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Change in Child Support

Hi All

At present I have what the court terms shared care which equates to 128 nights per year.  In 2004 when my orders were finalised by the court the CSA appraised my payments at about $1,060 per month for 2 children (5 & 7).

Late 2007 I had some extra nights and so I informed CSA who then reviewed my payments and discovered that they had incorrectly placed me as shared care (pay 18% of gross) when in fact I had major care (now pay 22% of gross) and my payments have just increased to $1,375 per month overnight.  This is a huge rise and is impacting my wife and I.

Also recently my X has moved and increased driving time for pickups from 30 minutes to 2 hours round trip.  She has also breached the order 3 times in the last 6 months.  One breach is due in court at the end of February and I am currently lodging the other two.

What I would like to know is what avenues I have to reducing this amount of child support as its a huge burden that far exceeds any reasonable cost of raising children.

The frustrating thing is the X and her new husband earn a large amount under his business but on paper she earns only $24,000 per year and therefore is not considered in child support.  Yet I get a $10,000 pay rise which the X gets $2,200, the government get $4,900 leaving me with $2,900.  I also have to buy school uniforms, clothes and all the other items of life because she supplies nothing, but continually demands more money.

Is there anything I can do such as claim cost of travel?

Thanks in advance.
Reason 1 for a change of assessment is if it costs the applicant more then 5% of their child support income to have contact with their children.

Not sure if this will help you, as it would have to be done via a change of assessment.

Is the driving shared? or do you have to do it all?

Driving is 50/50 at present.

Based on my current payment of $1,325 I would have to account for $66.25 per month before making a claim.

This is easy, as to get to pick up the kids on time I have drive in and parking alone costs me $15 per week.

If I add in $15 in petrol per week it would cost me over $120 just for pickups.

Can you take a percentage of vehicle servicing etc in the claim?
Hmmm, maybe we need someone with more experience on the topic to have a look at this one.

For reason one, it needs to be 5% of the income, so the amount the CSA deams as your income to be assessed for CSA purposes (ie your gross pay - self-supported amount = CSA income amount or thereabouts). I don't think is it based on the amount you actually pay. But i might be wrong.

I would guess that if the driving is shared, you may not be able to use reason one, or at best, your ex will also claim reason one as well, therefore cancelling each other out.

Did you agree to her moving. Do you have orders in place that refer to what happened if one moves. Do the orders mention who is to do the driving?

If that were me, since she moved, she has to do all the extra driving, why should you drive further cause she decided to move? (but i am putting that in our orders, so it will be binding)

If the breach(s) is(are) in relation to missed time, you could ask the court to award you make up time and additional time on top of that, to get you back over the threshold for CSA shared care.

If you are paying for all those items for the children, do the court orders say you need to? Do you have an agreement about this with the ex?

Would she agree to have these things recognised as non-agency payments (payments you make to pay for things that benefit the children that don't go through CSA directly)? This would bring your payments down a bit, but she would have to agree to having these things recognised. (it pretty much means you are paying for these things in lieu of CSA payments, i think you can do this for a certain % of your payments, so it wont reduce it completely)

The other option is wait for the new changes to go thought to CSA payments. They become official as oj July this year, but most people should be getting a new assessment some time after March. This could bring your payments down (might also make them go up, no-one really knows what will happen at the moment)

Other then that, reporting her (and her partner) anonymously to the ATO?

I would like someone else to verify this, but if you do a 'change of assessment' (would have to be under another reason, maybe 8?) would the CSA not look at her AND her partners income?

I do believe they look at both sides income and both sides partners income (if applicable)?
The orders do not stipulate who drives etc.

However she recently moved which added over an hour to the drive times.

The is nothing in the orders specifying who pay what.

My x is very unstable and every thing is about control.  I doubt she would agree to any thing.

I could try both 1 & 8 and see what happens.  At present I am paying the full amount.

You could try that. But maybe call the CSA anonymously, and ask give them a hypothetical situation (ie your situation without telling them who you are). Ask them, if you were to put in for a Change of Assessment, if they would look at both your ex's income and that of her partners.

Be warned, Change of Assessments can go both ways. It may go in your favour, but it also had the potential to go in her favour. The CSA will look at both sides income and expenses, (and if i am correct the income and expenses of both partners), and make a decision as to what they think should be paid based on that information.

I don't know a lot about exactly how it works, maybe someone else on here can explain a little bit more. Or call the CSA and ask them, just don't give them your name etc, just ask as a hypothetical situation.

May be worth the wait for the new changes to go through, and then to make a decision after that as to if you will still need to think about doing a 'change of assessment'.

I still would push that your ex is the one who has to do the extra driving as she was the one that moved. If you had been the one that moved, would she do the same for you? But in the end only you know your ex, and what you should do in your situation.
When our orders were made the magistrate did include who would be picking and dropping off etc.

It doesn't seem fair that she move and you pay.

I'm thinking of moving but I considered doing 50/50 as the ex does all driving to.
In my experience only your ex's income and not that of her partners will be taken in to account in any CSA assessment.

Legislation states that you and your partner are the only ones responsible for any children of your marriage and regardless of income provided by your ex's new partner.  The 5% used in asessing contact costs is 5% of your child support income, so if you pay more than 5% of your child support income you may have a case to get a percentage of this as a deduction to your child support liability. This can get messy as often the CSA will ask you to provide receipts to show your costs to excercise contact, they will often need these for a long period before they will change your assessment.  Usually they will suggest this is done AFTER the contact has taken place and under the rules of change of assessment.
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