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high childsupport costs and second familys

Hi I am new here, just got married and would love to have a baby,  but we won't be able to survive on one income because of the high child support costs to my partners first family. He has to support 2 kids under and over 13 of his first marriage. He is a high income earner of over 130 grand a year - that makes him paying top money in support. Fair enough.

But there are two things making me very angry: csa and his ex wife. He has to pay $1150 if they wouldn't have a private agreement in which he pays 1000 + travel costs for the kids to stay with us of 300-500 every month as they live further away. We have 20% of care. Their mother enrolled them in a private school. The older one 2years ago and the younger one just now. We never agreed with it and in the second case she didn't even inform him. She calls every month, tells us how hard it is, and wants more money. Wants him to pay half of the fees, otherwise she will go to CSA.

That would be another $300 on top every month. Before he met me he lived with a mate didn't have furniture paid $200 bucks per week living a simple life and all spare money went to her. Well now we pay $500 per month in rent renting a place big enough for his kids to visit. We bought all furniture. A old car everything u need. I paid for most of it out of my savings. When they broke up they split the loan in half. So he pays 700 per month for things she kept. It's for the kids they need her to have a decent car I understand. He also has to pay Uni now all up $25,000.

 We were planning on a baby so I contacted CSA wanting to know if the support changes he has to pay. Cause normally they include things. I get no support or Medicare from the government as I am not resident either. They don't include the loan as it is in his name even though he pays her stuff. They don't include the Uni payments as it is his choice. Yes but if he wouldn't done Uni he would be on 60 grand not 130 grand a year and the kids get half of the money too. They don't include me they said I should go back to work after the birth. I don't feel good giving my 2month old baby to someone else. They don't include travel costs as it is less then 5% of his pay but he could find a cheaper option like flying up he can stay at her place. Please who would do that? But guess what they would include school fees so he will pay even more.

 The thing which disgusted me most was if we would have the kids living with us, she wouldn't have to pay a cent. As long as she has them more then 55 nights. If we have one and she has one, as one son wants to move with us he still has to pay $700 to her plus the flights for the other son to see us. We will have to live with a baby after all bills are paid on less then he pays child support. We pay 100 less if we have a baby and if u have a look at the table cost of children we have half of that left or less then half to support our baby. Why are second family and the children worth less then first? They decently costs less CSA thinks and for a fact second family have to live on less.

That makes a high income unetfortable (???), we would be better off him having an average job, paying less money in loan, child support and no money to Uni. We would even get money from the government. Does anyone have an idea what to do? because court will cost us a fortune.

Some changes made to layout, grammar and spelling for ease of reading


Last edit: by monteverdi

Although I am strongly opposed to the new CSA formula which discriminates against both payees and payers of low financial means in retrospect to a parent who is earning a high income, I do agree that the CSA formula is also flawed in other areas, including but not limited to the financial resources of a paying parent to support a biological child of new relationship, while still being able to maintain adequate financial support for the children of the previous relationship.  This is especially apparent when the non residential "paying" parent has less than 52 nights contact with the child/ren of the previous relationship but becomes less extreme when more than 52 nights care per year are in effect. 

Unfortunately the categories for Changes of Assessment to child support are quite rigid and as such the Administrative powers of the CSA case managers when determining a COA must conform strictly to these particular categories.  As such, siblings from new relationships (such as having a baby with the payer) , financial means of a payee who has re-partnered where the partner earns an income and the income threshold of a payee before child support is reduced is not always appropriately considered .     

With regards to the educational costs of private schooling, unless stated otherwise in either a Court Order of Agreement between the parties, then a presumption of Shared Parental Responsibility applies and as such given the children's mother has independently chosen to enrol the children into private schooling of their father then these additional educational costs (falling outside of the usual State schooling expenses) might not fall directly upon you and your husband.  Remember threats are just threats and even if she does lodge a COA, not all COA's that are lodged are granted. 

Anyway I wish you luck and hope that all of politics doesn't stop you from having the baby you clearly want! :P        

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
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Thanks for the Edits Monti but I still am having a lot of trouble sorting out what is paid and when. It seems a lot $300 - $500 a month for travel costs (As they live further away)
But there are two things making me very angry: csa and his ex wife. He has to pay $1150 if they wouldn't have a private agreement in which he pays 1000 + travel costs for the kids to stay with us of 300-500 every month as they live further away. We have 20% of care. Their mother enrolled them in a private school. The older one 2years ago and the younger one just now. We never agreed with it and in the second case she didn't even inform him. She calls every month, tells us how hard it is, and wants more money. Wants him to pay half of the fees, otherwise she will go to CSA.

