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From the Child Support YouTube Channel:

When parents ignore court orders

When parents don’t lodge tax returns

50:50 shared care

“Extra Care” formula

1334 Responses

  1. Julia
    | Reply

    hi I am international student.
    I am pregnant from my ex partner. If he recognise his child I wonder if I am entildted to have a childsupport overseas in case I go back in my country?

  2. Gerry
    | Reply

    Great service you are providing! I have a few questions… When responding to a change of assessment form is there someone to discuss and give advice completing the response form with i.e. what to put in and what to leave out? It seems to cover a lot of details, is it best to only respond to the fields that the other party has completed? How long does this process take, does it go backward and forward or is it a one off thing? Also when done one year do you need to do it each year going forward or is it once off and set once a decision is made?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Personally, I wouldn’t bother filling in details in the Change of Assessment form. Just give them relevant info for your particular case, addressing the issues raised in the application that would be relevant to the decision. The process allows a number of weeks between each step. A decision is made for a certain period (e.g. 2 years), after which everything returns to normal (automatic calculation).

  3. Me
    | Reply

    Hi, my ex partner took two of our children for his week of a mutually agreed (not court ordered) 50/50 care. He has relocated without providing and address and refuses to return them. I am fighting this legally, but he has told child support and Centrelink that he has custody 100%.

    He also tell child support he is very rarely working but has a very expensive lawyer. He regularly did cash jobs on the side and still does.

    I rang and advised child support and the guy simply said that they go off what the parent rings up and claims.

    Is there anyway I can chase this up?

    In my eyes, it is fraud.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support only care about actual custody. And there are no court orders in place.

      I wouldn’t tell them that he has taken the kids. Better to say that you have a 50/50 care agreement and you will be looking after the children 50% of the time going forward. Any evidence you have will help, including interim parenting orders when you get them. Try to place the onus on him to prove he has the children. Do a new application with Child Support notifying of a change in care level yourself.

  4. A
    | Reply

    My ex and I have 50/50 shared care and I pay him $608 month child support as I earn more. We used to have an arrangement where we paid half for everything, which he honoured until recently, but just after I spent over $3K on school expenses earlier this year, he refused to reimburse me. This included a new laptop for our son under BYOD and just started Year 7, uniforms, shoes, texts. We just had a new assessment put into place and I asked to be credited for half the amount I spent. CS refused. They said it was before the new assessment period, but these expenses cover roughly the next two years so there’s nothing else for him to pay. She said she gave my ex a lecture over the phone but can’t enforce anything. Since the assessment has been put into place, my ex just refuses to pay for anything at all. Ignores my emails and texts. I can’t just not buy the kids stuff so I end up footing the bill for everything. Even with haircuts, he just leaves it until it’s so bad that my son is begging for me to have his hair cut and I end up paying. Can I put in an objection to this? Will the AAT look at this if CS refuse?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well – he is a cheapskate. And the only reason you are paying him is that there is a stupid formula in place at the moment.

      Child Support don’t micro-manage what parents do with their money. They only get involved for major spending such as dental braces and private school fees.

      Not much you can do. But also realise that, if you do the spending, you make the decisions over what is purchased. And the kids can see him for who he is. I wouldn’t communicate with him much. Just go ahead and make all the spending choices and only send the kids to his place with the clothes on their backs. And tell the kids he is a taker. Eventually, he might decide the current path he is taking is not worth it and will decide to fork out for some stuff.

      • A
        | Reply

        Thank you for your quick and balanced answer 🙂 He is currently better off than me with child support as he lives in his gf’s big three storey house with a pool (which means greatly reduced expenses I assume) and I have to pay rent for the three of us to live in a two bedroom unit to be close to their school so it’s not cheap. He also moved an hour away from their school to be with her and the kids have to commute three hours a day when they are at his house. I’m scared to go to court to change the consent orders as you can never know which way it’s going to go. They might think I’m trying to get out of paying child support and penalise me.

  5. Billy
    | Reply

    So now that the robodebt genocide program is subjected to class action law suits. Could we take legal action against the CSA criminals?
    CSA has been doing far worse to fathers than the robodebt; rewarding females 100% payments for abducting children 100% of the time.
    This is illegal of the CSA, eroding the basic human rights of children and fathers, also aiding and embedding in blackmail, child abduction and also child abuse.
    CSA is subjecting people to financial hardship and further more aiding the suicide of Australians; exactly the same as the robodebt genocide program, except with the added child abuse and abduction.

  6. Peter
    | Reply

    Hi
    In 1998 I had a one night stand which may or may not have resulted in a pregnancy (I found out a few years later she had a steady boyfriend at the time) Her parents were elders in a church and basically blackmailed me into marrying her. That lasted 8 months. Naturally, she took me to the Family Court (I had real estate). The judge ordered all of my property into a Family Trust, my son from a previous relationship (I will call him my first son) is the beneficiary. I am the Trustee and the Trust Deed prevents (in writing) me from ever receiving any benefit from the Trust. I had full custody of my first son at the and not receiving and child support from the mother. I was paying child support for 2nd child and when schooling started, half private school fees. In 2007 this woman sued me in the Supreme which dragged on until 2011. She was partners in a conveyancing company with a solicitor who ran the case for her free. She lost and the judge was scathing of her and stopped short of saying the whole thing was a blackmail attempt. I was awarded costs which amounted to over $87,000.00 and she had previously given the court an undertaking as to damages which amounted to over$400,000.00.I have never received a cent from her. In 2007 I became ill and that has been ongoing ever since so my partner took over the business and I worked for her when I was able but it is a very specialized occupation and the business suffered for a while. In 2013 my health deteriorated to the point where my partner had to stop work to care for me. I applied for a centrelink payment (my partner could not get a benefit as she is from NZ and was not in Australia on a certain date in 2001 despite working and paying tax in Australia since 1976). Centrelink determined that because I was owed money I could only get $149.00 a fortnight for the 2 of us to live on. In 2014 a computer glich cut off Centrelink and I just didn’t have the strength to take them on again. We started working again as best we could and my first son propped us up. When the virus hit first son could not assist anymore so again I applied for Centrelink but because the Trust tax is not up to date (we haven’t been able to afford it) Centrelink won’t look at us. In desperation, I wrote to our federal member, Ted O’brien outlining the dire situation that we were in and the urgency. Sometime later I received a reply and all that it said was “what’s your address ? Thanks for nothing O’brien. All through this CSA have been hounding me to pay arrears but that is just impossible. They freeze the Trusts bank accounts and then I have to spend hours explaining that it’s Trust money not mine and the bank has even refused to comply with their demands. I have 5 broken back teeth and 2 missing so I am living off Sustagen. The quote to fix them in Australia is over $55,000.00 so first son has been putting a bit aside so I could go to Thailand and have them fixed after the virus is sorted. But now CSA has hit me with a travel ban. The travel ban also affects my partner as her family live in NZ and with us both in our sixties we wanted to spend time them but my partner will not leave me alone with my health issues. I thought I could wait until I went on the age pension at the end of this then CSA would automatically take some of it and I could get the travel ban but now Centrelink says I don’t qualify for the pension because I am owed to much money (that I will never collect) and the Trusts tax returns are not up to date. The CSA is pure evil run by unaccountable public servants and I won’t even start on politics. Any suggestions would be greatly accepted

  7. Timothy Jackson
    | Reply

    My X girlfriend and I had just split up we had not settled anything threw child support as of yet but to be nice I offered to give them money each week till sorted my pay was in late and X mother in law threatened to take kids away from me if I didn’t give them money what can I do

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Try to keep any evidence that they are threatening to withhold access to get more child support. This may be useful later for custody purposes, though not for child support. Also, get some sort of documentation (e.g. an email from her or sent by you) confirming that the money is specifically intended as a form of child support.

      Frankly, child support is often lucrative for receivers and she will probably end up claiming. As soon as she makes contact with Child Support, you start accumulating a liability. Any payments you make after this should be credited, but doesn’t always happen – hence, the need to document everything.

  8. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi. Thank you for your selflessness and generosity in providing this community service.

    What happens if someone refuses to respond to a Change of Assessment request from CSA at all?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not responding to a Change of Assessment is risky. Child Support will try to find in favour of the applicant. But it is also true that they may make no change if they lack evidence of income, etc. Generally, the best approach is to only provide info that supports your case. And don’t discuss the details of your case with them over the phone either.

  9. Slav
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    My husband has been paying child support accordinlgy his whole life. Now his ex wants to extented child maintence after her son turns 18. We have 2 little children (2 & 3) of our own, a struggling business due to COVID 19 and drowning in bills. I know she can apply for this maintence until he finishes secondary school however we have struggled already and dont see how a fit young man who works already, can drive and buy alcohol receive ongoing child support? It seems crazy to me especially when we never get to see him (his choice we always invite him). This woman is a leach and never stops! shes always looking fot ways to be furthermore difficult and spiteful. Thanking you

  10. E
    | Reply

    Hi
    I have 50/50 care of my children. I am a wage earner and have paid child support on time every time. in recent years my ex has operated as a sole trader and used generous tax rules to lower income, up to $20k in deductions. rents a house I could never afford, takes expensive holidays and manipulates the system for all its worth. I have been told by csa that theres nothing they can do about ex’s reported earnings of $13000 in a six month period, because she is on jobkeeper. and they are not allowed to ask her to look for other work. of which there is plenty in her field. That 13k amount barely covered her rent costs.she is supported by wealthy partner (also her boss)and uses child support as a control tool. even told me to pay her more or she will take my kids off me. Her earnings go nowhere near covering her overseas holidays, cars, etc.This system is seriously flawed.

  11. Tamara
    | Reply

    Hi I have my children 64% and my Ex has them 36%. he claims he works for himself but earns very little I work full time and I am the one paying child support but I have the children majority of the time how do I go about getting this looked at as I don’t think this is fair.
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Of course it’s not fair. He should be paying you something, which he would be if our reform proposal were implemented.

      The only path to sorting the situation out is to apply for a Change of Assessment and have his financials (as well as yours) looked at. But, by the sound of things, I suspect it wouldn’t work. May not be worth pursuing since it is a time-consuming hassle.

  12. Sam
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Just wanting your opinion/advice on my situation. I pay child support every month- the amount based on the fact of my ex wife claiming $0 income each year. I know she has been working but hasn’t lodged a tax return in nearly ten years. Any advice on what my next steps should be. Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t think there is much you can do. Have heard this complaint many times about parents not submitting tax returns. No solution it seems under current scheme. Our reform proposal would fix the problem of course.

