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Clarification on Care Percentages

Just wanting some clarificaiton regarding CSA determining care percentages.  Partner's ex has notified CSA that the children are 100% in her care.  That is the case.  However, that is due to her breaching court orders and alienating the children.  The CSA has calculated care percentage based on court orders. No child support has been payable for some time, as she has been earning more that him, and we continuted to pay until this month.

Can you assist me with clarifying the following:

The case officer has tried to get me to verbally committ to a change in care percentage.  I said that I will provide a written response. Can the CSA make a decision based on verbal confirmation?  Is the CSA obliged to send you correspondence regarding any request to change care percentage?

Can the CSA ingore the court orders and set their own care percentage based on evidence each parent provides?

The question was asked, what steps are being taken by your partner to care for the children.  I would not committ to that answer either.  But if there is a blatant disregard for the orders, and they are breached, does the CSA just ignore this and set care percentage anyway?

In my written response I will be outlining the continuous attempts to contact the children.  But the reality is you and the court can't make them do what they don't want to do.  Shame about the parental alienation.

These children are 18 and 16.  Child support is no longer payable for 18 year old, and the 16 is eligable for Youth Allowance.  I wonder if the care percentage change requested by parnter's ex would be due to the fact the family payment has been reduced…Geez if we wanted to be nasty, we could have gone her for a percentage of Family Payment.

Your advice appreciated.
Justice said
The case officer has tried to get me to verbally committ to a change in care percentage.  I said that I will provide a written response. Can the CSA make a decision based on verbal confirmation?  
Yes, but you also have the right to provide a response in writing (i.e. they can't confirm if you don't).
Justice said
Is the CSA obliged to send you correspondence regarding any request to change care percentage?
Yes/No i.e. they must send you a new assessment with the changed level of care, however as above they can speak to you regarding the request to change the level of care.

Justice said
Can the CSA ignore the court orders and set their own care percentage based on evidence each parent provides?
Unfortunately the changes introduced in 2010 as a result of the spring changes included a change that was not published as being part of the explained changes. This change removes the protection that was introduced in previous legislation that afforded children protection from those unscrupulous parents who abuse their children's rights by exploiting those children for monetary gain and or for vengeance. I believe you have 28 days in which to initiate action (i.e. apply to court). The change I believe was introduced simply to reduce the workload of the CSA and thus I believe the change was brought about by the CSA. It was without doubt without proper consultation and I believe due to it not being included in the explanatory material it was introduced in this manner to purposefully deceive and thus be rubber stamped with no debate. It is also contradictory, as you have pointed out, to the hierarcial relationship between Family Law and Child Support Law. It is basically condoning contravention of the hieararchially higher Family Law. It allows a legally very unskilled person to undermine the decision of a very legally skilled person in regard to the very same legislation.


Justice said
I would not committ to that answer either.  But if there is a blatant disregard for the orders, and they are breached, does the CSA just ignore this and set care percentage anyway?
Yes, as above. Perhaps you should look at taking out contravention proceedings against the other parent in which case initiation of those proceedings should result in the level of care not being changed.

Justice said
I wonder if the care percentage change requested by parnter's ex would be due to the fact the family payment has been reduced…Geez if we wanted to be nasty, we could have gone her for a percentage of Family Payment.
Obviously you know the other parent better than any on here so I guess that could well be the cause. I believe that you can claim your part of the FTB for the last two years, the other parents FTB will be reduced accordingly so as to reclaim the overpayment (I don't believe you would have to wait for the overpayment to be corrected).
Thanks Mike.

So obviously CSA can make a decision on heresay, and not actual evidence.  They did ask what steps partner has made to see the children.  I did reply no comment at the time, as I am preparing a chronlogy of dates and circumstances, but essentially this will not make a difference.  As the CSA are black and white, and the child is with the mother 100%, that is the only factor that it appears they will consider.  Mmm.  The breach is a Family Court matter, but CSA will not take that into consideration I gather.

If the mother is earning more than the father, and no support is payable, then why would the CSA even bother enquiring?

Documents are being lodged at this time to appeal SSAT decision and the sale of my house.  But as the child is 16 my partner needs to earnestly consider whether it is worth undertaking more proceedings against the mother for breach of orders. Legal advice suggested it was a waste of time.  It would only be to prove a point, as still the CSA can make their own determination.  Who knows what the outcome will be when I post my written repsonse.  Then it might be worth considering.

If only alienation as a syndrome was diagnosable, and she could be forced undergo psychiatric assessment as recommended, the children might be in a better place, and this would all be unecessary.  It's been 10 years, she needs to move on.
justice -

Better to be dealing with them in writing!

As Mike suggest you need to file contravention ASAP to sort this out. C$A have to follow latest orders.

Kids are old enough to determine where they live - why are they not using their feet to sort this out?

With the recent legislative changes you can get Family Assistance to make the decision on care percentages and they will send the assessment to C$A to put into place. However if you ask C$A first then you cannot go to FAO so it appears that you are too late. The major difference with using FAO is that their appeals process is much easier to negotiate than C$A and you will be treated more reasonably.

Also be aware that child support can still be payable to a parent who is earning more than the paying parent.

Yes Mike - FTB can be claimed back many years and they will also adjust payments either way if you amend a tax year etc… where C$A will only take notice of an amendment to a tax year if they can collect more $$$. They will not give you a refund if your amendment results in a lower taxable income.
Thanks for the advice.

Because we didn't lodge a repsonse to change of care percentages, CSA have deemed that the mother does indeed have the children 100%.  Child support is now payable, along with a debt from when the change was made. We will be lodging an objection, but not until I have received a letter outlining the reasons why the percentage has changed.

I am not sure how to address the breach of orders given the new legislation that has come in, without giving the game away.  Or should I just come clean and say yes the children don't come anymore, or won't it make any difference as the CSA have already made a decision?

The children have suffered through parental alienation and still aren't brave enough to make their own decision without thinking about what their mother would do.
I think your legal advice is correct - at 16 the child is nearly an adult and can do many things adults can do like deciding where they want to live.

I guess all you can do now is to try to salvage what relationship you do have with the child and hope things will get better in the future.
 
Justice, I am in the opposite situation but no child support has been payable by either parent thanks to me fighting a coa a little while back wanting me to pay as ex was trying to get items I sold on ebay as a trading assistant included.
Kids recently became 100% with me due to tragic circumstances, centrelink said I had to notify csa so I did, ex verbally objected saying I was withholding and this was accepted by csa and no change was made - I decided this morning to just not worry, no money is involved from either party with cs so it's not an issue either way, probably better to save the drama even if their was money payable by ex.
I am surprised they would not accept verbal response or that she was withholding them in your case. I guess each csa officer has their own way of doing things.

In regards to your comment on FTB as long as she has been honest with them she should only be receiving the amount based on care percentage in the orders anyway, it doesn't matter if you and your partner were claiming or not. Centrelink are quite funny on this, I guess it's every cent saved from the government is worth it.

It's hard when the children are that old, mother can claim they don't want to see you. At least if 16yr old is not happy with the mother they can choose with their feet. As a friend of mines daughter did, Mother tried stopping her from seeing dad because centrelink dropped, the daughter just contacted her dad at school one day and asked if she could come live with him and moved in that day. At that age most will not let their parents use them as pawns, else they just walk out.
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