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When parents ignore court orders

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50:50 shared care

“Extra Care” formula

976 Responses

  1. Kay
    | Reply

    Hi, my ex husband and I have a 4yr old who I take care of 100%. He has not long become and Australian (few yrs ago) and his sole income is from playing music. His income for 1yr (that he has reported to the ato for child support) is only $7k a year. I know for a fact he pays rent, internet, mobile, fuel and food. 7k wouldnt even cover his cost of rent per year. I know he is getting paid cash-in-hand but he refuses to tell me the truth saying his income is too personal. He plays music gigs all the time and even teaches music. What legal rights have I got to have him devulge the truth to the ato?
    Please help.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Undeclared cash income is a common complaint that doesn’t seem to have a solution under the current scheme (our proposed policy is to have income benchmarks). Note that any income up to about $25k doesn’t count anyway.

  2. William
    | Reply

    Dear Andrew, I am an Aussie guy and I had an affair in the Philippines with a Filipino girl who will give birth in December 2019.
    Please advise;
    (1) Since she lives overseas is it the Philippines version of CSA that will decide my payment amount?
    (2) Would that be based on my 2018 F/Y income or 2019 F/Y income?
    (3) Given that the average salary there is less than $500 a month can I assume my payments would be far less than say if the child was living in Australia?
    Thanks in advance, Andrew

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Can’t tell you much with certainty on this topic. The Philipines is a reciprocating jurisdiction. However, I would guess that any child support would be based on the Philipines system since that is where the child will be residing.

  3. Rosey
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, I recently have decided to go though CS with my ex partner and have formalised the arrangement for our son after a long time dealing with domestic violence. I found out he has his name on 8 properties and has shares. I recently received an assessment that came back with his income as $37k for the year and mine at $67. He has our son two nights a fortnight. And only pays $75 per year. How can his be right? Do you have any advice? I tried going though a change of assessment before and they said all the properties where counted? I know he shares a family trust with his brother.. would this be counted in the assessment? I can’t even afford one property supporting our son most of the time because of domestic violence.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Can’t really comment as the info you’ve provided doesn’t make sense.

  4. Whitney
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I have recently put in a change of assessment through child support agency. My daughters father is a lawyer and in the army reserves and they have his income as 33000 as he only works part time. Therefore I am receiving 114 a month. I chose several reasons for the change of assessment – one being earning capacity of the parent. I have been informed that they won’t be increasing his payments as he has never worked full time so they can’t say he has a greater earning capacity. Can they not make him work more considering he is choosing to work part time and should be earning far more then 33000 per year. How is this fair? Can I dispute this decision again or is the change of assessment the final step?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The legal language around Change of Assessments is about income reductions. So, I don’t think you have grounds to appeal. You can review the rules yourself.

  5. Lisa
    | Reply

    Hi, my ex husband lives overseas and has declared $0 income for the last 7 years. My child is 8 so needless to say I’ve received very little financial support. I have asked the child support agency to look into this and they don’t really seem to investigate or be able to do anything. How do I know he is telling the truth? How can I help my child be better supported financially by my ex husband?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t know what you can do to be honest. Difficult when he’s not in the country.

  6. Bec
    | Reply

    My partners ex earlier this year had another child with her new partner so hasn’t been working for 6-9 month, her income for last financial was substantially less than the previous financial year. So the amount my partner has to pay has gone up a considerable amount. I feel he is being penalised because his ex had another child with someone else, he shouldn’t have to pay for those cost. there is no incentive for him to work hard because the more he earns the more he pays because she’s not work. we are starting a family of our own so our household income is going to be reduced, will this be taken into consideration, i doubt it!

  7. Luke Miller
    | Reply

    Hi.

    I separated from my ex wife in 2017. We are now divorced. I have the children ( aged 6&8) 28% of the time.

    I had signed enrolment forms for multiple private schools in about 2012-2013 with my ex. We were keeping our options open.

    Since separation I have realised that my ex’s financial situation was not all it seemed and she has now claimed to have borrowed large sums of money from her mother both during our marriage and after separation. This money is well over $150,000 mark. This was apparently for everyday living expenses. She also had approximately $40,000 credit card debit. I was not aware of this either.

    Prior to our youngest even commencing school ( post separation) I tried to enrol her and the oldest who was in Grade one at the time into a state school. My ex refused.

    We subsequently went through the Federal Circuit Court. The Court initially ordered that my ex pay for the school fees in 2019. This order was made in November 2018.

    My ex kept the children at the private school and the final order remained silent on the issue ( I represented myself and did not pick up on this at the time). I thought the school fees were a non issue.

    My ex has now made an application through Child Support for me to pay half the school fees. This equates to approximately $200k over the next 10 years or at the moment just under $1300 per fortnight including what I pay for child support. I work for the Government.

    How can Child Support overrule the Court? Even if the final order was silent on the issue, would this not be a matter for the court and not child support?.

    I am still waiting to hear Child Supports outcome however if they over rule the initial Court decision I’ll be taking it back to court which will cost both parties yet more money that we can’t already afford. I feel the system is bringing me down to the point I can’t adequately look after myself and or my children when I have them.

    Maybe I’m a little anxious but it’s been about two to two and a half months now and I haven’t heard a thing from Child Support. I find the fact that they seem like they are even considering this as bizarre. Can this be the case and why?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Luke – You seem to have strong legal grounds for claiming that the decision to enroll the children in a private school was your ex’s alone and, therefore, you have no obligation to pay the fees.

      Any decision made by Child Support can be reviewed internally if you request it. You can also appeal decisions, first to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and then to the Federal Circuit Court (FCC) if that fails.

      The legal arguments seem to boil down to whether it was a joint or a sole decision to go down the private schooling path.

      I assume based on what you’ve written that (i) the FCC made an interim order that your ex was responsible for the fees and (ii) subsequent to that, all decision-making in this area has been made by your ex without your consent.

      I personally would tell Child Support that you intend appealing any decision by them that would see you pay fees. Moreover, say that you are prepared to take this all the way to the FCC, where you would expect them to uphold their original decision.

  8. BRUIZA
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.

    I have I have a 4 years old amazing little girl. She has been in my care since we split she was 1 at the time. My Whole family lives overseas and I have only my little girl to keep myself happy.
    I work from home so I can look after her and give her the attention she needs to be a good human being.
    Her father now decided he wants 50 50 he has always helped but since I said I was never going back to him he is deciding to keep her.
    He has always been manipulative towards me.

    He has very serious gambling addicttion and is why he rather keep her doing absolutely nothing at his place and work as he is taking her to work so he does not need to pay anyone to look after her.
    Its brokers my heart.
    His money was never coming into my hand it went always for our rental property for me and my little one.
    Which was only a part of rent not all I still paid some part of it with my own money.
    I have always buy her clothes and anything for her he has never took her once to a doctors or know her allergies.

    Now without this helping I am struggling a little but have not complain as he says I have no rights to do so.

    I think its is very unfair i have always done all to my daughter while he had always time for himself.
    He is a financial manager for a car company and earners lot more than me in a heart beat!!
    I do not agreed the 50 50 can I just stay with my daughter and let him see her but no keep her away from me for 1 week is too much and he shares his place with another male it makes me worry every day!
    He says he don’t need to help me in anything as he has her 50 50.
    I am not an australian so I am not fully aware of my rights. Can you advice me?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Bruiza,

      You need to have a parenting plan. Try here: https://timtab.com/

      You need to agree on a better plan, with much shorter visits. You should contact a mediator (e.g. Relationships Australia) to help. It doesn’t cost much.

  9. Bec
    | Reply

    Hi, I get frustrated with the system sometimes, I understand that its hard to have a system that works for everyone as everyones case and situation is different but when the situation involves a child with speacil needs the systme frustrates the hell out of me.

    I was marriend for 17 years and had two children he decided he didnt want to see the children as the responsability interupted his life. My youngest was born with multiple disabilities and I could not work and was he sole carer even when we were married.
    My Ex does pay his child support generally but refuses to help with any medical expenses (only ever asked for 50% of major expenses) let alone the other costs associated with his conditions.

    CSA says that I could do a reassessment due to my sons conditions so he has to pay a higher amount but the frustrating part is that Centalink told me that if he does pay a higher amount I then lose that of my family allownace, so in the long run I am not much better off but worse as I then have to rely on the Ex to pay his support. I think that in circumstances like this something has to be different.
    My son is 15 now, but still needs a full time carer even with his everyday needs and can never be left unsupervised and will need a carer for the rest of his life. I am not asking for extra money because I dont want to work, I volenteer and study while my son is at school so at least I have workable skills to be able to use one day when I get more help with his care but I dont have the privilege to be able to work like I want to as I have no family other that my two children. NDIS at least now helps with his thearpies but care, medications, special foods ect is not covered fully. there needs to be a way to have parents pay the extra costs associated with children with disabilities and the parent who has care for the child not loose much needed funds.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Bec. I would have thought the ongoing cost of caring for a disabled child would be an issue to be dealt with at the time of separation / divorce (through a maintenance order of some kind). As you indicated, it can be addressed through child support payments to some extent although there are negative interactions with the welfare system. Can’t comment too much on how the system works in that area. The Govt has measures to prevent rorting, and may be hurting people like yourself unintentionally.

  10. Andrew
    | Reply

    HI Andrew,
    Thanks again for your great work with this site and keep up the awesome work in trying to reach a fairer system for everyone.

    I have a question, my ex receives 79% of the child support pool from me (around $1500 per month for our three daughters). My middle daughter is now going to a private school which I agreed to on a half scholarship, and while I agreed to cover some of the additional costs up to my percentage of 21%, my ex is now demanding I pay half of the school fees. She has advised the school that I am liable for this and they have started to send me continual requests for the amount outstanding. I’ve read on here and it’s also simply common sense that you should only pay these types of costs appropriate to the percentage of the ‘pool’ you have access to, so 21% in my case. Unfortunately the school doesn’t want to know about this, they just say because I signed her enrollment forms I need to pay also. I’m wondering if I contact CSA and ask for the difference to be listed as a prescribed expense, is this a good approach? I know for a fact the ex won’t agree to it, but as usual her greed is paramount here. On a side note I’m also starting proceedings to get a parenting order before the court to go week on week off and then I’m happy to split all costs. My three daughters have actually told me this is what they want but again their mother has flat out refused them when they’ve tried to talk to her about it. She would lose about $1000 a month so there’s her motivation. I also have to self represent so it’s going to be a big battle but I have to do something as my daughters are pretty miserable with the current situation. Anyway thank you again for all that you do, and any help or suggestions you have would be very much appreciated.
    cheers,
    Andrew.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks Andrew. Unfortunately, it looks like you couldn’t get credit for private school fee expenses since your care level is above 14%. Refer here: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/5/3/1

      What happens with the fees is undetermined and becomes a civil matter. If it went to court, I’d imagine a judge would conclude that both parents participated in the enrollment decision. Without an agreement in place, a 50:50 cost split could well be the ruling.

      Few people who enter the Family Law System actually end up going to a final hearing. Instead, an agreement is reached along the way. It’s really a negotiation. The leverage you have is that you are prepared to battle it out in court for years until you get a fair outcome. You need to convince your ex that she should cooperate sooner rather than later because you will never give up.

  11. Tristan
    | Reply

    My partner was tricked into gathering a child. Sadly he fell for it and his life has been hell since. I see now why men commit suicide. He was a FIFO worker so she saw this as $$$. He has returned to normal work in Melbourne still earning a good wage. But we now have a child and I am having some time off. My partner simply can’t afford things for me and our child yet the other women has been in two interstate holidays in the child’s first year as she receives over $20k in bebefits, has a concession cards which gives her discounts on bills, gets rental assistance and she gets another $20k from my partner, plus she works cash in hand. Why would she return to work and contribute fairly. It’s very disgusting and terrible that our child misses out. We can see that she doesn’t spend the money on the child but rather treating herself to luxuries which we cannot afford. My partner works full time and misses out on seeing his children grow up. I work for our family being a stay at home mum running a tight budget which is a job in its self. I receive no benefits as my partner earns money. How is this fair, she only has herself to cook n clean for. I have 2 people to care for and a partner that works 6 days per week. He pays to run his car for work which he claims on tax, however we have to wait until the eofy to get any money back. I don’t understand why she receives all of these benefits. My partner have been good savers growing up in hope to have a nice life but we are penalised and I feel there are 3 major things at play here.
    1 there is no incentive for her to work legitimately as she receives so many benefits. $50k plus per year in her pocket tax free.
    2 child support is calculated before tax. So child support plus tax that he pays on the support means he losses 48 cents in the dollar for $37_$90k and 53 cents in the dollar for anything over. That is a huge portion of income gone. I find it odd that CS is calculated before tax rather. Why would it not be paid to the reviewer and they pay the tax? This would be a much fairer system.
    3 I feel that a women tricking a man into conceiving a child is the equivalent to rape. They did not consent to it and as I can see other comments the men are scarred for life. It is extremely damaging and degrading to men. I would like to raise awareness and education to naive men. I pose this question to the women that do this. How would you feel if it were your son?
    Perhaps women who do this should be prosecuted and child support should be optional for men to pay. This would deter most of the behaviour I feel.

    Is it worth me dipping her into CS for working cash in hand? Would his payments go down by much? Would he be reimbursed for over payments? This is ruining our relationship as my partner can’t provide for his chosen family.
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Tristan. An unfortunate situation for your family. Many of the poor design elements of the current scheme are at work in your case.

      No – I wouldn’t bother dobbing her in for cash-in-hand payments. Child support payments are quite insensitive to receiver income when the receiver has a high care %. As well, CSA aren’t detectives who go around investigating everyone. They probably wouldn’t do anything.