That would be another $300 on top every month. Before he met me he lived with a mate didn't have furniture paid $200 bucks per week living a simple life and all spare money went to her. Well now we pay $500 per month in rent renting a place big enough for his kids to visit. We bought all furniture. A old car everything u need. I paid for most of it out of my savings. When they broke up they split the loan in half. So he pays 700 per month for things she kept. It's for the kids they need her to have a decent car I understand. He also has to pay Uni now all up $25,000.
There are many separate issues here.

Queries: If they have only 20% care how are they paying so much in travel costs. There is much missing in all of this and some clarity required. Has Secondwife used the advanced CSA calculator here to see what the numbers SHOULD be? You can see the impact if you have another child. If one of the children moves in with the father the numbers will change.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Second wife - as you probably know having a child will not make much difference to your husband's child support liability. As Sec SPCA says, having one of his children living with you for majority time will make a bigger difference.

The C$A does sound very unfair when they tell you to go back to work after birth and not the payee when all children are in full time schooling.

Here are some options worth considering:

It might be worth relocating closer to the ex and seeking shared care of the children.

A 130k income puts you into a higher tax bracket and yes you might be better off earning less especially if this allows your husband to have more family time. He should seek financial advice to see what his options are to reduce his taxable income.

If you have a child it might be better for you and your husband to both work part time and share the care. This will legitimately reduce your husband's earning capacity and thus lower his child support liability.

Fairgo said

Here are some options worth considering:

It might be worth relocating closer to the ex and seeking shared care of the children.

Do you really think they should seek shared care to reduce child support payments?

I would suggest you put your Children first - not your pockets!
Thanks all of u. The ex took the kids and moved to the country both agreed to share travel costs but that never happened. She makes it hard for him to have the kids. The travel costs are so high cause they have to fly and not every airline goes there. Lucky they love flying. It would be more expensive him flying up and taking a hotel. We do live in a big city so we can't move up there then in the jobs we are in we would never find work. She works fulltime to with a wage of over 55k. The problem is he pays high tax and more income more payments in hecs. If he would quit he still is in debt and has to pay off the same ammount. The lowest he can pay that debt off is 800 per month. And I checked it makes 100 difference if we have a baby and if we have one if the sons and a baby 300. But he needs more for him as his son is over 13. He still would have to pay 700 for his younger son. If we have them both what will happen one day we get no childsupport of her. And yes she lives with her boyfriend bit he is not paying any rent even though he works. Thanks to all of u. We might just wait having a baby for a few years till the loans are paid off and the olderst one is 18. 5 years… It's just I wanted to start young as there are difficultys in my family from woman sight and I don't want to miss out. Thanks all.                        And it's not about putting children first here. We do everything we can to make life good for them after the seperation. She tells the kids mummy doesn't have money cause daddy didn't give her enough. He always talks good about her in front of the kids and I said we are fine at the moment. But if we have to surive on his income we are left with 750 per month after all bills to support us and our baby. And even at the moment it hurts us not to be able to take the kids out all the time. We both love them.

Last edit: by Secondwife

Conan - Seeking shared care is putting the children first, a reduction in child support as a result is only a consequence.

Secondwife - If you were to earn 35k working part time and your husband reduced his taxable income to below 80k through various means ie: reducing his work load to care for your new baby on a part time basis, the overall tax and child support burden will be decreased significantly and you will both be much better off financially and have a more balanced work and family life.


This May Help

Dear Second Wife,

I have a friend who married a man with one child from a previous relationship. Before she had her (4) children ,in 5 years she bought a Cafe in her name only, as she had a small amount of  experience in the catering/tourism industry. They re-mortgaged their home and she proceeded to work and establish her business while her partner stayed home and managed the paperwork and the children. She now works 4 days per week, and pays her hubby as a casual worker and he works the weekends and one day per week. Her Cafe opens between 8am-4pm. Her children are just about at school age and her hubby pays minimal CSA.

He has to stay home to due the parenting duties (we do live in a society that can now choose which parent cares for the children on a daily basis.)and

as your partner earns an amount that puts him in high tax bracket, he must have aquired great management skills, to run a home or a business. After many years and working hard to pay CSA, I and hubby have also had to leave the salary/wages industry to survive. We had to think 'beyond the box' mentality to survive. You have a duty to support your ex's children, but you also have a duty to yourselves, first and foremost.
Thanks a lot but be never will be able to work part time in his job and I would have to change to another employer. We would like to have them full time otherwise. As she always complains. But shared care is not working either as they would have to change school all time as they live 800ks away and with me working part time to be there fir them we won't have enough money cause even though we have them 170 days a year she gets still about 800 we looked at this already. That gives us 200 on top to support 2 growing kids.
There are many people who are willing to make the suggested changes to their lives in order to be happier.

Of course you would have to relocate closer to the ex for shared care to work. Having the kids full time is highly unlikely as they need their mother as well as their father.

Another solution would be for your husband to change jobs for one that pays more.

Or perhaps you can apply for a change of assessment to have the amount of HECS that he pays taken off the child support liability as I believe this could be argued as a special circumstance.
We can relocate to the country as we both won't find work there in our professions. We both were studying he for 6 years me for 4 years to be in that professions which pays him to pay his hecs and debts of his ex. As he pays the loan for things she and the kids have which is ok as it is for the kids. Also by current visa is linked to my job as we just got married. She moved up there tool the kids away and said she would help for the kids to visit us but that never happened. She plays busy so we have to book the most expensive flights there are. I know they need their mum more then everything but at the moment she talks bad about dad all time and one of the sons hate my husband and the younger one loves him and hates mummy saying those things and wants to live with us. But splitting them up it's not good for them and we can't effort. As we still pay 800 plus flights to her. I thought too that they count the minimum payment of 800 per month in hecs as special circumstances. I don't care yet but I care if we have a baby having to live on his wage. He already is better paid then most newbies in his job he is a senior after 3 years and not even finishing uni. But the high income makes the minimum payment for loan hecs and cs extremly high. They said they don't include hecs as it was his choice I said yes it could be his choice being in an avarge job and the ex recurving a third of what she gets now. With cs they should really reduce the ammount for the time he pays uni cause he did that to support the kids in first place and his first family when they still were together. Not for himself or mr. And after the 3 years uni payments she can get way more I don't care. It's for the kids anyway his kids and our kids.
If he is still paying loans for the benefit of the ex and kids then this is also a special circumstance that could be argued.

If you are married to an Aussie or give birth in Australia, you no longer have to worry about your VISA being dependent on your work.

One other important issue is the cost of the education for the children - are they in public or private schools and who is paying the costs?
She is paying loans as well but a smaller ammount and she kept everything. The loan was in both their name. They got a car and expensive furniture. He asked her to sell it and buy new stuff cheaper for the money and then split the money. She won't. I checked the loan is his problem. Now he wishes he did not agree with it bit it was more for the kids. With the visa I have to wait two years for permanent resedency. Will I have all benefits before?I don't think so. The devorce didn't came through so I had to apply for a different visa 1 year ago. It's complicated. Lucky my job was on the list. Really just stayed for my husband. Met him overseas when he just seperated. Anyway not important. The kids are in privat school the mother pays but trys to get money of hubby monthly. Makes him feel guilty. She informed him them going to this school after enroling them. He did not agree at this stage. He helped her though when he got bonuses at work to pay the bills but he never agreed with her them going to this school. He said to her he would like them to go there later on after the loan and uni is paid. Then he can effort it. Bit she is trying hard to get even more money cause of that.
Secondwife - So has your husband completed his financial settlement with his ex?

If not the C$A will be reluctant to change anything through the change of assessment process.

I am pretty sure that if you give birth in Australia you will have no problem getting residency and all the government benefits so don't be too concerned about that.

Hi I just spoke to someone about your situation and you only need to prove that you are in a relationship to be granted residency. Hope this helps.

Last edit: by Fairgo

No they both didn't have the money for court and just slit it up. Now it's under two seperate loans. Each of them hot their part refinanced. He was silly doing that as it's his loan now but she kept everything. There was no house or savings involved. He has been very silly before he met me. Didn't care about himself at all. He didn't have money for food in the end of the month and lived without furniture just a bed for a year, didn't have money to fix his 5000 bucks car while his was driving a 35 grand car. He gave everything to her beliving she spend it on the kids while she where living the high life buying a new tv, art pieces, party. He did that for almost 3 years. He met me we got married and want a baby even though he never wanted that again. She is angry as he needs money fir himself now. More rent not just a little room furniture and a life. She was intideled to 1050 at this time in cs but got 2000-3000 on top the flights. She needed something paid to spend her money on herself he paid but that we can't effort anymore. So now she is trying her best to get as much as she can still using the kids. School health as she takes them to the doctors as soon as they get a pimpel. I looked it all up I am not intideled to anything before I am permanent resident. That I have to wait for for 2 years. The baby is going to be Aussie. Citizen takes 6 years now.
Secondwife said
I have to wait for for 2 years
Does this mean you have only recently entered the country? Having a baby does make residency in this country that extra bit easier (I say so only because I have been there and done it and that is what has enabled my ex husband to stay in the country) and it adds as extra proof when it comes time for the 'residancy interview' when the time nears expiry for the temporary visa. Citizenship is just a bonus….after time, you can choose to do or not to do (it is not compulsory). My point would be that having a child within the timeframe of temporary residency (and contending with the CS issues within your new family) is not unachievable to say the least. Your partners finances could be an issue though when looking to receive government benefits from Centrelink…in that he may earn too much and be considered capable of looking after your family on his own work merits (even if you are the stay at home parent).  There is (or maybe was….clarification from someone will help you) a 'Baby Bonus'. This helps in establishing the necessary items for raising a baby.

I will reinterate to you though that the previous posters suggesting to lower the financial earnings of your husband … even if to the next tax bracket down….are on the mark. Even if you shared parenting responsibilities/days for a new child…it all helps lower the margins on many levels. THAT IS ONLY IF YOU WANT THE CHILD SOONISH. Would help lessen the stresses of both of you on many fronts (with or without a new child).

If having a new child is not 'priority' then I would suggest pushing forth the way things are….working hard to eliminate all debts and maintaining CS payments and clean the slate to build a new path together. You may find light at the end of the tunnel doing this and realise with minimal debts in the air it will be then easier to leave things the way they are and still have the new baby so longed for :) and maintain the 'stay at home mum' stature.
Child support is (or can be) calculated on earning capacity. Reducing income can mean you have less capacity to pay... but not reduce the liability.
Sorry I might not understand right. So I don't get anything from the goverment even though he pays childsupport and that means we have less after all cause of the cs. They should take this into account. Why do they make it so much harder for second familys then first familys which ate still together? It's not fair. His past is not my fault. We would love a baby now but we will have to wait for 3 years if we want to feet our baby. Well even me getting Medicare would help, as my insurance alone is 230 per month. I came into the country more then a year ago. We met overseas. When I moved here we didn't moved together stright away as it was fresh. I was here on 1 year visa. Cause we didn't move together spouse visa was out of question. We wanted to get married and apply as we love each other like crazy but his ex did everything that this did not happen with not getting devirced until 3 month ago. She forgot to sign or was to busy or put stupid clauses into the papers or pressured him he has to agree paying that much and puts all in her name and stuff as she knew it's about me. I was lucky having a job on the list and was able to apply for another visa. Anyway now I am ok another visa I have to pay off the lawyers costs for two years. 12000. Nice. We got married a few month ago after the devorce but I will have to change visas and can apply for permanent residency in 2 years. A friend of mine which met a devirced friend of his has a polite ex wife. She devirced very quick when they needed to cause of visa reasons. And the reason his ex said: the kids really like ur new gf I do it for them, as the old gf after his ex the kids did not like I think. That was so sweet. She does everything for her kids. They even have a better relationship all together I think. Thanks for all the great replys.
Starlight, the CSA using earning capacity by way of a reason 8 change of assessment has been some strict criteria, 3 tests of which all  must be met. This was one of the major changes that was introduced as part of the new legislation CS legislation which came fully operational in July 2008, this aspect become operational from 1st July 2006. This change was introduced because time after time the CSA were making some of the most ridiculous decisions, e.g. a fighter pilot grounded and confined to desk work still deemed to have the capacity to earn as a fighter pilot and thus basically robbed by the CSA's decision which actually compounded the grounding issue and to boot threw many millions of tax payers money in the bin. Certainly "is" is not the case and the majority of cases are based upon the income earned not the capacity to earn and I have little doubt that capacity to earn is rarely applied to receiving parents when I believe this is clearly the most likely area where capacity to earn should be considered.

My understanding of what Secondwife has said, is that they have no case with the CSA (although I believe that's being questioned), if secondwife took action whilst the CSA were not involved then I believe meeting the three reasons would not be possible by the CSA, as all of the criteria require changes (I believe that this and other elements are designed in the hope of enforcing the use of the CSA for assessment and thus increase the amount transferred or collected and thus reduce the FTB payout in theory).

The first of the three is factors is if the CSA are satisfied (actually court in the legislation) that the parent is either; not working despite ample opportunity to do so, or has reduce their weekly hours to below full time, or has changed his or her occupation, industry or working pattern.

So if whilst under CSA assessment the husband reduces his hours, then yes the first factor would apply, however if this is done and CSA are not assessing, then I believe the CSA would be in breach of the law (Privacy at least) to try to obtain information from outside of the period for which they can assess, thus I believe that they could not meet the first criteria.

The second of the three criteria is that the CSA (actually court in the legislation) are satisfied that the parent's decision about their work arrangements is not justified by either their caring responsibilities or their state of health. This one is a little complicated as the test that the CSA say should exist (they don't quote any case law to support the interpretation.deviation from the actual legislation) is objective and the CSA must regard if an ordinary person would deem it reasonable. However I believe that reducing working hours to have a baby would be regarded as being a reasonable by ordinary people, however I'd suggest that the CSA would often not and would try to force such a parent to undertake a great deal of extra stress, by objection and then likely taking the matter to SSAT/court, although ) at a very stressful time, compounding the chance of complications such as perinatal or post natal depression. Perhaps what they should do, as is being suggested through the reform of the change of assessment process, very much like the tax office does with decisions on tax free deductions, have a list of what is, according to ordinary people, reasonable actions. e.g. reducing time to care for a new born …….

The third of the the factors is that the CSA are satisfied (yep as you guessed court in the actual legislation) that the parent has failed to show the decision about their work arrangements was not substantially motivated by the effect this would have on the child support assessment.

A fourth factor is then introduced, it appears to be insignificant, the factor is that the CSA (again actually court) must be satisfied that it must be possible for the parent to increase their income….. This is said to make people think that hey there's another test, whilst in fact what it is saying is that capacity to earn cannot be used to reduce a person's income, showing clearly that the legislation is very much designed to collect or transfer monies which the reduce FTB payments.

Saying all that I don't believe that the answer to secondwife's issue is to reduce their income. I believe they should; look to securing and perhaps increasing contact, although CS wouldn't change until care is at 35% or more, by securing, I mean getting court orders which I believe would reasonably include the other parent contributing to the cost of travel and protecting the children from being exploited for monetary gain by the other parent, which appears to be the case. Perhaps this is a case where CS assessment could be of significant use, as replies to questions in regards to not paying, can very easily be answered by I am paying what the CS assess which is based upon research into what it costs to provide for children, (Uhhm I'd be tempted to add, perhaps you, being good at maths, could assist your mum in managing the money she has for you better, this is what your mum gets for you $, that's likely $xx.xx on food …………).
secondwife said
Why do they make it so much harder for second familys then first familys which ate still together?

Secondwife, to be honest CS is not really about the children, if it were then the Government would ensure that financial responsibility by the way of correct and proper management of the monies received were a requirement. In reality it's another tax that can be said to not be a tax. For every $1 collected or transferred, 50c has been saved in FTB payments (actually not the real case as there are situations where CS does not reduce FTB as no FTB is being paid). Children are being exploited by being named as the reason for this tax that isn't a tax. Why isn't CS enforced upon intact families? Children could then grow up knowing that $x should be spent upon them. Is neglect, the main thing that CS is purportedly aimed at stopping, specific to separated families? I believe not, in fact another topic currently running, includes an example of neglect from what is three couples (I think, at least two couples), with what appears to be 27 people (6 adults 21 children), plus loads of pets. I have the impression from the article that at least some of the children are from the couples (one of the women was mentioned as being pregnant).

I believe CS could be applied to intact families, however I believe a Government trying to adopt this would no longer be a Government similar to the way Maggie Thatcher dug her own political grave over the poll tax in the UK (council rates were based upon the number of members of the household rather than the value of the property, so you could have 1 person in buck palace paying less rates than for a family in a small dingy council (commission) house). The same basic reason it is not a fair system, it has only been made slightly fairer and actually in some instances less fair.
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