  13. Kellie
    | Reply

    My brother in law is currently caring for his children over 90% of the time. He and his ex do not have a legal agreement with the courts about care but is listed as 50/50 with child support. He is not working as he is caring for the children and has accessed his super after settlement to manage financially. His partner is claiming that she does have 50% care and he has had to pay her based on super being classified as an income. He has encourage her to have more time with the children so he can look for work. Child support has told him they will not accept his claim that care is above what the partner claims. He cannot afford legal representation. He has kept diary evidence of care. The ex partner is working full time and has recently been re-married overseas. Is there anything we can advise him to do. Any help or advice greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He must provide convincing evidence to Child Support of what his care level is. Keep it simple to make their decision easy. Would suggest getting evidence together and then attach it when submitting the form: Details of your child’s care arrangements form (FA012)

  14. Eklopper@hotmail.com
    | Reply

    Hi
    Would like some information for my cousin who has three kids separated from partner over two years ago , is now trying to officially go through child support as the ex kept reducing his payments to nothing all together , she has them now 100% of the time , they do occasionally stay with his parents but they are still not under his care , so because of one weekend he is disputing they will not pay her the child support , and because she is in a defacto relationship they have all of a sudden reduced her payments even though her partner is on the job keeper allowance so she now has to live on 300 a week including rent please help

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      When the kids stay with the paternal grandparents, they are under the father’s care for child support purposes. That should not be disputed.

  15. Paul Goot
    | Reply

    Can you please advise.

    My ex Wife is moving from self employment ABN to F/T work.

    Her income will go from $50,000 per annum to $120,000.
    (Roughly I’m told)

    I believe she is behind on her taxes (Acc to a mutual acquaintance)

    Will the CSA be notified by the ATO when my ex goes to F/T employment that her child support payments to me should be changed (go up)? Is there a link between the ATO and Csa?

    I am concerned that she won’t report the higher income to CSA when she goes to work for an employer who will deduct her tax.

    Also, will my ex be required to tell her new f/t employer about child support and will the employer deduct child support automatically from her salary? Are employers compelled to deduct child-support. Normally we just pay through the agency.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Gee, you’re all over the fact that your ex’s earnings are going up. Give her a break. This is a good thing and it’s not your job to make sure you get your money.

      Child support is integrated with the tax system and operates much like it. After she does her tax return is when her higher income will be known by Child Support. The impact will be backdated to 1 July of the start of the financial year AFTER her income rose. Her employer should not be involved.

  16. Jessie
    | Reply

    Hello.
    Can some shed some light please. There is a case currently pending with the tribunal. I got paper work that also goes to the other party, but my biggest question is, child support has without my authority, taken bank statements, pay slips etc and sent it with all documents to the other party.
    Keeping in mind, there is a Family violence order in place with my ex also. How can they do that? I’m shocked!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The COA process allows all parties to review submitted information. It is really up to each parent to control what the other parent sees. You only need to provide relevant info. For example, you can ignore Child Support’s request for a breakdown of regular living expenses.

  17. Nik
    | Reply

    Hello – Due to COVID, what is the timeframe for implementation of the new child-support formula following the work of the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System?
    Many thanks,

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t think COVID will alter timing. We’ve put forward a proposal for the Joint Committee to recommend that Treasury and Social Services bring forward a joint Cabinet submission with reform options.

      We need (a) the Committee to agree to include the proposed recommendation in their final report then (b) the Australian Public Service to do research, consultation and put forward options to Cabinet then (c) Cabinet to agree to reform options then (d) the legislation to be drafted and put into a Bill then (e) the Parliament to pass the Bill and finally (f) the new system to be implemented.

      So, it won’t happen anytime soon. Hopefully, it will happen though because reform is badly needed. By the way, this site already explains what the new system will look like and why it will succeed. We just need decision-makers to get on board and make change happen.

      • Nik
        | Reply

        Many thanks. I wasn’t aware of the decision making in the Cabinet. Well, looks like it will take about five years for changes to come through. I hope no more men take their lives waiting.

  18. Geoff
    | Reply

    Continuation from above msg may help.

    “In CR2017/18 released today, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) accepts that fringe benefits arising from salary packaged FIFO travel costs are exempt under 47(7) for the arrangements administered by McMillian Shakespeare.”

  19. Geoff
    | Reply

    Hi I work in the mines. I am on 110k but the mothers children moved away with the kids when I broke it off. I spend a week at work and have the kids 6 nights per fortnight In Vic. It costs me 25k per year to travel from regional qld to regional Victoria. Ontop of this I pay 12k child support with 40% care. I’m left with 43k per year for me and the kids. I began salary sacrificing my flights and my child support went up another $40 per week. I only save $80 in tax from SS. Is that right that it went up? The cost of getting to work is reduced and that resulted in my child support going up? Im netting the same amount per year as someone who is on 60k but I’m paying nearly triple the amount someone on 60k pays. Thanks for you time.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support simply add salary sacrificed amounts back on to your taxable income. So, salary packaging normally makes no difference to child support payments. But salary sacrifice can worsen your child support assessment if the total benefit package (income plus non-income benefits) is higher than your original income.

  20. Anthony B
    | Reply

    my husband has 50/50 custody and his ex decided to have another baby with her partner who they live together and stop working and not immunised her child so she cant go back to work till the child starts school in 3 years . he pays they same he did before he got 50/50

    Now his ex is telling the child they share they need to get a job if they want clothes even though the other children in her care have name brand stuff and if they want money to go hang out with there friends she will not give them money. there struggle at school when they did have a job last year there grades went down . this year even with everything that is happening there grade are best in the class most classes lol. but the child wants to get a job because they know there mother wont give them any.

  21. Pal76
    | Reply

    Hi there
    My daughter recently moved to her father’s whom she hasn’t seen in 3 years and I was recently assessed as not having to pay child support because of my income and our shared care arrangement (he earns a lot more than me). I am fine with that because he has over the years either paid the very base payment which included putting his whole business in his new girlfriends name so he only had to pay that amount. We have been separated 8 years and he has never done a tax return since and centrelink only work on a provisional income every year. Can they do that? My main question is I have recently re married and my husband works in the mines and pays hefty child support to his ex, but now my ex husband has my daughter he believes he can bring my Husbands wages into our case to force me to pay him something. Can he do that?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No – The incomes of partners / spouses have zero impact on child support.

  22. DR
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I am the payer paying 100% child support currently as I don’t have any care as of yet. Do all the payments I make, plus the Centrelink that the OP gets add up to their total declarable “income” each year?? My ex declared that she only earned $8k last financial year and still hasn’t done her tax return but she is now receiving Centrelink and child support as income now, does any of this count towards the self-support amount ??
    Thanks in advance and please keep fighting and lobbying for a new fairer system

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Payments like Newstart count towards taxable income. On the other hand, child support payments don’t affect taxable income – they are effectively just a cash transfer from one person to another.

  23. DW
    | Reply

    Hi – this is a great resource, well done.

    My story is a typical one. I’m a Govt professional and take on extra employment opportunities as they arrive. I subsequently get smashed with tax and increased child support. My ex despite being tertiary qualified works 3-4 days a week as a teachers aide as this “suits her lifestyle”.

    For 6 years she was in an 80% rental subsidy situation run by a local ngo. Should this have been included in her side of the child support calculations?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks. Child support can factor in various costs and income sources in different circumstances. But rental subsidies are nothing special and wouldn’t normally be considered. People can also live in their own homes or with relatives and reduce housing costs that way.

  24. Tom
    | Reply

    Hello
    My ex wants to terminate child support and enter our own agreement to go halves in private school fees (plus half of all other school, extra curricular and medical costs). I want the best for my kids so I would be ok with this arrangement. I have a couple of concerns:
    1. Even if we terminate child support will she still be notified of my income each year? I have a lot of years until my kids are 18 and I’m worried that if my income increases over the years and she sees that then she will apply for child support again. I can’t afford child support and this schools private fees.
    2. How can I protect myself from her terminating child support just so I sign the enrolment and then going back on child support and me being liable to both.

  25. Valery
    | Reply

    Please help. I pay child support of $3164per month. He claimed his income went from $77000 to $39000 even though his business is not Covid related . He has $3M in houses, shares and super (lots of asserts). CSA said after an investigation there is nothing that they can do as he has declared all of these things .The court orders said that I am supposed to see my eleven- year-old daughter and eight-year-old son however my partner has turned my daughter against me and she refuses to come. He joyfully said that every night she spends with him I have to give him more money . Why am I paying for a child that I don’t even get to see? I miss her. It just isn’t right. The court orders state that we have to pay 1/2 for joint family therapy sessions. After I pay child support, my rent (modest unit), water, rates, mortgage and very basic day-to-day living expenses ( no Netflix, gym eating out etc) , I’m left with less than $200 a week. I didn’t buy food this week because I couldn’t afford it. How can I go on like this?

    • Men’s suffering
      | Reply

      Welcome to the world of men Valery! What you have described is exactly what most men go through. We hardly get to see our children but yet have to fork out thousands in child support each month.

      What I don’t get is why is the legal system so unfairly biased towards women. There are lots of good men out there who are blackmailed with separation, taking the children away, child support payments and who’s there to help!! No one.

  26. Bel
    | Reply

    My ex is taking me to the Federal Circuit Court arguing that CSA has unjustly set his salary at a higher amount than he has reported to the ATO.

    What specific part of the legislation enables CSA to set aside the usual ATO reportable income to allocate a different income to a parent? If you can state the exact reference, it would be very helpful.

    Thanks.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      They can change income for child support purposes as part of a Change of Assessment. You don’t have to be an expert since I assume the Child Support Registrar is also a party to the proceedings.

  27. Cheryl
    | Reply

    My daughters ex partner and father of their 3 children does not pay the correct amount. When she has contacted Child Support they say there is nothing that can be done? He is in arrears and the amount is dropping ever month and he is still employed with the same employment. Please can I have some clarity on why and how this can be possible.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support seem to think that the debt isn’t enough of a problem to take drastic action at this point. Automatic collection methods still apply, such as interest penalties and intercepting tax refunds.

  28. Adam
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, I pay 100% child support for two children ($3,600 per month). Our court orders have A shared custody agreement, but my ex moved away with the kids a few years ago.
    My oldest turns 18 soon and Attends an adult learning facility (dropped out of school last year). According to the facility, she has attended less than 20% of classes. Am i still required to pay child support until the end of the year in this case?
    Many thanks.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support should stop in relation to your oldest when she turns 18. Other parent would need to apply for child support to be continued. Looks unlikely that such an application would be accepted by Child Support given your daughter is not completing Year 12.

  29. Diana
    | Reply

    Hi, I just want to ask if my mother is able to recieve the child support payments that my father has not paid to my mother when my aister and I were under 18, however my sister and I are now both over 18.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – unless the case has been terminated, the money must still be paid.

