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Clarification re COA procedures and timelines

I have lodged a COA re special circumstances and am seeking info on how the process works

I have recently lodged a COA re special circumstances and was wondering if anyone knows where or what the timeframes are with it - ie does CSA have any requirements around timeframes - how long does it usually take?

Also, someone suggested we write to our federal member - is there anyone else I should be writing to - maybe the head of CSA?(whoever that is?)
simsam said
I have recently lodged a COA re special circumstances and was wondering if anyone knows where or what the timeframes are with it - ie does CSA have any requirements around timeframes - how long does it usually take?
Hi Simsam

I don't think there are any legislated timeframes for COA.

Every case is different, but to give you a rough idea, I have recently experienced a one month wait between lodging the COA and getting written acknowledgment, followed by another six weeks until the conference, then two weeks for a decision.

I think that is pretty standard when things go smoothly, so do not panic under those time frames.
simsam said
Also, someone suggested we write to our federal member - is there anyone else I should be writing to - maybe the head of CSA?(whoever that is?)
My personal experience of writing to the minister is that it is useless, it gets send back to the agency to be ignored with no follow up, although admittedly that was a previous minister.

If things do go outside of what you consider a reasonable time frame, call or write to the Agency, then immediately follow up with a call or letter to the ombudsman.

The timing can also depend on how thorough your paper work is.

If it is not too personal, you might want to give an outline on this forum of what you have sent.  If others have had a similar situation, they may be able to tell you what worked and what held things up.

Good luck.



Thanks - I have lodged it under the grounds of reason 9 (legal duty to maintain another person or children), that being to support my wife and 2 young children as my wife cannot work due to one of my son's medical condition.

In our application I have provided all bank, payroll, loan statements, letter from my sons specialist stating my wife is required to provide him full time care and he cannot attend childcare, medicare report outlining all costs after rebates, any other medical receipts i have pertaining to his condition, and an estimate of future costs.
simsam said
Thanks - I have lodged it under the grounds of reason 9 (legal duty to maintain another person or children), that being to support my wife and 2 young children as my wife cannot work due to one of my son's medical condition.

In our application I have provided all bank, payroll, loan statements, letter from my sons specialist stating my wife is required to provide him full time care and he cannot attend childcare, medicare report outlining all costs after rebates, any other medical receipts i have pertaining to his condition, and an estimate of future costs.
Thanks simsam

You have certainly given them everything they are likely to need.  They will give everything to the other party unless you say not to, so you might want to check whether they really need the bank statement and loan statements - just proof of the balances should be enough.

Also, it could be worth checking whether they must release the medical information. It is them you need to convince, not your former partner, so you may be able to protect your son's privacey by asking that the medical informaion not be released. 

Are you aware of Carer Allowance?  Your son sounds like he would qualify, and it is not income tested.

You have a lot to deal with - good luck and take care!

katie



I was told by CSA that any and all information provided during a COA would be sent to the other party, no exceptions whatsoever. Is this true?
simsam said
I have recently lodged a COA re special circumstances and was wondering if anyone knows where or what the timeframes are with it - ie does CSA have any requirements around timeframes - how long does it usually take?

Also, someone suggested we write to our federal member - is there anyone else I should be writing to - maybe the head of CSA?(whoever that is?)
They are usually relatively quick within a couple of months if the parties provide all the documents. Delays happen when one or other of the parties does not complete the forms or responses.
simsam said
Also, someone suggested we write to our federal member - is there anyone else I should be writing to - maybe the head of CSA? (whoever that is?)
Why would you write to the federal member or head of CSA, regarding a COA when you haven't even had the results. Sounds a bit silly to me. By the way the head of the CSA is Matt Miller and you can see him in the CSA section of the site here, which I am sure you would have already looked at.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Aphrodite said
I was told by CSA that any and all information provided during a COA would be sent to the other party, no exceptions whatsoever. Is this true?
Yes, every page is copied and sent. All except personal address and contact details. These details are all provided on one page in the COA document which is clearly shown as being private and withheld data on the form. You can't expect any COA to be handled without the other party having a proper opportunity to respond to the claims. It is not a system that allows a free for all without qualification. Sometimes doing a COA can in fact be far more onerous than the outcome is worth. The amount of financial information required on the COA is extensive and must be fully completed.

Both sides will have an interview session.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Hi simsam

I hope you are not too confused!

When I asked what you had sent to support your claim, you replied

simsam said
 In our application I have provided all bank, payroll, loan statements, letter from my sons specialist stating my wife is required to provide him full time care and he cannot attend childcare, medicare report outlining all costs after rebates, any other medical receipts i have pertaining to his condition, and an estimate of future costs.
 
To which I replied
 
katie said
 You have certainly given them everything they are likely to need.
  But I also said
katie said
They will give everything to the other party unless you say not to, so you might want to check whether they really need the bank statement and loan statements - just proof of the balances should be enough.

