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C$A...and the destrcution they cause

Have been a payer of child support for some 4 1/2 years now, never missed a payment when it was via a private agreement.

My x has now cancelled the current private agreement we had in place.. Again, not behind and paying her nearly $ 2200 per month.

Working away I had a good income and with children in their last year of primary school I can no longer justify working away as I have and would miss out

on so much.

My x was working about 30 hours per week however now I have returned to the city she has cut her hours back to 15 per week, contacted the C$A and requested they

start collecting child support…again I have never missed a payment, she got it like clock work as I set a an automated direct debt.

2 months ago, I took a job back in the city and negotiated conditions whereby I can start later and finish earlier in the week that I 'hoped' to have more care of my children and then do more hours when I don't have the children…. An incredibly understanding employer who very much demonstrated their corporate commitment to family friendly policies.

That aside, working back in the city has come with a significant drop in income, so here in starts the problem.

I updated x paid her child support based on the C$A calculator and also told my x that I am seeking even time care, something I have been doing for the 4 1/2 years working away.

She won't agree to it, so I have commenced medication as the system won't allow me to file to court to have an application for care. The mediation process is likely to take another 7 to 11 months.. I will say here, there is no history of family violence or anything like that, just a professional hard working Dad who loves his children and wants to that a greater part in their lives as they finish primary and about to move into an important schooling period.

C$A have now sent an assessment and are using the income I was earning whilst working away. Despite  providing them with the circumstances with the change in my income, they won't budget..and are now threatening..(well I guess the fact they have put it in a letter, its not really a threat… that they are now going to take the month assessment amount

out of my monthly salary. My projection, in about 7 months, I will have used my saving to pay my mortgage.

Now, Whilst I fully accept my obligation to pay child support, even with even time care, the calculator sees an amount of about $880, to which I can manage $ 1000 per month,

However, with the inflated income which I am no longer earning (and again I have paid child support without fail whilst I was earning the higher amount) I can only either sell my house to reduce my cost of living or try and increase my nights of care.

The X will not agree to any nights in extra care, the C$A say without a court order or parenting plan in place they will base on what she says it is. (Note: i did have a signed parenting plan in place for 5 nights per fortnight, but it was changed, she added some conditions to which I didn;t agree to so the new copy wasn't signed, however I had care at the level outlined but C$A are accepting her account which is less at 3 nights… You wouldn't believe (although I'm sure some will) what the C$A has asked for me to do to prove my level of care, statements from my neighbours, any friends that see the children with me, statement from their school stating I drop off pick up etc, statements from any activities I take them to etc. I have to jump through hoops, yet they simply accept her account which is incorrect by 2 nights per fortnight.

So, here is the kicker, given the length of medication (to which I don't see her budging) and the Lent of time C$A takes with their " you need to fill in one of these forms" approach. I am seriously considering on my care, next week just before the end I will inform the x she need not attend as I wont be making the kids available to collect until after my intended 7 nights of care.

Now, i know this is a radical step but the C$A'a aggressive approach in continuing with an income I no longer earn, I will look to call them every day so they can see the children are with me. Also, I will say before anyone says think about what is in the best interest of the children, both write letters drawing etc say they miss there Dad and was to spend more time with me, Might  sound bias but true, I have reached a point if I am going to pay through the nose, I may as well spend it with my children.

I now the following week it may back fire, but I am hoping it will encourage the X to come to the negotiating table as well as report to the C$A what my correct care levels are being 5 nights (hoping to move to 7 nights) but C$A has accepted her claim of 3 nights per week.

I welcome any constructive guidance only which I know some will provide, would it be wise to do this.

A TryHardDad at his wits end.
Wow! a lot to take in…..

I feel your pain.
I can read between the lines based on her behavior.

You need to get intimately familiar with the C$A and its working, so you can stand half a chance.

I'd start by putting in a COA on her capacity to earn as her reducing her hours from 30 to 15 isn't on and she needs to treated the same as a Payer who does this - the C$A go for the throat when a Payer does this.

You, on the other hand, should be able to submit an Estimate based on your new wage.
She will probably do the same to you (submit a COA or objection to the Estimate), but your payments should drop (until the objection is heard) and any any extra payments you've made will eventually get credited back.
Above all, STICK TO YOUR GUNS!!
C$A will attempt to wear you down.
Eventually your Group Certificate will reflect what your current wage is and there can be no further argument.

If there are no Orders for Care of the children in place (ie lodged with the Court), then IN THEORY, you can withhold the children BUT please consider these two points:
1. will it distress the children, both then and in future?
2. You will be considered to have done the wrong thing - even if she did the same, you are still considered to be in the wrong.
It is NOT fair and biased towards the female!
If she did it, no action would be taken, if you did it, the Police may very well knock on your door!

Probably the best advice I've received from my Barrister is to "play the long game" - consider the long term and dont focus on now.
It's hard and tough to hear/accept, but it is good advice.

HTH
I too have been a victim of the "inflated income" tactic.

I earned good money, but I was working 60+ hours a week driving a 45 tonne tanker. I started to have severe fatigue problems and would briefly doze off at the wheel a couple of times a week. I needed an easier job.

The problem was, I needed the hours to pay the C$A. I had no mortgage or any other debts, just rent and utilities and general expenses such as food, fuel etc. When I contacted the C$A and explained my situation, they said in order to have my assessment lowered, I needed "proof" in the form of the last 3 months of payslips. So in other words, if I took on an easier job with less pay, I still had to meet the same payments for the next 3 months.

Around 2 months after this, I witnessed a car pull out in front of a B-double I was following on the highway which resulted in the two occupants of the car being killed. At that point, I knew this game of Russian Roulette had to stop, so I sold my beloved XB coupe that I had since I was a teenager, and used nearly $4000 to pay off the C$A for 3 months so I could get a job on easy street working only 40 hours a week.

Don't be fooled into thinking that you can solve your C$A induced financial problems by earning more money - it's a trap. That's exactly what they want you to believe, and once you do, they own your soul and it is VERY hard to get out of it. The funny thing is, in the last few years, the Federal Government has introduced new laws targetting fatigue and the "pushing" of heavy vehicle drivers, yet that is exactly what they do themselves. The worst thing is, if you play their game and end up falling asleep and killing someone, they will not be held responsible at all - it's all YOUR fault.
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