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Can I ask ex to pay 50% of school fees?

I have paid 100% of school fees for 8 years. It is no longer affordable for me to keep paying. Can I ask for 50% from her father?

I have paid 100% of my daughter's private school fees for the last 8 years. Her father has never contributed even though he is a much higher income earner than I am. He has never objected to her private education, he just thinks it's great that he doesn't have to pay for it.
As I said, he is a high income earner (proxy 400,000 per year).
I now have different financial circumstances and would like to know if I can put in a Change of Circumstances request to ask for 50% of the school fees.
He currently pays around $650 per month in child support. School fees are around $25,000 per year so I know he will be angry.
He has two other children. I'm not sure where they go to school as they are very young. Our verbal agreement was always that our daughter would be privately educated for high school, but I have no written proof.

Do you think there is any chance? I would hate to have to pull her out of school. I'm guessing that his other children are at the very least booked in for private education for their high school years - but how could I prove it? Would he have to declare this if asked by the CSA?

Thanks you for reading.
For someone on that kind of income to be only paying $650pm means your income must be incredibly high too? What is the time split situation?

Nothing i say should be taken as legal advice. I am not a Lawyer. If i help you it is of your own free choice to listen to what i say or not. I do not create documents for you. I do not represent you…. Purple Monkey Dishwasher
You can ask the other parent unless there is some sort of order preventing you from doing so.
You can also apply under a reason 3 departure from administrative assessment (aka change of assessment).

However, for the latter, there has to be evidence of the expectation of both parents for this manner of education, this would appear to be unlikely as you say the other parent has never paid any fees and due to the 8 years being longer than the time at a level of school so that rules out if the child were attending the school at the time of separation being evidence. as per If the parents had an expectation that the child should attend a particular type of primary school, the Registrar will not presume that the same expectation automatically applies to a similar type of secondary school.

The other children are irrelevant other than they are considered in the formula as relevant dependants i.e. their cost is taken into consideration, based upon the same calculations for determining the costs of children but only considering the other parent's taxable income. Because, the other parent has the same responsibility to provide for those children.

The CS Guide - 2.6.9 Reason 3 - High Costs of Caring for, Educating or Training the Child in the Manner Expected by the Parents :-

Extract from the CS Guide - 2.6.9 Reason 3 - High Costs of Caring for, Educating or Training the Child in the Manner Expected by the Parents said
Is the child being cared for, educated or trained in a manner expected by his or her parents?

The most common application for this reason involves the payment of private school fees and whether the child is being educated in a manner expected by the parents. However, this reason can apply to education and/or training outside the school environment.

The consideration is not limited to private school fees. Other costs may also be considered where they are above what would normally be incurred, and the way the parents intended to care for, educate, or train the child involves the incurring of these additional costs. For example, the costs of uniforms or computer requirements of some private schools may be significantly higher than would be incurred at a state school.

In cases involving school fees and other associated costs, the Registrar will generally determine whether both parents agreed to the child being educated in the way outlined in the application. The Registrar will also consider the financial situation of both parents. The fact that a payer can afford to pay the fees, or is a wealthy person, is not in itself a reason for imposing a liability to contribute to school fees (Mee v Ferguson (1986) FLC 91-716).

Where a parent agreed to the child attending a private school they will be liable to contribute to the fees to the extent that they have the financial capacity. Where a parent has not agreed to the child attending a private school they will not be liable to contribute to the fees unless there are reasons relating to the child's welfare that mean that the child should attend a private school (and the costs would then relate to the child's special needs - see Reason 2 (2.6.8)).

In deciding whether the reason is established the Registrar will consider the type of education intended by both parents for the child, rather than any particular school intended by the parents (Wild v Ballard (1997) FLC 92-771).

The Registrar will also consider the circumstances at the time of separation. If the child was attending a particular private school, or was participating in a particular extracurricular activity, then this element will usually be established. If not, evidence of the parents' expectation would need to be provided, e.g. the payment of fees, evidence of joint enrolment, contribution towards a scholarship fund to pay private school fees. The parents' expectation can be created at any time, not just during the period that the parents lived together.

If the parents had an expectation that the child should attend a particular type of primary school, the Registrar will not presume that the same expectation automatically applies to a similar type of secondary school.

When considering the parents' expectations, the Registrar will take into account all relevant evidence. In some cases, evidence may exist that clearly indicates that the parents jointly intended to educate their child in the private school system. However, if more recent evidence indicates that the parents' expectations have changed, the older evidence may be irrelevant.

