CSA complaint.

CSA Child Support Complaints Forum

How Can I Help?

To help bring change to the child support system, please go to this Child Support YouTube Channel, subscribe, and hit the notification bell.

We're trying to grow the channel to help raise awareness of how to better support Australian children. The more subscribers, the better the chances of politicians noticing. Thanks.

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

1511 Responses

  1. Jessie hewlett
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    My husband’s ex wife refuses to work , their kids are 12&10. She hasn’t worked in 20 years .we have the kids 5 days a fortnight I’m so sick to death of paying her every month. Why does the government pay these lazy moron ex wives ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Our proposal is to end these unhealthy financial relationships by making child support payments independent of what the receiving parent earns. You can blame the stupid formula, which we copied from the US and implemented poorly.

  2. Danielle
    | Reply

    Hi, my children have not had an overnight visit with their father for almost a year, how do I change the percentage and prove that, that is in-fact the case?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You just inform Child Support, which can be done online. It seems that mothers aren’t required to provide evidence.

  3. Alison
    | Reply

    Are Sole Traders required to provide details of their business profits for the purpose of Child Support?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not normally. Individual taxable income is what counts. But parents are asked to disclose financial information pertaining to earning capacity if either parent successfully initiates a Change of Assessment review.

  4. A
    | Reply

    Hi There,

    I was terminated from my job due to covid earlier this year. However, due to a termination payment my taxable income is approximately 20K more than the taxable income put into place by CSA for the 2019-20 financial year. I have always lodged my tax on time and all figures for my taxable income are ATO supplied. I never estimate my own earnings. My question is will I need to pay any CSA amounts on the extra 20K I earnt considering it was a one off termination payment? Will they take my tax return and issue a fine, as I read another post that stated the poster was fined.

    Thanks in advance

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Do your tax return now and also submit an estimate of your earnings for this financial year. Delaying the estimate is costing you money.

  5. Nick welsh
    | Reply

    Hi, i just wanted to get some advice on my situation, my ex has our children 100% of the time, this is not by choice. That is a whole different story, moving on last financial year after I did my tax I had to pay back approx $5000 in child support, which was fine and a non issue, this year I revived a letter from Centrelink after I told them I was no longer working with an amended statement as my ex declared she earned $0 in the the last financial year however in fact she earned approx $10,000 . My concern is however that the name on the letter doesn’t reflect her New married name As she has been married for the past 8 years, I wanted to know if this could somehow come but me in the ass along the line and should I speak to Centrelink about getting the arrangement in her current married name

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      No worries – do nothing.

  6. dan
    | Reply

    My partner of 18 months has 2 children one just turned 18 in june and the other is 16.5 years old.
    Their agreement was she totally looks after the 2 kids and he pays private school fees where they both have been attending from the start.
    He is $45,000 behind and the school is threatening with court action . problem is both parents signed the school registrar for both kids and they are not concerned about the prior setup, they demand payement
    He is very cunning and manipulative. now he is demanding we sing up a prenup before he pays the fees. we dont know why as its none of his business as to what we both do with our lives.
    he has many trusts and properties and shares and doesnt care if we go to court to pursue his payement as he has stated it will cost more for court hearings than us paying the school fees

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This looks like a general financial / legal matter rather than a child support issue. I wouldn’t worry about the debt personally based on the info you’ve provided (though I’m not a lawyer). As I see it, it’s his problem. If the matter ends up in court, your partner could present evidence of the financial arrangement and of her relative inability to pay any fees. Hard to see a court ordering her to pay. What would be the father’s explanation for the judge? If she got a lawyer, she could pursue him for legal costs as well.

  7. Jason
    | Reply

    I have recently received mail from CSA stipulating that I had underestimated my income and as a result they have taken close to half of my tax return as well as fining me.
    I have never quoted the figure that they say that I did and have the paperwork to prove this.
    I plan on calling them tomorrow and getting them to explain to me the exact date that I supposedly told them that I was earning nearly $20,000 less than I currently am.
    I believe this is a bullying tactic that they have taken against me because they (CSA) believe that I wont do anything about it.

    My question is, if need be can I take CSA to court so that I can get the money that they took from me back. I am in a single income household and as such need the thousands of dollars that they saw fit to take from me.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I hope you haven’t acted on this yet.

      The fine is the only part where you could get financial relief. I would suggest talking to them nicely and seeking to have the fine removed on the basis that the low income estimate was due to a misunderstanding.

  8. Brad
    | Reply

    We separated 2019 and both moved out of family home dec 31/2019. 2 children (7&9), who are with me 142 days per year (ordered by court), which equates to 38.9%. However my ex applied for child support and stated she had the kids 100%. The system defaulted to beleive her and started sending me bills for amounts that were higher than my wage. I have been battling this since jan to aug, even have court orders stating level of care and managed to get care percentage changed to 28% my way, however i still cant get it changed to correct, and the child support agency says they can only go by the court date in june and that the debt from jan-june still exists (from when my ex stated she had care of 100%). I have lodged complaints, countless number of change of care percentages, uploaded every document possible including affidavits, court orders, photos, etc. i have made countless phone calls to child support, even lodged a complaint agaist child support to the ombudsman and have now lodge a claim of suspected fraud against my ex. It seems that they simply call her on the phone and she says ‘nope the care is only 28%’ and they believe her!!! This is a last resort commenting here as i am at witts end to get this resolved as nothing is working – any help/advice much appreciayed

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sorry to hear about your experiences Brad. It seems like you have done everything possible but cannot get a fair go due to blatant sexism by the Dept of Social Services.

      I honestly don’t know what more you could do at this point that would be worthwhile. You’ll have to start accepting what has happened, put it in the past, and focus on making good decisions going forward.

  9. Mai
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I just have a question,
    My son’s father is refusing to see him but he’s paying his child supports. We are going to be in court in about 2 weeks time. Can he be forced to see the kids if he does not want to.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This is a family law question that I have no experience with. But I don’t believe courts would go out of their way to force a parent to look after a child against the parent’s will (since this could be detrimental to the child’s welfare). Parenting time could be allocated to the parent but forcing them to do their bit is another matter.

  10. Mary
    | Reply

    Hi, I have 100% care & my ex partner pays child support. He chooses to pay extra then the amount assessed by child support based of our tax returns and while this is a nice gesture I am concerned about this causing me or him future debt. We do private collect. Is this something that will be a problem for Centrelink?
    Thanks, Mary.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Can’t really answer this without more case info and without spending time looking at the ins and outs of family tax benefits (which is somewhat off topic). But, if you all are doing something reasonable in terms of payments, I can’t really see why some extra private payments would be detected or would cause problems.

  11. Tom
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    My ex wife has recently quit her full time employment to commence full time uni. We have been separated for eight years and currently share the children 50% of the time. Throughout this period i have always paid child support and have progressed my wage to provide for the children.

    I have reached out to CS to see if i should apply for Child Support Assessment to have it indexed at her current wage, they said it would be highly unlikely that they would review this and it would continue to be based on the individuals Tax Return.

    I don’t see how it’s fair, when the children are approaching their teenage years that one parent is basically deciding to not to contribute financially towards their life. Is it worth pursuing this or will i have to just wear it for the next few years while she studies?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you apply for a COA and succeed, they make the decision about what her income is. But, as you indicated, they normally set a person’s income to their former wage and index it. Decisions only go for a limited period (e.g. 2 years).

      To win, you would need to convince the reviewer that the mother’s decision was motivated, at least in part, by a desire to affect child support (you can check the exact words in the CS guidelines). As evidence, you could perhaps show the impact of the decision on payments and how these extra payments are necessary help to fund her choice, in effect demonstrating that the change in child support must have been part of her decision calculation.

      Cases like this are evidence dependent but Child Support have significant discretion as well. As a male, you are at an automatic disadvantage unfortunately. If genders were reversed, I’d say you’re chances of winning were excellent. But, since you are a bloke, it could turn out to be a waste of time.

  12. Gavin
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.
    Question about should I worry and get a solicitor involved as I’m being threatened by my ex wife with court orders/documents/action: I have 3 girls with my ex-wife now aged 15, 17 & 19. 15 & 17 year old are currently in Year 10 & 12. 19 year old finished school at the end of 2018, child support for that one child ended when she turned 18 in January 2019. Since then she’s been working part time apprx 5-10 hours per week and just recently signed up to a TAFE course for a Vet Nurse Assistant, 18 months after finishing high school. Have always paid CS on time since separation 8 years ago (has varied from $650 to now $480 per week) and always as per CS Assessments, along with extras like school fees & uniforms, medical fees & other sundry costs that my ex wife asked/demanded!! Last year the Ex-wife bought the then 18 year old who wasn’t working full-time nor studying full time, a car and is now threatening legal action for 50% of the car and now for 50% of TAFE course costs. I’m not a hard man but believe my now 19 year old daughter could have been looking for more then 5 hours a week part time work for the 18 months since leaving school to help pay for any future TAFE courses she decided to do, and didn’t agree with her be handed a car without being able to look after ongoing costs that come with owing a car. Not sure if my ex is bluffing with legal action, but wondering if i can pretty much ignore her threats since i pay CS plus extras as it is? I work FIFO, and have been threatened with court orders being sent to my workplace out in the middle of QLD! In addition shes says she is apparently getting some kind of order in place that CS doesn’t end when the 2nd child turns 18 – not sure how that works unless she carries on into uni and is a full time student. Any advice would be appreciated before i splurge on a solicitor that i may not even need.
    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Cars are not part of child support, let alone for an adult child. Child support can continue for a while after 18 but only long enough to allow a child to complete year 12.

  13. Amy
    | Reply

    i just wanted to know what happens when a parent committs parental allienation and also breaches the family court order.
    My fiancee’s ex wife has deliberately denied him to see his children by saying that he will commit violence and they are to afraid.
    we just want to know is there any way of having child support frozen . We have also been advised that she is telling everyone that the child support isn’t being paid and is beautifying the home. The children also want to know where the child support.

    • James
      | Reply

      Amy , heartbreaking story and I have been there . I can tell you there is little or nothing you can do , save from trying for mediation and documenting that for later so the kids can see that he tried . My experience is the CSA only care about where the time is spent , not with court orders and will openly tell you that on the call. Its the financial incentive the government gives to the payee so the payer ends up with no recourse.

  14. Kim
    | Reply

    I would like to ask a question please, if my ex has a trust for his business to pay him a large sum of money and his tax return is saying he only earnt 10K so therefor i need to pay him a large sum of money for my child, when his income isnt accurate as his business pays his trust – how do i go about having this looked into?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      That’s what the Change of Assessment process is for. You need to make an application.

  15. Dan
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, it looks like my current job will be made redundant and I will be paid a lump sum redundancy payment, I realise that this will be classified as income for CSA.
    Hypothetically if I was to find a job immediately my 20/21 tax return will be significantly higher than my salary earned for 21/22 (due to redundancy and income of new job).

    Can an estimate be put in place for 21/22 over riding the previous tax return of the correct salary for 21/22 or will 20/21 redundancy plus new job create a new debt?

    Thanks
    Dan

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can put in an income estimate in early 2021-22 to prevent an abnormally high income in 2020-21 from impacting your assessment.

  16. Ms B
    | Reply

    I have 67% care and my ex has 33%. I had been paying him child support because he was unemployed, but now he has been working full-time since last financial year. His provisional income is still $20k because he hasn’t filed his tax return and hasn’t
    called child support to let them know. Because he hasn’t reported or changed his income, I am still paying him instead of him paying me. I dont’t care if he pays me or not but it’s unfair that i am paying him instead of him paying me. Will I be able to get back all the money i paid him starting this financial year once he has filed his tax or updated his income? What if he never files his tax return this year? Can I advjsed child support that his income has chabged dramatically

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unsure if you would get the money back. You should in theory but Child Support tend to treat paid money as having gone for the benefit of the child and unrecoverable. Don’t understand why you’re paying anything as it is my understanding that no child support is payable if you have more than 65% care.

      Would suggest Applying for a Change of Assessment (Earning Capacity). This may work if he cooperates and provides employment or income details.