  12. Andrew Stocks
    | Reply

    Hi
    I have been in the system /csa/ for twenty six years and have had a lot of things happen to me I thought were inappropriate in dealing with employees of the collections agency
    The latest one is where after closing up a business and and couple of accidents left me earning under ten thousand dollars for the year. The department assessed me as liable to pay 1300 early. The ex estimated her income as zero.
    I queried the amount and asked for the scale it was worked out on and was told there was no working out and that they didn’t accept the amount on my tax year so they had just come up with the number .
    I asked her how I could take my concern further and she told me I would have to do a change of assessment, I was told it was the only thing I could do I asked her how to do it and she gave me an email of the process. I decided not to go ahead with it as I have had dealings with the change of assessment and found it very unfair and not very thorough. I was then approached by an assessor via phone and was basically talked into the change of assessment on the promise that she had the power to investigate my ex’s business dealings and assets hidden in her current partners name.
    I went ahead with the stipulation that a thorough investigation would be done.
    I handed in my information to csa which was thorough and had my income raised to 46000 ,my ex handed in an account that was clearly not her business account and had money coming from unknown accounts totally dodgy
    It even commented on the assessment that it was clear that she had other accounts as her single parent payment was not showing up in it(she had been in her current relationship for 9 years and was expecting her first child to her current partner)
    I asked the assessor what had happened to the thorough investigation and she told me she had no intention ever to investigate anything.
    I went through the system to challenge the assessment and was phoned by the next assessor and pressured by her to drop it as she was going to rubber stamp it anyway.
    The report back from the complaint stated that I looked like I would make around thirty thousand but I would need to make a further fifteen thousand to pay for the school fees for the kids.
    I have 50. 50 care but my ex has made life unbearable for eleven years and my daughter can’t stay at our home through anxiety caused through bullying by her mother.
    The csa has in my view created a scenario where they get a payment in order to maximise money collected for budget purposes. The fact she was illegally on single parent seems to make no difference and the physical evidence of money earned is ignored.
    So would there be any court action I can take to bring these people to account?
    Do you know of lawyers that deal with this sort of thing.
    I have spent the last two years obtaining conversation tapes of phone calls through freedom of speech and feel my rights and my mental health has suffered greatly
    Your help will be greatly appreciated

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Andrew,

      Frankly, I think you should put your energy into something else. Any income up to the self-support amount (about $25k) doesn’t affect child support. And we’re talking about small amounts if income isn’t much higher than that. Don’t waste your time on this stuff.

      • kylie
        | Reply

        Frustration at how CSA can override a court decision. My x and I have 2 children they have always attended private school however, when my x re-partnered he decided he didn’t agree with private schooling and stopped paying the fees. When I spoke to CSA and filled out the required paper work the decision was he didn’t have to pay for the school fees. At the time our eldest was in high school and had only ever gone to a private school.
        Further to my concerns re areas I feel need more consideration is investigation in self employment and family business. My ex works for his familys business which i know for a fact brings in around 1million pa however a considerable amout is paided in cash by customers which funds personal building new cars etc, with the safe constantly full of cash. I known this for a fact as i would sit with my x mother in law and her accountant, it was encouraged that I understood the handling of business.
        I am currently enjoying the whole $120 PER MONTH
        WHICH IS A HUGE STEP UP FROM $35. but while my x drivers around in fancy cars and owns several houses, i think the least he can do is pay the school fees.
        I have 100% care because he decided to move to a different state

  13. Annon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    I have a legal question.

    Situation: My partner had a brief (3 times) affair with an older women 9 years ago. He was temporarily living interstate at the time. She knew he was in a relationship and encouraged casual sex when he was intoxicated. Next thing… surprise surprise. Next thing we know we had CSA chasing us down for money.

    Anyway she was earning minimum wage, approaching 40 and obviously looking for a sperm donor and money.

    Fast forward 9 years and she still has a noose around our neck. She has never returned to full time work and even if she did, as she is in a dead end job she would never contribute to the so called calculator.

    Given the situation we don’t see the child. He has visited maybe twice per year at most. For my mental health I keep her at a distance.

    We have paid this women $120,000 to date for using my partner as a sperm donor.

    Question I have is can we go to court and argue parentage given the situation. He was never dating, nor with this women and she knew he was never going to be living in the same state and that he had a partner. The whole situation has been extremely traumatic for the both of us and the money we have paid to this women has left us 1) not able to afford to get married (we were planning at the time), 2) unable to afford to have a child of our own 3) unable to afford to buy a house together. She surprisingly has her own house as we are obviously paying her mortgage for her.

    Any guidance would be appreciated. We just want this parasite out of our lives.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’m unaware of any way of getting out of child support based on the nature of the relationship (or non-relationship) between the parents. He has to pay I’m afraid, even if it feels very unfair.

      Your partner can be more of a father to his child without either of you having much to do with the mother. Meetings, etc can be arranged using simple emails and text messages – without phone conversation or meeting in person. I have two children of a similar age to the child. It is absolutely crucial for them to know that they have a father who loves and values them. They are forming their personal identities and world views.

      Frankly, as hard as it may be, you need to rise above the situation. Please do what you can to help ensure the child experiences less sadness and hurt than they are no doubt enduring already.

  14. Lee Du Bray
    | Reply

    I was in a de-facto relationship here in Sydney Australia with a woman for some 12 years. There are no children. Just before the end of the relationship in Jan 2009, she returned to her place of birth in Auckland, New Zealand.

    Jump forward 10 years and last month I was dragged before a Victorian Federal Circuit judge for an ‘enforcement’ hearing, to make me pay $100,000 plus to my ex de facto for an undefended NZ judgment she received against me over in NZ for a ‘retrospective’ maintenance award.

    Now this is where it gets even more interesting….the Applicant party in the Victorian Federal Circuit Court hearing, acting on behalf of my ex de facto who permanently resides and is still domiciled in NZ and who is earning $hundreds of thousands a year as a leading New Zealand Family Law barrister….was the Australian Attorney General’s Department!

    …can you believe that?…..esp. when there are no statutory laws legislated here in Australia in relation to the enforcement of Foreign de-facto partner maintenance awards. The Dept of Human Services (responsible for the collection of overseas maintenance awards) having already advised that there is no legislation to support a registration of this kind. The AG refuses to accept that DHS ruling.

    Tens of thousands of Australian Taxpayers money is being wasted by a pre-eminent Australian Gov’t Dept, to drag me into Court, trying to enforce some frivolous ex-parte NZ order on behalf a rich NZ Barrister, 10 years after the end of the de facto relationship here in Australia, where a NSW State Supreme Court had already issued a final and conclusive judgment saying that my ex de-facto, could NOT qualify for maintenance here in Australia.

    This is why Family Law legislation and the Government Departments that oversee the application of those laws, need to be thoroughly overhauled. There is simply no justification for the actions being taken by the AG, nor is there any Australian legislative authority for this court action. It appears to be nothing more than a ‘vanity project’ by the AG’s Dept to show that no one is beyond their reach regardless of the lack of any statutory authority and the Dept’s unlimited access to public funds will crush anyone that stands against them.

  15. Tamara Stokes
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, my partner has been paying child support , though he is also paying off a debt to CSA from previous years also. However, one of the children was the result of an affair his partner had, and she put my partner on the birth certificate. Their relationship broke up shortly after the child was born, just over 9 years ago. How do we apply with CSA to stop paying for a child not fathered by him? He recently started fifo work, to try to get ahead financially, which his ex is thrilled about obviously, but we can’t and shouldn’t have to pay her for a child not his.
    Many thanks,
    Tamara

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Tamara, He’ll need to provide strong documentation and possibly have to go to court. Here is the guide on parentage: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/1/3

      Note that child support payments are mainly for the first child. The 2nd and 3rd children don’t add that much to payments and any further children have no impact.

  16. JSB
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, Thank you for all the work you do on this forum/site – your advice is invaluable.
    You may have answered this in a previous question but I can’t locate it: I’m the paying parent and I believe I may have an underpayment to my ex as my income increased during the last FYR compared to the year prior. Does the CSA intercept any tax refund of the paying parent to recoup an underpayment ‘before’ the receiving parent submits their tax return, or, does the CSA wait until the receiving parent also submits their tax return before doing any reconciliations/adjustments? I suspect my ex (the receiving parent) is holding off submitting his tax return because he’s earned more money this year than he’s declared to the CSA and doesn’t want to incur a debt to me but at what stage is a reconciliation done on the assessment after tax returns are lodged? Regards.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unless you submitted your own income estimate for 2018-19, your higher income for 2018-19 only affects payments for 2019-20. So the “underpayment” has only been happening since 1 July.

      CSA don’t normally wait for tax returns from both parties. They will re-assess as soon as they receive yours. And, yes, they will use any tax refund to pay off newly calculated debt.

  17. Mitch
    | Reply

    My ex and I have a 15 year old child together. The relationship ended when the child was 2 years old, we both agreed on a private arrangement. Please note I was 19 at the time Child was born and the mother was 24. As of July this year the mother has gone to Child support to gain more money (could have asked me but hey she didn’t) so I get a call (my first ever call
    From you guys) saying I owed 3 months back pay. I replied ok, but please know I am married and have 2 other children 6 and 2 who are also my dependents. They said that doesn’t matter we can’t calculate them in because we didn’t know.
    Seeing as though it’s the first time I’ve ever spoken to them how is this fair?
    I’ve been to mediation and she won’t reply and is holding my child against me. What leg do I have to stand on?
    My whole life is now in turmoil as I have bills which I’m struggling to now pay and she went behind my back to do this when we have always had a personal arrangement.
    Not to mention I’m off work as I had to have Major surgery yet I’m still having to pay this ridiculous amount.
    Why is the system screwing me?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The system screws payers all the time. Always report information that works in your favour as quickly as possible. You can put in an income estimate for the current year to get future payments reduced.

  18. Cate
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    In France child support payments are tax deductible…might be good if introduced here in Australia, along with other measures.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Interesting idea. If child support payments were tax deductible, payments received would then have to be taxable in order to maintain tax neutrality (and prevent taxpayers subsidising child support). It would be fairer. But a simpler approach is having a formula with a declining marginal payment rate. That’s what we’re proposing.

  19. Karen
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, my beef is with how Child Support Obligations get calculated. After 25 years of marriage in which I put my career on the back burner to raise our children and support my ex in his career he walked out on me for a younger woman. At the time I was just starting up my own small business so not earning much and my ex was earning over $200,000k per annum plus super. For the sake of the kids who were at the time 2 x 11 year olds and one x 14 year old, I sucked it up and put them first so we made arrangements for shared custody and a CSA private collection arrangement. My ex in fairness has never not paid up what he has been assessed to pay. However he has not lodged income tax returns for over four years and so he is being assessed on provisional income which is not much higher than it was when we separated. I on the other hand have lodged my returns every year, my business has grown and my income has gone up and the CSA assessment has on my side been based on my actual taxable assessed income (including my reportable super, because I am a sole trader I do not get a wage with SG super so i have to make a conscious decision to sacrifice cash in my pocket to put away for retirement savings – last year I managed to save about $4k into super). My ex I happen to know now earns over $260,000 per annum plus about $25,000 as paid employer SG Super some of which he takes as salary sacrifice but most of his super is employer provided so does not get assessed as income for CSA purposes and his salary sacrifice amounts will not have been assessed because he hasn’t lodged tax returns or advised Child Support of any changes to his income. My taxable income including superannuation paid for myself last year was $62,800. Just recently my twin daughters, now 17 have decided they want to go an live with their dad full time because he lets them do whatever they want and I have some rules, expectations and boundaries in my house. This has been hard enough for me to swallow as it is but my daughters have a legal right at their ages to choose where they want to live so other than encouraging them to come and spend some time with me there is not a lot I can do about that. Now my wealthy ex informs me that I am required to start paying him maintenance because he has them full time. I couldn’t believe that given he earns over $200,000 per year more than I do but apparently he is correct and I will need to pay him around $550 per month in child support. So take $62,800 less $4,500 in super payments made, less $13,800 in taxes, less $6,300 I send to my son who is now at Uni interstate to assist him with his living expenses (he gets no Austudy due to his dad’s high income and is working part-time to help cover his costs) then less $6,600 which will have to go to my ex – leaves me with $31,600 net – I have a mortgage which costs me $7,800 per annum – leaves $23,800. My ex on the other hand has around $160,000 in net income and will have another $6,600 from me, so nearly $170,000 to live on and to support our daughters with. And out of my left over $23,800 which will have to cover all my other bills and food and medical costs he still also expects me to continue paying for my daughters phone bills and bus cards – another $1700 per year. I found this all a bit wrong somehow. Clearly the first thing to go for me is going to be superannuation contributions but I am now also considering selling my home for the second time in my life because of my ex husband, not because I actually want to. I just think the system for calculating is all wrong.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Karen. Frankly, I have zero sympathy in terms of finances and can’t see the formula issue here, though the formula is generally screwy. The problem is that you’ve learned to rely on your ex’s income. And that’s coming to an end, albeit slightly prematurely because of your daughters moving out.

      You keep talking about your ex’s money as if you are entitled to it. Some of us feel that the money we personally earn is not the property of other people. You should appreciate the enormous benefits you’ve gained from your ex over the years and come to terms with the fact that you are now on your own financially.

      Your daughters may be smart to become closer to their father as they become adults. For financial support, they’ll need to lean on him directly rather than relying on him indirectly via child support. Who will pay for their major expenses over the next few years?

      Your daughters should come around in time. I hope it works out for you in the end. Note that you don’t have to pay for anything if you don’t want to.

  20. Rae
    | Reply

    Just want to comment on a trend that I am noticing. CS are avoiding sending emails and letters, I have requested all significant communication, to be sent to me in writing and in the last 12 months that has not been applied.
    When I question CS on the phone and ask for what is been said be put in writing, they simply say “we have met the requirement by verbally telling you over the phone”.
    To be clear this is not asking for all communications to be put in writing, just the significant changes.
    Please all involved with CS, make sure you get case adjustments and changes sent to you in writing for your records.

  21. Sarah
    | Reply

    How is the child support calculated if you need to pay two people? Is each assessment worked out the same or do they each reduce the other?
    Income of paying parent 155K.
    Receiving parent 1 Income 77K 2 children <12 9/14 care.
    Receiving parent 2 Income NIL 1 child <12 14/14 care.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Good luck trying to work out child support for multiple cases: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/4/9

      Having multiple cases can significantly reduce the amounts of child support for the individual cases. The costs of children are based on the payer’s income alone rather than joint income, and the income is adjusted downwards. It is also assumed that the children are together (and the total cost of children rise by little or nothing as you add more children).

