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Parents hit by travel bans in child support crackdown

Child support debts threaten parents' holidays

When they say "parents" they really mean "fathers".

Child support debts threaten parents' holidays

ABC News
5 December 2010

Child support debts threaten parents' holidays

Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek has warned separated parents planning an overseas trip this Christmas they may be prevented from leaving Australia if they owe child support.

Ms Plibersek says the Child Support Agency (CSA) has the power to issue Departure Prohibition Orders to parents with overdue payments who refuse to cooperate with the agency to repay the debt.

"The Gillard Labor Government is committed to ensuring that children with separated parents are getting the financial support they need," she said in a statement.

"Christmas can be a difficult time for separated families, not only emotionally, but financially too. So if parents have an outstanding debt they can ring the Child Support Agency and talk through their options."

The CSA currently has 841 departure orders in place. Ms Plibersek says $3.36 million was collected last financial year through 183 issued departure orders.

She says some separated parents with significant debts had refused multiple opportunities offered by the agency to make a payment arrangement.

"We would prefer not to spoil anyone's holiday plans, but when it comes to children who have gone without payments for a significant period of time, the agency has no choice but to issue these orders," she said.

"The good news is the number and proportion of actively paying parents without a child support debt is steadily increasing."

Ms Plibersek said the departure orders were one of several measures the agency used to recoups money from non-compliant parents.

Parents who have overdue child support and need to travel overseas for work or personal reasons are being urged to contact the CSA to discuss a suitable payment arrangement.


Parents hit by travel bans in child support crackdown

The Sun-Herald (Sydney)
5 December 2010

Parents hit by travel bans in child support crackdown
By Jim O'Rourke

More than 800 separated parents have been hit with travel bans because they are behind with their child support payments.

The federal government's Child Support Agency is targeting defaulting parents planning to travel overseas this Christmas.

"The Gillard Labor government is committed to ensuring that children with separated parents are getting the financial support they need," Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek said.

The crackdown comes as new figures show the nation's divorce rate jumped 5 per cent last year, the first increase since 2001. Relationship experts have linked the spike to the economic downturn.

There are now 841 departure prohibition orders banning travel for persistent payment evaders.

Fathers account for about 90 per cent of parents in arrears.

More than $3.3 million in unpaid child maintenance was recouped last financial year by stopping debtors from leaving the country. Many tipoffs are from former partners.

When an order is issued, Australian Federal Police and Customs officers may prevent a person from leaving the country, remove them from a ship or aircraft, or prevent boarding.

At June 30 there was $869 million in outstanding child support payments owed by Australian parents, a $44 million increase on the previous 12 months.

About $250 million was owed by NSW parents.

The government can deduct overdue money from tax refunds, wages and salaries and welfare payments. It also uses private detectives to spy on parents suspected of lying about their income to reduce their obligations.

The agency recently signed a new agreement with the Australian Tax Office to crack down on separated parents who fail to lodge tax returns. In the past four years the agency has collected $82 million by intercepting tax returns from parents with a child support debt.

Ms Plibersek said: "We would prefer not to spoil anyone's holiday plans but when it comes to children who have gone without payments for a significant period of time, the agency has no choice but to issue these orders."

In 2009-10 the CSA worked with separated parents to transfer a total $2.98 billion to financially support more than 1.19 million children.

Phil York, spokesman for mens' support group Dads in Distress, said it is regularly contacted by fathers with child support payment issues.

"It's a really difficult area and certainly there are both men and women who have an accrued debt and who don't think it is important, but it is obviously important to financially support your children as far as Dads in Distress is concerned."

Mr York encouraged parents who had fallen behind with their child support payments to contact the CSA to work out an appropriate payment plan.

Child Support Payments - The Truth

Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek has warned separated parents planning an overseas trip this Christmas they may be prevented from leaving Australia if they owe child support.
 No objection.

Ms Plibersek says the Child Support Agency (CSA) has the power to issue Departure Prohibition Orders to parents with overdue payments who refuse to cooperate with the agency to repay the debt.
 Once again no objection.

"The Gillard Labor Government is committed to ensuring that children with separated parents are getting the financial support they need," she said in a statement.
"
What a lot of rott!
100% of the time the money paid as child support payment goes into the parents bank account. If "The Gillard Labor Government" was committed to ensuring that children with separated parents are getting the financial support they need, they would ensure the child ACTUALLY HAVE THE CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENT SPENT on THEM!
This political bolstering and double speak only ensures the receiving parent gets additional income to spend however they see fit, and at christmas time it is highly like ly it will go to celebrating and gifts, not into the childs education, clothing and stomach for food.