  17. Shane
    | Reply

    Hi guys
    CSA garnished $29K from my wages without giving me any legal evidence of how they came up to this figure. They did not even provide me a birth certificate if the child who they were claiming was my liability. They only stated that they have no records due to the arrears, yes they dated this money was arrears that I had no option but to pay.
    I finally got my hands on that child’s birth certificate which does not have my name as the father. CSA has now accepted and removed my name from their system but are no refunding my money just because I’m currently bankrupt.
    Bankruptcy Trustee states in writing to me that payments received for child support are not considered income for assessment purposes during bankruptcy as that is not income so that can’t be used as income refund as they confirm there are no current child support payments.
    What do I do as CSA are exercising excessive powers and I’m a common man.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Cannot answer this. You can’t just thrown a bunch of garbled information at me, ask an open-ended question and then expect me to solve your problems.

  18. George
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    1 question…
    1 grievance

    Do medical discharge payments through income protection, workers comp (injury lump sums) etc… Affect child support payments?

    Secondly, want to voice my most hated part of the child support system calculations. Why is that every $ I earn affects my payment amount… yet time in care is put into stages/ thresholds ? How can having my kids 4 nights a fortnight, be the same expense (and payment) as having them 2 nights a fortnight? They are in my care twice as much! It should be done by the hour, like it is the $, or at very least daily…

    Got a million other issues with the system but this is one that needs to be looked at.

    Regards

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – lump sum payments can affect child support. That happens automatically if the payments show up as part of taxable income. Child Support have also been known to treat compensation payments as a form of income in Change of Assessment decisions. They are very “grabby” in this respect, often unfairly so.

      The staged levels for care credit are so ridiculous – as you pointed out. It just highlights how amateurish the design of the scheme is. The people who did this fiddled around with the formula instead of using commonsense and simple maths. Playing around with the formula in this way is like squeezing a balloon without thinking that it creates a bulge somewhere else. They played a fools’ game and tried to be clever. Never get lawyers to do the job of a mathematician or accountant.

  19. Kate
    | Reply

    Is there anyway to stop CS taking a tax return?
    My partner pays child support for his child.
    He stopped working in Dec just before Xmas, He rang CS and advised them of this but apparently they are saying now there is no record of the call and that he should have been advised he has to do it all online. He started a new job in Feb this year (for only 2 months due to covid19) he updated his income online on MYGOV and back dated his non working to DEC last year.
    He then updated it again in April when he ceased work again. Between April and June 30th he has been on Job seeker payments ($1071.00 per fortnight)
    Child support sent him a letter through MYGOV stating (after he did his tax return) that he owes $1600 in CS because he didn’t advise he wasn’t working. They told him the only way to stop the debt was to show Hardship, which he did but apparently according to them even though your income is less then your bills etc that doesn’t prove hardship (Really? what does then?)
    He has just rang them to see what the outcome was after he submitted more documents for hardship.
    They have told him this morning that they will be taking his entire tax return (2900) plus he will have a debt of $1655 because they reckon he earned $24000 between April and 31st July! They admitted to him over the phone that it is probably an error (you think? how do you earn $24000 in 3 odd months when you are unemployed and on Centrelink!!) They said they cannot stop the interception of his tax return and would have to provide documents to prove he didn’t earn that amount. Even then all they could do is either write to the other parent and request the money back (which wont happen) or he wont have to pay child support for a while (keeping in mind when he works a full year he only pays about $6000 in CS a year so this amount they are taking for 3 odd months is only $1455 off a years worth of CS!!)
    He has lodged his group cert etc online and objected to the decision, he has also contacted Legal aid and is waiting for an appointment to see a lawyer, is there anything we can do to stop that money being taken from his tax return?
    We really need that money at the moment, we are in the process of moving house and he still isn’t working so our income isn’t even covering our bills at the moment!
    Thanks,

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Short answer: No.

      Long answer:

      You and your partner need to let this go!! Seriously, you are simply wasting everybody’s time with futile attempts to get out of legitimate debt. He needs to take personal responsibility for his actions and liabilities. Working harder on earning money would be far more useful than trying to get out of paying debts.

      He doesn’t really have an excuse for Child Support not recording his work status. While he wasn’t working, he had plenty of time to check his statements to see what was happening. The fact that he has a debt is his fault ultimately. Child Support are just following the legislation and their routine practices. I don’t believe he has any legal grounds for objecting.

      Remember, also, that his lower earnings will be reflected in the assessment for this financial year (when he eventually submits the tax return). He can also provide an estimate for 2020-21 if his current earnings are low.

      • Kate
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew,
        He has submitted his tax return, that’s what i said in my comment.
        Why should he pay a debt on money he hasn’t earnt?
        He pays the amount in child support every year that he is supposed to and does everything right even though he is not allowed to see his child. (He hasn’t been to court about it yet)
        What i was saying, was that the debt is false. They are saying he earnt $24000 between april and July when he was unemployed and on Jobseeker!
        If it was a legitimate debt we wouldn’t have a problem
        My partner does everything right and everything he should, the Child support system is a joke!

        • Mary
          | Reply

          Hi Kate. He needs to pay his debt. Simple.
          I’m sick of hearing bitter new girlfriends sticking up for dead beat fathers and making excuses for them. Most are offered shared care with their children and refuse, only to blame the mother for keeping the children away from them.
          Man up, he needs to pay HIS debt. Maybe you should run now, before you’re in the same predicament as the poor mother!

          • Kate
            |

            [Comment removed due to offensive language]

          • Afi
            |

            Exactly!!

    • Kris
      | Reply

      Hi Kate . The response you got from Admin is a absolute disgrace . Take your complaint to att and if your not happy with that then pay a $60 application fee and take it to court . The gentleman that responded to your questions is a absolutely horrible person and you and your partner don’t deserve to deal with that type of rubbish .

      • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
        | Reply

        Kate has explained things in a certain way that you have to look through to see what actually went into the assessment. If the issue was explained more precisely, I believe you’ll find there are no legal grounds for appeal. The law sets out how income for child support purposes is to be determined. And it depends on previous taxable income, though this can be overridden by the parent informing child support, in a timely way, of reduced income.

        A significant factor to bear in mind is that the Department of Social Services knows how the child support system works. While someone can present them as doing something idiotic, generally they are following the law or, at least, a certain interpretation that they know can’t be challenged. In the absence of any compelling information to establish a procedural error by the Dept of Social Services, I stand by my advice to let it go.

      • Kate
        | Reply

        [Comment removed due to offensive language]

  20. Paul
    | Reply

    I watched the video on 50:50 care and thankyou for you showing all the stories. I have 4 teenage children and desperately wish for 50:50 care. Unfortunately 2 of my children have chosen to live with my ex 100% of the time.

    Given that the proposal is that: if there is 50:50 care then neither party should pay child support, how would the proposal take into account children who simply choose to live with a parent.

    The important thing for me is that the children are happy. Even though I loose out on the opportunity to father two of my children, the only alternative is to get a court order to force the children into 50:50 care which would likely cause harm to our relationships.

    I think the proposal should allow for parents who are willing and capable of 50:50 care. Otherwise, like in my scenario, parents may coerce children to stay with them 100% to ensure they recieve child support.

    Thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I believe separated parents have a moral duty to try to ensure the kids see the other parent, even as the kids get older and may develop preferences to stay more in one place than another.

      But you can’t really have a system where a mere willingness to provide care means you shouldn’t pay support.

      Our proposed formula would make child support compensation for one parent providing less than their fair share of physical care. I don’t see why that shouldn’t apply in your situation. Isn’t there a cost shift?

      The proposed formula would also, in many cases, reduce or eliminate financial incentives for one parent to try to dominate care. This would also help.

      We further recommend that child support should not be payable for care that is achieved by a parent breaking court orders.

      • Paul
        | Reply

        Thank you Andrew

  21. Yublocka
    | Reply

    My partner has recently filed his tax return and based on that his child support has been reassessed. His payments have now basically doubled, partly because his income has increased, partly because his ex’s has halved so he is the 100% income earner. However on the reassessment it states his Ex income is “Provisional” as she hasn’t done her tax return. When she finally submits her tax return, and hoping her income goes back to a normal rate (she has just bought a new car so I don’t see how it can be half of normal) will the adjusted figure be backdated to when he was reassessed after his tax return. We have asked CSA about this but couldn’t get a straight answer. I understand we can submit a change of assessment but that sounds risky too!!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      They will re-calculate once all tax returns are in, backdated to 1 July.

  22. Kathleen Williams
    | Reply

    How can I get my ex husband to stop discussing his finances and what he pays in child support with our children? He keeps telling them its not fair, that he wants to give up on life and that he has to pay me to much that’s why he cant see them. Its breaking their hearts and emotionally screwing them up, I’m feeling lost as what to do. I have the seeing a psychologist and I have asked him to stop, but he them becomes argumentative and aggressive with me….any advice is greatly appreciated

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You could try acknowledging the issues and his point of view. In psychological terms, that may be the best way to stop his inner turmoil. It will also serve to neutralise the impact of his talks with the kids and prevent him from venting. I would also be inclined to minimise the issue by stopping the shrink sessions for the kids and by not dictating to him. You have more influence on the kids by how you act around them than what by trying to control their father.

      Explain to the kids simply what the child support situation is – how much you get each month and how that relates to the amount of care time he has. The kids will then be in a stronger position to process what he says and to respond with something like, “We know, Mum showed us the figures.” If you’ve been withholding access to increase child support, as he seems to believe, stop it.

      To be honest, I don’t entirely buy your version of events. Sending kids to a psychologist because of problems caused by the other parent smacks of blame shifting. For all I know, the blame for these issues may lie with your behaviour as much as anything else. Make sure your own house is in order before worrying about trying to fix your ex.

  23. Joel
    | Reply

    Hello Andrew,

    Not a complaint more a query or two..
    (a) have you been asked to appear on the Family Law Committee to explain your submission ?
    (b) what is your view on the submissions
    (c) there appear to be a number of submissions that support the premise that child support encourages parental alienation. Do you think there will be meaningful legislative change ?
    (d) Isnt some of the issue the culture within the CSA – changing legislation wont change the culture – working at the agency must a dull job at best and at worst entirely disheartening as i am sure officers are subjected to and also display some pretty poor behaviour
    (e) can those who use this site do anything to support your submission to the Committee ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Some good questions here Joel.
      (a) Have made a telephone presentation to the Family Law Inquiry. Am anticipating being asked to provide more info in person or by video conference. Wasn’t easy trying to explain child support on the phone.
      (b) The Inquiry should have published far more submissions. And they should do a lengthy submissions summary. Get the impression that the people have been heard behind the scenes but the tremendous public response should also be revealed publicly. We have also heard far too much from the various government-funded feminist groups who always work so hard to stop commonsense reform that would help children, many women and, heaven-forbid, the male of our species.
      (c) I believe there will be a dramatic overhaul of the child support system. All the Committee has to is include the recommendation from Child Support Australia in their final report. We are just asking for a well targeted review that I have no doubt would lead to legislative change once the machinery of government gets into gear.
      (d) The child support bureaucracy is part of the problem, though the legislation is the fundamental flaw. Changing the system would help improve the culture. I specifically want the Treasurer to help bring the proposed joint Cabinet Submission forward. “Child Support” have never provided the slightest indication that they are competent in the policy space and have the ability to bring reform about.
      (e) This forum has been instrumental in strengthening my knowledge and establishing the credibility of Child Support Australia. A softly, softly approach may be best at this juncture. I believe a number of Committee members have visited this forum and I hope more will read this exact exchange. Thanks for your questions.

  24. Paul
    | Reply

    Hello,
    My ex and I own two houses and when we split she lived one and I lived in the other. She refused to pay the mortgage on either house and so as a high income earner I have been paying Child Support and the Mortgages.

    Our children spend about 75% of the time at her house and we have now agreed that she needs to pay her mortgage and I will pay mine. Can I have my child support re-assessed to account for the $16,000 I have already paid to her mortgage over the last 12 months.

    I have started the form “application to change your assessment” but it seems way over the top for what I would like re-assessed.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Unsure about this one. It would be simpler if you have been paying rent rather than for a mortgage on a property you share equity in. There’s also the possibility that you would get credit as part of a future settlement. You could apply and see how it goes. The forms are very detailed but you can get away with only filling in relevant bits. I don’t see why they need to know anyone’s weekly spending breakdown for example.