      So much for making people responsible for their choices.

  22. Helen
    | Reply

    My ex is permanently relocating to his home country (China) which is a non-reciprocating jurisdiction. I understand that this would trigger a terminating event and he will no longer be liable to pay any child support to me because he will be a resident of China (he is also a citizen of China and this is where all his relatives/family and assets are). As soon as he leaves, he intends to pay off any outstanding child support obligations and notify the CSA in writing of his change of residency, with further evidence once he arrives in China.

    The law stipulates that:
    “A terminating event happens if a parent liable to pay child support (CSA Act section 12(3)):
    dies, or
    ceases to be a resident of Australia (1.6.1) (and is not subject to an international maintenance arrangement).”

    I have seen a number of comments on this forum suggesting that in such situation there would be an accumulating debt over the course of my ex’s residence in China and if he is to come back to Australia in the future, he will be forced to pay off that debt. I have been advised, however, that there wouldn’t be any debt while is away and that he would only have to pay again once his CS liability resumes – namely, when he is considered to be an AU resident again – because otherwise he won’t be liable by law due to residence in China.

    Can you please confirm the above? The comments on this forum indicate otherwise and contradict what I have been told by my solicitor.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for your contribution. This seems like a good explanation of how moving overseas permanently to a non-reciprocal country can end a child support case.

      Professional legal advice about a particular case should normally trump anything mentioned in this forum. Sometimes the forum slips into providing vague answers to vague questions.

  23. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi I have two kids with my ex wife 11 & 15 and we share custody. She has always worked since the kids have been in school although my income is a lot higher as I’m FIFO so I still pay CSA. She is having another child with her new husband and I believe is planning on not working until that child starts school. My question is will my child support increase because her income will be $0 or do they freeze her income in the calculation because she is choosing not to work?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The payments will go up. CSA give women a total pass when it comes to staying home to look after young children.

  24. Angela
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Can I please check.
    We are paying child support to my husbands ex. We have struggled financially for years because we have had many ivf payments and I haven’t worked as much, but we make every csa payment on time.
    His ex’s house is worth about $1.2M and we don’t have one at all. My husbands income is soon to go up, which is great news, and my question is, how do assets work in relation to child support?
    Also if we want to start a smsf to try and accelerate our assets because of our poor financial position, will we be penalised by csa?
    Thanks Ange

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Assets can be a factor, but only in exceptional circumstances (e.g. where there is an independently wealthy payer who has very low taxable income). See more here: https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6/14

      A SMSF can make some difference over time. Paying into it doesn’t affect your current income for child support purposes. But it can reduce future taxable income since earnings inside the super fund (such as share dividends) don’t count towards taxable income. If you want to save for the future, super is a good way to go.

  25. Sarah
    | Reply

    Hi there Andrew,

    My partner had a child when he was just a teenager – the child is currently in their early teens and lives 100% with the mother (ex evaded any attempts at contact until such an age where the child was completely estranged from my partner and he did not want to further strain the situation for the child).

    He is currently on unemployment benefits from Centrelink. We have previously remained financially independent/separate however after he just survived a VERY close call with cancer, he wants to go off Centrelink for a little bit and just recover – our plan is for him to move in with me so I can care for him and we’ll see how he is doing in a year. He is mentally and physically very shaken up.

    His fear is that when he moves in with me and gets cut off from Centrelink, CSA and/or the ex will want to know/claim MY income for child support.

    With his mental state being as fragile as it is after the cancer battle, he simply cannot live alone – but moving in with me would mean no Centrelink…which would mean no automatic child support payment… which would mean they will start to ask questions, right?

    I would really like to believe CSA cannot make ME pay his ex child support just because he cannot work anymore…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The CSA can’t force someone to cover for their payer partner. Partner income is irrelevant in the scheme. But, if a payer can’t make payments without help, obviously partners can suffer financial consequences.

      Just gather and keep any evidence to demonstrate that your partner’s situation is involuntary. That way, he can win if the other parent applies for a Change of Assessment.

  26. Colin
    | Reply

    Hi All,

    I’m not really sure where to go from here as all my other attempts to get some advice on my issue have been very unsuccessful and presented a large bill at the end. Really hoping someone can provide some advice or at least point me in the right direction to get some useful advice for a change. I’ve worked in the construction industry for the past 25+ years which has consisted of long hours and very little time to spend with my kids on my access weekends. My new partner is at university and is required to have a significant amount of time off work due to the nature of her studies, so we opened our own business in the hope we would have some flexibility in the hours we both worked.

    Our problem is my scorned ex-wife who I divorced 8 years ago, is now after not only my money, but my new partners money too. Whilst I know they can’t touch my partners wage; the fact we have to justify what the business profit and loss is each year is exhausting and a waste of child support resources. After receiving yet another change of assessment document (which she has filed each year for the past 8 years) claiming that I have a higher earning capacity and has assumed that as I am a builder by trade, I must be doing all the work whilst my partner contributes nothing to the business. She is requesting in her change of assessment that my partners income be taken into consideration and that I stop working for the business and go back to long hours and not seeing my children on access weekends just so she can have more money.

    I’m really at a loss here as her constant harassment is taking a toll on my relationship with both my partner and my children. My question is how do I stop her from continuing to abuse the child support system and dictate what I do with my life?

    I don’t really see how it’s fair that I have to provide everything she does for the kids whilst they are in my care and yet still pay a motza in child support, just because I’ve chosen to not work myself to the grave.

    Any advice is appreciated!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I’d be careful as the CSA are not accountants. In Change of Assessments, they have been known to do things like attributing income from a business that goes to a relative as the payer’s income.

      You probably can’t stop the administrative harassment altogether, though the CSA should be sympathetic.

      I’d try to keep CSA on side by being cooperative and making it clear that you’re doing everything properly and above-board. Be quick and efficient in responding to the review applications and don’t let it get to you. You and the CSA have a mutual interest in knocking these applications on the head quickly.

  27. David Hennessy
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I’ve always paid my child support and son is almost 20 and has worked in an apprenticeship for the last 3 years. In 2016 I heard from CSA advising me that my obligation was over and that I had a zero balance, until now when I lodged my tax return and had it seized by CSA. When I called them to enquire they said there was an “event” in 2017 and that I now owe $40,000. No explanation, no break down of how they come to this. Last year I received a tax return and I’ve have had no contact from CSA via MyGov or phone until I called them about this tax return. I have a wife and young daughter and I’m the sole income earner for our family. Not to mention the 40k comes with monthly interest of $270 accruing now. I’m now better of quitting work and going on a benefit.

    In 2014 I was earning good money FIFO overseas and CSA hit me with an extra 22k bill on top of my monthly payments because they said my fights and accommodation were fringe benefits, now they have miraculously found another unexplained 40k

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Bastards. They often seem to try FIFO workers badly. You should seek a review. They have to do a review internally first.

  28. polly
    | Reply

    hi andrew
    my ex has resigned from his job from a year ago and has been living in bali with his wife since may…and will be there permanetly…im on child support collect and have told cs he is in a non reciprocal country and he also has done his tax (for the last time) however they are still trying to collect money ….if a person doesnt work or make an income and is living in non reciprocal country isnt the cs assesment exempt? and centerlink even suggested an exemption however cs said he first has to be in arrears and then investigate…not sure what else i have to say to them…do i have to do a coa? or will they do a resedency check? i thought i would get more support and help from them…thanks polly

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could possibly do a Change of Assessment (Earning Capacity) to keep his income level up for child support purposes (e.g. for the next few years). That would create a growing debt for him, though it would be hard to extract while he is overseas and would be stopped if he does the paperwork to ensure a ‘terminating event’. Don’t know what you mean by “exempt”. In the long term, you probably won’t be able to get child support off him.

  29. Ty
    | Reply

    This system is completely out of control, CS is absolutely outdated garbage that doesn’t care about both parents having a good relationship with the kids.. CS only intention is taking from fathers
    We need a system in place to help both parties come to a civil arrangement to lessen the mental health effects and stress on all involved but mainly the children

    I’ve tried contacting mother of my kids since November to no avail, we had a agreement when split but it didn’t last long.. I don’t care bout CS money, jus want to see kids when on break
    It doesn’t have to be like this, parents are human and should be treated equally
    I’m really struggling being shut out of kids lives, constantly thinking of quitting work and giving up on everything.. sometimes when it’s bad I think of driving into a train or truck..

    This country will end up full of hurt children instead of happy ones

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yep – major problems exist. Many come from a lack of thought about incentives to do the wrong thing. I’m working on it from multiple fronts.

  30. Sam
    | Reply

    Hello,

    I am currently sharing custody of my 6yo son 50/50 with my ex wife. She does not work and now has another 6month old baby with someone else. She is studying an online course, and has been doing so for the past 4-5 years, without actually finishing any of the 4 she has started. After our divorce, she received quite a substantial payout, and I know she has worked for cash without declaring it. Initially when my son was in childcare and kinder. I was told by her, that I needed to pay half of all his fees. I was transferring her this money for a year before I realised that she was actually only paying a small portion of the fees due to her being on Centrelink and having a healthcare card. I was advised that I shouldn’t be paying child support as well as half of these fees. Now our son is in primary school, and I am very unclear as to what I need to be paying for on top of the child support of $180 per week. I earn $120k a year, but was left with substantial debt after the divorce, so after tax I don’t receive very much at all. Can you help me to understand why I am paying so much money to her, when I share him 50/50? As she earns under the threshold of $20,000, due to having another child. I feel it’s unjustified that because my wage is what it is gross, that I struggle to keep up with money. And she doesn’t earn an income, as she stays at home with her new child. I recently received a pay rise of $12,000 to what I earn now. And my child support went up $50 a week, without any circumstance changing. I have requested that she let me know what she uses this payment for, as I still pay for half of all his fees and uniforms etc for school. I believe this system is exactly unfair, and takes advantage of someone who’s working hard to make ends meet, only for her to live more comfortably whilst she stays home for longer with her other child. She was not at home for this long with our son, and went back to part time work after 4-5 months. Is there anything that can be done to help provide some sort of payment cap?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Sam. You are in a better situation than many Dads, who pay a lot more and don’t see their child as much.

      Of course your situation is unfair. Our policy is that no child support should be payable when care is 50:50. This is a no-brainer.

      There are no rules around what is done with child support payments. You could ask her to put the money you pay her towards different expenses. It’s just a matter of negotiation. But you wouldn’t want to prompt her to try increasing her care level above 50%.

  31. H johnson
    | Reply

    Although they will never admit it CSA mandate is to get as much as possible money from the Fathers through coercive means & push the mothers to take no deals & go for broke with no regard for the Dad ..
    Its a disgusting practice & a disgrace for a Govt dept to ask like this & hide behind policy …

  32. JD
    | Reply

    Even if I was capable of caring for the child id still pay child support given my ex doesn’t work. What is the point of fighting if I have little chance of things changing. So instead I’ll just be strung along paying an expensive bill for another 7+ year.
    It might not even stop then, Ive been told the child has disabilities. I just don’t think I can live like this especially with no end date. I’m already an angry middle-aged man with low prospects.

  33. JD
    | Reply

    My ex partner took my child interstate when he was 6 months old. I was attending University full time and couldn’t change arrangements at the time. Now that child is almost 11 and the career I was hoping to achieve through University is not as fruitful as I’d hoped and the HECS debt incurred has kept me back. I can not afford to rent a larger place and I will probably never be able to afford to own a property of my own given the inflated housing market. Whilst my child and ex partner are interstate. She has another partner, other children and doesn’t work, probably never will. My preference is that my ex’s partner adopt my child legally and they forget about me. But why would they do that when they continue to get a free income from me? While I pay for an expensive mistake with an average of 1 message per year.
    I have no idea what to do. I’m not moving forward in my life and I have little hope of getting out of this payment arrangement or changing my care responsibilities with the other parent. Honestly my life has become a bit of a joke.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A bit defeatist JD. You may be in a bind but you always have options.

  34. Drew
    | Reply

    Hi,
    This isn’t exactly a child support question as per sec but just wondering what the ‘norm’ is for answering questions when asked by government agencies, banks, finance bodies etc in regards dependents.
    ” How many dependants do you have ?” is quite a common question.
    My children are in my care about a third of the year, and their mother has them for the other two-thirds. I pay just under $500 a fortnight in child support.
    I never know what to write to respond to that question. It’s probably in my favour financially in terms of trying to access a loan to put zero and there is the point that if my ex wife was filling out the same form hers would be a “yes” response with 2 dependants so can they really be counted twice as dependants by divorced persons.
    Then there is the counter argument that I am their father and I have an ongoing financial commitment to them until they turn 18.
    I asked a friend recently and he said he answers that question based upon whether the response will work in his favour or not….no for loan applications but yes when applying for anything through a subsidy scheme.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I agree with your buddy. There is no universally right or wrong answer about whether your kids should be considered “dependents”. So you can adjust your response according to the circumstances.

  35. Rise up Fathers
    | Reply

    Good Morning, Has there been much progress against the CSA criminal organisation?
    These people are promoting and aiding child abduction, parental/child alienation. They are involved in actively aiding in men’s financial loss and suicide. The family courts and CSA are responsible for Australia’s economic crisis, nobody can afford anything anymore, it’s been getting worse and worse since the introduction of CSA. Australia is headed towards a 3rd word standard in the year 2020.
    These people are destroying the economy, there needs to be a royal commission into the criminals, the banks were indirectly causing deaths to the Australian public… Family courts and the CSA are no different being that they are at war with fathers – CSA policy – take their children, take their money, take their life…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      That’s a comment really. As far as I’m aware, over the past decade, the CSA have done virtually nothing to improve their practices or attempt policy reform.

