the legal system to make it patriarchal, as it has been for all of human history.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Being raised by a single mother is often damaging for children. That’s just a fact that numerous studies have shown. I also think you’re right that this phenomenon may contribute to lower birth rates overall. Men are too easily discarded and exploited these days. Comes down to a lack of respect for what men contribute, are capable of, and deserve in terms of equal rights.

  99. Jim
    | Reply

    HI Andrew
    Do you think the alternative calculation will ever be adopted by child support ?. Also I’m a health care worker who has worked many extra shifts because of staff shortages and covid a hospitals being at breaking point. My income for the last financial years includes quite a bit of overtime. Would this allow me to change of assessment for last financial year considering my income is higher because of the health crisis.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’m actually waiting for super-intelligent AI to take over the government and introduce a new formula. I bet it will look a lot closer to what we’ve proposed than what’s there at the moment. In other words, I wouldn’t bank on reform happening any time soon.

  100. Anon
    | Reply

    I have been advised from a source my ex who I pay full child support to is doing cash in hands job so this won’t go on her tax return. I can’t get evidence so is there nothing I can do whatsoever? she looking around $100 a day 5 days a week

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Correct – there’s nothing you can do about her undeclared income.

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