  25. Aleisha
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I’m recently separated from my son’s father, I’ve contacted CSA in regards to payments and they’re collecting on my behalf. His last tax return was substantially lower than his actual earnings (due to redundancy and holidays). He has not filed this years return. How do I get him to process it so the CSA amount can be adjusted accordingly?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can’t get him to do his tax return and it’s not your job anyway. When he eventually does submit the tax return, the correct amounts will be calculated going back to 1 July or when the case was opened.

  26. Geoff
    | Reply

    I’m 67 years old and could write a book on what the CSA have done to me over the years.
    However, I just want to mention my latest concern.
    I have had a credit of around $10k with the CSA for many years. As I have over 14% care, I cannot use my credit. I had to pay arrears child support (another story), which I’m repaying at $100/month. The CSA won’t let me use my credit to settle the debt.
    My son turns 18 in 2022, after which time I no longer have to pay child support.
    I asked them what happens to my credit after he turns 18 and what happens to the remaining debt. I asked why I can’t use the credit to settle the debt, especially after he turns 18. I’m told that I still had to pay out the debt and my credit can never be used.
    I asked for this in writing which was 5 weeks ago. I’m told “the letter is in the mail”, but I doubt if I will ever see their written response.

  27. Tan
    | Reply

    Hi, I have recently been contacted and advised by the payer That the CSA have paid me excess money from tax return and it was never mine payer has asked for money back transferring it to their personal bank account . I have attempted to contact CSA and will try again. I’m assuming I will hear from them too if I have been overpaid? and to not pay the payer back directly is this the best advice?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t get involved with the payer at all. Each of you should only deal with the Department of Social Services about child support payments. He should not be contacting you about this and you don’t have to respond.

      • Tan
        | Reply

        Thanks so much, yes I have finally got onto CSA who advised payment isn’t wrong as it was based on taxable income. Now let the abuse begin that I am stealing from him.

      • Rissa
        | Reply

        This is the problem, child support encourage bad behaviour. How does this benefit the children? Why don’t talk to the payer. They were good enough to sleep with but now not good enough to talk to in regards to paying for the children they made TOGETHER. Child support you are a joke!!! This is what’s wrong with this system. It’s a disgrace and child support Australia should be ashamed of themselves!!

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          So, pinhead, you are of the opinion that divorced and separated parents should talk to each other about child support payment issues instead of just going through the neutral third party that is actually making the payment decisions? And how exactly does help anyone, including the child? Answer: It doesn’t help; it would generally be harmful.

          In a very roundabout and non-thinking way, you have identified the problem though. The problem is forcing people who want to live their own separate lives into a long-term financial entanglement. That’s what we are trying to curtail through our policy reform proposal: from income sharing to shared responsibility.

  28. Bruce
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    I am looking to fill out a change of assessment regarding current child support payments i make to my ex-wife. Given she owns her own business and claims very minimal income, my child support payments are extremely high.
    She has the family home in her name and pays the mortgage and has also placed our daughter into private schooling.
    My question is – if her parents give her the money for her mortgage or pay our daughter’s private schooling, does my ex-wife need to declare this to Child Support as potential income? She has also moved on with a new partner and my concern is that she will state her new partner covers all the living expenses and also pays her mortgage.
    Thanks In Advance.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      For the COA, they will be interested in her income and her earning capacity. That’s it. You seem to be throwing a lot of irrelevant info into your case. Don’t fancy your chances to be honest.

  29. Rita D
    | Reply

    How can I ensure my children receive the payments I am making to their grandmother? I have just been told the grandmother (carer) is taking my children’s youth allowance money as well as receiving $700 a fortnight from me so that she can give the money to the children’s mother who does not have care of the children. Is there a way I can have this investigated or set up accounts in the children’s name so they receive the child support payment direct?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s not your business to manage the financial affairs of the grandmother.

  30. Gary
    | Reply

    My ex filed for a COA reason 8. I’ve provided info and have been informed that her application was unsuccessful. CSA have told me she is going to appeal the decision. What is involved with an appeal, do I need to prepare in any way for this?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      An appeal is internal to the Dept of Social Services initially. Another officer will look at the case and see whether the decision was justified. They may ring you or ask for more information. Without knowing the specifics of the case, my inclination would be not to worry about it too much.

  31. Aaron
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Why is a child support payee not obliged to inform CSA of an increase in their income in a timely manner? By the time the increase in income is picked up by CSA via ATO, the payer may have been paying an excessive amount for 12 months or more and there is no backdating of assessments.

    If a person was receiving Jobseeker payments from the government and then secured employment, they have to inform Centrelink immediately. Why does the same concept not apply to child support? Maybe I’ve missed something obvious. Thanks.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Pay increases affect child support with a lag of up to 12 months. Don’t see a problem with that myself. People should be encouraged to earn more. It is administratively simpler to work off the previous year’s tax return when making child support assessments.

    • andy
      | Reply

      I agree with you Aaron…..my ex increased her work hours at the start of January 2019 to fulltime from part-time, thus earning under her Award conditions an extra $40,000 per annum.
      For the first 6 months of 2019 I continued to pay child support based on her income of 50% of what it actually was . Then at tax time because she had been only earning the fulltime pay for 6 months of that financial year on paper her taxable income was still only 75% of what it actually was.
      Finally now in late July 2020 some 19 months after her pay went up by $40,000 does my child support payment to her actually be an accurate amount of what she should receive.
      You could easily argue the point that she has received a “bonus” from me of about $8000.

  32. Vic
    | Reply

    Hi

    After any advice, please.
    My partner is paying $900 child support to his ex who refuses to work ( does a few cash in hand jobs, Child is 9) stating its not worth her while as she is doing well off child support and centrelink. When they split up he had money in the property ( his inheritance) but happily gave her 150k to his 80 K for supporting the child.
    Since we got together i have lost my family tax support ( I work full time) due to his income, yet Child support don’t count my kids in his case.
    I do not receive child support from my kids dad as he is abroad and they failed to be able to gain it.
    Can we get Child support to include the extra money he gave her at time of split? Or the fact she is refusing to work yet despite many opportunities.
    Or will they include my children given we own our own home and they are resident children with no support from their dad?

    Vic

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sorry – an unfair situation but can’t see any way to improve it.

      The divorce settlement is irrelevant at this stage.

      Refusing to work is not a reason for a Change of Assessment. Quitting a job would be but that isn’t the case here.

      Your kids don’t count in his child support assessment since you are able to provide for them financially.

  33. Mel
    | Reply

    12 nonths ago my ex quit his 100k per year job to work part time at a corner shop with earning of under 10k. I went through the COA process which granted me child support payments for 12 months only. That assessment is due to expire so what happens next? Does the assessment revert back to his estimated 10k earnings? Will i need to complete another COA? If so what reasons do i use as the capacity to earn was rejected on the last COA as he has no formal qualifications. I have sole custody of our 3 kids and work full time sometimes i wonder if its worth the hassle

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – once the Change of Assessment expires, things simply revert back to normal. I don’t quite understand why the COA was for just 12 months and how you lost but seemed to win at the same time. However, as I understand it, the fact that he quit his job would now be out of scope if you were to apply for a new assessment. Hence, you may be stuck with his lower earnings.

  34. AF
    | Reply

    I have been looking after our daughter since she’s born (2011). We have been travelling between BKK-ADL around 2 trips per year. My husband has been paying for her airfare. He has been paying for her school fee (only tuition fee) since she in school.
    He wants a divorce (stated in 11 July) I have paid the school fee since early June. I sent him email asking him to help for the school fee as usual, he asking for reciepts, I supplied them. Now he said he will pay only half and all the rest of child support I will be recieving through CentreLink. I haven’t got any divorce paper or agreement. How this child support work? Can I ask for her living cost in half until the child support kick in?
    By the way, my daughter and me are living in Thailand and he’s in Australia.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To get child support, you need to apply for it.

  35. Amber
    | Reply

    **Backstory – My partner suffered a serious mental breakdown shortly after separating from his wife 8 years ago and as a result they agreed he should take a stepback from his children’s lives. It was also part of their agreement that as she and her new partner (now husband) earnt $100k+ per year and he was currently unemployed, they didn’t need him to pay anything towards maintence.

    My partner has been trying to rebuild a relationship with his ex wife and his now 13 year old for the past 3 years. He reconnected with his older daughter around the same time (now 21). There has been a lot of strain in this situation with his ex wife not allowing the older daughter to speak to the younger son while she was having a realtionship with her father and flat out letting him know that the younger son was not interested in a realtionship with him at all. There were a lot of petty lies and some serious allegations which led to us getting some legal advice. We decided to apply for mediation to help rebuild that connection in a safe and fair environment which she is still yet to respond to (its been 7 months now). Apparently she applied for child support in January..probably around the time she recieved the mediation notice, we only just recieved the letter this week. He’s not apposed to providing financial support for his son, it just feels off as he has only just resumed work earning $36k p/a and both his ex wife and her husband (who is legally financially responsiable for his son according to centrelink) still earning $115k p/a each, as well as still being denied any form of contact. What is our next best step? Could we appeal to child support to make payments into an account in the son’s name or to a savings account?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The amount of child support your partner is being asked to pay is two-fifths of almost nothing (to put it politely). He should just pay the money. Not very much to ask at all and would improve his prospects with mediation, etc.

  36. Chris
    | Reply

    Hello,

    I am now 9 years into a CSA agreement and have my kids 50/50 for the last 4, and less before that.

    I have challenged the current CSA agreement due to the other party’s capacity to earn and also being asset rich (getting 70% of everything at separation). Note, my ex refused to provide any financial details and the investigator said she didn’t have to?!

    While I was morally correct (according to the soon retiring decision maker) I was legally not supported in my challenge.

    Recently my ex was getting annoyed when I contacted her after the kids (now getting older) were asking for uniforms etc and she contacted CSA to cancel child support. I have never been against paying child support, just seeking a fairer arrangement. She was informed to talk to Centrelink (her income hovers around $20k since separation) who I assume informed her that they would assume she is receiving the calculated amount, and has decided not to proceed (what a surprise).

    Now she is preparing to sell the house which will net quite a large amount, and purchase something with her mum who is getting older.

    My question is, how on earth is she able to refinance on $20k? Is it “my business” that her family may be involved in helping out?

    I have landed in a head space where I will just have to struggle for the next few years until the noose of CSA is loosened.

    I would love to upgrade or move house but can’t. It seems perverse that she can!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      To be honest, I think you need to stop worrying about what your ex is doing. There is no point to it.

      The better she does, the better off your children are. Wish her well and get on with advancing your own life with your children.

      • Chris
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew,

        Thank you, I try to land in this kind of head space.

        My issue is that in selling the house, my ex will net between $300-400k. Which is partly because of settlement 9 years ago. That is a lot of money not reflected in our assessment.

        My mortgage has been around $300k since separation. I cannot get ahead because of paying child support, despite having my kids 50/50.

        I think what you are saying, and where I have landed, is that life is not fair and get on with it 🙂

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Yes. The settlement is ancient history and not something you can control. What your ex does is her business. So, it just makes sense to focus on the things that you can realistically affect.

          I don’t believe Child Support would be interested in going after the assets of your ex, especially since she has the kids half the time.

    • Tom
      | Reply

      Hi. My ex and I have a 9/5 agreement which has been on place for 12 years and 50/50 in the holidays My wife now To send our son to boarding school Just wondering how this effects care percentages with CSA as he will split holidays 50/50 and technically in no ones care while at school

      • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
        | Reply

        There is no definitive answer I can give here on whether attending boarding school changes the care %. Seems like the current care arrangement is persisting in the background and would be the default if he stopped attending at any time. Are you paying for half the boarding school fees? If not, Child Support may consider that your ex is providing care by effectively paying for him to be in the care of others. I would expect that, if required to make a call on this, Child Support would simply do what they subjectively consider to be fair rather than following any particular legal or ethical principles.

  37. Karen
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew this is a question that my partner is going through he pays child support which is great but his ex-wife keeps asking for more money and more money I want you to pay half of these so I want you to pay half a that I want you to pay half of this when does it end and what are his legal rights

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There are no rules about how parents spend money, though Child Support may give credit for certain expenses such as private school fees and dental braces.

      The formula does, however, assume that parents spend roughly in proportion with how much time they have the kids. You haven’t said anything about the care arrangement or what the money requests are for, so can’t provide specific advice.

