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CSA Change of assessment

My son is 17 and has started working fulltime

Hi, I was hoping that someone on this forum might be able to assist me with some information. In late 2010 I called the CSA to find out if I was entitled to a reduction in child support  for my 17 year old son who has started a new fulltime job that pays a gross wage of $396.00 per week plus overtime. The CSA advised that I should be entitled to a reduction as the wage was significant and that I should submit a COA application, which I submitted.
After submitting my COA application my ex made a counter application for me to continue to pay based on my assets and capacity to earn.  During this time, I have found the whole process to be very onerous to say the least.
I am awaiting the outcome of this application and would be most grateful if someone could provide me with some guidance on what chance I have of gaining a reduction in child support.
My Hubbie did the same, although we were not sure if his kids where working or still at school. Like you, we submitted the COA last October, to no avail. as it was not looked at for awhile. We questioned this delay, and CSA decided to look at it and dismiss it, so we ventured further asking for lots of evidence etc. and appealing the decision CSA had made. Finally, this year in late January we finally received our answer (very stressful time, believe me as it was CSA + Payee versus Payer), it was decided that the last remaining child was working (and it appears has been for the past 12 months) and did not live at home. As Payee no longer had the care required to have access to Family Tax Benefits (FTA/FTB) as eventually confirmed by the FAO (Centrelink), the CSA then decided this was a terminating event. I strongly believe if a child is working full time, and earning a greater amount than the present Centrelink Youth Allowance, then the Payer should not have to pay any child support. If the child does not pursue further education then the Payer should not have to pay for them. Lets face it, in my younger days it was expected that I was working and a contributing member of the workforce by the time I was 16 yrs. My parents no longer supported me from this age, I was expected to pay board and provide for myself. I seem to think we have gone backwards in this area, and don't have expectations that children are almost adults at 16yrs, capable of their own life decisions and also treated as adults in most work places. Hubbie told them minimal information about his own finances, just what was necessary for them to make a decision ( He has not completed his tax assessment for several years), and just kept asking for documentation of Payee's wages, childrens income, evidence of childrens' schooling and we also went so far as to phone the school where the children had been enrolled to find out (in writing) the month and year they had left school. This was forwarded to us and we kept asking for child's income (but never found this out!) and details of their jobs. We realized it was very stressful, but knew we could not lose as it would be Fraud by CSA to make Hubbie keep paying. If we did not pursue the CSA, we would have never found out the info, and consequently would still be paying Child Support for another 18 months at $400/month.
I think you will find that a child entering employment is described as a terminating event and the child support case ceases.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me KazScorpio and Fairgo. I agree with you KazScorpio, that the COA process is very onerous and if I would have known how invasive it is I doubt that I would have made the application. I left my work several months ago due to medical reasons and the CSA have asked me for records of where I have applied for employment. In addition, my new wife and I have a small business that she mainly runs in her spare time, this business is not very successful and has not made a profit since its inception and I have certainly not drawn a wage form it ever. However, the CSA have found out about this and the senior case officer has stated that he will be looking into the tax returns of the business. The bottom line is that regardless of whether I was earning or not I would have thought it fair and euitable to terminate child support once the child starts working and earning a reasoanble wage. I also know that my 17 year old was working with his mother as a truck driver's labourer earning $25 per hour before gaining this new fulltime role. Does the CSA consider the fact that I have been denied the oppertunity of seeing my son as my ex has completly posioned him against me for many years so that she could maximise her level of care? I have a text message transcript of a converstaion between mother and son about me.  Once again thank you for listening and sharing.  
In support of Miner, don't be put off by the process of the Change of Assessment. I strongly believe this is a ploy of CSA to bluff the Payer, and if the Payer does not ask for supporting evidence and takes CSA by its word, then the Payer will always pay more money than you should. Although very stressful, I analyzed the Notification of CSA decision that was returned to us with a 'fine tooth comb!' I asked myself when appealing the decisions CSA made was…"would this stand up in a Court with little or no evidence" and then determined what documents Hubbie required to substantiate each of CSA/Payee claims. As a second wife, I never gave them any of my income, as this is not a requirement. Child support is only based on the earnings of the Payer and Payee, not including the wife/hubbie from the second marriage, but CSA will use this info to add to your income as an extra resource, if you provide it. In a court of law, the partners' income from a second marriage would not even be considered. I have now successfully appealed three decisions for Change of Assessment made by CSA. Hubbie has still paid more monies than he should have because the other three children were also working at 15 yrs full time (left school) and he was made to pay under the old CSA legislation. If more people start objecting it will start to cost CSA a lot of time and extra work to dispute their claims, putting pressure on them to make their policies a lot fairer to both parties, thus removing the bias that exists. The last time I appealed on behalf of Hubbie, I illustrated that CSA was not allowing Payer the 'self supporting amount' and that this was not in line with their 'procedural fairness' policy in the CSA Guide. I also bought to CSA attention that although the Hubbie had not completed his tax assessment since 2007, they were not the Taxation Department, so until he had notification from the Taxation Dept. he would not be doing his tax (He has actually not earned much income in all these years so we are not really worried about it anyway as everything is in my name so I earn the income and pay the tax.) After Hubbie has paid Child Support for the past 10 yrs, I strongly encourage people to develop a long term strategy when dealing with this requirement. Over the years we have been able to successfully minimize hubbie's child support, while still paying a reasonable amount to support the children, even though he has never seen the kids. I also encourage people when going through the Change of Assessment process to forward to Child support documentation ( Copy ofFamily Court Orders) explaining the level of care that Payer should be getting (ie Hubbie was supposed to have 'Reasonable contact and if this was not forthcoming the children and Payee were supposed to undergo counselling') Of course this is not part of the process but at least you can illustrate that you are not the aggressor and that Payee is preventing you from 'time spent with child/children". This does make CSA consider the Payer in a slightly different way.
Thank you KazScorpio - I appreciate both your support and advise 
Sorry miner I gave incorrect advice as employment is not necessarily a terminating event. You need to apply for the change of assessment reason 4 which is what you have probably done. If your son is undertaking full time employment or earning significant income then your application is likely to succeed.