  36. Maki
    | Reply

    I think that a persons’ income is a very personal matter, it is even so in a workplace whereby employees are not allowed to discuss their income with others, yet it is okay for child support to send this information to a person that is not in your business as far as financial matters go. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t this a type of breach of privacy? I am also confident that this also causes more issues between parents. Sharing such personal information with persons that really have no right to know is degrading. There needs to be another way …

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The system is based on income, so sharing income info is almost unavoidable.

      We propose that the child support formula should not depend on the income of a person with 50% or more care. So that would solve half the problem.

  37. Barry Todd
    | Reply

    My situation is a little different. I am 69. This is historical, I have a child support debt and my only income is the age pension. The CSA deduct from that pension. They also imposed a DPO on me in April 2016. I am taking the issue to federal circuit court later this month. As I need to care for my 89 year old mother in UK. My Superannuation payout was just $3009 as I was in UK most of my time. I have not seen my children since 1994. As the mother took them OS and changed their names illegally, but without my knowledge the CSA accepted that name change, and would leave surnames off their statements. Yesterday the CSA took $3000 from my bank account leaving me with nothing. My question with the hearing date set for 23 Sept. Should the CSA have waited until the hearing before absolutely destroying my life?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      CSA should not have taken the money from a moral viewpoint. They often clean out people’s bank accounts and put them in financial trouble. But CSA probably could in a legal sense since you are appealing against a decision that currently stands. It’s not something that will help your case.

  38. Peter
    | Reply

    Child support ring you up on your mobile from a private number then asks you to give your personal details to identify yourself. This is a security joke and when you raise it they claim that you are not co operating and make you call back through the hotline and make you wait on hold for 1 hour only to tell you that they are not aware why they rang you and the only record on the system is that you refused to answer the security questions. Bloody ridiculous. We expect better

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I wouldn’t worry about it. You can tell it’s not a scam and the questions are quick and not that intrusive. But it is weird when people ring you up and ask info about yourself. The security policy is designed to protect Child Support rather than users.

  39. Courtney
    | Reply

    My partner has 4 children and his ex will not allow him to see any of them.
    He pays child support every week and is willing to pay for more if need be.
    How is it fair that she’s happy to take his money but won’t allow him to see them.
    We have looked into court cases but it’s beyond our financial control at the minute.
    I think child care need to re visit this issue with many people dads especially looking to be apart of their children’s lives and not being able to.
    I think child support should cease if the person keeping the children from the other parent is happening I find there will be less dramas and the parent missing out is getting a fair chance

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      In think you’re right. There should be a way to lessen child support payments when a parent is available to provide care. Difficult for Child Support to enforce though because of complex cases that would need investigation.

      The answer is probably to make Court more accessible by helping people to self-represent. We’re working on that. See my site: https://timtab.com/

  40. Ex earning cash
    | Reply

    My ex is claiming she only earnt $21k last financial year. I pay $350 fortnight child support for our (65%) 9yr old twin boys.

    She has a car, phone, pays rent, buys clothes, has a caravan, goes for holidays etc
    She has started her own interior design business and I suspect she is getting paid cash for a lot of her work and is obviously not claiming it.
    Can I do anything to prove her true income?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support tend to work off ATO info. Evidence of extra earnings tends to be ignored because (i) income reporting is an ATO issue and (ii) the evidence doesn’t establish the person’s actual income to an exact dollar figure. So probably not much you can do.

      We are proposing to remove the receiving parent’s income from the child support formula.

  41. M.E.
    | Reply

    Other parent was underemployed for years and about 6 months ago stopped working. Yet lives a better life than we do – all due to family money. Because they doesn’t have a taxable income we are left out and I can’t provide enough. Child support is $0, yet my care percentage is over 70%. I work my tailbone off to have and give less. Is my child just going to slip through the cracks because his other parent chooses the luxury of not working? Is there anything I can do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Probably not much you can do. The problem is that the other parent is failing to earn money over the long term. Change of Assessment applications work best when there is a sudden voluntary drop in income.

      You would do better under our proposed new system and at least get some support.

  42. Drew
    | Reply

    Thankyou for your reply and you are right the issue is not in the calculations but the formula.
    My income rose by $4000, hers $19,000 but only a drop of $26 a fortnight in payments.

    Interestingly just to test a I swapped the scenario around and used the CSA calculator to work out what adjustments would be made if my income rose by $19,000 and hers $4000.

    In that scenario I would pay an additional $89 per fortnight.

  43. Drew
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My 2018 to 2019 taxable income rose by $4000 and my ex wife’s taxable income for the same period has risen by $19,000.
    Yet the new child support letter has indicated my child support payments drop by just $26 a fortnight from $503 to $477.

    Even though in CSA calculations my income percentage has dropped by about 8% and hers risen by 8%.

    It doesn’t seem fair her income can go from $60,000 to $79,000 yet she receive only $675 less a year in child support.

    What has happened here and should I seek a review??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can use our calculator to check if the new payments are accurate, which they probably are. I’m afraid that you can’t ask for a review on the basis that the formula is unfair.

      An increase in the receiver’s income often doesn’t affect child support much. It increases their share of combined income but also increases the estimated costs of children by increasing combined income.

  44. Chris
    | Reply

    Hi, i am looking at getting a home loan, will my CSA debt (which they kept charging me $200+ a week on top getting my centrelink when i had no job & i ended up in debt) stop me from getting a home loan? I am on parent pension & carers allowance at the moment for my Autistic daughter & i might be eligible for a $70,000 loan for a small house. Thank you i.a

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You would be asked to detail all debts when you apply for your home loan. Child support debt I imagine would be treated the same as credit card debt. It wouldn’t stop you getting a loan as such.

  45. Bec
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    Child Support is a joke! Partner is paying now $19,500 per year for two kids he never sees or contacts as she fled the state and doesnt answer messages she has remarried and we have three children two of which have speech therapy needs and son has a medical condition i work part time and pay stupid amounts in child care yet he still has to pay this large amount! He is at his last resort we dont have the money for lawyers and dont have the money to travel interstate its an absolute joke! Wanted a COA but CS threatened him to increase it can you please explain this? Explain how this is fair when we have three children together who are all under 8? Its no wonder so many men committ suicide over this rot!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Whether you should apply for a Change of Assessment just depends on the circumstances of the case. You could apply based on high travel costs if they are a large enough share of income. I posted a comment about this recently.

  46. Liz
    | Reply

    Wow, Andrew you are incredibly ignorant. If you read my comment properly you would have noted if I had the opportunity to find employment I would but I have a child with special needs attending therapy appointments and only attends 3 days a week 5 hours kindergarten sessions and also a two year old. Furthermore what “personal” spending. My spending is to put a roof over my
    Children’s head and pay utility bills council rates etc as well as I mentioned I am left to completely find the medical expenses and kindergarten fees. What sort of forum are you running here. Thanks very much for your disgusting comments

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Just calling it as I see it.

  47. Annon
    | Reply

    My partner was raped when he was in his 20s by an older woman in her late 30s. It was a set up and she used him as a sperm donor and for money.

    He has paid $120,000 to date to a woman who used him as a money grab and he has another 10 years to go. His life has been ruined by this woman. And I blame the government.

    She doesn’t work or works cash in hand so doesn’t contribute to the cost of the child whatsoever. And because of the circumstances he has 0% care.

    In what world do we live in where we allow this to happen to our men? Our government not only encourages but rewards this behaviour by women.

    And the calculation is a joke. On what planet does a child, let alone a baby cost $250 dollars per week to feed? The child costs probably $30 to feed and the woman pockets $220 dollars thanks very much the Australian Government.

    When is this going to end. How many mens lives have to be ruined or worse for them to end it themselves.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Some big exaggerations in your story. But there is a lesson there for young men. And the formula needs some work to make it fairer.

  48. Liz
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I have 100% care of my two children with my ex and there is a current csa in place based on my ex husbands significant income however he is constantly trying to find ways to minimise what he pays. He is already behind on payments meanwhile I have no income at all and solely rely on the cs payments. Furthermore we have a child who requires OT and speech therapy which poses significant costs I pay for. He does not contribute to any kindergarten fees $2,000 a year or medical expenses. He also earns significant cash income undeclared which he is hiding and has not been transparent with his financial position through lawyers or any other means and yet I got a call from CS to say he has made an application for reassessment stating I have access to “financial resources”. How is this possible? I am so distressed I can’t even afford to pay my bills and am having to solely pay for our child’s education and medical expenses also. I am in debt to my family who have had to bail me out and have $4,000 credit card debt. Are the CSA for real???? How can he get away with this when he should be the one investigated for his extra $1,000 plus income in cash every week. What can I do??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have you thought of getting a job and limiting your personal spending? Please don’t go around complaining about not getting enough money off other people until are doing everything you can to be financially responsible yourself.

  49. alicia
    | Reply

    Why is it so hard for CSA to chase payment when as a government agency wouldnt they have access to other government agencies to get addresses. I have been chasing overdue Child support from my ex for a long time. My ex has moved and i have no idea where to and when i ring the agency they say its pretty much my job to find out where he lives and where he is working to pass on the details to them.
    As a Government agent im pretty sure they could get all those details and start getting payment.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Depends on how hard he is trying to hide his address and work info. I’m kind of glad govt officials are limited in their ability to look up information on individuals.

  50. Millie
    | Reply

    My ex left a $76,000 per year job in 2010 – he told CSA it was because of stress but the reality was work was dealing with his behaviour. They put him onto dayshift so they could watch him due to complaints of him sleeping on nightshift, sexually harassing nurses (he said to me when he had a complaint when we were still together – but it was a joke and I said if they see it as sexual harassment then that is what it is deemed), and generally avoiding doing his work. On dayshift they could watch him. Anyhow his new girlfriend (now wife) convinced him to quit and get a lower paying job so he could reduce his child support. I lodged a Change of Assessment under capacity to pay and LOST because he was “stressed”. I said I can get stat decs from people who know why he was “stressed” – oh no that won’t do any good we believe him. Every year his income goes down and mine increases. He works full-time and I work part-time in similar industry. I can’t work anymore hours than I do due to my health and caring responsibilities for my children and my parents. He now earns $7000 less than me a year and the assessment for this financial year has dropped $60 per month from last year. He earns less than his teenage daughter!!! He has played all the games over the years – quitting jobs, not talking to CSA so it takes them 6 months to catch up to him, they garnish his wages, he quits and the whole saga starts again. His wife taught him this. I have been told by others he regularly bags me out on social media saying I poisoned the kids against him and I take all his money even in times when he hasn’t paid for months. I took him to court to get him to see the kids more and when we walked out of mediation the mediator said to me he doesn’t want them. I would have loved an ex who wanted to have the children because I could have a break. He failed to show up or contact when he couldn’t come to visits. Eventually the kids made the choice to no longer see him. I have all the costs and his responsibility decreases each year. I have done Change of Assessments over the years but that involves me providing all my financial information for him and his wife to read but I don’t get the same in return. I have to hope the system works for me but it continually has failed me.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well, he sounds like a real loser. I wouldn’t waste too much energy on it.

  51. nick
    | Reply

    just had a quick question
    can the child support agency be charged if it is proven they have ignored clear evidence thats been provided to them ?
    it seems to me they have a very bias evidence sorting team which i believe is illegal ??
    i mean am i right in thinking that ?
    they act like they are above reproach its so frustrating they talk to you like garbage and clearly ignore any information you send them
    because of this i have paid over $ 4000 too much because csa wouldn’t or couldn’t read a bank statement and all this because an ex spouse lied to every one for self financial gain ???
    i was, in the courts eyes, a deadbeat dad during our property settlement when in fact i actually never missed any payments ? this information of non payment really did sway this property settlement
    my point is are csa accountable for a lack or bias evidence gathering ?

  52. Andre
    | Reply

    CSA calculates my ex as $19,000 per annum as her salary. They base it off nothing because she hasn’t done her tax. So CSA explains to me that I they are taking a certain amount of money from me to which I could paying more or less. Is there a way change this as they are taking a big chunk from my pay with Additional deduction with no explanation.
    How does CSA or myself find out about my ex income to give CSA an accurate percentage on my side? Ex ran away and hid with the kids, I was advised to take it to court but others say it can traumatise the kids with police and court being involved.
    I’ve put a complaint in to these deductions with no explanation and if they can get an accurate income from my ex.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No realistic way to establish her income until she puts her tax return in.

      If you think the kids should be seeing you, go to court!! If she doesn’t turn up, the judge will tend to rule in your favour. You need to get a certificate from a mediator first to say that mediation failed. Then apply for parenting orders (get the form online).

  53. Jessica
    | Reply

    My fiancé is in real
    Financial struggle. He started a new job late last year and told his employer to garnish the child support from his wages as he has done with all previous jobs. He didn’t keep an eye on his payslips and didn’t realise this hadn’t been done and accrued a $6000 debt.

    He immediately paid back $2000 then was made redundant. He paid $2000 from his redundancy pay.

    His new job saw him earning significantly less money and he did an estimate with Child support to pay what was possible for his income and a bit extra to pay off the debt.

    When we did his tax return a week ago, that child support debt was about $3000. His tax return was $3000 so this should have cleared the debt. He woke up this morning to see that he is still owing $2000 on the debt. He is just about ready to give up. He makes such a pittance at his current job that he feels he is never going to clear it and that he has dragged me into a hole.

    He has said that if he walked outside and got hit by a bus myself and the kids would be better off. He tells me I should leave him.

    His ex somehow manages to go on overseas trips with the kids, despite being single and working as a teacher (so not a massive income) and continues to poison the kids saying he’s a hopeless dad because he can’t afford to do anything for them.

    She intentionally doesn’t allow him more time because that would cut her payments. He gets them one night a fortnight and picks them up from school 3 days a week – feeds them, washes their clothes, takes them out…. while they just sit at home on her weekends.

    Whenever he calls child support he is treated like scum and this fuels the idea that things would be easier if he weren’t around. When is the system going to acknowledge that fathers matter and that mothers often manipulate the system??!!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sad story. Glad that he’s got you to help him through.

      I’m wondering why Child Support are forcing people to ring them for every little thing, including their stuff ups? What’s wrong with email? For men who struggling, it’s the last thing you would want to be doing. Waiting for ages to get through to a woman who looks down on you and will probably hit you with another bill just for the privilege of not seeing your children that much. He could ring MensLine for some moral support but I hear they have women answering the phones.