  38. Glenn
    | Reply

    I have 2 children I havent seen in 3yrs because there mother wont let me I dont know where they are I know nothing about them but yet I still have to pay child support for them of $600 pf when I’m only getting $1900 pf a nod pay rent and keep 2 other children how can this be fair I’ve tried finding them with no luck I dont see my tax because it goes straight to her why csa allows this I dont know

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This is really a custody issue, though you could argue that the formula results in you paying too much. Your child support payments are a reflection that your care percentage is zero and the mother isn’t earning very much.

  39. Sally
    | Reply

    Ten years ago my partner (prior to us meeting) had a one night stand with a woman that she claims resulted in a child. At the time, he offered to get a paternity test which she refused, and now a decade later, she has submitted an application to CSA for child support. There is no proof that he is the father and her previous attempt at child support was rejected. What are his rights as she is harassing his family and mine for contact, and this all happened 10 years ago!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The child’s rights should be the main concern here I would have thought, particularly the right to know their father and, at least, who the father is.

      Your partner and the mother could make a binding child support agreement before doing a paternity test. That would protect your partner financially. Then the matter could be resolved once and for all. He could suggest to the mother that she arrange this if she wants paternity to ever be tested.

  40. Sam
    | Reply

    My wife and I have been divorced for 4 years and she pays me child support. During this time her Taxable Income (on which the Child Support payments have been calculated) has not changed a lot, only increasing by a total of about $5,000. At the time we split up she had just become a partner in a mid-tier accounting firm and has since progressed through the ranks, which I’m certain has been rewarded with significant increases to her earnings, whether that be salary and/or distributions from the firm. As part of becoming a partner she had to set up a Family Trust structure and I suspect she uses this (and potentially other entities) to keep her Taxable Income at a similar level for legitimate tax purposes, however, I don’t believe this is a true reflection of how much she actually earns and that a significant portion of her earnings is not being being taken into account in the Child Support calculations. Working for a large accounting firm she would have access to professional advice on how to minimize her Child Support payments. Is there anything that I can do in this situation to ensure that all her earnings are been assessed or do I just have to go by the Taxable Income as determined by her individual tax return each year when the Child Support payments are adjusted?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You can apply for a Change of Assessment (Reason 8 – Earning Capacity). They will look at the overall financial capacity of each parent, and may set her income to a higher level for a prescribed period (say, 2-3 years).

  41. Paldridge
    | Reply

    We were told recently by a lady at child support who I think was trying to help because of the extremely high amount of child support I pay to stop doing my tax return so quickly. I were told if it was done by a tax agent i can lodge later than October therefore not having my payments adjusted until later, but would this result in a debt if income is higher than last year?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – delaying a tax return for a while offers no long-term advantage. If your income has gone up, this just delays when you get asked to pay the extra money. Calculations start from 1 July.

    • James
      | Reply

      Regardless, CSA makes an adjustment by increasing your provisional (estmated) income (i.e. increasing above the last lodged return) if you have not lodged your return by October. And yes you have to back-pay irrespective of how late you lodge.

  42. James
    | Reply

    My ex-wife and I separated 4 years ago and are divorced. We have one 6yo child.

    At the time of separation she was working 3 days a week and I was working 5 days a week. Care of our son was 75% her and 25% me.

    Once the financial settlement was concluded through the Court (which was granted to her on a 70/30 basis and strongly influenced by her being the primary carer with 75% care), she quickly (within 12 months) agreed to my request for 50/50 care. This care arrangement has been in place for some time as a 5, 2, 2, 5 arrangement (set weekdays for each, other than Friday night which alternates).

    I collect our son directly from school every day when I have care and have never used after school care. She has him delivered (by the school) to after school care on the 3 days she works (only every second Friday as care alternates between us).

    I make child support payments to her of over $700 a month based on our combined incomes.

    Despite my requests for her to contribute more fairly to the financial costs of raising our son, she refuses to work more than 3 days a week (note she acknowledged in Court that her financial capacity had not been impacted by the marriage and she holds the same job/role as she did prior to our son’s birth, however she now job-shares the role). She has had more than 1 and a half years to find a full time job but has refused to make any enquiries with other companies (she is highly regard in her area of expertise and I am in little doubt she could find a job that provided her with full time work). I note that by her working 5 days a week, she would not be increasing our son’s after school care as I pick him up 2 days a week as I stated earlier.

    My question/query is: I have been informed by an officer of the Child Support Agency that the Registrar has no ability to reduce my payments to her as she does not fit the category of “not working despite having ample opportunity to do so” because she has not reduced her hours/changed her work pattern since child support payments commenced and that I would have to firstly lodge a Reason 8 request for assessment, have this rejected, then appeal against this in the Family Court. This would all be at my expense, save for her cost in responding.

    I was further advised that were I to reduce my hours to her part time level, it’s likely CSA would assess me as “not working despite having ample opportunity to do so” and calculate my child support payments on the basis of a full time income.

    This seems incredibly unjust/inequitable to me and as a gaming of the system (both at time of Court settlement for child/financial matters and then via CSA) but my only choices seem to be either incur $5,000-$10,000 of legal costs (which I can’t afford any time soon given the significant debt I have had to incur to provide her with a cash settlement resulting from the 70/30 property split) or I spend the next 12 years working full time, while she works part time (but continuing with 50/50 care) and pay her the difference in combined income through child support payments,. Is the advice from the CSA Officer correct?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Yes – the advice you received is definitely correct. And I would not consider wasting your time and money with reviews and legal appeals. Appeals are much harder to win than the initial review.

      You can check the wording of the legislation and guidelines yourself. Child Support are required to look at changes in work patterns, etc after people have entered the system. They can’t go back in time and assess income minimisation strategies that began in earlier times.

      Getting repetitive to say, but this is yet another unfair outcome that wouldn’t happen if our reforms were in place. The 50/50 care is fair principle would stop this sort of nonsense, which is obviously detrimental to the living standards of your young boy.

      • James
        | Reply

        Thank you for the reply Andrew.

        The system is just so wrong and injust. It’s true my income is twice what hers would be if she worked full time (and I have no issue with making payments based on that calculation of combined income), but after I have paid tax to the ATO, paid private health insurance (my income demands I must have this for myself and our son or suffer even greater tax cost) and she has received tax-free FTA, FTB and a swathe of other non-taxable Govt support payments or discounts, plus “subsidised” her/our sons cost of living via CSA payments (paid by me from post-tax income and received by her as non-taxable income), my net income for working 5 days a week is the same as for her working 3 days.

        There is no incentive for her to pull her weight in terms of financial obligations – indeed there is a disincentive to do so.

        I can’t even imagine a life where I only had to work just 60% of what I do yet incur no financial loss. And CSA wouldn’t allow me to.

        A query re your reply; you stated that the Appeal could be more difficult than the application process. In this case it seems the Registrar doesn’t have the discretion to make a decision as per my Reason 8 application – a) if there is no discretion, is there a right of appeal to the Court? and b) if there is a right of appeal, are you aware of any cases that have been determined by the Court in favour of the principles I would be seeking to be applied in my application?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Yes – the Registrar has no discretion. They also deal with these scenarios routinely and know exactly where they stand legally (and what they can get away with).

          Successful legal appeals are not about the decision itself but proving the decision-maker fundamentally stuffed up in some way (legal interpretation or process). They don’t redo the case as such.

  43. Vera
    | Reply

    Based on interim court orders, my former husband and I have a 1 week on 1 week off arrangement caring for our son. The CSA has assessed I am liable to pay my former husband $975 per month child support for him caring for our son 2 weeks per month .
    He is a self-employed in the building industry and reported taxable earning of $15,000 FY19. His prior year reported taxable earnings have varied from $200,000 to $80,000.
    How can I get CSA to review this loophole because I believe he is intentionally minimising his reportable taxable earnings? I suspect that there are cash-in hand jobs in this industry.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not sure that you can do much here. Child Support can investigate cases to see if parents have changed their work arrangements to reduce income and affect child support (you need to apply for a Change of Assessment). But they don’t go as far as investigating tax fraud, etc. So, don’t think you would get vary far, especially with construction earnings being naturally volatile.

      Our reform proposals would fix this very unfair outcome in 2 ways: (i) making payments just for the extra amount of care one parent provides compared to the other and (ii) allowing income benchmarks to be applied where a parent can’t show that they are a genuine low-income earner.

  44. Lee
    | Reply

    My ex and I have 3 children. My ex has one of our children for only one week a fortnight – leaving me with 5/6 of the care. Despite this, because my ex doesn’t work (by choice as my ex has repartnered and they worked out they get more child support that way) I am paying over $400 per fortnight for my ex to have our daughter there for 7 nights a fortnight – even though I have the other children full time and the eldest every second week.
    How is that fair? It’s not. And it’s not a sexist issue or men’s rights issue. It’s a flaw in the system. I am a high earning female who has the bulk of the Childcare, and an ex-husband who is living off his new wife whilst doing 1/6 of the care and still getting over $10,000 of my post tax income.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This doesn’t quite add up to me. You need to have at least shared care (35% of time) to qualify to receive child support. Maybe the case just applies to one child (e.g. other two are over 18). You should inform Child Support ASAP if the care level they have you down for is too low.

      But you’re right. The income sharing scheme that’s in place at the moment can produce extremely unfair outcomes. It treats separated parents as if they were living together and have to keep supporting one another. Would be nice if people could just get on with their lives after separation and simply pay sensible amounts. That’s the proposal we’ve submitted to the Family Law Inquiry.

  45. Nancy
    | Reply

    Hi, my husband owns a house with a mortgage on it, my name isn’t on it. If he sells it to pay the mortgage off (he will only break even, no actual profit) will the woman he pays child support to be entitled to a percentage of the sale price? If I add my name to the title before it’s sold mean she isn’t entitled to a percentage?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support payments depend on taxable income, not on assets. If he owns the house himself and makes no profit from the sale, child support payments should be unaffected.

  46. Dianna
    | Reply

    I feel this site is a little unethical, although I do see the need given child support agency’s incompetancy or lack of resources. I am a child support recipient and I bet I have had more interactions than all these people put together. I have children who are at the end of the assessment period era and I am grateful for this. We have basically been in conflict since the kids were 1 and 3. I have had court proceedings, many tribunals, and private agreement (which ex initiated and then took me to court to try and have set aside). Even had the child support agency flying interstate to be at our hearing they were not even a party to. Had incorrect legal advice in writing to from the CSA, a case in their personal services for years. If you are putting out advice, please ensure in each and every statement, consider the children and what this support is meant for. Child support minimisation strategies are unethical. Maybe suggestions on how to get the children better cared for or the money in the hands of where the children benefit are more appropriate, noting some recipients are not fit parents, and some are.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you think more child support is such a great thing, then you have a narrow world view. What about the fact that the median income of a child support recipient is below the self-support threshold, i.e. below $25k? And the fact that 65% of the kids involved rarely, if ever, see their father? Along with the shocking suicide rates for divorced fathers, those are the biggest issues with the system. And exactly how does increasing child support solve any of these problems? It doesn’t at all, and tends to make the problems worse. You have your own story you can tell but I’m sticking by my ethical standards. I started this thing to help kids and save lives and I believe it’s working. The solution is to get appropriate amounts of support distributed in a way that doesn’t cause parents to do things that are harmful to children, such as not working, hiding income or alienating the other parent.

      • Adam
        | Reply

        Bloody well said.

      • James
        | Reply

        Andrew. Agree completely. The Court system, allied with the CSA system, sets up conflict, with the children as financial bargaining chips, using care arrangements as the first line of offence to win the “battle”. The reality is that the Court errs on the side of care with the mother and it becomes all downhill from there. It splits apart family units (specifically family units of separated parents, as they are still a unit notwithstanding the adult relationship has broken down, because the child remains – or should be – the core of that family unit), causing inequality and bitterness and it is toxic. The parents suffer (usually one considerably more than the other, depending on the circumstances, mother or father) but more importantly it’s the children that subconsciously absorb the impacts of mum/dad hostility from a young age. The kids love both their mum and dad unconditionally, but see nothing but dysfunction which by a large margin is the fault of an unnecessarily adversarial system. It’s a system set up to succeed at achieving tick-the-box calculations and set up to fail in addressing what is In the Best Interests of the Children (the irony of that term in the context of the last wholesale review is not lost on me).