For example, prior to separation, the parents enrol their child in a private school and that evidence is provided to the Registrar in support of an application for a change under Reason 3. The other parent responds to the application and provides a copy of a parenting plan that the parents entered into after separation. The parenting plan clearly states that the child will be educated at a public school, thereby providing more recent evidence about the parents' expectations regarding schooling. In this instance, the reason would not be established.


The Wolf said
For someone on that kind of income to be only paying $650pm means your income must be incredibly high too? What is the time split situation?

The level of care could be a factor.

At below 14% (no care) the split would be around 400,000 to 887,000 for the 650 per month.
At regular care 14-34% the split would be 400,000 to 335,000.
At 50% care the split would be 400,00 to 118,500.
Note! the assumption is that there are no other relevant dependant children other than the two mentioned.

Of course The fact that a payer can afford to pay the fees, or is a wealthy person, is not in itself a reason for imposing a liability to contribute to school fees (Mee v Ferguson (1986) FLC 91-716). makes the split a moot point.

Last edit: by Dev_MikeT

Thanks for your replies.
We have been living abroad in a country that is not under the jurisdiction of the CSA. That's why the payment is very low ($650 per month). It's the amount that was offered and, as he has no legal obligation to pay anything, it is also what I accepted.
However, we have now moved back to Australia. I cannot face another fight through the courts, administrative tribunals etc, so I have not asked for a re-assessment at this stage. He has a history of litigious behaviour.
Regarding other children, I thought I had read somewhere that there is an assumption that all children should be cared for equally. Therefor, he is educating other children privately - or he intends to do so for high school - should this be a problem?

I have honestly done everything in my power to limit my need to accept any money from this man. He has never contributed much and only ever sees his child when I deliver the child to his door. He only spends about 2 days a year with the child (at my expense).
pulsar88 said
Regarding other children, I thought I had read somewhere that there is an assumption that all children should be cared for equally.

That could be interpreted many ways for example that a child should have equal time with it's parents. As far as child support is concerned I don't believe that is the case at all. For example an under 13 child will receive less than a child who is 13 or over. Of course a non-cs child is not protected(sic) at all until perhaps abuse by neglect is found to have been perpetrated.

Children who are subject to being wards of the state are perhaps the worst treated of all, yet the state is the signatory to the rights of the child.

pulsar88 said
Therefor, he is educating other children privately - or he intends to do so for high school - should this be a problem?

I believe that this argument would not stand at all as the children are of a different family. Assuming it weren't rejected, then how would you then argue against your argument being applied, due to 2/3rds of the children being cared for by 100% of the time by the other parent, as that the 3rd child should be treated equally and thus be cared for 100% by the other parent?

pulsar88 said
 I cannot face another fight through the courts, administrative tribunals etc, so I have not asked for a re-assessment at this stage.

I'm confused, there is the greatest likelihood of the potential for court/administrative tribunals if you embark on a reason 3 change of assessment than if you opted for assessment.

Assessment is not subject to much, if any, potential for courts/administrative tribunals either it applies or not, it's basically a matter of a few boxes being ticked, hence why an agency of pen pushers can push the pens. If there were pens pushed wrongly then all that would happen is you would be informed of any objection.

It would not be re-assessment as there can be no case when a child is no longer present in Australia or an Australian citizen not ordinarily resident in Australia. However, if the payee does not reside in Australia then the child not being present in Australia is sufficient for termination of a case.

pulsar88 said
I have honestly done everything in my power to limit my need to accept any money from this man.
Of course an argument to contradict this is that you would not have wasted the money moving to and from countries, and perhaps more compelling to a dubious country that is not one that has a reciprocal agreement, as most do.

Of course by stating that you moved to another, again dubious country, greatly decreases any chance of the expected manner of education being agreed upon.

pulsar88 said
He has never contributed much and only ever sees his child when I deliver the child to his door.
As previously explained with actual amounts, it is highly likely, that the $650 per month was well in excess of the amount formula based assessment would have resulted in.

Furthermore, considering that in 2016-2017 the CSA assisted in the transfer of 3.5 billion (private(thus assessed amount) and CSA collect) for 1.2 million children Child support transfers that works out as an average annual payment of $2917 or $243 per month, you were being paid the pittance of 2.7 times the average CS paid per child.
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