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Departure Order Advice & Child Support Debt

Hello All,

Its been a while since I have been here, just when things got a little better with the CSA (after I lost the battle to see my children 17 months ago which is what the X wanted - thats another story, know I have another issue that has surfaced that I am seeking some advice on..

About three weeks ago, the C$A contacted me and advised that they are going to take steps to force the sale of my home..

The CSA state I have arrears totalling near $ 17500.00 including penalties and they are commencing the forced sale as I have failed to enter into an agreement to repay the debt.

I do not dispute that I do have arrears, however I dispute the amount of the debt mainly due to the C$A using past assessments that did not reflect my income.

For example , From August to November 2014, they used an assessment with an income of $ 174 000 where my 2013/2014 income was $ 29500.00  This period alone has added near $ 10 000.00 in arrears.

Although there have been many examples over the past 6 years, there has been two other periods over the past three years where incorrect incomes have been used. (1 period $ 236 000 was used -&  other of $ 274000.

If the actual incomes were used for the respective periods, by my calculations I would have arrears of no more than $ 3900.

This is where the sticking point starts. The C$A wants me to enter into an arrangement for their calculations to which I have disagreed with. Even during a telephone call last week, the "New Case Officer" stated his "quick" review he see's about $ 7500 to $ 8000 that could be deducted. However, he would not confirm this in writing, all he wanted to say was he can prepare the file to commence the forced sale of my home in less than a week.

I have attempted to obtain Legal Aid to help sort this. Long story short, Legal Aid was a waste  of the past three weeks. They do not offer Legal Aid for Child Support Matters was their response, despite providing the over inflated assessments and my tax returns.

As I see it, I have 2 options,

     -   prepare an application for a Departure Order and,
     -    at the same time, lodge an Application for a Stay - so as to halt the forced sale until I can get the arrears reviewed.

Can anyone see other options I can do.

Also, is it possible, to enter into an arrangement with the Ex at this stage and if so, does this  mean the C$A will back off.

Either way, I have come to the conclusion I need to sell my house, however I want to do this in my time frame, mainly as the C$A officer said they will just sell the home for the amount of outstanding mortgage plus there arrears amount (which has been over inflated as outlined above.

Again, any advice will be greatly appreciated .

I don't believe that the legislation permits "forced sale" of a home. I believe that the legislation only permits collection from third parties who owe you money. That is without taking the matter to court and getting a court order.

I'd suggest requesting the recordings of the later conversations, especially those where  the wrong amounts have been admitted (also request a copy of the screen notes) as you could well have very good cause for complaint if the operatives have been abusing the power of their position to threaten you. I believe that a family home cannot be touched even under bankruptcy (but am not sure).

I'd suggest requesting, under what act and under what section of that act that this threat is being made and if the guide is being used as the legal resource(sic) the section of the guide and the quote from the guide that states that the persons acting as the registrar within the Child Support Program can enforce the sale of a family home.
Many Thanks Dev_Mike T

For your response.

Just to clarify.. are you saying that what the SO said cannot be done, unless they seek a court order.

If the later is right, that is what the SO did say that he is preparing the paperwork to lodge in the family court to force the sale of my home.

With regards to the recording, I have already requested via writing, that the recording be provided to me. to date it has been nearly 3 weeks and the CSA still haven't responded to the request.

Thankyou for the tip re the "screen notes"… I will log onto CSA Online  and make a formal request for the screen notes.

The other thing is given the numerous false statements/ advice/ threats/ repeated disregard of my "write - only" status, I do my own recording of each time the CSA on contact me via telephone. (I carry a little notebook, pen, hands free speaker and digital recorder with me at all times weekdays).

You are correct though, that the "tone" was extremely threatening to say the least. The SO actually sounded like he wears the fact he could prepare the case in a heartbeat, like a badge of honour.

This week, I will be attending my local Federal MP's office to replay the recording as I have highlighted to his office that the SO is preparing the court paperwork on the full deby as it is listed as, however he does state he see's on a "quick desktop review" grounds to deduct at least $ 7500 to $ 8 000 in debt.

I am also going to be attending the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s office to make a complaint about the manner of the call and the CSA's handling of the issuing of a Departure Prohibition Order.

I have made a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s office in the past. (when the CSA sent me 367 pieces of correspondence in a 90 day period including 37 letters received on 1 day). They did appear to complete an extensive investigation, however even they stated their recommendations are not binding, so it was a little bit of a "toothless Tiger" outcome….despite my complaint being validated.

I'd suggest having a good read of the CSA Guide in relation to collections.
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