  47. tom
    | Reply

    my ex girlfriends mother has our daughter we have been seperated for 6 years but it seems im the only one that has to pay her mother child support how does this work out

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      With these sorts of issues, I generally believe it’s not the job of a parent to concern themselves with the other parent’s finances and use of family, etc. Whatever the arrangements, you still pay based on the fact that you’re not providing the care.

  48. Brian
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew I’m 57 six years ago I found out the 2 children I reared are not mine through DNA I know there all grown up now but can I sue the both x wife & lover as children don’t talk to me now an I’ve wasted 30 years of my life in this

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Sorry to hear about your story. Very sad.

      This is a legal question unrelated to child support that I’m not qualified to answer. But I’m guessing that you may possibly struggle due to the difficulty of (a) proving the actions of the other parties were calculated and (b) putting a dollar and cents figure on the cost to you. A judge might consider that you benefited from the experience of being a father to the children for so many years and that the subsequent falling out was unrelated to the parentage issue.

      You might want to do some research (looking at actual cases) before considering whether to seek professional legal advice.

  49. Martin
    | Reply

    Hi.my wife absconded Aus and took my kids without my permission to uk and isn’t returning.i have an abduction case against her at the moment for the return but now im paying 100% CS although i had no control over the situation.is there anything i can do as its not my decision not to see my kids but CSA don’t seem to care

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Just telling your story here might help others. An important part of our reform proposal is that court orders for parenting time must be honoured.

      I believe a parent abducting children only increases the payments to the parent with some delay. But, as you’ve experienced, beyond that, Child Support only care about actual care levels. They ignore criminal behaviour in this area, as child support legislation actually requires them to do.

      If you get any new orders or evidence to indicate that the children should be in your care, submit a change of care form and provide supporting documentation. That might at least puts the onus on the mother to prove that she is still illegally holding the kids.

  50. Connor
    | Reply

    Hi

    My father owes my mother over $10,000 in child support. He is supposed to be paying via private collect but we are scared if we switch to child support collects he will try to make our lives miserable. What can we do?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Given there is conflict, I would have thought that going through Child Support (the Dept of Social Services) for payment collection would be easier over the long run. That way, they deal with each parent rather than the parents having to communicate with one another.

  51. brian fitzgerald
    | Reply

    Andrew
    I’ve been caught in a situation where i couldn’t pay child support for 2 years but now in a position to start paying the debt back (some $70K owing) – not something i’m proud of
    I wont go into depth on the reasons but would have lost a house (as CSA pymt was $3200 p.m and mortgage was $6800 p.m.) and my monthly income couldn’t afford both
    This relationship ended 1 year ago and since then I tried to get a settlement from proceeds of the house (legal fees $40K+) but failed and didn’t get a result due to further cost of legal fees to go to trial in court (another $60K).
    I am 58 years old and everything i had financially was tied up in the previous relationship / house and i have come away with nothing except the clothes on my back
    I was hoping this settlement of $120K would have helped me pay off this debt in one go
    How do i approach the CSA now and discuss a reasonable plan to repay this money?
    I am worried penalties plus the $70K debt will make the monthly repayments untenable as i try to regain financial security
    i want to pay it back and want to do the right thing – just need some guidance
    Brian

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re on exactly the right track with what you’re saying. The Child Support debt collection people are reasonable. They just want to make sure debts are paid. I’d outline your situation to them over the phone and ask if it would be possible for you to agree to a plan to pay off the debt fairly quickly in return for relief from any penalties.

  52. Darren
    | Reply

    I think there is a formula problem with Child Support. If we both make the same amount and have equal nights care, I pay child support. Also, I noticed if we make the same amount and the mother has a child from previous relationship, I have to pay extra because she gets a tax credit lowering her income. These are things I noticed. What do you suggest?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support shouldn’t be payable if you have equal nights and earn the same. The amount must be small.

      More dependents for a child support participant raises the self-support threshold, thereby providing a child support advantage.

      Not sure what you’re asking. Our proposal is for child support to not be payable when care is 50:50, irrespective of incomes. As well, child support wouldn’t be affected by the number of dependents the other parent has.

  53. Leigh
    | Reply

    My husband and I are still in the family court after 4 years, it’s a nightmare.

    A week before our wedding his x decided that we could have two of his three children live with us full time ( plus my two ). We received $530 CS for 40 weeks of full time care from her.
    One of the children has gone back to her and we are paying her a lot more CS than we received. We still have one child living with us full time yet she is demanding we pay all travel costs to see the other children. Do we need to pay any additional cost if we are paying her CS for two and we do not receive any financial help from her for the child living with us?

    Thank you

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s customary to go halves in travel costs, such as by taking turns. Child Support do not get involved in these matters except where travel costs are a large percentage of a parent’s income, in which case the costs can be counted as credit towards child support liabilities.

      https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/6/7

      • Bachleigh@icloud.com
        | Reply

        Thank you Andrew.

        Should we let child support know that we are paying half travel costs and get a reduction in the child support we pay?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Travel costs need to account for at least 5% of income I believe. Not sure if you reach this threshold and may not get anything if other parent also paying. Can be advantageous to pay all travel costs to get above the level. To get credit, you need to apply for a Change of Assessment (high costs reason).

  54. Luke
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Please advise how CSA access a distribution from a Family Trust to a beneficiary that is a parent. I know that a Family Trust distribution can form part of the parent’s adjustable taxable income, but does the CSA just access the grossed up 100% fully franked distribution amount or do they access this amount less Refundable Tax Offsets, i.e. 100% Franking Credits, as shown in an Income Tax Return?

    Like some parents here, I receive wages and the occasional Family Trust distribution.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Note that this really is a tax question and I’m not an accountant. I believe the amount added to your taxable income is the pre-tax or gross dividend. For example, if you receive $100 as a fully franked dividend from a large company, the gross dividend is $100 / (1 – company tax rate) = 100 / (1 – 0.3) = $142.86. That was the dividend before the company paid tax on it. So, your income for child support purposes goes up by more than you might expect. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Luke
        | Reply

        Well you also need to allow for the imputed tax credit to reduce the income tax payable on a distribution.
        So my question is, how does CSA access the distribution, before or after the tax credit is applied?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          I think I’ve already answered the question. Child Support are focused on a parent’s (gross) taxable income and I’ve explained how that is calculated with respect to dividends. Why would they care about the imputed tax credit? That’s not part of the formula as such.

  55. Nat
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, My Partner works full time and has realised that the estimate he earns is meant to be gross not after tax amount, so after finding this out it seems he has to pay ALOT more which is based off a income where he does overtime which he does say 60-70% off the time depending on how busy they are.Would we be safe to do our estimate on his set weekly hours which is standard 40 hours full time week or are we meant to base it on when it does overtime which is can do a extra possible 6-10 hours extra a week sometimes?Thanks so much

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      If you are putting in an income estimate, you should normally be conservative (estimate slightly on the low side) to avoid overpaying.

      Note that you should not put in any income estimate for the current year if there is a strong chance your income will be higher than last financial year. By putting in an estimate, Child Support will ultimately use your actual income for the year rather than last year’s income.

  56. Darlene
    | Reply

    Hi my ex has only ever had to pay minimum cs as hardly works. Last year he got a good paying job but of course lost it in January due to covid, so he’s been back on centrelink for most of this year. How will the new assessment go this year as he won’t be working? Will they take into account he now has no job? I’m worried I’ll end up with a centrelink debt over money I will never get from him. Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child Support will take into account the fact that he’s not working, meaning you may receive little money from him. Any changes to his income for child support purposes are forward looking, meaning they only apply after Child Support is informed or otherwise gains new information. That makes it unlikely you will be hit with an unexpected bill.

      • Darlene
        | Reply

        Thank you Andrew that’s a huge relief

  57. jadasm@hotmail.com
    | Reply

    My youngest turned 18, ex still owes $24,000 in arrears. What happens now, what is the process?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Read further down … But, in short, an 18th birthday has no impact on debt collection.

  58. Paul
    | Reply

    My ex and I are in the middle of a custody battle with mediation unsuccessful there is an interim parenting arrangement until court. I currently have the children 21% (4days/fortnight) as part of the arrangement. I have paid her CS for the last 2 years without fail and provided extra assistance with medical and school expenses when needed.

    I have written proof that she was willing to give me 50:50 care via email. She also stated that she was planning on returning to part time, which was all going swimmingly, until the financial settlement was finalised.

    Out of spite and bitterness she as now backflipped and refused to increase care or return work. She has also recently threatened to relocate and stated she will be moving our kids out of their current school (which we both reside near). This will not only cause disruption to our children’s schooling environment, but will make mine and my partners work schedule difficult to work around/ drop off pickups harder. Im hoping the courts will see this as being obstructive and not in the best interest of the children. However, I know this is more a legal matter but will impact child support ultimately. Is there anything I can do to prevent her from relocating our kids and making significant changes to their schooling? There are no court orders currently in place and she has the greater care percentage. I feel hopeless and she is not only making it more difficult to see my kids dictating, but is dictating my place of residence and work life.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You’re right: this is a legal question. The Court can quickly put interim orders in place that expressly forbid her from taking the kids away. Please seek legal advice.

  59. Heather
    | Reply

    I am paying child support and would like to undertake further study, which would be fully claimable as a tax deduction. While I would still be working full time, I’m just wondering whether the payment for my course fees will simply be added back to calculate my child support. If they are, I probably won’t be able to afford to do further study, which will mean that I cannot further my career (and ultimately increase my capacity to provide for my children / whatever the system). Do you have any advice around how this will be assessed?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The self-education expenses should be treated as routine work-related tax deductions, meaning Child Support shouldn’t add them back on to taxable income.

  60. Charlotte
    | Reply

    My mum won’t pay child support and hasn’t since my parents split up. My dad,(who has my sister and I), is struggling financially and we really need the support from my mum. She doesn’t even call or see us. I really want to help my dad, but I can’t do anything about it because I’m only 13. I feel really upset and I just want my dad to have enough money to pay for next week’s groceries. He didn’t go to university (and doesn’t want to) so he works minimum wage. My dad tries his best but my mum’s not paying anywhere near as much money as she needs to. Does anyone know what I can do? I think that the financial situation here at home is very bad and I want my dad to have a proper job. I know there’s nothing I can do. Can anyone give me any advice?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Don’t think there is much you can do to increase the money coming in unfortunately apart from doing some work yourself if possible (e.g. babysitting, helping a relative with chores for pocket-money, etc).

      You may be able to help save money though, in small ways that can add up. For example: eat oats or Weet-Bix for breakfast, help with cooking meals instead of getting take-away (e.g. offer to do mashed potatoes), make sandwiches for lunch, shop for specials on clothes you need, find activities to do in your local area instead of driving, etc. Living well doesn’t require spending all the time.

  61. Cooper
    | Reply

    Hi. My ex is now on his second lot of school holidays failing to have our child for half the holidays. He has only had our child 2 nights in each holidays when he is meant to have 8 in each holidays. His child support is based on percentage of care. I have just got a new assessment and he has failed to tell them his amount of care has dropped. Should I be calling CS? Will this be back paid in CS?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      First check whether his “days off” would actually affect the assessment. Only matters if you have shared care (at least 35% care each). https://guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide/2/4/5

      Changes in care levels are forward looking, meaning Child Support won’t normally backdate.

  62. Dave Thorne
    | Reply

    Any idea if and when the Proposed New Formula will come into effect ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The Family Law Inquiry Committee knows about our proposal. If they recommend it be considered by government, the new formula (or something like it) could be in place in a few years or so.

  63. Robert Wells
    | Reply

    my 18/19 financial year income was 122K. 19/20 will be 128k as our roster increased over COVID. that has now finished and ill earn 122k again. so im guessing my estimate will be 122k until i do my tax return which is 128k. if my next yearly income is 122k but my estimate is 128k, will i be in credit for paying too much? how does that work?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Getting confusing with all the estimates. 2020-21 will ultimately be based on your 2019-20 income unless you put in an estimate. Doing an estimate will prevent you overpaying. But you’re only supposed to submit an estimate if you expect an income drop of 15% or more.