  54. Kevin
    | Reply

    Just curious if anyone knows about how to go about having an ex’s tax assessment checked for the purpose of CSA payment calculation?

    I ex works a LOT of hours in what I’m assuming might be cash paid jobs and therefore there is a big discrepancy between our two income earnings disclosed to the ATO that are used in the CSA calculation. I find it quite interesting to see that she earns around $120k less than me which makes my CSA payments quite large. I have 37% care of my children, pay a multitude of extra items as negotiated in our binding child support agreement that was sorted at the time of our divorce but I know all this doesn’t matter with the CSA payments.

    Just want to know if there’s a way I can get her income assessed?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Probably not much you can do about the undeclared income. Nothing you can do with respect to the Tax Office. Child Support would look at her finances if you applied for a Change of Assessment. But they are not exactly super-sleuth detectives. A lack of evidence of the amounts secretly earned would be a big problem.

  55. Ralph
    | Reply

    Hi,

    my ex has just decided to move interstate. She has taken my son and now i still have to pay full child support. How does this work? With her moving i pay more as i dont get him every second weekend (so the 14% reduction cannot come to fruition). In addition, if i go interstate to visit I am looking at least $1000 each time i go up and visit. With all this extra cost how can I spend $ on my son when i actually get the chance to see him? The system is in absolute shambles. Why should i have to pay more when she has decided that I shouldn’t be in my son’s life. This system just does not simply make any seance. It is no wonder why so many men are ending their lives when they have no hope of recovering financially.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You may be able to have your travel costs paid for out of your child support (i.e. pay less child support). You have to apply for a Change of Assessment and the costs need to be greater than 5% of your taxable income. See here: http://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6/7

      To make it easier, try to get your ex to put something in writing about agreeing for you to see your child each school holiday or something. Maybe just outline your visiting plans by email and ask her just to confirm that it would be OK.

  56. Miriam
    | Reply

    Last financial year my ex missed a lot of child support payments because he claimed that he wasn’t working or earning much, but his taxes will prove otherwise. As a single mom I struggle day in day out for my little girl when he is allowed to travel outside Australia for holidays why? Even as I write now he has missed payment and yet I fully know that he is working other jobs but not just getting the money in the accounts you have in your books. Does my little girl have to suffer for someone who is just irresponsible?

  57. G
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    I would desperately love to see a change in the current child support system.

    Since separating with my ex wife (over 2 years ago now) I have found things incredibly difficult. Following the split of assets, she was left with the house and most contents and I essentially had a tv, some furniture and basically the things that were deemed mine. It was a 79:19 split in her favour, because the system recognizes her career break to have the kids and partly because my wage is now higher (and thus the courts recognized that my ability to recover financially was far greater)

    Financial recovery has been far from easy for me! My wage share is 85 percent of the combined total and we are in the top bracket for child support estimated costs. I care for my kids 5 days per fortnight and my current child support payments are just under $400 a week. In addition I pay for 50% of private school fees and 50% of before/ after school care fees (even tho most of this time is credited to her) It takes my weekly costs to around $600 a week before I have spent a penny on the kids directly (food, clothing, outings etc)

    With such massive financial outlay each week it has been near impossible to save for a home loan deposit, making this not only a struggle with money but also an emotional battle too. I would dearly love to have a better home for my kids when they are with me (and certainly one we could call our own)

    I was grateful for a promotion at work and (despite the flaws in our child support system) believe it is important to show my kids the importance of doing well – hence why I for one will not shy away from work despite the financial consequences. That said, whilst my taxable income has increased my take home pay hasn’t increased at the same rate and yet, my percentage of wage contribution goes up and so to do my payments to my ex. Seriously – how can such a blatant flaw in this system be allowable? Ability to spend is based on net pay, NOT GROSS!!

    My ex has a new partner now who is in a good job with a great income. My ex continues to only work a few days a week (she is a nurse) The kids want for nothing when in her care. Her incentive to work more is simply not there because her new partner gives her everything she wants. Equally, the additional days she could do would have little impact on the combined wage pool, so she is probably better off at home, right???

    The kids are with me nearly every weekend and some days through the week. I love to keep the kids busy on the weekends and this involves visits to various attractions, sports etc. I buy them clothes, games and toys and I am hoping to go on a family visit back to the Uk with them next year. Honestly, when I do the maths on my financial outlay it feels like I am paying for 4 kids, not 2.

    I have a new partner and she is fantastic with the kids. She has no children of her own and has suggested my 2 stay more often. We used the child support calculator and worked out how 50:50 care would look. The calculator says that I will still pay my ex over $200 a week?Seriously!

    Judging by the stories, the system is broken for parents who are still actively responsible for their children irrespective of whether they are in the higher or lower tiers.

    What do we need to do to get this system changed?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for telling your story G. It can be demoralising to work hard to get ahead and realise that child support makes it impossible to build assets and do things like buy a home.

      Legislative inaction in this area I put down to 2 things: (i) the wall of noise about it makes politicians and bureaucrats switch off and stop listening and (ii) the tendency these days to focus on which identity group wins or loses makes it seem like a divisive a issue that politicians don’t want to touch.

      The answer is to get everyone pulling in same direction. I’m trying to help achieve that by designing the solution rather than asking the govt to try do it. Will be promoting the design more heavily at a later date. Hopefully, people will get behind it or at least start stealing the ideas. When politicians start hearing the same proposals over and over, especially when they come from different sections of the community, policy action from the govt of the day becomes far more likely.

  58. BK
    | Reply

    Today I received a letter from CSA advising I had been overpaid by $28,452. I have just lodged my tax return which shows an income of $103k. His is $38k – self employed and minimises his income. He hasn’t paid any CS since Oct last year and I only received $500 from his last year anyway. I don’t understand why he doesn’t pay any CS for his 2 kids as he only has them for 25% of the time. And why would I have such a large debt?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Wow – that’s a massive overpayment considering the financials. I don’t understand either based on the info you’ve provided. There must be more to it.

      He wouldn’t have to pay much because his income is very low (goes down to $13k after you take away the $25k self-support amount). And now there’s a debt involved as well.

  59. DT
    | Reply

    I’m being asked to pay child support for a child I raised for 5 years as my own.

    The mother took her out of the blue over 12 months ago and moved to NZ, I had them bought back to Aus under the Hague convention order.

    As soon as they arrived back I was slapped with a CSA request (Fair enough), we attended a mediation session where the mother told me that the child wasn’t mine and demanded a paternity test which she’d pay for, we agreed and the test was completed.
    The results of the test showed a definitive negative to me being the father.
    The mother took the child and returned to NZ however i’m still being chased for child support.

    The mother refuses to withdraw the child support claim and the only way I can get this sorted out is through courts which I can’t afford, to make matters more complicated, i’m scheduled to leave the country soon, so even if I wanted to go to court I wouldn’t have the time to get it heard.

    I don’t know what to do with this and i’m reaching my whits end…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Very unfortunate situation DT. You have to go through the court system to establish for the benefit of Child Support that you are not the parent.

      You can do it without a lawyer. You’ll need to fill in a form (search online) and submit evidence. You can attend a hearing by phone or video link. It’s not big drama from a legal standpoint. Just a matter of doing the paperwork. The sooner you get on to it the better.

  60. N
    | Reply

    Wow…the stories on here demonstrate a system totally failing everyone.

    I have my children 100%

    Last year my ex self assesed her income as Nil, her actual income was ATOassesed at $55k and then reassed at $35k
    I cant get a straight answer from CSA about that.

    She only worked half the year due to illness last year but in theory should work the full year this year.
    So why do they use ATO income on only half a year?

    It truly is a messed up system…

    N

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yep

  61. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi what is the process if you suspect a child isn’t yours and you pay child support for them?
    I’ve never been allowed to see my daughter so I doubt she will voluntarily agree to a DNA test.
    How do I go about this?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could start by asking. Do you have a photo? That could be all you need to be quite sure about paternity. Your daughter may want to be sure of who her father is.

  62. Mike
    | Reply

    I have been struggling with the system for years. I try and do the right thing and don’t consider myself a dead beat dad. It seems every year CSA tries to screw me over and I always seem to be paying more regardless of the cost percentage.

    I have two kids, one of which turns 18 February next year (I have 100% custody of), as a result of this my CSA monthly liability goes from $522 per month to $850 per month based on the same income percentages. This seems totally unfair as none of the care arrangements and incomes have changed. Is there any tips around this?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support has to end eventually, like when a child becomes an adult. You’ll be grateful when the youngest one turns 18.

  63. Anon
    | Reply

    New assessment has just come in and mother (100% care) has earned $50 000 more than her estimate for last year. Payments have reduced for this next financial year but will she have to pay me back for what I’ve overpaid?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No payback if the estimate was just taxable income for the previous financial year. If she put in her own wrong estimate, you should be paid back. Check your statements to see what they’ve done.

  64. Dismayed
    | Reply

    So the csa knows the system is flawed yet despite appealing it they don’t change it to make it fairer on someone who had to retire from the workforce due to illness?
    When we talk to them they are heartless and cold and don’t give a sh**t.
    What’s really annoying is there are So many deadbeats that Ive read about on here that deliberately reduce or hide their income and pay minimal to no child support and are getting away with it yet someone that has paid it from day one and gets sick out of the blue and there is no provision for that? The csa just takes or better put “demands” half the compensation money that’s meant to support them for the rest of their lives?? Do we live in a democracy or totalitarian state here? It seems that People living in communist countries have more rights

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Accounting isn’t a strength of Child Support. They just see money and grab it. Sorry for what’s happened in your case.

  65. anom
    | Reply

    CSA screwing over hard working parents for many years. completely unfair assessments, treated like a piece or garbage when talking to them. 50/50 care paying for all my childs private school fees and still have to pay thousands.. absolute joke, time for reform but my kids will probably be old and dead by then. sorry guys but I have no doubt that you’s will get absolutely nothing changed here and are wasting your time.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      We’ll see. Reform will happen eventually.

  66. Dismayed2
    | Reply

    Hi,
    also, I wondering how can the csa impose a debt on me now totalling $130,000 because I became sick, I had a large brain tumour removed and had to quit work, I received a payout from my tpd and early release of super. After all that I’m still paying $900 per month in child support. I haven’t hidden behind my disability I just don’t see the fairness in paying this much money for one child that turns 18 in October this year? It’s a damned cash grab if you ask me. All avenues of appeal were rejected.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support tends to be excessive because the cost estimates are based on the hypothetical scenario that the parents are together and spending like a double-income married couple would on their children.

  67. Dismayed
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I was wondering what happens to a child support debt once all the children reach 18 and child support payments end?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The debt remains forever

  68. lisa
    | Reply

    i have sole custody of my child, she is turning 16 in one month, the father only pays me $3 a day in child support, he has a full time job as carpenter, works for the family business since he was 15, he is now 41, the mother does all the book work, wages. he still being paid as an apprentice so his wage is low and doesn’t have to pay the correct child support, his house his two cars his boat, every thing he owns is in the family trust, and he is given the rest of his wage in cash, I don’t know how to get the correct child support i should be getting, i have told child support but they have been useless, he earns $2000 a week yet it is all covered up by the family business and trust account what can i do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could apply for a Change of Assessment. They would look at his financials closely (assets and income). May not be successful though because there isn’t a particular income level they could set his income to for child support purposes. But they would try to find a way to make him pay.

  69. Charles
    | Reply

    Good afternoon Andrew.

    Thank you for your response. However I found it not useful as it doesnt focus on my main concern. On another note WHO AM I TO STOP HIM PLAYING? I am his father and I am worried about his future. He finished primary school with Ds and he was told before the footy season started that if he didn’t do well he wouldn’t play. That was agreed with his mother. He had 4 ds by the time the season started.
    You didn’t answer about my child support inquiry. I had the impression this forum was to ask for your professional advice not for your opinion.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – she can change the care level with Child Support during mediation. And, No, it doesn’t affect court proceedings in itself. They only care about the actual care pattern, irrespective of what is happening with child support.

      My advice is well researched and you should take it. I’ve coached junior footy and had to deal with this specific issue. And I captained my high school footy team the same year I was dux of the school. Sport can help academics, especially team sports. I believe it was wrong to link the 2 things.

      It’s too late for you, but a different strategy is to shut down all electronic devices until a certain amount of schoolwork has been done. That’s better than cutting off a developing person from a beneficial activity.

  70. Anon
    | Reply

    Hey,
    I currently get Child support and my ex has for the last 8 months paid me $50 a week more than he’s meant too. He’s now decided out of spite that he will stop. I can’t afford it. He’s also doing the dodgy and doing cash jobs under the rug with his business. I’m thinking of going down the route of applying for the assistance with childcare fees through childsupport as if my calculations are correct childcare is about 10% of my income and it only has to be 5% to fit into the criteria. I don’t want alot more I don’t need him to pay half the fees I just need him to continue paying what he’s paying. Do many people do this? Thankyou

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As the receiving parent, you can’t claim anything extra for childcare fees. If you are choosing to put your child in care during the day, that has nothing to do with the payer. In fact, if they were helping to pay the fees directly, they might be eligible to get their child support payments reduced.

  71. Charles
    | Reply

    Good morning
    I had my kids 35% of time. Ex wife is not letting see my son because I didn’t want him to play footy on my days as he needed to focus on school more (he is 12 and he is doing bad at school) as she didn’t agree with it so she keeps him and takes him to training, etc. on my days. She has ruined my relationship with him as she badmouth me. I still see my daughter. We have been divorced for more than 8 years and she stills wants to get involved in my days with them, she is married has two kids with his new partner and still keeps my last name. Long story short we are in the mediation process but she has called Child support to indicate she has my son 100% of the time. Is she allowed to do so? I am not willing to pay her more as it hasn’t been agree (there is no written agreement in place) and she is keeping my son against my will. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do until court orders are in place. Can you please advice if she is allow to call child support and change custody while we are on the mediation process? Wouldn’t that indicate that I am willing to give up my son and used against me in court?? Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support base the care level on whatever evidence they are given. They don’t even care about court orders.