I don't think C$A will take the ex's counter claims too seriously as your son should be contributing to his costs with his income. He is earning more than the the CSA's self support amount of 19k that payers are allowed to earn before paying child support.

As KS says C$A are just bunch of bullies who are trying to justify their existence and 0.5% pay increase for increased collection. Make sure you deal with then in writing (snail mail) so you have a clear paper trail.

As long as the care percentage you are paying child support is correct then C$A are not interested in court orders.

If you are not happy with the decision there are appeal mechanisms that you can use to have the decision reviewed.
Thank you Fairgo, this is very helpful information and I will endeavour to keep better records in the future. I only have 10 months to go untill this CSA case is closed and I have not been very organised in my approach to this COA as I did not realise that CSA were so dificult to deal with. Thank very much for your time and assistance with this matter.
miner said
Hi, I was hoping that someone on this forum might be able to assist me with some information. In late 2010 I called the CSA to find out if I was entitled to a reduction in child support for my 17 year old son who has started a new fulltime job that pays a gross wage of $396.00 per week plus overtime. The CSA advised that I should be entitled to a reduction as the wage was significant and that I should submit a COA application, which I submitted.
After submitting my COA application my ex made a counter application for me to continue to pay based on my assets and capacity to earn. During this time, I have found the whole process to be very onerous to say the least.
I am awaiting the outcome of this application and would be most grateful if someone could provide me with some guidance on what chance I have of gaining a reduction in child support.

Hi,  I'm going thru the same at the moment.  Ridiculous that a full-time working 'child' needs supporting and that the CSA put aside an amount of $226 that the 'child' is allowed to spend on what ever she/he wants.  Wish we all had that kind of spending money after our bills are paid.  Apparently they only take into account regular income that is earned above $226/week.
Hi Enufisenuf
The $226 threshold is correct and unless your child is earning what they consider be be a substantial income you will have to keep paying your usual support amount. My son was earning $396 per week and this was considered by CSA to be a Substantial income, hence my child support was reduced accordingly. Good luck
Miner, my husband is going through a similar thing at present.  We filed a COA under reason 8 because mother is writing off all of her income on motor vehicle expenses and depreciation on business items for a business that is still running at a loss after 4 years.  

She has now counter claimed for reason 4 because 2nd son is working as an apprentice.  My husband refuses to charge him board (I know, I know, don't get me started) so we are fully supporting 2nd son.  Just wondering whether your child's income ended the assessment for him entirely or just affected the amount you pay.
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