      After everything is reconciled: (i) the income setting for 2020-21 is normally the actual income you earned in 2019-20 (ii) putting in an estimate for 2020-21 means the income setting will become the higher of your estimate and actual income for that year.

  64. Bron
    | Reply

    My ex owed over $5k in CS by the time CS started garnishing his pay. After they took that first debit he “lost his job due to covid” and changed his annual estimate to $0.
    Questions:
    – How can CS accept $0? It is impossible for someone to live on $0!
    – Why is evidence not required to support such a drastic change.. $110k down to $0!
    – Even without “any” income, he receives rental income from his investment property. This would all have been declared previously so why cant CS request he proge that he doesn’t receive this income?
    Lastly, we are about to go through the process of trying to reach a financial settlement, if his bank statements prove he has been working, what happens then? Would I need to provide the bank statement as evidence so the assessment is backdated? In these circumstances, how can CS, being a government agency, not charge for fraud?
    Thanks for any advice.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You may want to ask Child Support to review this. Income estimates are for the whole financial year. If you lose your job during the year, all income earned til then still counts. They shouldn’t have accepted the estimate.

      See what the new assessments are for 2020-21. You can apply for a Change of Assessment (Earning Capacity) if he continues putting in low-ball estimates.

  65. Jill Esdaile-Watts
    | Reply

    Hello
    I’m bemused as a large sum of money ($7,000) was deposited into my account last Friday. It is interesting that after 30 years of not getting anything from my 4 children’s father, I started getting $50/fortnight at the beginning of the year, then this! Do I get a letter of explanation from the CSA or a phone call? Thanks in advance. J

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Congratulations. The father probably has come into some money. Child support debts remain until paid.

  66. Abe
    | Reply

    I currently pay child support for my 7yo. My ex partner has recently had a new baby and is in a relationship with the new dad. To show how flawed the system is, my child support went up 20% for no other reason then her having a new dependent. Surely the new father would be expected to meet any rise in household costs due to the new baby.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have heard many complaints about how an ex having a baby increases child support, meaning you pay for a child that is not yours. Payments also go up because the parent normally cuts back work hours as well.

      This problem would be solved in two ways if our reform proposals were implemented: (1) the self-support concept would be dropped and (2) the receiving parent’s income would not be part of the calculations.

  67. Mark
    | Reply

    What I don’t understand about child support payment is that the payment isn’t deducted from the taxable income. Eg. Of you make $100k
    And the other makes $20k the difference is $80K, but the payment should be calculated after the child support is deducted eg. If the annual payment is $8k then that should be take away from the 80k.

    As child support isn’t income and it’s not profit, then it should be either deducted from the payer or added to the payee.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support is simply a cash transfer based on each parent’s taxable income. It’s done in a post-tax world. Nothing wrong with that really. But you could argue the payment rates are too high considering with how little income is left after tax, especially with one parent paying much more tax than the other.

  68. Nikki
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew.
    My partner has a child to his narcissistic ex who does not let him have any contact with him whatsoever.We have recently bought a house together and currently also going through the family court system to gain access to him which is costing us thousands. He pays for private school aswell as 100% child support (which he did have 20% of then she purposely changed to gain more $. My questions are, if we ever sell or decide to lease our property can she touch that money even though its mine aswell? And also can CSA take inconsideration the private school amount he pays which is fairly expensive? Thanks!

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Assets such as property aren’t normally part of child support calculations. Only income matters (which includes any capital gains from selling assets, and rental income).

      Private school fees can count towards child support and the other parent can be required to contribute through a Change of Assessment. It’s important to demonstrate that the other parent was involved in the decision for the child to attend a private school (i.e. your partner didn’t volunteer to be responsible for paying for the fees prior to the child attending).

      • Nikki
        | Reply

        What if they paid half each for the private school for the last 3 years? Even though he did not want to he still did to keep peace. Can that still be included in child support than?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Don’t think Child Support would give special credit for school fee payments. They can review the circumstances and each parent’s financial means. But, by the sounds of it, each parent paying half the fees sounds about right.

  69. Pang
    | Reply

    My ex has changed his estimate to lower so he pays less due to covid. He has now gotten a new job that he has been working at for 2 weeks. As he is a volatile character i dont want to call cs and they will call him. Will this be rectified whem he does his tax return? Will i get the money im owed then? Will the estimate automatically change when ato/tax time gets involved??

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t have to do anything here. Not your business to manage your ex’s income estimates.

      For 2019-20, the final payment amount will be based on the higher of his income estimate and the income on his tax return.

      For 2020-21, his income for child support will be the same as for 2019-20.

  70. Ju
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I am currently paying child support that is calculated on my previous year taxable income. I want to apply for a change of assessment since my hours of work are now reduced.

    My question is: What happens if I inform that I will earn $110K but instead I ended up earning $120K or $130K (because I decided to do some overtime)? I know they will deduct from my tax return anything I owe, but do they charge my a fine or somenthing else on top of the owed money?

    Thank you.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Have heard plenty of concerns from people about penalties, etc for underestimating income but don’t think it really happens. About the worst thing that could occur is that you struggle paying off the debt once the correct payment amounts for past periods are calculated. Can’t see any problems with moderately underestimating income.

  71. Pina
    | Reply

    My partner pays for the mortgage on the house his kids, ex wife and her new husband reside. Settlement is yet to be agreed upon. When he realised the ex started redrawing on this mortgage, 20k over 6months, he blocked it. She hasn’t allowed him access to the kids since and has also gone to CS. He now pays mortgage of 700 week and 840 a week for CS and doesn’t even get to see the boys. We know CS doesn’t seem to care the children are being used for her financial gain but can the mortgage payments go towards CS? We have provided loan documents and statements to C S but the ex says the mortgage is for their investment property and CS believes her lies over documents proving otherwise. What can we do? Great Service.. hope to God the CS laws change soon

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      This should just be an accounting issue if the divorce settlement hasn’t been made and if everything is properly taken into account. But I’d be trying really hard to separate financial affairs as quickly as possible. Selling is the cleanest option.

      Mortgage payments can count towards child support but there should be clear documentation and, preferably, agreement that it is a form of support. Looks like that isn’t the case here, so you probably won’t get anywhere with Child Support.

  72. Annon
    | Reply

    My partner was tricked into being a sperm donor by an older woman when he was younger.

    He stupidly took the bait and had a 3 night fling with this woman over the period of a few months and unfortunately was too intoxicated to know what was going on. Yes, he was stupid.

    The woman has been quoted as saying “I was approaching 40 and I wanted a baby and I wanted his DNA”.

    When CSA tracked him down he demanded a DNA test which came back positive. CSA and Legal Aid sent threatening letters to take him to court to pay child support and made him sign a stat declaration.

    Fast forward 10 years he has seen the child sporadically as he moved interstate before she was born. The woman has never returned back to full-time work and ensures she earns below the threshold so she gets the maximum child support amount.

    We recently moved interstate near the child and since then the mother has not let him see the child. She is stating the child is confused and emotionally distraught not having a father around all the time and states she is currently taking the child to see a psychologist. We believe this has all come about for the purpose of her ensuring we do not seek care so her payments are not reduced.

    Question I have:
    What can be done to change the legislation so women do not do this to men in the future?

    I believe child support should only be paid if the father was in a relationship with the mother so women do not do this.

    I believe the government is incentivising women not to work and to use/ trick/ trap men for financial gain.

    These children don’t know why they don’t have a father stated on their birth certificates, absent during their childhoods, and to be told their mothers were never in a relationship with the father. I can’t imagine what these children go through.

    It has to stop. When is the government going to wake up and realise the system they created to protect children is doing the most damage. It’s creating generations of women not gaining employment, children not having fathers, and men being financially drained, alienated and emotionally ruined.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Understand what you’re saying, but don’t think you can get away from the argument that men must take responsibility for their actions that cause offspring to be brought into the world. The children have no say in it.

      The new formula we are proposing would lessen incentives for unscrupulous women to go down the unfortunate path of bludging off the system and men. The incomes of receivers would be excluded from calculations, thereby removing work disincentives. Working women tend to be more open to sharing care responsibilities.

  73. Jennifer T. Delagarde
    | Reply

    I want to asked if I can file a petition to the court of me having financial hardship and my child needs a proper living .we are still processing for letter of administration and seem difficult to get the grant and we don’t have capacity financially to sustain a living .how about my child is it better to protect the child share than to give the child a decent living food ,shelter ?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Hard to understand what is happening here. You should allow the other parent or someone else to look after the child if you can’t do so properly yourself. But you should obviously keep in close contact with the child while you work towards improving your finances.

  74. Tegan
    | Reply

    Hi,

    My husband pays child support and has 50/50. Due to our situation his child support at times can be basically nothing. In turn we have be happy to go halves in bills, such as schooling. Since she should not be slugged with the full costs – being fair here. However we are now in the position that we are paying child support. The ex has said she is only paying half of the schooling fees as that’s how it is and to contact CS if we don’t like it. . . Can we pay the bill and claim it on CS or does she have to agree?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Both parents are responsible for paying for school fees because, given the history here, both have effectively agreed to the child(ren) attending the school. Your husband should just pay his half of the fees.

      • Tegan
        | Reply

        But doesn’t child support calculate public schooling fees into the payment?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          I was assuming the school fees in question were large, private-school fees — in which case, Child Support could be involved as part of a Change of Assessment. But, because the fees are just for public school, Child Support could care less about them. Not their responsibility.

          Child support payments are not for anything specific. It’s a cash transfer that is normally independent of everything else.

          Parents have to work out spending between themselves. For a 50:50 care arrangement, the natural starting point is that you go halves in things. But what spending decisions parents make is for them to work out. If parents can’t agree, the next option might be mediation.

  75. Jennifer
    | Reply

    My ex husband has continually over the last ten years found ways to avoid paying or minimising the amount of CS to be paid. When we first divorced he worked cash in hand for a friend and was only paying the minimum amount. Then he went for a couple of years not submitting his tax return. The last few years he has been attempting to get his New wife residency so he has had to abide by tax laws and report all earnings to prove that he can financially support her. So he has been reporting his earnings in excess of $100k. Now this year he underreported that he was only going to earn $55k and had in fact earned in excess of $110k, this has resulted in myself getting a FA debt for Family tax A being overpaid to me. Which is hard for me as I have always claimed the correct income and now I am being punished as he did the wrong thing. I have worked full time the whole ten years and have always had roughly the same income, between $60-85k per annum and I have always paid for all extra expenses being braces, schooling etc even though I have earned less than him and have never asked for additional funds from him. Now this year he has advised the CSA that I will have 100% care of our son even though he will continue to see him fortnightly. I am very concerned as he has always financially found ways to hurt me. I don’t want to agree to his new arrangement with CS as I am worried that he will turn around at the end of next year and demand me pay him CS for the time that he is spending with our son. What game is he playing as he has always tried to avoid paying CS in the past but now he is willing to pay 100% and it smells rotten? PS I have changed my family tax A to be paid at the end of financial year as well as I don’t want another debt incurred because of his false reporting. I try to do the right thing by our child financially and am trying to get ahead in life but he still wants to control me even though he has remarried and I am still single. Any advice in the right direction would be appreciated.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Looks like he is claiming to have no independents or something. A bit strange, as you noted.

      But all looks safe to me. If and when he wants to increase his care % again, they won’t backdate the assessment. Care changes can only take effect from when Child Support is notified.

  76. NikiB
    | Reply

    Currently dealing with parasites at Qld public trustee regarding my late father’s estate of which over $4k child support owed (to him) is listed as an “asset”. Child in question is 21 and will be 30 by the time the arrears is paid in full at a repayment plan rate of less than $21/fn!
    Although deceased estates are exempt from (trust) tax returns for the first 5 years, the incompetence at Redcliffe see fit to charge the estate $120 p.a. for trust tax return not required advice to the ATO. My question: As a beneficiary, is there any way I can get the child support owed to the estate be “forgiven” or waved, so the estate can be wound up and I don’t have to deal with PT any longer than necessary?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The receiving parent can choose to end a child support case. You may have trouble doing the same.

      Would have thought an accounting method could be used. You need to effect an asset transfer and get the money going into a bank account that sits outside the estate. Obviously, you need to contact Child Support and see what is possible and what paperwork they need.