      For crying out loud, just agree to take your son to footy and support his sport in every way you can. It is actually possible to play sport and do well at school. Believe it or not. Who are you to stop him playing?

      Once a child starts doing an activity, both parents have to support it. You don’t get to change things just because it’s “your day”. It’s very destructive when one parent sabotages something like a kid’s footy season. He should be attending every training and every game. Totally screws things up if he misses some. Sorry – I am not on your side with this one at all. You are wrong and need to accept that as quickly as possible. Sport and academics are not mutually exclusive.

      Supporting his sport is something you could use in mediation. Family Court tend to go with existing care arrangements. So, you need to keep your 35% or get to court before a “non-relationship” becomes established. But a mediation agreement is obviously a better solution. A judge may find it a problem that you are unwilling to support the decision of your ex and your son that he play footy. Judges expect parents to be cooperative.

  72. Hi
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Can I get a receipt for what my child support expenses are being spent on?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No you can’t get spending receipts. Child support is just a money transfer. That’s all. They don’t micro-manage people’s lives.

  73. Unsure and Confused
    | Reply

    I appreciate your honesty in your comments, but feel perhaps there is more that needs to be taken in to consideration………..
    The father isn’t obliged to pay a single cent above what he’s already paying in child support. You have the girl effectively 100% of the time. So, it’s up to you to pay for things. That’s part of the responsibility that comes with being the sole carer………………
    So as the sole carer does this mean that I make all of the decisions regarding education and child care?
    So u can’t have her nearly all the time and then expect him to hand over extra money on top of child support. The child support assessment assumes you are paying for everything………..
    I pay approximately $1200 per month to keep her in the basics without any extra curricular activities. His child support was calculated at originally $36 per week, then it was $50 a week when his son turned 18. I have had it reviewed and it has now gone to $125 per week. From when she was born he kept promising to pay money for expenses. This has never happened. He also promised to pay child support and this never happened either so I had to get it enforced.
    Often, a child is anxious about seeing the parent they see little of because of the attitude of the primary carer. She is in the care of that parent most of the time after all. It’s also a problem that the child doesn’t see the other parent frequently, making it more difficult to establish trust and familiarity………………….
    She is scared to go to his house. I don’t believe it is anything to do with me that the trust has been compromised. I have had to take her to emergency 3 times, twice with an untreated fever and once with an unknown rash on her cheeks that turned out to be a bad dose of windburn, and to the doctor 2 times in the last six months with suspected bronchiolitis (possibly from people smoking in a room with poor ventilation and her present). That’s not taking into account other times she has come back with bruising or bad sunburn that is untreated. When she was hysterical one time I proposed that he take her for a neutral environment to re-establish her trust. This got scoffed at and he forced her back into his house. The next visit she was even more hysterical at going to his house. There is never any issues on the handovers when she is coming back to me.
    At the last handover he was standing over me, taking my photo without my permission and abrasively telling me to “Get “f&^%ed” in front of my daughter. I don’t think this not really conducive to providing a positive environment.
    If your daughter is anxious and depressed, you maybe should be looking in the mirror to find the cause of it. Do you disparage your ex in front of her? Do you make a big deal over changeovers instead of being calm and relaxed? Do you limit how much time she spends with her father?……
    I never disparage him in front of her, I do everything I can to encourage her to maintain contact. At recent handovers I have taken other people with me as he cooks up lies from the handovers. At one of these I was saying to my daughter, Ok lets go, I am sure you will have lots of fun at your dads and he will have some fun activities planned. On the Monday following this, I got a letter from his solicitors with him stating that he could hear me saying “its ok, you don’t have to go with your dad”. When asking her to speak to him on the phone she has wet herself and starts shaking. No I don’t make a big deal at handovers I am very calm and relaxed. The only line I draw is I will not physically force her to go to him. (A friend did this to her child many years ago because the child did not want to go, it turned out the child was being sexually abused by the father. Now that child, now an adult will not have anything to do with either his mother or father),
    Are you prepared to go to a final family matters hearing rather than compromising and ending the conflict, while continuing to make unreasonable financial demands all the while?
    I have tried on multiple occasions to compromise with the father in a level environment and if it doe not go completely his way he shuts down and starts getting nasty.
    Have you put your child in therapy without letting her father be involved (except to ask for money for it)?
    My daughter has been put in therapy because of observations made by her family day care and her general practitioner. These observations are all about the anxiety and depression that is caused by her father. She will not even speak of him when asked by these people of how her weekend was with her father. I don’t think putting her in a small room with her father is going to make her feel comfortable and open up about how she is feeling. If the family day care had not done the letter they had did, the next step was to report their concerns to DOCS, The changes in her behaviour and the regression she is showin is immediately followint the time she has spent with her father. The psychologist and I have discussed at length about his involvement. For a starting point the psychologist has suggested that he come for a meeting with her to discuss Rylee. As it has been suggested that he would need to pay for this appointment himself he does not want to do it. My solicitor is the one who has told me that he would need to pay for half of the specialist appointments as they are not budgeted for in Child support as they are non standard expense for most children.
    You asked what might be considered acceptable. From what I can glean, you might want to help your daughter by (a) having proper mediation over your disputes and honestly try to reach a compromise before a final hearing and (b) properly supporting your daughter’s relationship with her father.
    I have attempted to have proper mediation with the father. I have attempted to compromise, when Rylee has been sick for his weekend he has had extra time to make up for it. However when my mum was very unwell at Christmas time (It is 2 days travel for me to visit my parents) and I requested that he have his night a few later and we be permitted to stay interstate for a few more nights, the answer was ‘No’. In early February I requested that he change the easter weekend to enable me to go and visit my mum who was still unwell. Once again the answer was ‘No’. In early April without being asked to, the Judge proposed that the father give up the easter weekend to enable me to visit my sick mother. I arrived in SA on the 17th of April because of this decision, We put mum in Hospital on the 19th of April, she passed away on the 29th of April. I was very lucky to spend those couple of days with her before she went into to hospital, however I would suggest the father has not been very reasonable or accommodating in any negotiations. Immediately after mum had passed away the father was pressuring me to have my daughter back for him to have a visit with. We had not even buried mum when this started.
    I don’t know, maybe I am seen as unreasonable in your eyes, but when your whole life is stopped and controlled by someone claiming they are doing it for the best interests of their daughter it is very hard not to be a little frustrated. He has denied 3 overseas trips, a holiday on the gold coast with one of her best friends (I wasn’t even going on this trip it was the Family Day Care Family that offered to take her on their family Holiday.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I appreciate that you’ve thought about this. You have your side of the story. I still find it difficult to understand why so many problems lay at his feet when he has hardly any contact. You seem to have a long list of detailed grievances. I hope your daughter’s disposition improves. She is learning mostly from you at the moment, so you have a responsibility to look beyond the past and maintain a positive outlook. Good luck with it.

  74. Gaz
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, thanks for your reply (I couldn’t seem to be able to reply to your comment so am starting a new one0. She will be receiving two scholarships – one pays for all of her tuition fees and the other pays for most (her words) of her board and lodging (while living on campus). I am happy to pay some money to support her (although not as much as currently forced to through the system) and would much rather pay this directly to her as I don’t trust the mum to pass the money on. Do I have a leg to stand on?

  75. Gaz
    | Reply

    Hi, thanks for putting up this great site. My daughter lives with her mother in America. I’ve always paid child support (since she was a baby) except for the two years when my daughter came and lived with me and my now wife (when my daughter was in Years 8 & ( at school). My daughter, now 17 has finished high school and will start Uni in a few weeks, where she will be living on campus (i.e. she’s moving out of home). Will I have to keep paying child support even though she’s no longer at home? If not, what will I have to do in order to change that?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Gaz – She’s not independent (which is the key point that you may want to check on), not yet 18 and would be presumed to be under her mother’s care. Looks like you have to pay. You would probably have to move to America and somehow become her main carer to avoid paying.

  76. Matthew
    | Reply

    Hi, I have a 50/50 custody arrangement and have recently come across this paragraph on mygov:
    “If it’s a positive percentage, we assess that parent as the parent to pay child support. This is because they’re not meeting their share of the costs for the child directly through care”
    I’m still waiting on clarification as in my case that is not the case at all as everything such as school fees etc is split evenly.
    Also this years tax return shows she has dropped income by approx $24k per year and I am suspicious to believe that is accurate. I’m not sure what I can do about any of this. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      When it’s 50:50 care, the parent with the higher taxable income last year pays. That’s the formula. No-one cares how the 2 parents are dividing up the actual spending.

  77. LB
    | Reply

    Hi guys,
    New this forum but looks like some very helpful people on here and I appreciate any help I can get.

    I am 6 month separated from my wife but she refuses to move out of our family home so technically separated under same roof. We have 2 children under 7 both in school full time. Things are not quite amicable and we have lawyers involved currently liquidating assets. I currently pay for all utilities in the home, all kids expenses including extra curriculum, school fees, birthdays etc. I also pay the full mortgage as she refuses to and I cannot let it default. Her share of the mortgage payments is actually more than the child support estimate I have to pay!

    I was shocked to get a call from CSA to tell me my ex wife has made an application for me to pay her child support. My argument that she works 4 days a week as a qualified pharmacist, and the fact I already pay for ALL expenses to do with kids basically and we live under same roof went nowhere. She has deliberately driven down her 2018 income with our investment property and as an employee I do not understand why they do not go off her payslips. All they said was I earn more therefore have to pay CS. They did say I can regularly report any payments I made to offset CS but this is a complete waste of time in an already busy schedule I have as a single parent running a business.

    We both effectively have the kids 100% nights as we all live together but this is considered 50% each in CSA opinion. My concern is if I start paying this she will delay moving out even longer. She will clearly be using this for personal gain and not on the children. I understand I have to pay CS if we lived separate but living together where I already pay for everything completely dumbfounds me.

    Can anyone see a way I can legally avoid CS until at least she moves out?

    Thanks so much in advanced.
    LB

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      LB – this seems like a bunch of accounting issues to be honest. The main thing is to make sure you don’t end up hardly seeing the kids when you go your separate ways. Apart from the personal aspect, that’s when child support becomes a big issue / problem. Child support is all fairly automatic. Once you’re in the system, they basically just use care levels and past income to work out how much money must be handed over.

  78. Pat
    | Reply

    My partner has a government job. Her ex-husband also had a govt job prior to becoming a self-employed tradesman. He was making good money in his trade, until their separation, then after that, earns <$30k. He goes to CSA, produces an ATO assessment, and CSA order my partner to pay him. Now I have discovered he has falsified Centrelink claims. The ATO assessment is incredulous, just that it is accepted. No empathy from CSA. The bully gets what he wants in a post Royal Commission into Family Violence world.

  79. Rachael
    | Reply

    My question is in regards to overpayment of CSA payments. I recently received a letter stating that I owe nearly 4000 dollars in CSA overpayments. This came as a shock to me as my son is 26 and I have not received any payments for quite a number of years. On calling them I was informed that it was generated in 2004 -2008 and was due to a change of care which I dint understand as the other party never wanted anything to do with my child. I was told by the CSA that they couldn’t work out how this overpayment happened and would investigate it as it may have been just a computer glitch, however they contacted me today to state I have to pay it but still can’t give me information as to why I have this debt…. Back when I received payments they were delivered each year and collected by the CSA at the end of financial year. Does this seem right ? So confused

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      My God! Don’t see how they can charge you for re-calculating child support from more than a decade ago without providing an explanation.

      They promised you they would investigate. So, they really should explain what they found. You need to try to work with them to get to the bottom of it.

      It seems you are on firm ground in continuing to insist on more information. They open themselves up to legal action by being unreasonable in their processes. Would suggest you politely but firmly request more information. Indicate that they are forcing you into taking legal action by making financial demands which appear clearly wrong to you and for which they are offering no adequate explanation.

  80. Mike
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    Since I got separated, my ex just stopped working, being made redundant and is obviously not looking for a job. She has not been working for months now, whereas she always been working for years before the separation. I understand she is probably getting money (financial support) from her new partner. The consequence is going to be a huge increase of the child support to be paid by me to her because of the reduction of income on her side, whereas my income remains the same. I am already struggling financially whereas she is obviously having a good time (going out, holiday…), and again the child support I will have to pay is going to increase. What can I do in that type of situation?
    Mike

  81. Tania
    | Reply

    My question is Can I still claim arrears child support for my 20 year old son when his dad didn’t stopped paying money when he was 6.
    I went through child support to begin with only for his to become extremely angry over it so he said he would give me $200 a month but wasn’t dealing with child support, this cash would come to me directly from him.
    After one year and every month me asking him for it and him turning up whenever it suited him he stopped paying.
    I didn’t go back to child support to complain because of how he reacted the first time and so after that I just supported my son %100 myself.
    He has now tried living with his dad a couple of times and has failed because his dad really doesn’t care only for his now new wife’s daughter who gets everything.
    There has been a lot of heart ache for my son and myself over the years to try and get his dad to be a dad for him and not sure why I bothered but thought it was important for my son. I now feel it’s time because my son has autism.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You chose to support your son rather than apply for child support. While that may have been a noble thing to do, it doesn’t appear to leave scope for you to seek support retrospectively. Child Support usually use the date of application / contact when determining payments. It sounds like you agreed for a private arrangement and never contacted them again.

  82. Jodie Marsh
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew
    My ex has earned from $100K to $140K for the last five years of our marriage as a mortgage broker. He verbally told me at seperation he would quit work, pay me nothing and force me to hand over more time with the kids.
    He has now been made “redundant” which is apparently a lie, he was sacked, although I don’t agree with this either. He is now starting his own mortgage broker business (which he did before and failed). CSA have agreed and now put his assessment back to zero until september and then a measly $161 per month (for two kids – from $1310 per month). What can I do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There’s not much you can do in the circumstances with regard to child support processes. The evidence would indicate that he lost his job involuntarily.

