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Change of Assessment - CSA not determing earning capacity

Being screwed - big time


I am about to receive a decision from Child Support Agency that they are unable to determine the other party's earning capacity and reject my CoA application. Background first, then questions for anyone reading - I would really appreciate some practical experience:
  • Child Support Agency will only use tax returns since the CSA case started in 2011. The other party has an extensive work history including being a retail store manager and project officer and worked in between our two children being born and prior to separation
  • The other party has run an art business since 2001 never provided an income and been a source of tax deductions
  • Three years after separation and not working or studying, the other party was forced off Single Parent Pension onto Newstart, they then decided to study a double-diploma for two years and have now said to CSA that they did so to start another business making hand-made cosmetics and works part-time in a book shop
  • The other party refused to disclose any payslips or make any submission in writing during the CoA
  • I have my wonderful kids basically 50/50
  • The other party got 70% of everything in separation and can obviously pay their bills and mortgage on Newstart, FTB and my child support, they would have between 300-400k in equity in their home (from separation)
  • My mortgage is huge and have not made a dent in it for 5.5 years - I would have nowhere near even half that equity in my home
  • Their decision is that they cannot determine an earning capacity and that the other party studied to start their new business (which I am pretty sure is registered with the NEIS Centrelink scheme) and supporting that with part-time work in a bookshop is fine
  • That the other party be allowed 12 months to demonstrate a profit in their business
  • Today the decision manager rang to get my gross salary (rather than what is in the system which is post tax) which will increase child support as a result of seeking just and equitable child support (seriously?!)
  • I have written to CSA stating if they use my pre-tax salary and increase child support and they do not use the other party's pre-tax earnings from last year I will make a complaint
My questions are:
  • Is it reasonable for me to expect the other party to work close to full-time given they have an extensive work history prior to separation but circumstances have allowed them to essentially manipulate the welfare system to date?
  • Is it possible to obtain a highest tax return prior to separation and use that (with or without indexation it would still be higher than $23k!) as their earning capacity?
  • Is it reasonable for the other party to be spending so much time and energy on a business that has a tiny turnover and will no way be a source of income for child support purposes and support that with part-time work? In other words, the business is just like the other business since 2011, a noble hobby but could be working more paid hours
  • Is it reasonable for me to suggest that the other party is using the business as a means to avoid full-time employment?
  • Is it reasonable to obtain payslips (noting they have refused to cooperation other than verbally) and calculate hourly rate X (say) 37.5 hours a week as their actual earning capacity if CSA will not consider the longer term work history?
  • Are CSA able to be so selective and use only my pre-tax salary and not the other party's after the phone call today? I wrote and said if I do not see the other party's pre-tax income from last year as their income in the change as of assessment that is now looming, I would make a complaint and get my MP to seek reason for such bias.
  • Is it reasonable for the CSA to allow the other party 12 months to demonstrate the business is running a profit even though that might be (say) $500/year and still receive welfare, work part-time, FTB and child support?
I appreciate no one can force the other party to work more in paid employment, and why would they on such a good wicket?! But I cannot move forward in life while I pay so much in spousal maintenance (it has not been child support for years).

Note: I struggled to get a house after separation and as such am unable to afford the kids the same standard of living as the other parent, so the purpose of child support is also being ridiculed.

Am I so stupid to believe that just and equitable child support may eventuate if I object? I acknowledge the child support program is very much weighted in the payee's favour, but what about when the payer is doing all they can and the payee does not?

I am perplexed. Grateful for any responses and hope this made sense!
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