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International Child Support - UK/Australia

CSA mismanagement of international income and DPO initiation

My  was child relocated from Oz to the UK under Australian Family Court orders. The orders included standard guarantees such as contact in UK and Oz, phone calls, health and education communications etc. All parties in this matter were Australian citizens. Relocation was not an ideal situation but orders were orders and they were all I had to rely on after self representing.
Once in the UK the other parents income was not included in the assessment as they claimed they were not working. The CSA asked the other parent if they were working and they accepted the small estimate provided by the UK parent. The UK parent did not lodge an Australian tax return for five years and when the provisional income amount automatically kicked in they phoned CSA on three occasions and asked for it to be dropped from the average male earnings to the estimate. The court later exposed that the UK parents Australian income was much greater but was hidden from the CSA. The UK parent also claimed they did not lodge and did not have to lodge a UK tax return but this was never checked by the CSA even though they promised to.
The UK parent refused to deliver the child to Australia for contact and then lodged a COA to demand the time I had not spent with the child for that contact period be claimed in child support. A subsequent COA and SSAT appeal lodged by me based on a number of issues including high contact costs was mismanaged and denied by the SSAT. The COA and SSAT processes proved to be unprofessional, biased and mismanaged.
Because of the UK parents low income my child support payments doubled to an amount I could not manage, save for contact or maintain myself. The CSA also claimed the back amount for the obstructed contact thus  all my savings I was planning to use for flights to the UK for contact was gone. I could not earn enough to make the child support payments and save for contact. The debt to the CSA grew considerably. Threats of garnishing and Departure Prohibition Orders were made against me without the CSA considering the actual facts of the issue or responding to my concerns about the orders and contact.
I applied to the court for a stay order, however the CSA demanded I have one in place within 14 days of serving the other party in the UK! The court registrar was incensed I was asked to do this.
I managed miraculously to get the issues before a Magistrate and the child support and new consent orders were painstakingly working out (against much opposition from the UK parent) to a fair and manageable amount based on the high contact costs restricting contact.
The new binding child support agreement and consent orders were registered with the CSA and about a month later the CSA commenced a DPO process against me based on the level of debt I carried  and a conversation I had with a CSA officer trying to arrange a non wage garnishing payment arrangement because I was thinking about travelling to the UK for a period of time to be close to my child now that I was free of the high payments. At not time did I tell the CSA I was not going to pay, nor that I was planning to abscond. The CSA attitude toward me was aggressive and action was swift to put the DPO in place.

The CSA only stopped the DPO process when it was pointed out that there were registered orders in place and a binding child support agreement setting out the payment amounts agreed by all parties.  The officer commenced the agressive DPO without knowing there were orders! This new information came as a revelation to the CSA officer just after she threatened me with a change to my assessment amounts (increase) if the CSA investigated and found that I had “taken a out a big mortgage or purchased a flash car”. The officer was very aggressive toward me. The recording of this conversation is like a procedural train wreck and must have been a moment of extreme embarrassment for the CSA officer involved.

It is evident from what happened to my family that there are no reciprocal tax agreements between the UK and Australia. Any claim from the CSA to the contrary are misleading. The CSA never advised me of any process I should undertake or commence to ensure the process and assessment were fairly and accurately managed by all parties and both parties incomes were fully considered. In effect the CSA tore up and ignored the orders my child and I were relying on. We missed out on an enormous chunk of contact that has had huge ramifications for our relationship.

The CSA have recently told me that what occurred was my responsibility not theirs. I disagree. A 'reasonable expectation' that the CSA manage the assessment fairly and appropriately is a sound basis to make decisions about ones family.

This situation can’t be isolated. Is there anyone else out there this has happened to?

I believe parents who are fearful their children might be relocated overseas need to be aware the CSA approaches these cases this way and that the Australian orders have no weight outside Australian jurisdiction. Once your child is out of Australia you are lost.

Contact with anyone else who has experienced this would be appreciated.
Reading your story make me realise why so many parents can find it all too hard and give up trying to see their kids. You can always make a claim against them for defective administration via the CDDA scheme.

same but different

I feel for you.
My situation has led me here and although not yet as complex as yours the impact on every aspect of life cannot be underestimated. I'm unable to advise you as I'm looking myself but in essence here is a summary.

Separation 5 years ago. 2 children. All Australian residents and both children born here. 2 years after split the mum wanted to take them to the uk for 6 months.
In the disarray that led up to it I agreed.
After a week of being there she decided to move there. I didn't know I had a choice so I wrote an email which is now construed as long term agreement to this situation. I since found out that without a signed document to that effect it is against the geneva convention to remove the children without any just cause and without the agreement. It's an abuse of human rights. When I took advice on this I was told the court looks upon the situation less sympathetically after a year, and in my case I have not defaulted on any payments. I did nothing only seeing that it would bring more pain.
I am paying $1500 cs and 500 into a savings account ( the last written agreement was for $2000 prior to the move  - I decided to change this to the above last year.)
Since I now have no physical access I find the situation intolerable - especially trying to maintain a healthy relationship to my kids. It's a miracle this is as strong as it is.
I would prefer to pay all this money into a savings or trust account so that it eventually gets solely to the children.
Or do I fight to have them returned.
To move to the uk will create far more financial insecurity for my children. I have had a steady good income for 15 years in a niche industry.
I have no complaints of her mothering at all. But the financial burden of support and the impact of trying to relocate and retrain or enter a new career is fraught with complexity.
Basically speaking I'm paying too much for too little and it has to change.
Respect and thoughts to you
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