      If he’s doing this because he doesn’t see his kids enough, the solution is fairly obvious isn’t it? You could try for mediation and a binding agreement that he will pay a minimum amount of child support in return for a minimum amount of time with the kids.

  83. Alicia
    | Reply

    My partner separated from his psychopath ex 15 years ago. Over this time she has terrorised him and made his life hell through the child support system. My partner earns $150000 a year she only declares $32000. She has allowed his son to leave school and work at McDonald’s full time this year , which we hope will be taken into account this tax year.. she is also working full time for cash in hand and has been doing so for over 10 years . This Has been reported to all government departments, several times and nothing has been done. In the meantime , my partner is supposed to pay around $690 a week to her , according to their assessment. They have had a private agreement where he pays into her account direct each week , he only pays her $380 a week. Why is she happy with this ? Because she is working cash in hand and is happy with this amount and doesn’t want to go through child support . It’s been fine until she wants to cause dramas and then threatens him with calling the,pm. She will not allow him access to the kids who are now rude disrespectful teenagers. A few years ago she called child support and said He hadnt been paying her , He had , but hadn’t written child support in the transfer details. She told child support that she had given my partner a cash loan and this was his repqyments.they took over $5000 out of his account one day and this was to pay her again without any investigation , they believed her ridiculous story. She is now threatening to stop us getting married overseas in a few weeks by calling child support and saying He is underpaying her. It feels like we are held to ransom by this evil piece of work. The amount of $690 a week as an assessment amount is unrealistic based on the expenses and repayments my partner has . The system does not promote a good work ethic , My partner has had his children calling him, if the bank transfer goes in a few hours late, saying to him , “where is our money ! “ with her swearing in the background. It’s not nice to have that pressure My partner has tried to make contact with his kids, but they are teenagers now and are beyond rude and have been brainwashed by the mother. It is a sad state of affairs , my partner is held to ransom for 5 more years. We just want her to declare her income , be fair and basically go to hell . The system is terribly flawed and men of Australia need help . The stories on here are heartbreaking, but the media and child support always sides with the mother and fear it won’t change before my partner finishes paying her thousands of $$.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Based on what you’ve said, I think she’s actually shooting herself in the foot by not declaring her full income. Could be costing her money, especially in terms of child support.

      The formula is really bad for payers on higher incomes. As your income goes up, you lose lots in tax and also lose eligibility for government welfare programs. But the formula keeps hitting you for more money. Unfair when you’re already paying large amounts.

      Unbelievable that Child Support would think that your partner’s payments to her were payback on a loan. What a joke.

  84. Unsure and Confused
    | Reply

    Thank you for the response.
    I have my daughter full time except for every second weekend. In the courts and via child support this is considered that I have 100% care.
    However the father has never contributed to any medical expenses or child care. When asked he either evades the question or fires back with an attack about something else.
    We go to Trial in November and I am thinking of asking for half of the money from child Care to be reimbursed to myself as well as half of the medical expenses.
    Alternatively the calculation via child support is that I pay 60% of costs and he pays 40%. Also from what I have read this is a common way of splitting the extra costs.
    I am of the understanding from what I have read that child support is to cover food, clothing and some extra curricular activities.
    The father is demanding half a say in everything but when asked to put his hand in is pocket won’t contribute.
    My 3 year old daughter has had to see a psychologist as she is not coping with something when in his care. When we meet for handovers she is absolutely hysterical. She is always fine when she comes back to me and often says she does not want to go back there (unprompted).
    I have sought medical advice and she is diagnosed as suffering from anxiety and perhaps depression.
    I have repeatedly asked the father to contribute to these appointments and he will not put his hand in his pocket.

    He is demanding to know when and where the appointments are and wants to turn up to the appointments even though he has seen the referral regarding the nature of these appointments.

    Sorry to vent here on the CSA forum, but I just wanted to explain my situation to see if that shed any light on what might be considered acceptable.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The father isn’t obliged to pay a single cent above what he’s already paying in child support. You have the girl effectively 100% of the time. So, it’s up to you to pay for things. That’s part of the responsibility that comes with being the sole carer. You can’t have her nearly all the time and then expect him to hand over extra money on top of child support. The child support assessment assumes you are paying for everything.

      Often, a child is anxious about seeing the parent they see little of because of the attitude of the primary carer. She is in the care of that parent most of the time after all. It’s also a problem that the child doesn’t see the other parent frequently, making it more difficult to establish trust and familiarity.

      If your daughter is anxious and depressed, you maybe should be looking in the mirror to find the cause of it. Do you disparage your ex in front of her? Do you make a big deal over changeovers instead of being calm and relaxed? Do you limit how much time she spends with her father? Are you prepared to go to a final family matters hearing rather than compromising and ending the conflict, while continuing to make unreasonable financial demands all the while? Have you put your child in therapy without letting her father be involved (except to ask for money for it)?

      You asked what might be considered acceptable. From what I can glean, you might want to help your daughter by (a) having proper mediation over your disputes and honestly try to reach a compromise before a final hearing and (b) properly supporting your daughter’s relationship with her father.

  85. Unsure and confused
    | Reply

    Hi
    I would like to know about what child support is considered to cover. Every where I read it says the costs of the children. Is this every day expenses as in food and clothing and utilities?
    I want to know if it covers things such as medical expenses and Day Care/Education costs?
    I have searched the web extensively but I can’t seem to find a clear definition anywhere in any of the legislation.
    I am hoping you can point me in the right direction. Cheers
    Unsure and Confused

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There isn’t a rule book over what child support covers. It’s just a money transfer.

      Child Support only intervene with respect to “prescribed non-agency payments”, giving credit for spending on certain items in certain circumstances.

      Generally, parents need to use common sense. Each parent should be reaching into their pockets about in proportion to the percentage of time they have the kids.

  86. Eve
    | Reply

    My ex partner declares an income of under 18k on his tax return and as a consequence pays very little maintenance. He earns a very decent income from 7 properties he owns outright in Scotland (UK) which I have told the CSA about many times and even given their addresses. He is careful to keep his rental income from these properties out of his Australian bank accounts and so they don’t register as an income here. The CSA seems powerless to intervene or get to the bottom of this duplicity. Why is this, is there not some reciprocal arrangement between the UK and Australia?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      In theory, you could get justice through a Change of Assessment application based on the value of the property assets and potential earnings of your ex. The law allows for this.

      However, Child Support are very dumb about these sorts of things and are unlikely to do anything without an income track record. This problem wouldn’t occur if they used automatic income benchmarks. But, they are too stupid and passive to do things like that.

  87. Beyond frustrated
    | Reply

    Has anyone had success appealing an assessment?

    I have two children with my ex-husband. I have 100% custody of one (13) and 50% of the other (8). And I PAY HIM $4000/YR. He quit his job when the mother of his other child (2) (who he has nothing to do with) claimed for child support. He also has a 19 year old whom he has never met or paid a cent (stand up guy).

    So because I work my butt off to support my children, I now am being forced to pay him to raise 1 of his children every second week.

    I’ve tried to fight it and put in a change of assessment and the assessor basically told me it was a waste of time.

    Has anyone had any success?

    Can anyone tell me why they don’t look at a person involved in several cases and only separately ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Getting a successful outcome in your case relies on your ex having a fairly recent income history that Child Support can refer back to. That’s how they operate.

      Very unfair assessment for you. Of course, it wouldn’t be possible if our alternative system were in place. We would have both (a) no support payable for 50:50 care and (b) an income benchmark to deal with payers who shirk work or otherwise manipulate income.

  88. Mick
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Do you have any tips on how to word a CoA under reason 8. I don’t object to paying Child Support however I have an issue with the fact that she is being assessed on 34k of income instead of the 65k she will actually earn in this financial year, it’s significant impost for me whilst I wait for the system to catch up in the coming financial year. The reason for the low income is that she didn’t work much last year (whilst we were together) and she only returned to work due to a need to support herself after she asked for a divorce.

    I have read all sorts of horror stories where CoA’s have been rejected, even where the reasons were sound.

    Any advice yourself, or any others can give would be greatly appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To be honest, I’m not sure why you are going after the other parent with a Change of Assessment. She is working more hours, which is a good thing, and this will be reflected in next year’s assessment as you mentioned. She has done nothing wrong with respect to child support processes. Don’t imagine that Child Support would be very receptive to your application and you could be making yourself unpopular with everyone.

  89. Overseas
    | Reply

    Hi,
    My husband and I have 2 children together and we live overseas, he also has a child living in Australia from a previous relationship in which we pay maintenance for. When we moved from Australia in 2017 there was a period in which he was unemployed for about 6 months. We continued to pay the agreed amount from our savings for about 4 months until eventually we had to change. Once he found employment he then gave an estimate of earnings and we started paying a new amount. Once he received his actual tax information for the relevant year we lodged it with CSA and an actual assessment was made however due to the fact there was a period of unemployment during that time, the payment figure was much lower than what had normally been paid.
    The ex has lodged a COA due to the low amount, and after a conversation with my husband, CSA have now based his earnings on an income of $112k per year. His base income is approx $65k however he does earn commission but there is no way for us to determine if it will be $112k for the year. We just want to avoid overpaying, also the tax system in the country we live in is a lot higher than Australia so it seems so unfair that taxable income is used to determine the payment amount as it’s not relative. Surely there is some way we can get a fair assessment? The paying parent always seems to be hit with a brick wall when speaking to CSA.
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can lodge a conservative (low-side) estimate of current-year income to ensure that you don’t overpay. However, this is not possible if the Change of Assessment determination extends across the current financial year.

  90. J
    | Reply

    in a bit of a pickle I have not lodged 2018 and now 2019 tax return. in 2018 i had to access my super for medical reasons and using the calculator i should have payed an extra 4k. im now looking at lodging both years (2018 and 19) and its shows because my income dropped i should have payed 3k less (2019) than what i did. Will csa take this into account or will they still request the original 4k? The other issue is the other parent is now in jail and still refusing contact instead leaving the kids with his mother CSA been notified and i have no communication from them but have stopped taking payments from me. Will he be given this money or would the funds make it to his mother/kids?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you overpay, you’re stuck with that. If you’ve underpaid, you have to cough up. That’s the way it generally works for payers.

      Your ex’s mother would have to apply for child support I believe in order for the payments to start going to her directly. Makes it easier if you agree that she is the carer.

  91. Vanessa
    | Reply

    Hi there,

    I am the primary carer of my four children from a 15 year marriage. I have 100% care of three of the children , My youngest stays with his his father once a week.

    The children’s father was earning between $110,000- $120,000 as a car salesman for the last 8 years of our marriage and remains in the same position working for the same company.

    After a month of paying child support to reflect his earnings of $120,000 he updated his income to $55,000. He has not lodged a tax return in four years and continues to only declare $55,000.

    I don’t understand how the child support agency can continue to accept this?

    It amazes me that there is nothing in place to make it compulsory for child support parents to lodge a tax return!

    If anyone has any guidance for me I would love to hear from you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He’s using a financial loophole. Apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8: Earning Capacity) to have his income restored to the previous level.

      You’re right – this is a stupid, easily fixed problem. But Child Support are in a malaise at the moment – too lazy to fix systemic issues.

  92. Elise
    | Reply

    My husband has a 14 year old son from a previous relationship. When his son was 2.5 years old my husbands ex told him to not visit, write or call as she would call the police on him. We sent cards and Christmas presents until they moved and we don’t know where they are now living (we live in different states). Through Facebook we have found that she is remarried and has changed the sons surname to that of the step father. We have tried to make contact with no answer. We tried mediation but because we did not have an address for her that was unsuccessful. We are not financially able to go through family courts as we earn too much for legal aid but not enough to cover expenses. My question is, at what point does the CSA take this into account and let us stop paying? We would be happy to pay if we were seeing him and talking to him and had a genuine relationship. I know I sound cold hearted but it’s absolutely heart breaking to be in this situation, compounded by paying a lot of money.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Elise – Child Support don’t care how the care arrangements came about. Don’t expect any relief from them.

  93. False Claims
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I’ve recently been informed that my ex-partner has lodged a claim with the CSA increasing his percentage of care for our son. Not only has this apparent increase not been discussed with me, let alone agreed upon (as I am the primary carer with 90% care) but now I have to prove to the CSA that his claims are false. I’m completely at a loss to understand how the onus is on me to prove his claim as false instead of him having to prove them as true? Coincidentally, the claimed was lodged 5 days after I sent him a friendly reminder that his child support commitment has increased, as our son recently turned 13. I have battled with my ex every 6 months whenever there has been an increase to child support, dealing with ludicrous financial demands from him, as well as threats of going for custody or not returning our son back home to me (we live 2 states apart). Not to mention the fact that when he first moved to another state he refused to pay child support for 2 years until I bought him out of the house (which was bought with my own deposit and the mortgage repayments were made by me) and even once I did, it still took months to get any child support out of him. We opted out of lodging parental orders when we first separated as we did not want to drag our relationship through the courts and wanted everything to be as amicable as possible for the sake of our son. We have been separated now for 8 years, with the first 4 years as 50/50 shared care and the last 4 with myself as the primary carer. It’s only since he started paying child support that he has become vile and nasty again (which is why I left him in the first place). I earn twice as much as he does but the costs of living are comparable to where I live as is his (I’m in the ACT and he’s in QLD) so needless to say I don’t receive a significant amount of child support from him. To break it down, his money accounts for 18% per fortnight of what it costs to raise our son for the standard expenses. I have also never asked for any money from him for other expenses incurred outside of the standard living costs. All I expect from him is to pay the amount he is required to pay. The amount he is now claiming that he cares for our son puts him into the bracket of regular care as opposed to less than regular care which means that the amount he is required to pay will be 65% less than the current arrangement. Whilst I can prove that he has never had our son in his care for the amount of nights he is claiming, it is an onerous and highly stressful process. So back to my question, why is the responsibility put on me to prove his claim as false and not on him to prove his claim true? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    Nat

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Nat – not sure why the case officer is requiring you to prove the care level. I guess they accepted his new estimate and have the attitude that they’ll leave it as is until they get different information.

