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using wrong amount

Hi there

First time user so Im sorry if this is in the wrong place but here goes, I have two assessments with Child support, 1 case with three kids, 1 case with two kids. Im a FIFO worker who has just remarried in Feb 2011 and my wife has a six year old son for which she gets no money for at all. My wife doesnt work as my roster is 3 weeks away one week at home, so she likes to spend as much time with me as possible. My child support was reasseed and now my monthly payment is $3000pm. My wife is also 4mths pregnant, I objected to this amount saying that I had my wife and her son to support but they didnt care, I was told I have to adopt her son to change the assessment, and was told my wife and her son will have to support themselves, he is only 6.

Also i tried to get them to change the amount they were using for there calculations last yrs gross was 165000, I thought there was a cutoff of about 140000 then your csa payments stayed the same.Now we cant afford to pay our own rent and will be looking at selling everything(household furniture) and moving in with the inlaws. I have had to cancel my life and income insurance and my private health insurance and of course that will cost me at tax time as well

So technically on $165000 gross im paying for 5kids of my own, my wife and her son and myself on that money. We get no government assistance at all for anything and everybody thinks FIFO workers have it good go figure…..Csa are telling us we have to take it to court but the costs are outrageous for that. It is getting to the stage where working away is no longer worth it to myself.

any help would be good  and just one comment what is the main reason relationships fail……MONEY
                using the information you have provided, the assessment appears to be correct. In regard to the cut off, this is indexed annually as it is based upon what is called MTAWE (Male Total Average Weekly Earnings). The cut off is 3 times the annualised MTAWE (AMTAWE) and for 2011 is $154,453. However the cut off is not applied at the income level it is applied at the combined child support income (CCSI) level. The CCSI is the ATI (roughly speaking your taxable income) less the self support amount (SSA) (SSA is $20594 for 2011 (it's 1/3rd of AMTAWE)), less any relevant dependant child (RDC) amounts (RDCA) and less any multi-case allowance, for both parents.

Using you figures and making a few assumptions (you have under regular care, two of the children are 13+, and your taxable income is $160,000 and that the other parents have a negligible income (i.e. on income support)). This works out as follows :-

For case 1 (two children 13+)

$160,000(your ATI) - $20,594(SSA) = $139,406
$16,000 (negligible income of parent of the two children) - $20,594 = $0 (less than $0 becomes $0)
No RDC for either yourself or the other parent (as the
$139,406 - $20,615(MCA for this case) = $118,791 (this is your child support income)
No MCA for the other parent therefore child support income is $0

The CCSI is the two child support incomes added together i.e. $118,791 + $0 = $118,791. As you can see that the CCSI for this case is less than the $154,453 cut-off. Now if your taxable income were say $200,000, then the cut-off would have been reached.

The other case differs a bit, as the MCA is different it's less  by about $4,000 and still not enough to reach the cut-off (for the parent with 3 children the two children of the other case are the multi-case children (and vice versa)).

So really there is no advice that can be given as such in regard to the cut-off, other than it's confusing.

With regards to the step child the CSA are partially correct. Adoption would be one way to have the child taken into consideration and be a relevant dependant child (RDC). A second way, is via a Reason 9 Change of Assessment, but a requirement is that there would need to be a "duty to maintain any other child or another person". The CSA guide explains this as "The words 'duty to maintain' are limited to a legal duty and do not include what is only a moral obligation to maintain another person (Vick and Hartcher (1991) FLC 92-262).". Basically you need a court to order the duty to maintain. So that's bad news. If you were to get the legal duty it is highly probable that the CSA would find some way to either maintain or increase the assessment as they are frequently biased toward collecting and transferring as much as they can (a search on this site for "collecting and transferring" would reveal more information).

The better news is that the expected child will be taken into consideration (an will actually have the highest cost). The reduction in CS would be by around $200 per month (based upon the example above). You can accurately check this using the Advanced CS Calculator available from the home page of this portal (click on home).

pendoor99 said
It is getting to the stage where working away is no longer worth it to myself.
A warning, a reason 8 change of assessment could result in a decision that says your capacity to earn was the original wage. A reason 8 can be registrar (CSA) initiated, so doesn't even need the other parent to apply. As such you would be advised to think very carefully before changing work.
I'd just like to add my voice to Mike's advice about changing work. If there is any chance the CSA can claim you have changed jobs in order to reduce your liability they can impose an assessment based on "capacity to pay", which would be based on your highest income level. I'd go so far as to say it's pretty much a certainty.

Unfortunately, if you're a separated father in this country you are essentially stripped of any right to choose your employment or to change employment unless you are to go to a job that pays more. It's funny that the same thing doesn't apply to married men…
Yep as the others have said, if you change to a lower paid job be very careful. My partner was working away 7 on 7 off and earning 90k a year but recently changed to a regular job at home, only earning half that amount. CSA are trying to get him on a capacity to earn. My partner has medical evidence from the Dr stating the mining industry was contributing to his health issues. We also pointed out that the job change was necessary as the stress of working away from home for long periods, long hours ect was taking it's toll. We also argued that the job away interfered with his access to his children.  Despite all this it is looking like the CSA are pulling out all stops to asses him on a CTE . My partner in now 6k in debt with the CSA, as it been 3 months since the job change and the COA reason 8 decision is still not made and thus they are still demanding the 2k per month he paid on his old job, we can't afford to pay it.

If you do change jobs make sure you have very good reasons to put to them and don't give them any hint that it has anything to do with reducing child support. My partner was told recently by a CSA phone person that if they asses him on a CTE to go straight to SSAT. 

Working away was not worth it my partners case either. Once the tax and CSA was taken out there was very little left.
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