  77. Keith
    | Reply

    I have two children with my ex and two with my current wife. My current wife and I both work full-time and send our kids to daycare five days a week. I am considering dropping to 4 days a week and looking after the kids one day a week as daycare is very expensive. This would mean a 20% drop in my income. In your experience do you think that this could create any COA Reason 8 issues for me? Or is looking after young kids an accepted reason (for a man)?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Looking after pre-schoolers always lets mums get away with not working. So, I think you should be safe even if the mother applies for a COA.

  78. Ash
    | Reply

    Hi, Andrew.
    My husband has a private child support contract with his ex through their private lawyers. Based on the contract, he will have to pay regardless of his job security or new family situation etc. Now with the coronavirus, he earns 20% less than before and became a part-timer at work. We will have a baby next year ourselves, and I am hoping the amount of money can be rearranged either through him or possibly myself. I can see very clearly that the ex will say no and become crazy about the replacement of the contract- but is there anything ‘I’ can do about? The contract is saying that my husband can’t change it- so I’d like to do something about it if necessary.

    My husband already bought his children and her a 4bedroom unit. She has brought 2 differnt guys so far to live ther with her and kids. We haven’t complained about that at all, but now probably we should. Can we get rent from any other non-essential tennents she brings in?

    She is doing a lot of private lessons, cash-in-hand, so not paying tax. Though she does tax job too- so the government only considers her tax job.

    Can I report somewhere her cash job as well?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      A deal is a deal. She has no obligation to re-negotiate and I can’t see that you have anything to offer her. You probably should just forget about this and move on.

  79. Dave
    | Reply

    My wife just had a new assessment. Despite her providing DHS showing her business (she owns 50%) made a net profit of $120k up to feb but her income has been assessed at only $30k. I have the kids 6 nights a fortnight and pay $800 to her a fortnight. Her business pays for her car and other personal costs. Even if i assume she is on govt benefits only, after i pay 4 days daycare a fortnight (she has 2 day care days) and i pay her child support, she has $500 extra cashflow for all other costs than me each fortnight. 2 complaints really. 1) how has her income been assessed so low by dhs 2) how can i (assessed ~160k) have less in my pocket each fortnight, after child support and day care, than someone who doesnt work. She is also up on domestic violence charges yet i feel i am being made out to be the criminal.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The child support formula is failing you. Payment amounts are way too high considering your income and care level profile. This would be fixed if our proposed new formula were introduced.

      You’re right about the sexism. Child Support do crazy things with business income when a male payer runs a business. But don’t know if the $30k income level is fair or not. Nothing child support can do about any dodgy tax accounting. Her income wouldn’t matter under our reform proposal.

      It is effectively govt policy at the moment that men only are responsible for domestic violence. If children are involved, suggest you try to make it all about protecting them.

  80. Dee
    | Reply

    My child will turn 18 at the end of the year, she will be going to uni next year.
    I have heard cs payments continue if the child still studies.
    1) how do we assure this happens
    2) does csa still collect /garnish his wage (as per current arrangement)

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Payments only continue until the end of Year 12, not university, etc.

      • Karen
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew, I love your initiative, nice one, thank you for your efforts!
        I’ve been trying to find out what happens with the $16K debt the other parent owes to me when our youngest turns 18 in a few months. I was told by CSA many years ago that the debt would persist until paid off, but I don’t know whether CSA/ServicesAustralia will try to collect it as they do now. Do you know?

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Thanks Karen. Yes, the debt will remain on their books until paid. Your child turning 18 doesn’t really change anything. Automatic debt collection methods, such as confiscating tax refunds and adding interest penalties, will continue. I don’t imagine Child Support will take the initiative to try and chase up the debt harder than that. You may want to push them a little when you can be bothered. They can, for example, clear money out of bank accounts if they have the account details.

        • Karen
          | Reply

          Hi again, what a surprise; CSA responded within a few days to my emailed question about debts.

          They said that after my youngest is 18, CSA will continue to collect money (when possible) in the same way as they do now. and they will continue to send any they get to me in the same way as now. They will do this until the debt is paid off.

          At the moment I am actually getting some small regular payments that look like they are being taken out of Job Seeker, so it’s excellent that this might continue for a while. If he manages to stay on Job Seeker, then at this rate the debt will be paid off in 13 years.

  81. KM
    | Reply

    I recently had my child support calculated based on both our earnings, although I think the amount is unfair as he earns $25,000 more and also only has child for 14% of the time and the amount of child support I receive as a full time mother and full time worker is just ridiculous.
    I also found it extremely unfair to have my pay details sent to my ex partner when it should be confidential- if child support require this information to calculate the amount paid – that’s fine and understandable but I was shocked to see that my ex was sent my earnings in a letter to him. He has no right to that information and child support have no right to share my personal and private information like that with my EX.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Child support is based on income. If it weren’t disclosed, you could estimate the amount from the assessments anyway.

      You’re not getting that much because 14% care is some magical mark where payers suddenly get credit for a huge chunk of the costs of children.

      • Anon please
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew, Re putting money in silver, platinum or gold bullion now and then not withdrawing for next 10 years when children turn 18 to use towards uni expenses: what is the ATO and CSA’s role in their income calculations? I mean, will they find out if we put money into bullion? Will ATO/AUSTRAC report investment in bullion to the CSA and then, will CSA use it to increase CSA payments by the investor? Thanks Andrew.

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Investments affect child support payments only to the extent that they affect taxable income. When capital gains are realised (such as when you sell stocks for a profit), that adds to taxable income. But just leaving money in an asset without selling normally doesn’t enter Child Support’s radar.

  82. John-Paul Griffiths
    | Reply

    Hi just a question about Mother’s dodging paying child support to fathers I raised my daughter from the age of 6 till she was a adult her mother did not see her at all through this time she avoided paying child support buy ringing and telling them her income is 0 every financial year I tried to put in a change of assessment but most of the information regarding her employer where she lived etc I had no idea. Child support would tell me they are unable to do anything without that information, this woman was making 100000 a year and would never do her tax return and dodge child support for 12 years. I would ask child support can’t you just contact the Australian tax office and get more information and apparently they can not. This just shows how one-sided this child support scam is .

    I’m looking at taking legal action but I am unsure because now my daughter is 18 and child support tells me there is nothing they can do about it is this correct?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Not sure on this one. Check with Child Support if the case is still open. Specifically, ask what would happen is she submitted all her old tax returns now? Would that generate a debt for her, or have they effectively closed the case?

      You could still take legal action anyway.

      Note: Out proposed reforms would have prevented this from happening. She would have been moved onto a higher child support income until such time that she submitted all her tax returns.

  83. Kahu.p.murray@gmail.com
    | Reply

    Hi, I was subjected to a RE-assessment due to going from full time work to an invalidity pension. During my transitional phase I was asked to provide 12 months of my bank statements (which I did) and also a future statement from my Super fund detailing how much I was going to get paid from a certain date onwards (which was 75% of my full wage when I had to retire for medical reasons caused by my employment. Even though I provided all the information requested, the CSA delegate estimated my income to be 90k when I clearly provided information to substantiate my future income was approx $65k as it was a pension, also I received approx $13 per F/N as a incapacity compensation payment. Whist on the phone with the CSA delegate he stated Quote-“how do I now that your not just hiding other income”? I was furious that he implied that I was being fraudulent based only on his assumption and abruptly told him that I have provided everything you asked me to and was now expected to disprove his theory when such correspondence did not exist. He made his decision to lock in my child support at 90k for 2 years and told me to appeal if I wanted to but his decision is final. So, I then appealed the decision to the AAT, (I was slightly late with my appeal as I was hospitalised for 4 weeks due to health non physical conditions (work related). I was contacted by the AAT (female, name unknown) and I was informed by her that because I had redrawn from my super under hardship to pay for family lawyers and a new CSA debt because I had to back pay on my new “imaginary income of 90k” in that financial year that it would incur another substatial debt and her recommendation was to withdraw my appeal for face a big debt and fines for under paying. Needless to say, I, involuntarily ended up back in hospital for some time.

    Apologies for the long explanation.

    So my question is how can I have this addressed and can I request an audit be done to remedy my over payment and applying credit to my CSA account? For 2 years, my tax returns were garnished from me in excess of 11k for a debt that I should never have incurred. Thanks in advance for any advice.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Too late to do anything now. With regular appeal processes exhausted, the higher income you were assessed at is locked in until the Change of Assessment expires.

  84. Cheers
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew, the formulae for assessing child support seems to be skewed heavily towards a public servant. As in, a constant pay cycle year in, year out without consideration for variance in monetary gains. Is there any sort of method for a PAYG scheme, where you are able to make your appropriate payments (not trying to avoid, just trying to live) on a pro-rata basis. Working in the construction industry I honestly have no idea what I am expected to make month to month, let alone year to year. (Can make 4k one month and 16 another) …surely it is understandable that this does not allow me to invest in my & my children’s future, but instead condemns an otherwise good earner onto living hand by mouth.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      3 things you can do to handle pay fluctuations (i) bank savings when you get a chance to cover tougher times (ii) submit a conservative estimate of annual income at the start of each financial year and do another estimate once you pass it and (iii) if you have to go into debt, negotiate with the debt collection people at Child Support to pay it off over time (so they waive penalty interest fees).

  85. Luna Brennan
    | Reply

    Has this happened to anyone or any advice ?I was supposed to be receiving child support from the time my partner and I had split up from the age of 2 years to the age of 7. His father finally contacted me to change child support payments though I had not received a single cent throughout that time after contacting child support they had told me it was being paid into an incorrect account I had called child support numerous times as the amount was roughly $1700. They had stated to me the amount had gone into an account and I’d need to contact the bank as it was their issue.I contacted the bank and they had directed be back to child support as they could not do anything to due to privacy of the customer the funds had been deposited in. I then recontacted child support and explained I had gone into the branch and informed them of what I was told,they had said there’s nothing they could do and it there lies with the bank essentially being redirected continually from one to the other

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Highly unusual situation: for payments to be going into the wrong person’s bank account over many years. You need to find out how this error happened. You could try asking Child Support for any documents on the bank details that were supplied to them. If it was their fault, then they ought to be responsible for getting the money to you. If it was your fault, you may not be able to get the money back. I would be holding Child Support responsible in the absence of any info to the contrary. Note that I’m not a lawyer and don’t know the full details of this case.

    • Ash
      | Reply

      Luna, this happened to me also. Very frustrating.

  86. Shane
    | Reply

    My husband ex has been living 750km apart from one child whilst poorly caring for another , but claiming 100% care for both. We know she has lived away from one child since July last year. The oldest child is living alone 17years old in her housing commission home whilst she lives at her parents place with the other child practically in a different state. We reported her to csa and about a month ago my husband received a call from the CSA to say his ex was going to terminate one child’s payment . We didn’t pursue it further and waited 6 weeks for their investigation to complete The decision has come in writing today that she is still in 100% care of both children . It was basically one line saying the care rate will stay the same. It is currently self collect , paying less than the CSA rate , because she is obtaining Money elsewhere and not declaring it. but she is now obviously going to go through CSA after this decision which will now be $530 a week instead of $380. We want to know what evidence she would have had to produce. Would she have had to supply school enrolment details if we requested CSA to supply this for the investigation? We know she is residing there through family members but they are under 18 and they can’t be used for statements. Can we get a copy of the voice recording of the phone call received from the CSA saying she was going to terminate one child’s payments ? Can we be told what evidence has been produced for them to come to that decision ? Can her bank statements be requested by them to prove she has been in the area consistently ? Can they tell me if my son has been receiving Jobseeker allowance .? We will be objecting , purely for the principle that we know she has had less than 35% care in the last financial year and is a snake in the grass. She has supplied evidence , but we don’t know what she has produced to help dispute the CSA deciding in her favour. Any info on objecting this decision will be greatly appreciated. This woman has used child support money to buy breast implants in the past and has rorted the system for years , working cash in hand . Enough is enough and my husband has always buckled. He has no contact with either child because of her , the whole situation is revolting and we just want a fair go which seems to be impossible after reading some of these posts. Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I agree with Child Support’s decision based on the info you’ve given. You should let this go and do something more useful.

      She doesn’t have to be with the children at all times in order to be responsible for their care in a financial sense. Getting help from family is normally a good thing. She is putting a roof over their heads. Your husband has 0% care, which is why he must pay the full amount.