 Also, it could be worth checking whether they must release the medical information. It is them you need to convince, not your former partner, so you may be able to protect your son's privacey by asking that the medical informaion not be released.
 
This seems to have caused some debate, with Aphrodite asking


Aphrodire said
I was told by CSA that any and all information provided during a COA would be sent to the other party, no exceptions whatsoever. Is this true?
 
To which Secretary SPCA correctly replied



Secretary SPCA said
Yes, every page is copied and sent. All except personal address and contact details. These details are all provided on one page in the COA document which is clearly shown as being private and withheld data on the form.
  However, Secretary SPCA also said
Secretary SPCA said
You can't expect any COA to be handled without the other party having a proper opportunity to respond to the claims. It is not a system that allows a free for all without qualification.
Simsam, that is obviously not what you are doing since you sent everything that could possibly be needed, so I assume that comment was intended to make sure I had not led you astray.

Just to be clear, I was not suggesting that COA is in any way a free for all and I doubt you think it is - it is clear you have a very genuine reason for your application.

Nor was I suggesting that the other party not be given a proper opportunity to respond.

All I was asking was whether you had thought to ask whether it is necessary to release the medical information to the other party.  After all, it does contain very private information about a third party. I do not know the answer to that, and I do not even know whether you mind your former partner having the information.  I was just concerned that the privacy of the child, who is not a party to the application, may be breached. 

The other party does have a right to respond, and I fully endorse that right, but if the medical information is from a specialist and is clear that the child does have a medical condition requiring substantial care, that is hardly something that is open to debate. Of course, if the medical information was not released in its entirity, the agency would have to confirm that a report had been received and the child does need the extra care, but the details of the condition would not be released.

The response would need to be about the financial aspects of fair and equitable outcomes and affordability etc.  You have sent more than enough financial information for that to be assessed.

In relation to financial statements etc, I was not suggesting you hide anything.  From personal experience, all they actually need is statements of balance for bank accounts, mortgages, credit cards etc.  They do not need the full, detailed statements even though they ask for them. You have already sent the lot, so it is obvious you are not hiding anything. My comment was more to save others who may read this the cost of photocopying and posting more than necessary. 

Simsam, you obviously have a lot to deal with.  I apologise that comments meant to help may have led to confusion. You have done a good job with your application.  It should go well.



Thanks all - and Katie thanks - we had thought about the info re the medical condition but decided we dont mind if the other party gets to see this info - its all there in black and white for her to see - and yes I was assuming Secretary SPCA's comment was not aimed specifically at me.
It is not a system that allows a free for all without qualification.
This appears to be the case if you are the person who raises the objection.  From my expereince though the respondent/payee can say almost anything without proof and it is taken as the truth.  (Last COA, SCO agreed with unsubstantiated statements from payee that payer was unlikely to see his kids for at least 2 years [despite the fact that he has always made annual contact visits] and made comments about my income).
greebo said
It is not a system that allows a free for all without qualification.
This appears to be the case if you are the person who raises the objection.  From my expereince though the respondent/payee can say almost anything without proof and it is taken as the truth.  (Last COA, SCO agreed with unsubstantiated statements from payee that payer was unlikely to see his kids for at least 2 years [despite the fact that he has always made annual contact visits] and made comments about my income).
What I attempted to point out, was that the system as a whole requires all parties to disclose evidence through the detailed application form and or make truthful statements.

The COA application is not for the faint hearted and if the forms are filled in correctly there is a tremendous amount of financial information available to the other party that you may not wish to disclose… An issue to consider is how much of this do you want the other party to have access to.  The main thrust of my comments was that it is not just a simple matter to make unqualified allegations under any of the reasons. It would really surprise me if CSA officers took those on face value. In cases we have looked into officers have generally tried to adopt a fair approach. At the end of the day what matters is ensuring that children are adequately funded. That is clearly a responsibility for both parents and the new legislation attempts to make it a fairer more equitable system. There is a system of objection and then appeal to SSAT.

In the specific case you discuss "(Last COA, SCO agreed with unsubstantiated statements from payee that payer was unlikely to see his kids for at least 2 years [despite the fact that he has always made annual contact visits] and made comments about my income)" I am sorry I didnt understand the point you were making here. Are you saying that because the payer did not see the kids that the payer should not have to pay?

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Posts from this topic have been moved by members. 1 posts have been transferred to topicview.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Secretary SPCA said
The COA application is not for the faint hearted and if the forms are filled in correctly there is a tremendous amount of financial information available to the other party that you may not wish to disclose… An issue to consider is how much of this do you want the other party to have access to. 

If though, you do not provide all of the information that is required on the form is it not lying by omission? It is a dilemma, wanting to comply with the CSA requirements but also knowing that if you answer truthfully you will supply the other party with information that is really none of their business and not relevant to the assessment.
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