  30. Emilia
    | Reply

    1. Can anything be done about paying party always paying late? Ie be made to pay weekly/fortnightly instead of monthly?
    2. Paying party not for-filling care duties for 5 months can I assessment be temporarily change to accomodate cost of party caring for child in place of paying party?
    3. When there is a dependent with paying party in the same age bracket as child on assessment, how can the dependent deduction be more than the cost of child on assessment care cost?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      1 – Not your problem. What you can do is build savings as a buffer against late payments.
      2 – You can only notify Child Support of a change in care arrangements in a forward-looking way and if the care change is ongoing.
      3 – Don’t know – depends on the particulars of the case. The current scheme is over-complicated.

  31. Tegan
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, I left you a comment about my situation a few months ago and just wanted to update you on my change of assessment results.
    To recap, my ex decided not to work at all this year going from earring over $100k to quoting $18k for the year. We have three children together with the youngest in kindy this year. I have just gone back to work full time after having a baby 5 months ago and getting paid maternity leave. I filed for a change of assessment for reason 8B, as the assessment doesn’t reflect his earning capacity. To be successful I needed to prove three things. 1) he is capable of earning over $100k- (this was proved successfully)
    2) that he had other options than to stop work to look after the children (this was also successful)
    3) that his decision to stop work was greatly motivated by not wanting to pay a rise in his child support payments (this was unable to be proven)

    The assessor thought my ex’s motives although unjustified were not motivated by the fact that his childsupport would increase and there for my claim was dismissed.

    It seems unfair that all three points have to be proven considering the last is very subjective. There would be no proof of the last one unless someone was stupid enough to tell the assessor that was the reason or have it in a text. My ex is not stupid and is also very charismatic.

    It seems like the system is not protecting me. I have always done the right thing. We share 50/50 custody, I have always gone back to work as early as possible even while still breastfeeding and have always worked as much as I could get.

    This is definitely motivated by the fact that I had a baby and he didn’t want me to take more time off but I can’t prove that and I’m not in a position to not work as I support my family (4 kids of my own, my new husband and his two kids) and pay most of the bills as my husband earns half of what i do working full time.

    Why is it that the decision has to based on ticking off all three points to be successful considering that the first two are more important and the last is subjective and difficult to prove?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The way you have framed the decision-making framework for the Change of Assessment is incorrect.

      These are the actual words: 3. The parent has failed to show that the decision about his or her work arrangements was not substantially motivated by the effect this would have on the child support assessment (CSA Act section 117(7B)(c)).

      So the onus was on the other parent to show their intentions. And I believe it’s just a “balance of probabilities” call by the assessor.

      You may have grounds for appealing the decision. But I can’t say for sure because the info you’ve given me seems unreliable.

      • Tegan
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew, thank you for your reply.
        I know I wasn’t using the technical explanation for the three points, I was just using the wording the assessor explained it to me.
        What information seems to be unreliable?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Well then the assessor’s explanation is unreliable, which is a concern. Do you have their explanation in writing that could be used as evidence in an appeal? The exact wording used in the legislation is important since that defines how the assessor is meant to do their job. What you wrote is different from my understanding, which is that the onus is on the parent reducing their income to demonstrate that affecting child support was not a significant motivating factor.

  32. Simon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    my ex-Wife received substantial 7 figure settlement plus the unencumbered family home in an 80/20 split.

    She has refused to participate in discussing care arrangements (I have a 60i) and carefully controls the children’s access to ensure that care never exceeds the 14% threshold.

    She has not worked since the year 2000 to be a stay at home mum for the benefit of the children, but has volunteered in her capacity as a teacher (she has multiple post graduate degrees).

    The kids are now 20, 17 and 15, and I pay in excess of $30k per year to her in child support.

    She has 88% care (even though I had the kids for 65 days last year), reportedly earns less than $25k per year from her investments and has sufficient cash reserves to take the kids to Fiji on holidays.

    Given the children are fairly independent and all of her cohort work in some capacity, is there any requirement for her to attempt to work even in a part time capacity.

    It seems that CSA support her “right” to stay home. What can be done ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Nothing you can do unfortunately. The administrative arrangements for handling under-earning are defined in terms of a deliberate reduction in income, not a long-term pattern of failing to work. At least it will be over soon. Our proposed new system would fix this problem, along with many others. Child support would become independent of the receiver’s income.

  33. Gerry
    | Reply

    I have 100% care of my kids, earn a salary and also run a small business. The kids mother has not paid child support at all, so went to agency collect about 6 months ago. I’ve still had no payment, but the amount we are owed is accruing. I have now been threatened by the kids mother to withdraw my claim or else CSA will investigate me. I have nothing to hide, do my tax return yearly, I do have reasonable assets, but also carry a fair amount of debt due to the business we run. Will be ringing CSA, but interested to know what ‘being investigated’ means? Am I better off just forgetting child support and moving on with life?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ha ha. I wouldn’t be worried at all by a “CSA investigation”. All she might do is make an application for a Change of Assessment. Child Support will just ask for lots of standard financial information, which you aren’t obliged to provide anyway. You should only provide info needed to support your assessment. They don’t have the resources to run around investigating people.

  34. DR
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Do CSA take in account the ridiculous cost of court and solicitor fees you’ve had to fork out taking the OP to court because they refused mediation etc. I am the Payer and have spent over 30K this financial year getting custody. I feel like this is a massive loss of my income and don’t see why I should have to pay so much in CS when I’ve spent this much just to see my son and get a parenting plan in place

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      High family law expenses is another reason why the Govt should scale back child support transfers. You can never know a payer’s actual financial position. But there is no practical way to account for legal fees. For example, you can’t easily tell who the problem person in mediation is.

      • DR
        | Reply

        It’s so unregulated..I mean $40-$50 just for a email from the solicitors. Well the problem person was simple in my case as I initiated the mediation, and OP never responded back to the mediation attempts, and I was issued a 60I certificate. Isn’t there someway I can apply for a reduction for CS this financial year due to the costs I’ve had to endure.

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          No – you can’t claim for legal costs.

  35. Elma
    | Reply

    Asking for a friend – After 3yrs of continuous care (3 nights every 2nd weekend and 50% holidays) with some completed mediation (mother kept walking out) and failed attempts to complete formal parenting plans the father decided to apply for orders. Ex is now with holding kids (blaming covid) and applied for additional child support. CSA worker confirmed that because there is a dispute with interim orders being sort CS will be on hold but an assessment was sent with high payments leaving the father unable to live or maintain the 3bedroom home which he needs to regain access to his children.
    She earns 86,000 he makes 50,000 but yet he has to pay beyond a reasonable amount. He agrees on paying child support but not when she has changed the care arrangements to suit her selfish needs and not while it’s in dispute. Can parents withhold children for more money when there was an arrangement in place, how is this legal?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support do allow parents to be financially rewarded for illegally withholding care. Total disgrace but true.

      They recently changed the rules so that parents who are defying court orders have to wait a number of months before getting paid extra. Your friend should submit a copy of the interim orders to Child Support as soon as they are made.

      A parent cannot just decide to not pay child support. That’s stupid and will backfire.

  36. Angela
    | Reply

    Hi There!
    A friend of mine has been trying to break up with he’s girlfriend for quite a while now. She said she was taking the pill instead she deliberately got herself pregnant even though he did not sign for it and was hoping she would have an abortion instead she said to him to him What you gave to your son you’re going to give the same to ur new born. They are not living together he’s happy to pay maintenance but he’s scared to end the relationship because if he does it’s going to get ugly with money!
    She has been an alcoholic for quite a long time but now that she’s pregnant she has stoped drinking she also has bipolar! Once the baby is born he’s going to do an DNA test incase it’s not he’s! Please help!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Seems to be lots of drama here, which is generally unhelpful. The child is probably his by the sound of it. There’s a risk the baby could end up in foster care if he or she lacks a competent parent or guardian. Your friend needs to start making plans for how the baby will be properly cared for, including getting help from family if possible.

  37. Anon
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew my ex is/was self employed, he has had 3 businesses in the last 4 years I did get one reassessed and he disputed the findings claiming it was a new business so earnings weren’t stable. The latest business has his de facto as the director with him just as an employee therefore reducing his income to avoid paying child support. Would a CoA take the business earnings into account? As defacto has stated in her child support assessment for her child as only working for the company 3 days a week and not the director.
    Thankyou

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support would be very interested in business earnings in a CoA review. Who gets to be called “Director” is probably irrelevant. What matters are that the pay amounts reasonably reflect the time and skill contributions of the people working on the business.

      • Anon
        | Reply

        Thankyou for your quick response guess I will be filling out the paperwork to get this looked into

  38. ivansmithy101@gmail.com
    | Reply

    Hi, if I change work from self employment to a job with a company (my son is just about 17) am I

    1. Required to notify child support of increase in my pay immediately or within 3 months?

    2. Will child-support be taken from my salary? At the moment as a self-employed person I just pay it by myself every month to the child-support agency

    3. Will the CSA automatically know that I’ve changed from self employed to a job through my tax and if so will they raise child support or still go off my last tax return

    Thanks Ivan

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      1 – You don’t have to tell Child Support about a pay rise.
      2 – It’s normally up to the payer to pay child support themselves. Just continue what you are doing.
      3 – Your pay rise will affect your payments after you do your tax return, backdated to 1 July 2020.

    • Ivan Smith
      | Reply

      Thank you for your reply which was very helpful.

      One more question:

      If I work for an employer full time, will expenses from a second job be allowed by the child support agency or will the
      CSA add them back in. In other words if I work for Uber as a second job, and claim the car as an expense, will that amount of $10,000 a year expenses, which brings done my income tax, will it also bring down my child-support or not? How do the child support agency view second jobs?

      • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
        | Reply

        Child Support work off an individual’s taxable income. The number of jobs is irrelevant. Work deductions reduce your taxable income, thus reducing child support payments.

  39. Lc
    | Reply

    the ex has moved interstate with child, im paying 100% cs at 20000 she receives 16000 a Year government assistance 2000 a year in aid and claims and uses a pension card also. Can it do this while she has a small business also and made 15g from her other work job… unknown amount makings from business. Mean while I still have to pay 7k each time I want to see kid and child support says I make over the thresh hold and cant claim back. it makes 53k + and no tax….. if so who needs to know? all tax payers maybe????????????? I pay 40grand for my child and live of forty she earns more

  40. Joel
    | Reply

    Hello Andrew,

    I have a query on what response obligations to the CSA have. Where one is going through the CoA process is there a point where due to (perceived) inaction from the CSA that process should reasonably be terminated. The obligations on the responding to the CSA within specified timeframes appear harsh yet I cant find a similiar obligation placed on the CSA

    I am sure that there are many out in the community that appreciate this service you provide. I am sure that most people try to do the right thing however CSA certainly appear to lack a real understanding of how the ‘system’ impacts the quiet Australians

    Regards

    Joel

  41. Early release super ad child support debt
    | Reply

    I’ve just been approved of early release super due to Covid 19 but I have a child support debt will they intercept and take it all

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Expect that your super withdrawal would be safe but can’t say for sure.