  87. Adrian
    | Reply

    We have 50/50 custody in practice but not paper.

    My issue is that the system gives my ex-wife no incentive to work. She works casually, even though she has been offered full time positions. The income disparity means that she receives large child care payments, which are close to what she would earn if she worked full-time. So why bother?

    Couple this with the large financial settlement from the divorce, which she chose to not use to buy a house and instead she can “afford” to go on holiday to Spain, Bali and Mount Hotham all in the one year.

    In the meantime, I have to work full-time to to recover from the financial settlement and to continue to support myself and my children.

    The harder I work, the more I pay.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      At least you’ve got 50:50 custody. Reduces payments significantly, though you wouldn’t pay anything at all under our proposed new formula.

  88. Cynthia Wong
    | Reply

    Me and my ex separated since last June. We have 3 kids. We separarte because he was addicted to gamble. he never pay us Child support. From the beginning he need pay 3 kids around 700 each month.
    However, He reported that he didn’t work since this Jan2020. But actually he was working as Uber driver all the time. Now in child support own as around 4000, call child support many times they said will follow the employer for us. But since he is Über driver which make things more difficult. What should I do? How can I can my money back?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I believe his Uber income will automatically be reported to the Australian Taxation Office by Uber. The income should be known by Child Support when he does a tax return. You should get your money eventually without having to do anything.

  89. Chris
    | Reply

    This whole child support thing along with the processes of the Family law courts is disgusting and i’m sure there would be a lot of Fathers that would agree.
    I fought for equal custody of my Twin girls and and the door was slammed in my face on every occasion by a lot of these so called professionals who make decisions based on a meeting of an hour or so on the outcome of your time spent with your kids.

    You go to court and spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a fair result and get screwed over by the system and on top of that you have to pay ridiculous amounts of child support .

    The whole child support should be based on if you win in court with custody in a normal open and shut case scenario ,no drugs ,no violence etc just plain and simple it should be a matter of you pay for them when you have them in your care and if you loose you pay for their care when you have them it should in a case of for example you win and have 9 days a fortnight and you sir have 5 days a fortnight but still have to pay ridiculous amounts of money even though you’ve lost .
    It’s bullshit . Needs a massive overhaul that’s for sure.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Chris – This is a very common story unfortunately. Judges tend to be conservative and hold the totally incorrect view that shared parenting is only appropriate if everything between the parents is just fine (which is essentially never the case if you’re in court). Hence, they rarely award 50/50 shared care. All the professionals you encounter in the system know this. They also serve the judge in some sense (since the judge decides not just cases but also what legal and other services are to be ordered). Hence, to keep things between them and the judge smooth, everyone works towards a pre-determined outcome where the mother (if she appears half-competent) gets majority care.

      Child support is based on a ridiculous formula that starts with the fantasy assumption that the parents and children are together in the same home as an intact family. As a result, parents share their incomes as if they were together. When the formula was introduced, exactly zero consideration was given to the possibility that parents could profit from child support and might do things to increase their profits. Thus, we routinely get unfair outcomes that are damaging to children. What has happened to you and your girls was always destined to happen once you were assigned to your particular judge.

      • Chris
        | Reply

        Hi Andrew,
        Thanks for your feedback mate it’s interesting to read.
        The whole system is very misguided and so out of touch but what can you you do unless you have a tonne of money to waste in court a lot of guys are going to be continually let down by the system and therefore miss out on a lot of valuable time in their kids lives its sad for Dads and even more sad for the kids..

  90. Brendan
    | Reply

    hi,
    Im no longer with my ex wife and we are now divorced.
    Because i’m not in that relationship anymore i have been able to get in front financially and have saved some money to invest in shares/CFDs which has increased in value a lot.
    Is there a way I can not get this extra included in my Child support assessment?
    I think it is unfair just because I take the risk with my money and invested it, i shouldn’t be punished by having to give her more. I have given her enough through our settlement. We have 50/50 care and always have.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Having up and down years in terms of assessable income has child support advantages. Income can be estimated early in the down years to avoid overpaying.

  91. Jenn
    | Reply

    Hi,
    What happens in a situation where you’re paying more child support than you should be as the child’s mother is working but has not declared it? Have spoken to child support on phone but they said they cannot do anything about it from this end as she has to declare it. It is cash work but these payments are based on her not working.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Within reason, there is nothing you can personally do to prevent tax avoidance by other parent.

  92. Something needs to change
    | Reply

    I would like to know why my daughter’s father owes over 18,000 in child support and this has been going on for 13 years and it’s still going up. He can buy a brand new car and boat. But can’t pay his outstanding child support. Why are you not doing anything???

  93. Ange
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Can you please help us to understand what happens at the end of the CSA assessment period when the child turns 18 and there is no further extension or payments. Does the CSA finish at the exact time of the last payment, or only when the final tax return for the FY June 30 has been reconciled after the payments stop? If both parents don’t lodge returns for some time after this period, is there a possibility of an overpayment or underpayment at the time at which the payments stop? I suppose my question is, when does this ordeal officially really end?

    Thanks

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      The ordeal normally ends after the child has turned 18 and finished secondary education and all payments have been made. But, as I understand it, re-assessments of payments could happen because the case will still be in the system. For true finality, you probably need the receiving parent to apply to end the case. Search “terminating events” for more info.

  94. Sylvia
    | Reply

    Hi, I am a single mother working as a teacher trying to support my children. I am amazed at how many men are complaining on this site that they feel ripped off by child support. I am sure more men rip the system off than women!In my experience, my x has found the loopholes so I only receive $16/month! I have 100% care because he refuses to even have his child overnight. He is a plasterer and works cash in hand. He claims he only earns $22 000/year. I know he earns over $80 000 /year. He has recently bought a $70 000 car as well. What can I do to convince CS (and the ATO) that he is ripping them off as well as his children?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      I think you’ll find that the men who are complaining on this site normally have very legitimate complaints. Characters such as your ex tend not to make themselves known.

      You could make a Change of Assessment application but probably won’t get very far given the circumstances of the case and because he probably won’t provide necessary financial info. Hence, I don’t think there is much you can do.

      Our reform proposals would help in your case, and many others, by setting income benchmarks that can be applied when participants fail to do the right thing.

      • Ashleigh
        | Reply

        I think you would be surprised at how many men are very manipulative and convincing but in reality are abusers and selfish and don’t want to take responsibility. It’s your child, contribute to making your child’s life better.

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          Men can be dishonest. There are also plenty of women who play the victim. People should be judged by their actions.

  95. Drew
    | Reply

    Hi Andrew,
    Not a question but a comment…wanted to pick up on some advice you gave a little while back on salary packaging and child support.
    You gave the advice that salary packaging does not have an impact upon CSA payments…..it definitely does.! Some of your readers won’t be too familiar with the notion of salary packaging so I’ll spell this out……
    Salary packaging essentially is remuneration for your labour that is spent PRIOR to the assessment of income for tax calculation. That’s technical so to explain further…..
    Let’s say you earn $100,000 per year with no packaging and no deductions…..from that you pay $25,000 tax.
    ( Keeping these figures ’round’ for ease of understanding).
    In terms of child support CSA calculate your payments based on an assessable income of $100,000. Pretty simple so far.

    Salary packaging complicates matters….
    Say I choose to salary package my home loan repayments (can do actually as I work for a benevolent hospital) to the sum of $18,000 per year.
    My assessable income for taxation purposes has dramatically dropped and the benefits to me is a taxable income far lower and I pay less tax. I am not actually earning more money but I am paying less tax.

    CSA however don’t just look at your taxable income…..”reportable fringe benefits” on your group certificate will show the total amount of benefits that was taken as pre-taxable income.

    CSA calculate your child support payments NOT just based upon reportable fringe benefits plus taxable income but on the financial benefits (tax savings) as well.

    Someone earning $100,000 but salary packaging $18,000 will be paying child support based roughly on a figure of about $107,000.
    The figure higher than the $100,000 is made up of the tax savings which is added to my CSA calculation despite it not being part of my assessable income for tax.

    I have heard of some very high income earners (eg FIFO workers on $190,000 that can for instance package huge costs such as fortnightly car rental and their 26 flights a year ) getting shocked when CSA assesses their child support income as much as $35,000 beyond what they actually earn.

    My advice would not be to don’t do it….on the contrary…..in actual fact because of the rates of tax versus child support technically both parties remain better off with the payer getting a higher tax savings than what they have to pay in child support and the payee getting more money.

    Just be aware it definitely does impact child support calculations.

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Thanks for this explanation of how salary packaging increases a payer’s child support payments (but may be worth doing for general tax advantages).

  96. Daniel Vernon
    | Reply

    I have been out of child support payments cents January 2020, I now have received a 57000 dollar bill from child support.
    Now they say I owe this money for the child, now she is 18 she does not live with her mother but I owe the mother this money ??
    The mother has never had a job in 18 years and I have always paid child support.
    is there anything I can do to lower this amount ??

  97. Julia
    | Reply

    What happens when the payee doesn’t submit a tax return, and then eventually does when the ATO catches up with them? Is there an adjustment or credit for the payer?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      There should be backdating once tax returns are eventually submitted, with an adjustment in favour of the payer. I think the payee would be required to make payments.

    • Nicole K
      | Reply

      My ex hasnt lodged his tax in 16+ years. He owes me almost $60k in CS based on “provisional ” estimates. When he finally does his tax he will owe me alot more as he is a FIFO worker and has been for years. Retrieving those payments via CS is another story. As soon as CS catch up with him. His leaves his job and starts a new one to avoid his wage being garnished. The debt never leaves him. If it has to come out of his superannutaion I will wait. Our daughter is 20 this year. I’ve not recieved a payment or any financial help from him since she was 4.

    • Karen
      | Reply

      Hi Julia, I was in the same position as you. After 4 years, my ex eventually submitted a tax return (to get the Rudd government stimulus package in 2009). The CSA recalculated what he should have been paying and raised a $25K debt. He did not pay the debt. I did get around $1000 at the time, which was the refund the ATO owed him. Sorry to hear you are in the same situation as me, it sucks.

  98. Sara
    | Reply

    If the courts remove parental responsibility, am I still liable to pay child support

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      You don’t stop being a parent because of a custody order. Child support is still payable.

      • Sara
        | Reply

        Bugger, was hoping he wouldn’t be force to pay when neither chose to be in this situation.
        Definitely not fair on him.

  99. Dave
    | Reply

    I recently lost my job due to COVID19 and have done and estimate for this financial year.
    My income before was about $120k and I was paying support based on this.

    This year, my taxable income will be $85k due to the loss of job.

    If as of 01/07, I estimate my income again (because I am still unemployed) and then later gain employment at $120k per year, do I have to tell CSA that I’m earning $120k again, or will they revert back to the $85k that I will earn this year…

    I don’t want to stitch myself up if I obtain employment a few weeks into the next financial year and not get the benefit of the $85k that I should be assessed on

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      It’s simple really.

      If your income drops, do an income estimate immediately. And do another at the start of the next financial year.

      If your income rises, do nothing.

      • Dave
        | Reply

        The problem is that if I estimate my income down to $25k (centrelink) and then my income goes back to $120k, and I don’t re-estimate up, not only will I need to back pay, I’ll also be charged a penalty.

        Obviously I don’t mind paying the support at the $85k I earnt this year if I’m back at $120k next year, but I don’t want to risk having to pay 11 months at $120k if I make an estimate for 1 month at $25k.

        • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
          | Reply

          I should say that you need to manage things once you have done an estimate for the current financial year. You can do a new estimate at any time of your expected income across the financial year. Child Support will normally forgive any penalties that might be imposed if you are seen to be cooperating (e.g. by doing another, more accurate estimate before the end of the financial year).

  100. Ivan
    | Reply

    I am thinking about paying one years worth of child-support in one lump sum. This would be about $4000. We are registered as collect so I would be paying this to the child support agency. This would be a convenience for me, but are there any negatives associated with a lump sum payment? Would it be assumed that I have a lot of money and open up a can of worms?

    • Andrew Lancaster (admin)
      | Reply

      Is it really convenient for you? Takes less than a minute to set up a monthly payment online.

      Never smart to pay a lump sum. Something may happen to reduce your payments and you may struggle to get the money back once it’s handed over.

Leave a Reply

Your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *