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Confusion re child support agreement made 6 years ago7

Advice given by the CSA is that they are not sure how prior agreements made some time ago will be handled...However the exsisting agreement will probably stand not the new estimate - how can this be fair, and BTW

I am a non resident high income father paying for two children (8 and 16). Access with my girls is every alternate weekend and half of the school holidays. 

I have done the numbers on new estimator and liability going forward post July 2008 is $1,000 less per month than I am currently paying, this is obviously due to the fact that the previous formula had me paying my ex for MORE than the cost of my girls.

I have an agreement that is supposed to end when my eldest turns 18 but agreement was taken out 6 years ago when the changes were only a distant dream for fathers like me who have been paying over the odds for years.

Advice given by the CSA is that they are not sure however the exsisting agreement will probably stand not the new estimate - how can this be fair, and BTW spouse is not likely to want to enter in to a new agreement as she will have worked out she will be out of pocket to the tune of $1,000 per month. Not sure what to do as I don't want to go to court can anyone advise?. 

BTW I also pay private school fees, on top of maximum liability and ex spouse now works (when original agreement was made she did not).
You may not be able to go to court straight away.

You probably have to go through the formal CSA process of applying with forms - so phonecalls to CSA staff are not the way to get the necessary documentation trail.

You will need to mount an argument, document it, find the CSA forms and procedure and then follow it.

The CSA website can help in pointing you to forms.

In general you can either apply for an assessment of if CSA have assessed you already you can apply for a change of assessment. Women do this all the time when they find out the man is earning more than they "agreed" - so as a matter of straight forward fairness one would think CSA would respond just as eagerly as they do in those sorts of cases.

Even if you go through this process without satisfaction the next step is the SSAT usually and then on points of law to a court. In general the government has made it very difficult for anyone to go to court on a CSA matter.

I am not a lawyer - its just I have personal relevant experience. Others on this site will give you other more accurate and detailed advice.

It may be worth while reading the CSA legislation directly so you are aware of how it works.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
I am in a private agreement with my partner and either of us can opt out at any time.

I would ring CSA and get their take on the matter.

If circumstances have changed dramatically, and they have with the new legislation, I would not think this unreasonable.

You need to ring CSA and ask for a formal assessment to start the ball rolling. Perhaps the time is to take it out now, and pay a higher amount waiting for the drop to come in the new financial year.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Thanks Jon. I will write to the CSA and document concerns.

The CSA have never assessed me or my ex as the agreement was made by lawyers and based on my income which was (and still is) over the maximum cap.  I don't wish not to spend the money on my girls, however my ex clearly uses my Child support for her own self support (the girls rarley have the clothing/footwear etc that they should have based on the money I am giving her and the $$$ ex received from property settlement).
Artemis said
You need to ring CSA and ask for a formal assessment to start the ball rolling. Perhaps the time is to take it out now, and pay a higher amount waiting for the drop to come in the new financial year.
Thanks. Not sure what you mean when you say I perhaps pay a higher amount waiting for the drop to come in the new financial year.

My agreement is that I pay an ammount agreed at settlement 6 years ago plus an annual CPI increase, my aim is to get out of the exsisting agreement and pay the new formula amount which is approx $1,000 per month less than I am currently paying.
In general private agreements can be opted out.

However you raise the issue that this was drawn up by lawyers and as such it may constitute a 'legally' binding agreement that may not be considered a private agreement by the CSA.

First port of call is to get the agreement checked out professionally, then if it is a private agreement ask the CSA for reassessment. If you do not agree with their decision it means going to the SSAT and then if dissatisfied the FMC.

Note for other readers: Sometimes child support agreements may constitute part of property settlement issues between a couple which has the effect of them being treated in the same way as court orders.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Agog.

Thanks for this, it is all becoming a lot clearer - I have asked the lawyer who put the agreement together to comeback to me but dont want to incur too many costs re this especially as the new laws are designed to take these issues OUT of the court system.

Current agreement is registered with the csa but for collection purposes only, so I think you are correct when you say that the current agreement is not considered a private agreement.

The reason it is registered with the csa is that I wanted to ensure that a paper trail was kept of the monthly payments made. Can I only ask CSA for a reassessment if it is a private agreement?

Seems a lot of Dads out there with legal agreements may not have a leg to stand on, seems unfair as the new formula is designed to make sure that Non residential parents are not paying for more than the costs of children (which clearly I am) given the fact that my current liability is approximately $1,000 more per month than it would be post July 2008.


Just spoke to the CSA who have advised that agreement and current payments will continue as is post July 2008, even though new formula would mean my payments would decrease by at least $1,000 per month. They suggested going to court to get the orders overturned… Isn't the new scheme supposed to keep family issues out of the court system?


[Moderator Note to 'wa': Please ensure you select the REPLY button and not the REPORT button. Several times now you've hit the REPORT button and your post has not gone to this thread but to another area for reported posts.]
There have been significant changed circumstances in both your position and the law - its should be a reasonable thing to get things reassessed . What you might need to do to get some attention to the matter is reduce the payments yourself NOW if possible because as shown previously CSA do not generally pay back overpaid money - although a magistrate might.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Spent the morning on the phone to the CSA, SSAT, FMC and finally the lawyer who assisted with the original agreement.

All have said it will need to go to court and that it is unlikely that any changes will be made due to the fact that I have shown a capacity to pay.

This seems grossly unfair, especially as I would not have signed an agreement if I had known changes would be made to the legislation 6 years later.

Will keep all informed.
wa

A point of understanding is that they are treating this as a formal agreement.

If child support payments had gone up and not down what would your attitude have been and would you have fought your ex if she tried to claim more than the agreement states?

You have also answered part of any Court argument - you have shown a capacity to pay for 6 years.

It appears the only way is to go through the Courts - no doubt post July we will be seeing a few of these cases.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
I agree that I have shown a capacity to pay (still have not been able to buy a house in Sydney because of the wealth destruction event that my divorce produced, and as a result of the amount of child support I am paying, as well as school fees, extra tuition etc.).

I thought the whole idea of the new legislation was to make both parents accountable.  The new legislation recognises that high income parents are paying more than the cost of children and this has been the case all along. All I want is it to be fair and equitable and my ex to contribute to the costs of the children.

I have asked myself what I would have done if the new changes meant an increase and not a decrease in my child support liabilty.  I would have undoubtedly been done over again but it would depend on the analysis and the thinking behind the change.

I am baffled as to how any reasonable person would seriously believe that my ex cannot bring up two girls. when she receives $3,600 per month from me to support them (this figure includes school fees, blah blah blah).

Thanks anyway.
WA.

Here's some reading that might be of interest. (Sorry about the format etc, have spent quite some time just getting this far.)

Attachment
Great Thanks.

It looks as though I will still have to go via the FMC and get them to make a departure from the original agreement, so it can be replaced by a transitional agreement that uses the new legislation (and both incomes to determine my new liability).

I will keep you posted…
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