      • Jarrod
        | Reply

        On the subject of super withdrawal… My ex claimed financial hardship and withdrew all of her super over the last 2 years (20K). However, I only became privy to this information due to her recent documentation filed for court proceedings. I now feel like I should have seen a change (reduction) in my CS amount payable due to her “income” increase from the super? Is this correct? If I haven’t seen this, I’m assuming she hasn’t done a task return. I never saw a significant increase and she has had no job for years so her income on the CS assessments were only from Government benefits as single parent. Should I initiate a COA and ask that it be back dated?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Super withdrawn because of hardship is taxed directly, meaning you get less than the amount taken out of her account. It doesn’t add to taxable income. In any case, income only affects child support if the annual amount is above about $25k.

    • Steve
      | Reply

      According to the ATO website, COVID early release payments will not be considered.

      https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/topics/what-adjusted-taxable-income/29571

  42. Scott
    | Reply

    Why is the child support amount determined from the gross income instead of net income? It seems flawed to work out this amount from gross income, then tax the paying parent and then take the child support out.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can use either gross or net income in a formula for working out child support. Our proposed formula uses gross because it’s a bit simpler.

      But you’re right. The current scheme seems to make little allowance for the fact that they’re using gross income. Payers earning above-average incomes are often hit really hard by the combination of tax and child support.

  43. Ange
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Sorry one more question. My husband is a payer of child support and his parents have now generously offered to pay for the child’s education at a private school for year 10-12. How can we make this work better for my as his ex is demanding he still pay full child support because it’s not him making the private school contribution it’s his parents. Is it just bad luck that his parents will make payments directly?
    I wondered if there was another way to report the expense to the CSA even if it’s private.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The issue here is really the other parent’s contribution towards private school fees. She should pay something if she has unconditionally agreed to send the child to a private school.

      The matter could be settled through a Change of Assessment application. It could hurt your husband’s chances to have the grandparents paying. I don’t see why they have to make the payments directly and why their involvement should be mentioned to anyone.

  44. Ange
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Two questions.
    1. My husbands ex has not updated her tax return so the CSA assessment is based on 17/18 figures for her and 18/19 for us. We are the payers of child support. At what point do the CSA/ATO enforce an update to her tax return?
    2. If my husband makes an additional concessional super contribution above employers (up to the $25k threshold),
    we have been told it’s a tax deduction, but I’m concerned that this contribution could get added back onto his child support income?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      1 – CSA/ATO generally don’t force people to do tax returns! Parents have been known to go for a decade without submitting a tax return.

      2 – Concessional super contributions are automatically added back on to a parent’s income for child support purposes. You can’t improve your child support situation in the short term by making super contributions.

  45. Holly
    | Reply

    Hi, my partner and his ex have had a private agreement for the last few years, with shared custody. She has become Icreasingly difficult so he has verbally given her full custody (no court orders in place). He has now registered with child support so all future payments go through child support. If she now doesn’t agree with what he was paying in their private agreement, can she try and get more money?
    Also how would we know if she was ever declaring his past payments in her tax return. I have a feeling she wasn’t!

    Thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support can only be assessed from the date a parent first contacts the Department of Social Services. If private payments were made afterwards, these can be factored in. Evidence would need to be provided to demonstrate that the payments were intended as a form of child support.

      A private agreement that is well documented would normally over-ride an administrative assessment of how much should be paid. But I doubt that is the case here.

      Child support payments are unrelated to income tax, although can affect parenting payments.

  46. TA
    | Reply

    Hi I have been in a verbal agreement for the past 6 years, now my boys mother has gone back to child support for them to collect which is alit higher then the verbal agreement what should I do

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Nothing you can do. You’re in the child support system now. Verbal agreements don’t count for anything as far as I’m aware.

  47. TH
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I have 100% care of my daughter. Her father has fallen significantly far behind in child support payments. I have tried numerous times to contact him to make arrangements and they go unanswered. I have contacted both legal Aid and CSA in regards to this issue and both just keep referring me to the other. How do I go about collecting the child support that he owes. He does not make any other financial contributions to our daughter at all and this is becoming frustrating. Any help would be fantastic

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      CSA have a debt collection area that probably have been trying to get the debt paid. This is the normal mechanism to rely on. It is not the job of child support recipients to chase up debts.

      Via the Child Support Registrar, CSA may take extraordinary legal action on behalf a parent. They don’t seem to want to do that in this case.

      You may pursue the debt through private legal means. Legal Aid seem disinterested in helping with this costly and time-consuming process.

      Frankly, I suggest you put your energies into more constructive activities. You should get your money eventually but, unfortunately, it may not happen anytime soon.

  48. DW
    | Reply

    Hello,
    My ex & I are sharing our children equally, 7 days on/ 7 days off. We have an informal arrangement, splitting all kids costs 50%, using the calculator on this website for monthly payments.
    I earn about $120k, my ex $80k.
    We agree our 13 yo needs braces. My ex is suggesting I pay 60% of braces, but I feel 50% each is fairer. Any thoughts on this please?

    Thanks!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      How about you propose a compromise of 55% / 45% for the braces? In assessing payments for things like private school fees and dentistry, Child Support do take the incomes of the parents into account.

      • DW
        | Reply

        Thanks Andrew, I appreciate the reply.

  49. Jenny
    | Reply

    Hello,
    My partner is having so many issues dealing with CSA. His ex intentionally didn’t advise them of a significant redundancy payout she received in the previous financial year and is now earning triple what the current assessment is based on. He has applied for a reassessment but it has taken almost 6 months already to complete meaning he was forced to move out of his rental and sell his car to afford the payments.
    Now, after he agreed under sufferance to allow his eldest child to attend a private school after his ex promised him she would be responsible for all fees (he told her he only agreed on that condition multiple times) CSA are telling him he needs to pay 50% of those on top of the child support. He has given evidence of the fact that she has not allowed him any decision making with the children since the separation at all and that his first choice was a public school but due to the fact she’s also told anyone who’ll listen that he is abusive (false allegations, all cleared by police and DHHS) they won’t take any of that into account. What can he do?? Can he remove his name from the enrolment since his agreement was only based on the lies she told him??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To be honest, there are other sides to this story. Parents aren’t required to inform Child Support of an income increase (even if they may be asked to). Income increases normally flow into the assessment for the following financial year. And signing up to enrol a child in private school does mean you approve of that happening.

      Can’t see a way out in this situation. Suggest your partner sticks to written communication (email) with his ex in the future if he wants to avoid problems and debates over who said what.

  50. Fran vena
    | Reply

    My partner is so stressed that I am worried for his safety. He gets penalised for child support. The child hardly visits as the other partner does not allow it. This partner knows how to play the system by opening up business and going in loss multiple times. She gets away with stealing ,lies all sorts of things. Honest people who work hard ,do not have savings , pay mortgage, rate , bills insurance, work long hours to support community get penalised with hefty payments.
    I think people are quick to say man killed his children due to DV. I don’t think so. It is the most ridiculous,unfair unjust rule.
    Most parent Would not even fight for custody if there was no money involved. There will be dad’s & mum’s who will be able to see their child equally & more.
    How can we get rid of unjust law? I can 100% guarantee suicide ,killings & DV will stop if the law for child maintenance was removed.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      We are trying to fix child support and reduce the self-harm risk. Our simple proposal includes: (a) making child support independent of what the receiver earns and (b) making each parent responsible for half of the care provided, so you don’t get one parent having to pay for everything. The proposal will help make the system fairer and work better for children and parents who do the right thing.

    • Karl
      | Reply

      Well said and I have very similar issues and it takes its toll on you as a payee. CSA lack of understanding and care of the real impacts takes you down a path of suicide.

      I have had nothing but stress, financial issues and been found without any money as my payments 50% of my take home wage.

    • Matt
      | Reply

      I strongly agree with you. A lot of man are commiting suicide due to the system. The only thing holding
      us alive is just time and will power until the system take everything you have and that’s when people look towards suicide. (I would be lying if l say there is anything else holding us alive)

      I strongly agree people should pay Child Support however when the amount is unrealistic and you find yourself working for most of your salary to go towards child support and you can’t even see the kids. That’s when you have to question the fairness of the system.

      If the system was fair and the amount reasonable, I can guarantee you there would not be any issues.

      Andrew, thank you for the work you are doing. You actually give us hope, if there weren’t forums like yours. I don’t think there will be any hope in any of us.

  51. Chris
    | Reply

    Hi, I have 64% care of my son and pay 100% for all medical and educational expenses. My ex wife has recently had a baby to her new husband and said she does not need to and will never needs to work again. CSA has just issued me a letter saying I have to pay her $58 a week because her income is now $0. This does not seem fair. What options do I have to stop these payments.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Of course it’s unfair. You shouldn’t have to pay her anything. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there’s anything you can do about it though. The rules around parents not earning allow women who have babies to stay out of the workforce indefinitely.

      With regard to medical and educational expenses, you could make a claim against her if they are significant and either (i) she has agreed to the spending in some way or (ii) they are “necessary expenses”.

  52. JO MICHAELS
    | Reply

    This mother hasn’t seen her child for 6years because the father pulled her out of school & they disappeared. Although an abuser with Pension for mental problems he got custody by perjury & paid people for false testimonies. Mother continues to pay Child Support all this time although has no access to the child. Jo

  53. Jason
    | Reply

    Child support were taking $300 to $550 a week when I was earning $750 pw. Drove me from the work force, lost my car’s, boat, bikes then lot. Told them I wasn’t working for 3 years and continued to take $300pw. Did a tax return declaring $2.2k for the year, then they did a reassessment for $150pw. How can they want $7500 from me a year when I only earned $2.2? They destroyed my life. I’m in destress now and was considering taking $10k from my super, but I’m scared she will get it all. I’m at the end here!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unfortunately, as you’ve found out, you can’t really fight child support. They have all sorts of measures in place to force fathers to pay up. As tough as it can be to work for the benefit of seemingly everyone but yourself, earning more is almost always the best option.

      It seems like there have been Change of Assessments happening without you participating – another mistake.

      You need to take stock and start over with a very different approach. Try to work with the system rather than fighting it. Lots of information is available here to help.

  54. Cherry
    | Reply

    Hi. I am paying ex 100% CSA for my 3 children with her. May I know if I should apply for special circumstances given that I have taken 4 weeks leave without pay to care for my other child who is under my care due to health risk caused by COVID19. Please advise.

    Thank you.

  55. Anthony Titow
    | Reply

    hi it took more several months to do a tax return, the year before i earned a lot more now CSA will not reduce my payments all the way back to end of financial year. They expect to pay for money i didn’t earn. this has to be unlawful.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Them keeping your over-payments is standard practice, extremely common and legal. They have things set up so the onus is on the payer to inform Child Support of reduced income. Always inform Child Support of lower income ASAP.

  56. Bob
    | Reply

    I have two children with ex. CSA has assessed ex at around $23,000, this based on 2019 tax return. In 2019 she was receiving carer payment for our daughter…whilst on unpaid leave from a government job. She had to make a decision about returning to that job this March (2020). So February 25th 2020 she left our disabled daughter on our doorstep…shifting her care to myself 100%…(we also share care for my son 50/50). Ex has since gone back to work, I can prove she is working but not what she is earning, the likelihood is she has gone back to the government job where she earned around $70,000, but tax assessment for 2019 says 23,000. I had to give up my casual hours when my daughter was left with us, so no income for me other than centrelink now. Given that I have 1.5 of the children to her 0.5….is it worth going through the COA process to have her reassessed?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      When a parent’s income rises, the impact on child support usually happens the following financial year. That’s normal.

      When a parent’s care percentage rises, it’s up to the parent to inform child support. For males, it seems like you have to provide evidence as well if the other parent disputes the claim. For women, they usually just accept the parent’s word for it.

      I don’t think a COA application is appropriate here or would be worth doing. If genders were reversed, might be a different story though. Child Support are sexist.

  57. Jack
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I have recently been stood down due to CoVid outbreaks as a Full time employment. I pay child support + school fees of $1550/month to ex-wife who are with 100% care of my son. I have lodged an “Application to change assessment – Special Circumstances” with CSA due to income changing (reduce). I am now receiving Jobseeker allowance of $565.70/fortnight (less $50 payment to child support). Today 18/4 I receive a letter re: Re-assessment from CSA requires me to provide a most recent payslip showing leave entitlement balance, as well as evidence of my current income (I guess the Centerlink letter re: JobSeeker). My question is why CSA need to know my leave balance? Will CSA assess my income based on those leave which is part of my salary packet? Will I be forced to cash out those leave to pay child support? Thanks for your view/guide in advance.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Your leave entitlement is part of your income. It would be paid out if you are retrenched. You could also use it to maintain an income while not working.

      Child Support are primarily interested in your capacity to support your child, for which your leave balance is relevant. But I’m unsure how they’ll use it to be honest. They might just ignore it if the balance is fairly small (less than 4 weeks for example). But they could also use it to bump up your income in the assessment.

  58. Nadia
    | Reply

    Hi, my brother gets child maintenance take out of his pay which goes to the ex-wife but the problem is that the two children for whom he is paying don’t even live with her any more, they’ve been living with me for the last couple of months. Their mother is a hoarder and has filled their rooms with junk and there is nowhere for them to sleep. She doesn’t use the money to provide them anything. I only work 40 hours a fortnight and having them here has basically tripled my bills. My brother barely has any money left over after that payment is taken out. How do we arrange for the money to come to me to help pay for the children’s expenses?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You need to inform Child Support of the change in care arrangements. Might be easier to claim that the children are under your brother’s care rather than under your care. If you did that, he wouldn’t have to pay support and might receive some. Then he could pay you directly in a private arrangement.

      The mother would likely dispute a claim for a change in care, so you need evidence.

  59. Income estimate/taxable income
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    If 2018-2019 tax assessment is currently being used but my income increases in the mean time will I have to back pay when the new tax Income is submitted Or do they commence new taxable income as of the new financial year?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support assessments are normally based on taxable income in the previous financial year. With an income rise, you may be overpaid only starting from 1 July until you submit your tax return. Get your tax return in early to keep a smooth payment profile.

  60. Adrienne
    | Reply

    If Child Support takes triple the amount of scheduled payment as a clerical error, why can’t that money be returned to the paying parent and not kept as a credit which helps no-one and puts the paying parent into hardship. There was no arrears just a clerical error. When questioned we were told there was nothing that could be done. There are other custodial children in the paying household and no consideration is given to their wellbeing.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The child support system is built for taking money, not giving it back to payers. I presume they haven’t bothered to do the IT work to set up a simple method of returning money. This is probably the fault of the people running the system, not the case officers who you may be in contact with.

      I always advise payers to be careful to hand over only the exact amount required. Always a danger of getting ripped off.

  61. Bruce
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My ex-wife and I had a child through IVF and separated before the child was born.
    She proceeded to claim child support payments from me once the child was born, listing her income as $11,000 in which payments were around $550 per fortnight payable to her.
    She made it very clear that she did not want me to be part of the child’s life and has disclosed no information regarding her schooling etc.
    Our daughter is now 5 years old and I have not met her. I have attempted mediation in which she declined and as a result I have a certificate that I can now take to court to apply for visitation etc.
    I recently found out that my ex-wife did not put my name on the child’s birth certificate (listing as father unknown), however when Child Support initially contacted me 5 years ago, I did confirm that we were married at the time of the birth – hence one of the criteria for paying child support.
    My question is – given the information above, do I have any rights to know where my daughter is enrolled in school?
    She obviously used the birth certificate to enrol her in a private school in the first place and with my name not listed this would not have been an issue.
    How can she take my rights away as a father, yet still take the child support i pay?
    I am applying to the court for visitation, however as you know this is a lengthy and costly process which i am trying to save for. I have been to countless solicitors who can’t really give me any direction or advise me of what rights i have.
    Thanks in Advance.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The issue of child visitation has nothing to do with child support collected via the Australian Government. Child support is simply a money transfer that reflects the actual care levels and incomes of the parents. Child support is not part of your parenting case unless you are willing to offer to pay extra as part of a private negotiation with the mother.

      You should be able to establish some level of contact through the court system, though you are starting from a weak position since you have made little effort in the past to gain access to your daughter in the eyes of the court. Ask for interim orders that would give you occasional visits with your daughter. If things go well with that, you can start to negotiate with your ex to provide more contact. You need to be the perfect father and make it clear to everyone that you are never giving up.

      • Bruce
        | Reply

        Thank you Andrew, I appreciate your response.
        I understand what you mean regarding the little effort I have made for visitation in the eyes of the court, however how does one save the $5500 to submit the initial application for visitation and continue to pay $600/fortnight for child support?
        This is purely a rhetorical question, just very frustrating as it seems I can’t move on with my life and prove to the ‘eyes of the court’ that I am genuinely trying.
        Again, appreciate your feedback on the matter.

  62. Olivia
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I am so pleased to have found this site. For years I have been the sole provider of my two daughters, and have been experiencing non-payment of CSA (arrears now $80k) When reading all material and enforcement info online, it appears that CSA have more power than a family court. I was told this more recently by a legal aid granted solicitor was allocated to help CSA recovery team directly with my case. She finally gave up due to the paying parent going to great lengths to conceal and transfer his assets, and refusing to provide income or company particulars for many years.
    Do CSA have more power than this? I have read about prosecution… and CSA fraud. About forcing tax return lodgements. Using 3rd parties. When the paying parent openly states to the assessment team in regard to his own change of assessment application, that he will walk away from his work and do nothing if anyone tries to get any information, and if CSA doesn’t just agree to adjust his rate to what he thinks he should pay – is this not a red flag to be able to act? A criminal offence? More so when the person is assessed at the maximum rate of $280,000/yr and refuses to provide financials for his own application to be assessed ‘properly’. Would that not invoke suspicion?
    I have experienced in the family court, a refusal to acknowledge family/financial violence, and the escalating arrears seem to be viewed as ‘the mother’s problem’, and my having to provide solely which at times is a struggle. I have wondered why this is not taken more seriously when measures of this extent are intentional and clearly not child-focused. And go hand in hand with other family violence events that have required formal measures of protection to be sought.
    I would love your view, as I have lost all hope that CSA will ever act or bring in any worth while changes.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Ultimately, the debt may need to be sorted out through a Warrant of Execution, where a bailiff or sheriff of the court is asked to visit the debtor’s residence, or other place at which they may have assets, for the purpose of seizing assets. https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/5/4/3

      The Child Support Registrar may take court action on your behalf to get to this stage or you may have to do it yourself through a lawyer and civil court action. Given the amount of money involved, you should see a lawyer if Child Support don’t intervene on your behalf.

      • Olivia
        | Reply

        Thank you so much Andrew.

  63. Alex Lauber
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, over 2019 and now in 2020 I have over 10 letters from Child Support changing the amount I am supposed to pay, and over all kinds of different periods. One of the letters in Dec 2019 changes the monthly amount back to the beginning of 2016 and its got different amounts for different periods. I have lost all track of what is going on and I have no idea how to work out the right amount. I have been paying, and am paying, the current monthly amount (1638) every month. What can I do? what do other people do when this is such a mess that no one understands it? Alex

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Alex – If you’re not challenging the assessments, all you have to worry about is the bill for the next month.

      After revisions, it’s easiest to focus on the latest correspondence. Old ones are redundant. The income and care assumptions for each assessment period are shown on the statements.

  64. Drew
    | Reply

    Probably more a statement than a question but be interested Andrew in your comments.

    With the current Covid crisis just wondering how the following will unfold over the next few years in relation to Child Support Assessments. Whilst I am giving a specific example you can imagine the sheer volume Australia-wide of variations of this type of scenario…..
    Parent A has the 3 children 50% of the time and until early March 2020 was earning $65,000 pa in hospitality sector. Loses job and Centrelink payments commence.
    Parent B has a job in the ‘essential fields workforce’ earning $70,000 pa. Workplace offers parent B extra overtime shifts to maintain staffing levels in the essential services sector and therefore income for year will now jump to $85,000.

    Parent A “kindly” offers to have children stay additional nights for the remainder of the year with them given they have no employment and Parent B has been required to work additional shifts. Parent B agrees to new arrangement and now given has a higher income and in good faith knowing their ex has additional care of children with a far lower income begins to make additional payments to parent A outside of the CSA prescribed rate.

    Parent A advises CSA they have gone from a 50/50 care arrangement to a 70/30 arrangement, and income has dropped dramatically as a new welfare recipient.

    Fast forward to 2021 and Parent A has now resumed work with an income of $65,00 and returned to parenting 50/50.
    Parent B has returned to previous income level of $70,000 with the Covid crisis now over and resumption normal work hours.

    QUESTIONS…………..
    Will Parent B be protected from CSA fines in terms of a drop in reported taxable income above the 15% threshold ?.

    Will the following financial year CSA assessment be based upon previous year (as is the case now??) If “yes” then Parent B will be heavily disadvantaged financially.

    Will CSA take into consideration “emergency” payments made be those still in the workforce to ex partners that have either lost jobs or had income dramatically reduced.

    My questions stem from the growing divide in the community of retail/hospitality/casual workers losing jobs and those in essential services such as medical, nursing, hospital staff who are expected to work additional overtime shifts to maintain the workforce.

    CSA generally have absolutely no ability to alter their payments modelling and I can see huge problems emerging in the next year or two with current COVID crisis child care and income levels being used to calculate rates of payments over at least the next two financial years.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Drew – Income settings have a downward bias. If you earn a high amount in one year, you can always do a new estimate at the beginning of the next financial year.

      Paying money to your ex is a risky business and not sure that many would do that. Might be best handled via private agreements not connected to child support.

      The “15% threshold” is just how much your income has to drop across the financial before Child Support will accept an estimate. If you estimated a 20% drop and it came in at 10%, they would just calculate how much you owe after you submit your tax return. Don’t believe they would impose fines.

  65. joel
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew

    I am going through CoA process and if arguing that where an agreement is reached then the Registrar must accept [s92 sets out that as the agreement is in accordance with s80E then the Registrar must accept the agreement]. In fact correspondence from the Agency sets out that an agreement can be reached.

    I am now being told that CSA policy means that they can be viewed concurrently and the CoA and Agreement sections in the Agency are seperate. The CoA process isnt terminated by having an agreement accepted.

    I asked for guidance on this policy so that I could better understand this. This was not forthcoming – i did however have a 40m discussion with Officer.

    do you have any guidance / thoughts on where i would find such a policy that appears to contradict legislation

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Joel – Am unsurprised that a COA can still run even though an agreement has been reached between parties – though haven’t looked at the legislation. COA processes are quite open. The dates may not match for example (e.g. the COA could cover a period that pre-dates the agreement).

      The agreement gives a natural starting point for the COA decision. You might want to just try to work through the COA process quickly and cooperatively. Hopefully, they’ll make a good decision that respects the agreement in place.

  66. Beatrice
    | Reply

    On hold now for 1.5 hours it’s 5pm should I hang up? This is my second call, last one failed it was 1.42min

  67. Barry
    | Reply

    I have changed employer and my wages are being garnished, I’ve gone from monthly pay to fornightly, we have been trying to contact Csa for 2 was but give up after 5hrs on the ph waiting, please lift your game.

  68. Meg
    | Reply

    Hi I have recently received my child support assessment for my two children who I have 100% care for. I am a employee, everything I earn I report to ATO, my ex owns hid own company and have for many years always required my taxable income before he can give me his. In the past 8yrs he has always reported $40,000 taxable income and told me to report the same to Centerlink when I applied for CCS and Family Tax Benefits in yr 18/19. During the past 8yrs he only ever contributes $2000p/mth to the family which also includes all of his own expenses. After I separated with him he reported $130,000 for his 18/19 taxable income which means we were not eligible for CCS or FTB, so centerlink is asking me to pay back $120,000 now for the over payment received in 18/19. My ex cleaned out our joint account and took the $10,000 I saved up for emergencies and left it overdrawn too. I now have no choice but to investigate if I can withdraw from my super to pay for this debt that shouldn’t be mine to pay for as I never saw any of his $130,000 income other than the $2000p/mth. When I received my child support assessment, the documents indicated that he has reported to child support that his taxable income for 19/20 will drop back to $40,000 meaning he only needs to pay me $400 per month for both children. He obviously is playing with his numbers because he owns his own business. Is there anything I can do to make him pay what he should be paying? Thank you for your input.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could consider applying for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8: Earning Capacity). They may put his income back up to $130k for a few years. Quite an involved process.

  69. joel
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Can I suggest that if we want change (and we do) then one avenue is to target the cross benchers directly and those member on the committee that is looking at this issue. Perhaps a list of those members here and their email addresses with a suggested email would be useful ?

    another avenue is to communicate directly to the relevant Minister (Michelle Landry) through her electorate office.

    As a minimum, we should all be requesting legislative such that the Registrar has an obligation to fully inform ‘clients’ in plain english of the Child Support system in Australia and what options are open to both Payee and Payor.

    Whilst it is probably no sane persons preferred bedtime reading it can be useful to read the CSS Guide, the Act and the Reg’s. It at least helps you begin to understand ‘the rules of the game’

    I think the Registrar relies on our collective ignornance and the incredibily short timeframes within in which to have decisions reviewed as blunt instrument of the state.

    Regards

    Joel

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Joel – Agree that the Govt relies on maintaining ignorance of the game. The child support documents available aren’t too bad though as far as bureaucratic standards go. Can’t see that improving to be honest.

      All the politicians on the Family Law Inquiry should have access to a submission from us (Child Support Australia) as well as numerous submissions by private individuals that support what we’re proposing (which were created through this site).

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      UPDATE: Our submission has now been published — #881

      https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Family_Law_System/FamilyLaw/Submissions

  70. Allison
    | Reply

    My ex stopped working (reasons unknown) late last year in early Dec and so the child support assessment changed as per his self report to change of income. He was earning just over 200k per year and now the CSA says his income is estimated first in December as $65,000, then on 2 March at $12,000 per year. Despite his reduced income, he continued to pay more than the agreed amount ($871 per month) essentially paying at rate of more than $2, 021 per month still through Dec 19, Jan 20 and Feb 2020- essentially him paying me more than he needed to. I had assumed he was doing this voluntarily, and drawing for savings as a gesture of good will whilst he looked for new work.
    Now CS tells me I owe him more than $7000 as I have been overpaid. My income is $58,000 and I have 93 percent of care. Our two children do not spend any time overnight with him, due to their choice. I (nor he) have not changed the care percentage arrangements as I have left the door open in case they decide to spend more time and overnight with him. I have assumed there would be very little difference in 93 percent and 100 percent of care anyway.

    How can this be now that I owe him?? What happens now? If he started working again would that mean he can go a period without paying as I am in arrears to him according to CSA?? Or will CS asks me to pay him??
    Meanwhile since his new reported income of $12,000 assessed on March 2, he has now paid $520 this month of March which is more than twice the amount of what he should have paid me (CSA ordered $240 per month…) He also has not lodged a tax income from financial year of 2018 -2019 as it is still showing as provisional on latest CSA. When will he be asked to lodge tax return like every other citizen has to?
    I’m so confused…help!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Just save any payments you receive and wait til you’re asked to pay something. If paying is required and difficult, you can normally agree to some sort of re-payment plan with Child Support’s debt recovery people.

      • Racheal
        | Reply

        With regard to the additional payments, I was advised by CSA that if he hasnt said it is extra for the future in case of a drop in income and we have agreed on it, then that is on him for paying extra. It is not counted. I find that I have to get a few opinions from CSA.

  71. Levana
    | Reply

    I have spent over 41/2 hours on wait to speak to someone about collecting arrears payment from my ex which I was granted and he hasn’t paid any of it …why Have I had to wait so dam long Centrelink was 20mins this is a joke I am losing money everyday until I get the back pay to feed my children

  72. Luap
    | Reply

    I have yesterday lost my job over this virus and have no more income I have and still am onbeing left on hold hold with child support for almost one hour just to notify cange of income

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can estimate your income online (my.gov.au) without speaking to anyone.

  73. Tim
    | Reply

    Hi, I have made no income in the last 3 years, and before that it was under 25,000. I have paid child support until recently, but they have charged me at different rates since my son’s birth. If payments are related to income and you have no income (and no centrelink payments), how can they keep charging me? They also randomly upped the amount 10fold recently even though my income of $0 has not changed. This seems very illegal, and I’m wondering if I should seek some kind of free legal advice to press charges.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Well, you would need free legal advice wouldn’t you. In fact, you need everything for free.

      • Hazel
        | Reply

        why are you SO CYNICAL and not compassionate at all!? people come here to seek help and advice but all you do is berate, look down on people with questions!

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Don’t think that I look down on people. Perfectly understandable that people have questions. Just giving it straight because don’t have time for niceties.

          The above question is from a “non-earner” who is having kids buts wants people charged for getting child support from him. And the question is missing key information.

          My previous answer to you was very literal. There are videos and a bunch of other stuff on this site to fill in the details if you want to know more.

  74. Kadence
    | Reply

    recently my ex had his 2nd baby with his new wife and my new CS assessment is about $7 lower because of it. so just because he decided to have another child, by HIS choice, I deserve less money? I may sound bitter but I just don’t understand.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The formula sucks.

  75. Carico
    | Reply

    I think my daughter’s biological father has either lost his job or got hours cut due to the coronavirus situation and my next expected payment is showing as $0 for quite a while now.

    while I understand that he might be having difficulty paying but it also means no money for me, who has 100% care and he is non-communicating_ has a history of verbal and physical abuse, refuses to talk and my clinical anxiety skyrockets.

    these are very uncertain times but when the paying parent can’t pay, does that mean the receiving parent receives nothing, too?

    this is getting very dire and I am very serious.

    • Racheal
      | Reply

      My ex just put 0 even though he decided to resign and i am putting in a special circumstance form for evidence of his seperation cert as he got a pay out. CSA advised to do this as this is an income. The other thing they said was that while he awaits centrelink payments he is 0 yet you get back paid so I am confused on this part as the back pay is to the date of 0 essentially he didnt earn 0.
      Noting that on the estimate of 0 they say on the website that if the person earns more than 10% of their estimated rate they may be pay a penalty.

  76. Dave
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I just received my child support assessment from Child Support. My income has been assessed at $80,000 yet my ex partner has been assessed at around $8000. I know for a fact this is false, how has child support accepted this!? I know for a fact she was living in a $500 a week townhouse by herself. During this year for at least 6 months. She also did earn a lot of cash payments during this time though yet worked in a retail shop. She also purchased a business in previous years in Sydney though she may have transferred ownership of this to a family member to hide this income also. This is completely unfair as I have a government job and it is now going to push me into financial hardship with 3 mortgages and expenses that come with those. I’ve also been forking out for solicitors to push this through family court in order to see my son further and yet she is been difficult and lying constantly. What steps can I take to expose her income and even out the assessment?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Dave – probably not much you can do. Note that her income has no impact until it’s over $25k. Even then, the assessment may not be affected that much if she has a high care %.

      What do you expect Child Support to do? They are not detectives and they can’t pick numbers out of the air. They are just working off her tax return unless she did her own estimate.

      3 mortgages. Is that really necessary? Sorry to say that the best strategy may be to forget about what she’s doing and try to get your own finances sorted out.

