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Need advise on CSA assessment

Hi all

Here is my situation:

Back in 2007, I had an amicable and civil separation with my ex wife.  We both did not want to go through the courts so we sat down and worked out what was best for our 2 children.  As we were both working and earning roughly the same amount, we agreed to equally share custody and responsibility of our children.  They spend 1 week with me and 1 week with her.  As the children both go to private schools, all school related expenses would be divided equally.  This was all done and agreed to verbally.  The only time this was put on a document was when she filed the divorce papers last year.

The arrangement was working fine.  We were both spending time with the children.  The children were content and understanding of the arrangement.

In November 2008, she suddenly quit her job stating "…….going on a lifestyle change that would surely please my family".  I emailed her and wished her the best.

All was still going well.  She rang me around March 2009 saying that to register with Centrelink, she would need to register with CSA as well.  I received my first assessment form CSA stating that she would need to pay me for child support.  This was due to the fact that after my redundancy in the first half of 2007, I struggled to find employment until September 2007.  As the assessment was based on the financial year 2007-2008, my taxable income was lower because I was only employed for 9 months of the financial year.  Anyway, as we had a good working arrangement, i opted for private collection to be able to not deal with CSA.  I did not ask for any money from her.

In October 2009, she emailed me stating that as she was still out of work, she contacted CSA for an asessment and opted for them to collect for her.  CSA contacted me and confirmed what she had stated on her email.  CSA said that due to her having nil income and that she would be unable to work until October 2010, i have to pay her child support.  I asked the case officer why she would be unable to gain employment and CO let slip/hinted and just stated that she could not disclose that reason.  (I later confirmed my suspicion that she was pregnant with her partner.)  I argued with the case officer (CO) saying that we had a private agreement, that she voluntarily quit her job, with whatever her Centrelink payments and now her child support allowance - what incentives are there for her to look for employment and so on and so forth.  Confusingly enough, the CO felt that it was unfair to say so herself but that she was working under a guideline and must follow that guideline.  As I stated strongly that I would not pay her child support, CSA would initiate a deduction from my salary.

I strongly believe that this is unfair.  I feel that I am somewhat subsidising her pregnancy.  As a single father, I have never forsaken my responsibilities of my children.  I believe that being pregnant is good but it is not an excuse to forsake one's responsibilities.  I congratulate her, as well as all expectant mothers, but I feel it is no longer my place to shoulder her responsibilities.

I delayed with fighting this unjust assessment as I did not want to cause her and her unborn baby undue distress.

But now that she has given birth last June, as the title above says, i need advice on how to get my assessment changed or overruled without/before seeing a solicitor.

The children are still spending equal time with me and their mother.  Their age is 13 and 10 soon to be 11.

Thank you in advance.
mate , welcome to the club, there is many a bloke here paying for or subsidising the ex wifes new child. Wait until she has the baby then she gets a deuction for having an additonal dependent under the age of 13 yrs!. yeah it just gets better & better (for her)

Its not just blokes who end up worse off due to the ex having a new addition to the family. I have child with ex, he goes on to have another child with someone else- CSA was reduced by over half. There's not much you can do about it- it goes both ways.
There are a fair number of recent posts with the same story. Perhaps this is an area where future legislative change is needed to make child support more fairer.

In some of the other posts we have looked at an argument that the father of the new child should bear some responsibility for your increased child support liability, as he had contributed to the decision with your ex to have another baby. Also any Family Benefits they are receiving for your children as based on his income so it is presumed that her and your ex have made a decision about how they will control their finances.

Other than this there is not a lot you can do about it legally unless the C$A Legislation changes, or you can try to get past the CSA and SSAT appeals processes and get to a court for a discretionary decision via s.116 of the child support (assessment) act. There is a slim possibility here.

Perhaps all you can do is try to have more care of the children. They are old enough to make their own decisions about where they want to live. Try for 65% percent - that way she will keep some (25%) Family Benefits. After all their mother's time is now being consumed with a baby from another man and you are still free to be a father to them. Also you might find very shortly she will be doing to same to you to increase her Family Benefits and child support payments as this might be part of the financial plan she and her partner have worked out to survive.
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