      It shouldn’t be that hard to demonstrate the care level. Given you are in different states and your son is attending school in your state, it is difficult for your ex to meet the requirement for regular care. He would have to be providing care for about 3/4 of the available school holidays.

      You could use email correspondence, plane tickets, etc. Maybe just stating the care arrangements in detail would be enough. You just need to convince the case officer and get them on side.

  94. Frustrated bc I’m honest
    | Reply

    Andrew, you seem VERY wise. My ex cheats on his taxes – he does not report overseas income. He also receives significant fringe benefits which reduce his tax (ie mortgage payments!). Our child support is based on an ATO number which he works to the bone. Even if I do request an assessment of this situation, he will lie. Any thoughts or suggestions? It is VERY frustrating when I end up owing and knowing…

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have you applied for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8: Earning Capacity)? I don’t see how you can assume the process won’t work until you’ve tried it.

  95. JSB
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I’m new to this Forum and there are alot of comments to read through. I’d like to know more about Limited CSA’s if you can shed some light on this please? I’ve suggested a BCSA to my ex but he’s refused. He’s suggested ‘doing away’ with CS (even though I’m the paying parent) and I believe this is because he’s returning to the higher paying job he had before he voluntarily quit and when I was the receiving parent. I’d also like to do away with the CSA as it’s a draining experience and I’d rather spend my time with my children than dealing with them. That said, if my ex returns to his former employer the children will be in my care more often although not enough to warrant a ‘change in care’ according to CSA’s formula. Any feedback you have is appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Like your attitude JSB, though it may be easier just to work with the system given your ex is unwilling to make a binding agreement.

      The receiving parent can end child support by filling in the appropriate form: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/forms/cs1671

      Ending an assessment doesn’t stop it being started again in the future. And it can result in reduced Family Tax Benefit Part A – since the receiving parent is expected to seek support and reduce their reliance on public welfare.

      Child support doesn’t have to be draining if both parents cooperate and agree on the facts of the case. If care is stable, it’s really just a matter of the paying parent making a monthly payment.

  96. L
    | Reply

    I’m recently been the subject of change of assessment by my ex wife.

    My previous financial year was a disaster with my taxable income being far lower than usual.

    I had actually nearly gone bankrupt due to a change of job (PAYG) not working and had to move in with my parents for 6 months. Mum paid my car off and I worked hard to pay down debt.

    My ex approached me for almost $5 for elective medicals for my daughter who I really didn’t think needed it, could be delayed a couple of years, so I said no.

    During this period I was paying CSA based on a income above my real earnings (Based upon the previous good year) as they would not adjust it until my tax return was submitted.

    When my tax return was filed my taxable income was far lower and my CSA was adjusted.

    She then filed a CSA reassessment request for an assessment of my base, orthodontics and private school fees which I have not contributed to for 8 years as I hate the school and don’t want my kids there and my not paying has been intended to force the issue with my control freak ex wife who stubbornly refuses to look at public school.

    Some background here is that we did enrol the kids when we were married and she wanted to enrol our youngest when after we were divorced, the form required my signature- but also states that in the circumstances of separation/divorce that a person responsible for the fees must be nominated- which didn’t happen.

    I asked for the kids to change school 2 years after the divorce and she just refused. So I stopped paying.

    Bring forward to the present. Ex has remarried a man of significant means. They live in a mansion, go on lots of overseas holidays, lots of fancy dinners and live the high life. He has children of his own at a private school and an ex wife who doesn’t work much due to PTSD after he beat her up in front of the kids, a registered conviction is a matter of public record. So he has costs as well.

    Recently they decided to go to major overseas holiday with all the children ($36k for 2 weeks) and he had to pay a significant amount to his ex through CSA. I happen to know his ex wife.

    I get hit with CSA reassessment for base (was always going to revert), Medicals and private school fees.

    I earn an average income, have my own mortgage (property rented out so I could share a house and reduce some expenses) and have been trying to pay down debt incurred during the disaster year.

    The new assessment actually left me at a negative ($150 a fortnight) as it refused to consider the rates and body Corp as real expenses as I would receive a negative gearing benefit. When I advised the assessor that this was a double dip as any tax refund is immediately transferred to CSA so I get no benefit from the negative gearing, she said that’s a taxation matter and irrelevant.

    This decision more than doubled my payment to over $1300 a months on an payg income of circa 80k (supers inclusive) a year

    So I was again facing bankruptcy, I’ve had to reduce my budget so much that I will not be able to do anything other that work, eat, repeat for the next 2 years.
    I’m now a white collar slave so that my ex can go on overseas trips.

    I was also told I was not allowed to have internet or ti continue paying for my 2 oldest children’s phones (one which had been provided to give my son the ability to ring 000 if his step father ever lost his shit again), as these were not required for my self support. I told the women that my children would not come over if I don’t provide Internet (and they didn’t when I cut it off a few years back due to trying to cut costs), her actual words words were, “yes I will expect that will be the case”. CSA now Support parental alienation.

    Even the woman who handled my objection said that she recognized that the decision left me with “next to nothing, it’s going to be very tight for you”.

    I have revoked my consent for the children continuing enrollment at the school and apparently the law has been designed that unless the other parent consents to this a change of enrollment cannot be effected, no matter what the circumstances….because of originally “intent”.

    So I now am paying for a school I hate, can’t afford and can’t provide my children any sense of balance with what their mother and step father have.

    I was suicidal for a few weeks and my son recognized it and begged me not to kill my self and I started to recognize the signs of depression which I have arrested and those feelings have been replaced by a sense of purposeful injustice.

    Unjust laws need to be challenged

    So on principle….having an unjust law imposing on my right of choice concerning my children’s education, irrespective of original intent (it would seem that you can disolve a marriage yet not a post divorce private school enrollment) I am going to commence legal action. If it means selling my house and being homeless at retirement so be it.

    If the government wants to take my life away (so that someone else can enjoy a standard of living I obviously am not allowed to experience myself, simply because they refuse to make sensible choices) and to also to expect me to dutifully pay taxes, then the state can take care of me in-terms of public housing at retirement and nursing home accommodation when the time comes.

    Life changes and therefore laws cannot be so inflexible as to not allow for reasonable change and also to be a mechanism for vengeful ex partners continue to impose themselves and their continued choices on your life 10 years after you divorced them to escape their control. I didn’t leave for another women, I left a controlling and manipulative woman.

    CSA have effectively involved themselves in a family disagreement over an elective decision and taken one parents side. I don’t believe it’s ever been the intention of child support as a principle to impose punitive finically imposts concerning elective costs.
    Surely the system was only ever intended to make sure that the basic costs of life were met, particularly in the instance of self employed parents not declaring their incomes correctly, not that children would be afforded a private school education where neither parent can afford it, but 1 stubbornly refused to face fact around economic realities.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The system was designed to maintain a child’s standard of living as if the parents were still together as a married couple. Well-meaning idea, a bit like socialism, but doesn’t work in reality of course.

      The other problem is that the system was designed to ensure that, as much as possible, the kid (via the recipient) gets their money. The concept of fathers being driven to the wall wasn’t part of the thinking at any stage.

      Having a purpose is partly about working on the things that are under your control. Defeating Child Support may not come under that category unfortunately.

  97. Angela Gawne
    | Reply

    My husband and I pay about $600 per month to my husbands ex wife for 2 boys. We just discovered that the state school fees are in arrears significant amounts and also that the eldest boy who is 17 is paying for his own clothes. The CSA said to contact her and we sent a nice email to offer to pay the debt off over a period of time and receive CSA credits but she hasn’t responded after a second follow up. What do you suggest. The eldest is 18 next Feb and will be in year 12 and we were intending to pay whilst he was in year 12 but not if the school fees are not being paid for. There has been much conflict in the past but it’s more amicable now. Thoughts?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Seems like paying state school fees is low on her priority list. She still ultimately pays if you pay and then receive credit for that, which is why she hasn’t agreed to it.

      Child support is payable in year 12 if the child turns 18 during the school year. The payer doesn’t have a choice about that.

      I don’t see that you have anything to do here. Not your job to manage your partner’s ex.

  98. Frustrated
    | Reply

    My ex left while I was still pregnant with our 2nd child over 8 years ago. For the first 6 years he would pay $50 a fortnight but it’s been reduced to only $17 a fortnight combined for two kids since last year. He refuses to pay anything extra (school fees or help with uniform , swimming lessons etc).
    He supposedly saves all his money for when they go on holidays so he can buy them things and take them to kfc , Pizza Hut etc.
    He can’t agree that school fees being paid and having what the need in their regular lives is more important than eating junk food and buying video games for 10 days during the holidays.
    I am beyond frustrated that there is nothing I can do.

  99. Another Anon
    | Reply

    Hi there, I have decided to comment mainly due to Andrew’s response to post by Annon from 27th of June.
    I was in a relationship where domestic violence was constant – and getting out is extremely difficult due to many reasons (shame, guilt, worries about future, feelings of worthlessness and the list can go on for many more pages). The tipping stone was whilst carrying my 1 year old daughter getting punches to the head where the impact made my head hit hers. This occurred in 2005 which is why it is easier to talk about now. Separation was followed by constant fear from threats, stalking, phone calls at all hours, SMS’s, emails and etc which reduced when the Courts granted me and my daughter a 13 year long Intervention Order! At that point of time I contacted Centrelink regarding the situation who made our case exempt from having to claim Child Support due to family violence – the exemption stayed in place for about 4 years. Once the Intervention Order was in place he went to Family Court and after a long fight he got supervised visits for 1 year in Children’s Supervised Centre – where of course he was on best behavior, which followed by 6 months of private supervised visits – where an employee of private supervision would pick up my daughter, visit her father together and drop her off after 2 hour visits – of course best behavior again; which then permitted for the next family order step which was changeovers through the Children’s Supervised Centre. I’m sorry Andrew but this is what prompted me to write this in regards to your response to Annons. After him going through all this trouble to get to see his daughter – he would take her for a whole day, unsupervised – and then throughout the whole day daunt her with questions, statements, accusation (not valid) and name calling about myself and my family – where she would come back in tears and withdrawn and would take days to get her back to being her happy self – just so it could happen all over in a 1.5 weeks… Anyone who would be putting a child through such ordeal would know how harmful for their psychological wellbeing such constant emotional torture is. Violence does not need to be physical – when I was getting abused the physical violence was easier to deal with because the bruises and scars went away whereas the psychological wounds I still carry today….so again in saying that there are men who will go through the Family Court in order to get access to the child in order to get back at the mother – and the children are the ones who suffer and no one wants to hear their pleas because it would mean that their duty of care is to keep them safe and they were unable to do so. The visits were stopped finally when my daughter was over 5 and only due to all staff overhaul in the Children’s Supervised Centre.
    Regarding Child Support – when the exemption finished I had to claim Child Support – I didn’t do so until the visits ceased because he would direct his angst towards our daughter since he had no contact with me. At the time of the claim he was a tradie doing mostly cash in hand jobs. He owned his house outright, he had 3 investment properties in Victoria and 3 in Queensland. However since his taxable income was minimal the Child Support granted was minimal at $30 a month. Was not worth the worry or the trouble. Also it got left unpaid for years. I contacted Child Support about all the assets he owns and other information – where the advice is to do Assessment Change – being in a domestic violence situation any such move could aggravate them so I chose to never go through with it. He later started some contracting work which revealed his income for tax purposes and when he finally did his tax returns 4 or 5 years later his debt was nearly $9000 (when we were together some days he would bring home $1000 for cash in hand work) – but obviously since he had no steady employment Child Support could not get the money anywhere….and they would not touch assets until debt was considerably higher…. There was no point in me ringing, because I always heard the same information – which was pretty much there is nothing we can do…..Eventually the money was slowly claimed when did consecutive tax returns – took 3 or 4 years….and since he found a new partner apparently he claimed he did not work anymore and his income was lower than mine on Centrelink pension so back to $30 a month in child support – but yet he manages to have his ABN changed over to a newer and more expensive address every 2 or 3 years – currently living in a house which was sold for nearly 1 mil….
    In conclusion I don’t believe that the father going through all the effort to see their child means they will not harm them – in my case he went through all of this to get back at me and put my child through mental torture – and I was the one who deals with tears, breakdowns, meltdowns, anxiety, depression – which my daughter still battle on ongoing basis – not to say she still wants no contact with him….. And Child Support system is a total joke which has not proved in the slightest to be worth the trouble and worry it puts you through.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for telling your story.

      As I’ve commented in earlier posts, our policy is to have a benchmark income level. Anything dodgy and the payer gets put on to this setting so that they are required to pay a decent amount of support — in line with community standards. This would simplify administration dramatically, reduce admin costs and family drama, and help ensure decent support.

      Agree that they current system is a joke. Can you believe that there are people being paid large salaries year after year in the Dept of Human Services to manage child support policy? What are they actually doing?

  100. Sofia
    | Reply

    >>>>>
    Our alternative policy here is simple: no child support when care is 50:50. Each parent provides care and spends according to their own capacity and want. Normally, the higher-earning parent would spend more anyway. There is no need for government-enforced payments.
    >>>>>
    What do you mean by this?
    Are you saying my ex and I should go into private agreement that as long as the care is 50:50 we do not pay child support to each other?
    Or, CSA makes both parents pay for whatever they need only during the children are in their care, and regardless of pay gap you do not have to pay the other party? Is that what CSA does?

    We share 50:50 custody and he is self employed. I believe he is lying about his income, and I have to pay him. But when he is on 20k how does he afford to rent, buy Nintendo and iPad, a camping holiday AND overseas holiday every year ? Because of the legal costs I have not been on holiday past 3 years…..
    I have lodged change of assessment however I was told by the CSA they have so far found nothing and they asked ME if I know his secret bank accounts…. please help. I am desperate.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If no child support were payable when care is 50:50, you wouldn’t have the race to the bottom that currently exists: where each parent is better off the lower they can make their taxable income.

      If your ex was willing to enter into a legally certified private agreement for no child support to be payable, you wouldn’t have to pay child support any more and he could stop playing games. That would be better wouldn’t it? That is how the child support system should be, and is one of our policies we would like introduced for all 50:50 cases.

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