      • Dave
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew,

        Thanks for the reply, well I think you can see from the assessment as to why the whole system is unfair.
        Also, there is a “Provisional” next to her assessment figure, does anyone know what this means?
        3 investment properties that are negatively geared equals 3 mortgages, my finances are all in order however this system doesn’t take into account anything like that and will now force me into hardship because she is lying about it all.
        What more can we do in the meantime to support this enquiry? as the system listed here seems much fairer to everyone involved

  77. mat.i
    | Reply

    Bring on Andrews system, it is fairer for everyone and encourages both parents to succeed, not be penalised for working harder or being successful, forward the video link to everyone you know so they can get behind what childsupportaustralia.com is trying to achieve.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyrtKUoC-j8&feature=emb_rel_pause

    I am a paying parent who pays religiously, i support my son who lives with my ex and see him as often as possible, my daughter lives with me full time since her mum kicked her out (at 12 years old) with the current (combined income system) i pay substantial child support even though i have more care by percentage because i earn more, the ex chooses to work lower hours and run a business for an income conveniently just above the threshold. keep in mind she is a qualified accountant……… csa have no interest in my problems or ability to pay, just tax returns. everyone get behind this and lets change the system, Andrew, tell us how we can help, start a partition? send an email to the ombudsman? csa complaints department? there must be some way. im all for supporting my kids, but lets do it fairly. give child support the power to collect by any means necessary, copy and paste and send the above video link to as many people as you can and let them see the basics of how bad the system is. Some dead beat parents doesn’t make us all dead beats.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks Mat. We’re trying to get something done through the Family Law Inquiry (see home page). However, they have been very unhelpful so far. Yet to publish Child Support Australia’s submission. A great number of individuals also sent through submissions supporting our position that have been marked “CONFIDENTIAL’ and hidden from public view – often against the wishes of the submitters. Difficult to get much done with bureaucrats around. Regular lobbying doesn’t do much at this stage.

  78. Why??
    | Reply

    Hi I’m a receiving parent who paid for both my children by myself and their father couldn’t be bothered to keep in contact with them. He owes me $17,000 in unpaid child support. There are always two sides to a story and given I sent my kids to private schools and paid for private health insurance to ensure that they were healthy. I paid for the medications and I had to stay home with them when they were sick! He had the nerve to tell me to quit work and go on the single mothers pension. All because he didn’t want to pay and be part of the kids lives! I’m amazed. This is why the world is screwed!!

  79. S Ritchie
    | Reply

    I recently turned 60 and have taken $25 000 from my super as an income stream. Given that its non taxable do i have to declare this sum in my income for a child support assessment?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t have to declare earnings to Child Support. They work off your tax returns.

      Don’t have experience in this area but suspect they will add the super income stream to your income for child support purposes (if they have access to the info). They do this with salary-sacrifice contributions into super, adding non-taxable income to your income after you do your tax return.

  80. TG
    | Reply

    Hi, I am a mother of two children and I have been a paying parent even I am a concession card holder due to low income since my ex husband quit full time employment straight after the separation. he voluntarily choose to be a part time student at the age of 46 year old. His income was dropped down $37000 from $65000. He has been a student for last 5 years and working part time. CSA told me it’s his own choice and we cannot stop him being a student so I just have to pay. It was based on equal shared care but we got a final court order last October. Now I have children on 60%. CSA and centerlink changed the care percentage, he became a paying parent. 3 days after the new assessment letter issued, he lodged estimated his income as $10,000 to CSA. His taxable income 2019 was $47000 which no longer CSA apply.
    $37,000 lower income.
    He started his own business since July last year and also working full time. He has money to go for a family holidays, had a lawyer for court proceedings, why CSA doesn’t initiate any investigation. How person can pay $500 per week of rent, food and bills within the income of $10,000, seriously.
    This feels so unreasonable as It is not reflecting his financial capability.
    I was told by CSA I can put a objection, if I want. Do I need to put both change the assessment form and objection form?
    It’s been so stressful that CSA just accept everything without any evidence.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      In the circumstances, it seems like a waste of time trying for a Change of Assessment based on earning capacity. I believe you can object to his income estimate. But note that income estimates only affect child support temporarily. Eventually, they will look at his tax return for the year of the estimate to work out how the correct payments.

  81. Tim
    | Reply

    I have court orders in-place that require my former wife (Payee) to allow me access to my child, however my child is almost 18 and I was only allowed access to meet her once when she was 12yo. I have no idea where she lives. Given that this is a clear breach of a court order where do I stand with Child Support. I did set up a Child Support Agreement with the mother and each month I paid my share, including some extra costs. Now the mother (payee) has called Child Support to collect just 4 months prior to my daughter’s 18th birthday. I believe the money the payee has been spending has run out and now she’s dashing for cash. I would love the opportunity to know my daughter and be a dad but that was robbed from me. I am stressed and angry, because I now have 3 kids to my current wife and we’ve been married for 17 years.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hi Tim. Child support is independent of everything else. They only care about the current care arrangements. And they routinely undermine court orders. Not much you can do here but pay up I’m afraid.

  82. TS
    | Reply

    Hi my ex is Japanese and living in Japan, and I’m Australian so my tax return is lodged annually and is an open book with full disclosure whereas my ex states her income is between $0 and $4000 each year and has done this for the last 13 years however when we were together she was a full time flight attendant with All Nippon Airways. I get that she has a child and may have left her role but living in Japan, I find it hard to believe she’s on $0 salary. I’ve been told by CSA that I can show them her pay slips to dispute this but as I have not spoken in 13 years, have no address details or any other info, Aside from hiring a PI, I have no way to know her whereabouts and if she’s working or not. It seems unfair that I’m the Australian citizen and paying full child support monthly for 13 years based on my tax return lodgings, and yet she being Japanese is under no obligation to advise her correct income, so CSA use a guide each year and some years it is $0 and other years it’s $4000 a year. I feel penalised for doing the right thing!

  83. David
    | Reply

    Hi. I am currently separated and have the kids 6 days (1 and 3 yo). I have been separated since nov 2019. I married in 2017. My ex worked in a high paying job (~200k) when we meet. She also had businesses on the side. She quit work when she met me (start of 2015) to work on her businesses, and then, once we had kids, the kids 2 days a week. She used to brag during our relationship about how she earns more than me. Just before the separation she was getting $2k after tax each week cashflow from the businesses yet because of all her trusts and non-shareholder discretionary trust distributions, her taxable income in 2019 was only $31k. She has a 2019 model car 100% for personal use the business pays for entirely which she did 40,000km last year (live country work city). She tells me she is broke. I have 4 investment properties from before we met and made some salary sacrifice super contributions (under the cap). These rental loses and super have been added back to give me an assessable income of ~190k. She put 20k into super in tax year 2019. She is pregnant too (my child) with conception prior to separation but we found out after we separated and i will never go back her. She threatens me with the kids often (if you diont do X then you dont see the kids). She was abusive and violent through our marriage and after id had a gutfull i reported it to the hospital when I got an xray after one her outbursts. I have a letter from our nanny which is unbelievably damning to my exes behaviour around the house. I have been paying her something since we separated but upped it after she told me her businesses were doing badly (she never during our marriage showed me the numbers of her businesses). She has asked for an child support assessment but one we manage. DHS advised she could only claim for three months of lower payments but after the assessment my ex is asking for me to pay her the diffrerence since the start of the separsation. I was wondering your thoughts on:
    a) whats the best form to challenge her assessed income?
    B) do i hold tight and pay her only the difference for the last three months? Or do i wait til i recieve some sort of order before i should pay?
    C) i cant see anywhere where assessed income adds back rental losses. Is this right
    D) my ex says she could drive a masarati and it wouldnt matter as DHS doesnt assess business car for person use. Surely this cant be.
    E) she works 3-4 days a week at the front desk of one of her businesses. Her mum and sister too. They all used to get paid (via distributions) for that work. Now she says she does it for free. How is that looked upon?
    F) any other tips.

    It sux that i feel broke yet i see her lunching, going on retreats, etc. Despite what im earning, this month for my investment properties my income was $900 short of my loan payment and im living at my mums 2 hours away from work and 3 hours away from the kids just so i have a roof over my head. Our matrimonial house in the country is up for sale and we are sharing it (7 days each a fortnight) as we cant afford to keep it and rent our own places.

  84. Jay
    | Reply

    Hi and firstly thank you for proving a place to make these types of inquiries.
    My situation isn’t as dire as some of the above, however I believe it may be relevant for this forum.
    My ex and I have only a verbal agreement for a set amount each week to which I pay on time each week. The frustration begins when I have my kids every second weekend and she will pass off the kids to whoever will take them on her weekends. My 5 yr old daughter complains there is never any food at mums.. you see the mum on social media out having dinner etc. I have now been told via mutual friend that the mum will ask for money so she can buy school lunches for the kids. She has a history of gambling and I am wondering about ways I can make sure that my kids are getting the money spent on them instead of her. She is behind in daycare fees for our son and claims full benefits from the government. Is there anything I can do?
    Thank you

  85. RR
    | Reply

    My husband has 2 children with his ex, we share 50/50 care yet he still pays her a lot monthly in child support. We both work hard, to pay for the children’s needs, plus after school care fees etc. That’s fine, but the ex refuses to work, the children are 11 and 8. So for 7 days she doesn’t have the kids she sits on her arse. She also has a rental property that she rents privately for cash!! Is there anything we can do? Change in circumstance form ? thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A Change of Assessment will only work if she cooperates by providing the information they ask for. Since that looks highly unlikely, I don’t think there’s much you can do.

      The core problem here is the formula. You wouldn’t have to pay child support and wouldn’t have to worry about what she is doing if our “50:50 care is fair” reform plan was implemented. Current scheme is really stupid!

  86. Yuki
    | Reply

    Hi, my ex has overdue child support about $5000 and he is not willing to pay. How can I get it from him?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not your job to make him pay.

      • Matt
        | Reply

        What is the process to recover funds? The mother of my kids owes almost $5000, how long does it take to receive payment?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Child Support have many powers to chase up debts (e.g. tax refund interception, taking money from bank accounts, threats of fines and penalties). Can be quick or slow – depends on the situation.

  87. Sharon C
    | Reply

    Hi. My ex is currently assessed by CSA at $8 per week.
    I have 100% care of our child and 100% care of my eldest to a previous relationship.
    The current assessment is based on his last tax return in 2017/18 when he was unemployed and on Newstart.
    For the last year and a bit, he’s been working at the same job and earns well over 100k a year! He is also about to sell a home for 1 million +.
    I earn 45k a year total. I haven’t done anything about it because I’m worried that he’ll obviously be assessed at a much higher rate but won’t actually pay it (like he doesn’t pay his $8 now!) and my Family Tax Benefit will be reduced accordingly based on the new assessment.
    What proof do I need to initiate a re-assessment? Is it worth me doing it?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      We hear many stories of parents providing evidence of the other parent’s work, income, etc to Child Support and nothing being done about it.

      The system is flawed because parents can get away with not submitting tax returns and not cooperating with child support officers. We have simple fixes for these things in our policy proposals to the government.

      Unsure if you should bother trying to bring the other parent to account. You should get the money eventually.

  88. Jenlea
    | Reply

    Hi, do extra payments by the father into his child’s bank account and are “exclusive” of child support amount calculated by CSA (verbal agreement), need to be advised to Child Support Agency? Now almost 12 months on Ex is claiming it can be considered hiding income, and that it would be in my best interest to seek advice because I may get a debt. The verbal agreement between us when he left was that any extra he paid would be “exclusive” of child support paid (he insisted on paying extra)and it would be used for school fees, extra curricular activities etc. This has only occurred after he was handed Consent Orders to sign. Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Having “side payments” of support might be considered as hiding income since may affect family payments. He’s right in the sense that “hidden payments” can’t really be included in consent orders. Would be simpler just for him to agree to pay for certain things. You want to avoid the messiness of transferring money around.

      • Jenlea
        | Reply

        Thank you Andrew. I have sought Legal advice and also phoned CSA and given them all the information relevant to our situation. They have documented everything and this has now been sorted out. Appreciate your comments.

  89. Anonymous
    | Reply

    Hi

    My partner had to reply to a change in assessment Special circumstances recently. We filled out all the forms and added our bank statements as we have a joint account. My partner contact child support and asked what we do as we have joint accounts and the lady he spoke to said that only the application form would be sent to her and no supporting documentation. We have found out yesterday that she has received copies of our bank statements and now she has shown the kids what we both earn and that we don’t want to help them which is not the case. We didn’t receive copies of her bank statements so I don’t understand why she would have received ours.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      As I understand it, all documents supplied by a party to a Change of Assessment review are normally provided to the other party. Maybe she didn’t supply bank statements.

      In a Change of Assessment process, I recommend only providing Child Support with relevant information that supports your case. You don’t have to provide everything they ask for. The reviewer can only base his/her decision on the information made available to them.

  90. Mick
    | Reply

    I’ve just gone through “Change of Assessment” and they have decided to add the value of income producing assets in as income, rather than the income those assets produce.
    This has resulted in an enormous increase in Child Support payable, of course, as it more than triples my actual income.
    I would love to know how I can receive the VALUE of my income producing assets as income, year after year, but somehow I doubt that the person who made this “assessment” could tell me. She certainly doesn’t appear to understand the difference between asset value and the income they produce 🙁

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can apply for a review of the COA decision. The decision seems ridiculous and you seem to have strong grounds for appealing (forms are mentioned in a recent reply from me). Child Support are staffed by lawyer-types who can’t do maths to save their lives. Suggest you keep things very simple for their benefit.

  91. Jason
    | Reply

    Payers need protection from parents that use alienation for financial and emotional gain.

    Why can’t we have just some protection as a payer. I’m constantly threatened with custody. It’s emotional abuse, but no one cares because it mainly affects men. Considering the male suicide rate, it’s clear no one cares about men in this country.

  92. Jason
    | Reply

    My ex works only 10 hours a week. I have the kids 3 nights a week 42%. She refuses to work extra. I pay $3,000 over the top of what I give her for child support for extra curricular activities (sport). Yet she’s always demanding more, meanwhile she has two vehicles and has taken the girls away 3 times in the last year. While I got stuck with the $10k in lawyers fees to write up an already agreed upon financial consent order.

    There needs to be some accountability for their ability to work and what they spend child support on. It’s unfair on me to work full time, have the kids almost 50% of the time and pay her child support when she has the capacity to work but refuses to.

    There needs to be protection for payers against deadbeat mums that abuse the system.
    If there is alienation, the custodial parent should get ZERO child support. Even in (especially) cases of domestic violence. That will help protect the children and the mother.

    There just needs to be some protection at all for payers. I mean, I was told I had to pay back dated child support for a period she still lived in the house I paid for. I was told just borrow the money from family and friends or take out a loan. They took her word for the custody arrangement, yet I had to prove my custody. It’s completely biased and unfair.

    CSA makes deadbeat parents, even better than family courts. Both contribute to male suicide, and ex-partner violence.

    PS Women commit DMV, and then get financially rewarded for it. I know from experience.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Jason – Seems like you’ve experienced many of the worst aspects of the system. Most of these problems would be fixed if our policy proposals were implemented. For example, we would (i) take the receiver’s income out of the formula and (ii) make payments only for the amount of extra care above 50% (i.e. for 8% of costs in your case).

  93. Kev
    | Reply

    Hi

    My ex partner claims new start and chooses not to work rather than getting a job. This has caused my CS payment to nearly triple!. Would CSA take into account that I shouldn’t pay so much if my ex dosent and won’t work?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To combat your ex not working, you can apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8). But won’t succeed if she lacks a recent work history. Is meant for cases when a parent’s income drops without justification.

  94. Anon
    | Reply

    Thanks for taking this question re change of assessment form (CS1970) and objection form (CS1893), for example which should we apply for in the first instance?

    i.e. if a parent objects to CS assessment for the new financial year, which form should they use: 1893 or 1970?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If the assessment was based on a Change of Assessment decision, you are objecting to Child Support’s decision and should use CS1893. Otherwise, you are probably asking for them to intervene when an automatic assessment is in place, in which case CS1970 applies.

  95. Damn exes.
    | Reply

    Hi
    for the part 7 year my ex and I have had a private arrangement for child support. Now my ex is reporting me for non payment of child support. But I have record of paying him over $15k in the past 2 years.
    Will this be taken into consideration Or will they just take his word on it.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Private payments can be taken into account. You need to provide Child Support with the necessary evidence.

  96. Summer
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I recently put in a child support claim that got assessed just today. I am on the receiving end. It has my annual income the same as last year ($25000). however my current financial year income should be around $55000. My question is, does it make any difference if my income for the current FY is different to the last year which is what i am being assessed against? I am worried that i might get over paid.

    Also, if my ex-partner declares less income than what he has declared last year when he does his tax return, does that mean I would have to pay back some of the amount i received?

    Thank you so much in advance. The whole process is really confusing.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t worry. When child support is simply based on last year’s income, any pay rises don’t affect child support until the start of following financial year.

      If a parent’s income drops, it’s up to them to tell Child Support (by estimating a lower income for the current year). Reduced income will only be recognised from the time that Child Support are informed or a tax return is submitted.

      • AC2
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew,
        What happens when someone estimates their income at a lower rate (taxable income $65K to an estimated income of $25K) as soon as they submit a tax return (every year!) I’m experiencing this at the moment and can’t get my head around it…at what point does the $65K become relevant? Thanks!

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          If an estimate has been submitted for 2019-20 for example, that estimate is provisional until the tax return is submitted for 2019-20. In the second half of 2020 when the tax return is done, you would expect the estimate and actual figures to be reconciled by Child Support. If actual income for 2019-20 is higher than the parent-submitted estimate, the parent should be billed accordingly for underpaying / over-receiving during 2019-20. This all gets delayed if the parent is slow to do their taxes.

  97. Margaret
    | Reply

    Our son separated from his wife last year and intends to divorce. His wife and two children still live in the family home. He has continued to pay all the household bills and expenses including lease payments for her car, her fuel rego and insurance etc, her phone as well as all utility bills mortgage payments etc and has given his wife $550 each week towards living expense for her and the 2 children under 18 still at home. However his wife keeps demanding more money telling him he is not paying enough child support. He pays all the childrens medical. dental and school expenses. But he is at the limit of his income and cannot afford to give her anymore money as he now has to pay rent for himself. He is wondering what his best course of action should be, in the past few months his wife has refused to negotiate a parenting agreement or financial plan but now is insisting he pay more or she will get an order and have money taken from his wage before he gets it.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      He should keep good spending records in case she makes a claim for child support. He will be liable from the date she makes contact. She can’t get his pay garnished if he pays on time.

      He should do the maths and work out what is cheaper – paying child support or paying for everything else. This is relevant for negotiations. If he is paying too much, that gives him leverage. She will lose financially by claiming child support (see calculator on this site). But the risk is that she’ll try to dominate care to increase her payments.

      Really, they should attend mediation. If she refuses, then he can make an application to the court. That’s further leverage. She may want to avoid court hassles.

      Can’t comment much further as it’s a negotiation process and depends a great deal on the people involved, including what they want and how reasonable they are.

  98. Amanda
    | Reply

    Hi I like to know what else you.can do to get money out of a non paying parent. As the change of assessment I don’t have enough evidence for u to look into why someone goes from earning
    $130 thousand a year to $69 thousand a year and has not done his tax for 3 years but gets away yet I get a letter saying I haven’t done my last year tax
    Maybe the people who don’t pay Should be black listed just like people who don’t pay rent and bills but can still go on Hollidays and drive luxury cars. Maybe you should take money out of there super .
    Why can’t you u subpoena them to court and make them pay and do what is right
    Child support needs to change as according t9 centrelink I’m getting this money and I don’t then u tell them you get a lump sum and then you have been overlayed and the innocent ends up with a big want why the non payers that should pay get away with nothing
    This system and the procedures to collect is not good enough. It’s a weak systsm

  99. Sandra
    | Reply

    Hi there,
    My daughter who has been in my sole care for the past 10 years is now 17 and has decided to move in with her dad. He will be claiming child support from me which I have no issue with but was wondering if I am able to have a 7,200 dollar orthodontist bill that i am solely covering myself (paying off currently and for next couple of years) considered towards any child support assessment that will soon be put in place. I also had one more query. My daughter wants to move in dads house (5 minutes up the road) because he works in another state for 2 weeks a month. She gets the house to herself but i will be the parent checking in each day, attending her appointments, taking her to a doctor, ensuring she has food and toiletries and basically being the only parent in the state 2 weeks a month (we are in country towns, she is still at school) so does this count as her dad having 100 percent care if he is interstate? I am curious. Thanking you in advance for any guidance/view.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Payments towards the orthodontist bill could possibly be claimed through a Change of Assessment application. Factors they consider include whether both parents agreed to the treatment, whether the treatment was necessary, and the parents’ capacities to pay.

      I would have thought the overnight residence of the child would determine who is considered to be providing care. You could check the wording in the Act to try to verify.

  100. DL
    | Reply

    Hi, I currently have a 50/50 shared care arrangement for my 2 children.
    I pay child support, school fees, school books, laptops and 50% for uniforms, sports, dental, and any other major cost.
    I have also been asked to pay 50% for clothing and shoes etc. This all seems unreasonable to me but I don’t want my kids to go without. What is my right in this situation?
    A new system can’t come in quick enough!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Just buy the kids some cheap clothes and ignore the money requests.

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