If the Gillard Government was actually serious they would introduce a voucher or receipt system to make receiving parents accountable for the extra income they receive. It is already untaxed to them. We already have to account for every cent we earn via the tax system each financial year.

The REAL losers here are the children.

Christmas can be a difficult time for separated families, not only emotionally, but financially too. So if parents have an outstanding debt they can ring the Child Support Agency and talk through their options."
 Sounds to me like they are saying parents have outstanding debt with CSA? Who is the debt actually outstanding to????

Yes, the children!

If a parent isn't able to get a job and financially support the children they want under there own roof, what type of people are we raising? More of the same!

This is about getting money back into society, not to the children where it belongs. The government and financially educated know the best time and way to traffic funds back into 'The System' is through retail and at christmas.

Wake up people.



Oh I couldn't leave this topic without adding: Isn't Ms Plibersek and Ms Gilllard effectively asking the 'paying parent' (fathers in over 75% of cases), to pay the receiving parent (mothers in over 75% of cases), money, so they have spending money over christmas, because the father has worked hard to take a trip overseas?
Shortened version: We women speak for all women, want you men, to pay us money. We will use our kids and CSA to legally bleed it out of you.

PS. It is very hard to enter many countries without a return ticket, so the notion that fathers have chosen to leave the country and dodging child support right at christmas is absurd!

Last edit: by sd

Since payers are meant to lodge a tax return each year I guess the payee could fill out an expense return each year so the authorities could see where the money is being spent.

If you are not happy with a DPO a parent can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of certain CSA decisions regarding Departure Prohibition Orders. See Chapter 5.2.11 for information on the review provisions.

I am guessing the parent would have to know at least three months before travel if there is a DPO against their name so they can try to get a hearing with the AAT to sort out the issue.

My understanding is the issue shouldn't exist in the first place. Having to put forward complaints and applications is only getting you deeper into 'the system' with holds placed on travel arrangements etc, when receivers are just not being responsible with the additional income they receive.

The travel crackdown does not affect me at all, I have no money left to travel, but it is so clear to me how my payments are boosting my ex's lifestyle. She goes from emotional lows, to extreme highs every time her (our childs) payment arrives every month. Suddenly she has a new flat screen tv, taking trips O/S while our child wears second hand and hand me down clothes and isn't fed properly when with her.

Thank god I fought for 50/50!
I think this is a good idea for those that genuinely do not pay their child support.  It is unfortunately that a lot of payers are dealt a raw deal.  Unfortunately a lot of us payees are also dealt a raw deal. I am a mother of 4 and my child support assessment is the minimum.  My ex does not pay that and the CSA says there is not much they can do to get it.  I have always supported my children myself and I am one of those mothers that goes without so my children can have everything they need.  I work hard to earn money to support them including paying $6000 for my sons braces.  At times I get angry that I am left to pay all these added expenses but then I just think that in the long run I can hold my head high and know that I am doing the right thing by my children

Just wanted to say that there are us mums out here that pay everything for our children and the fathers don't financially support the children and I have many friends that are in the same unfortunate position.  I think the world has become a very selfish place where most people just think of themselves.  Lets hope all us that are doing the right thing, payers and payees get a break one day soon.
Nice reply mumof4.

Does your ex get to see his children?

I would like to see some realistic stats about the non paying parents and if they are the ones denied access to their own children. I think you would find the majority are.

There are always 'the deadbeats' so labelled. I have many fathering friends who have been totally destroyed by the CSA and the mothers wanting the children and the money, many are no longer with us, they were pushed well beyond the stress of raising children.

It takes 2 to tango and more parents should take responsibility of their own actions.

I really doubt the number of parents attempting to leave the country over the christmas break have one way tickets and are deliberately trying to leave children behind. This is about government appearing to to the right thing while revenue raising.

Some interesting reading about misconstrued stats:
http://www.oneinthree.com.au/misinformation/
Thanks SD. Just saying how it is and how I feel. It makes me really sad that there are parents out there that just want to take and take some more.  With regards to my children, my ex used to come in and out of their lives. He would see them on the odd occassion and not see them for months on end. We had no orders regarding the children. After about 5 years of coming in and out of the children's lives he had the children for several weeks (I was in hospital at the time due to an operation) and he agreed to look after the children but then never returned them back to me and did not let me see them for nearly 2 months over the christmas holidays of that time. He would not let me talk to them on the phone etc and went to Centrelink to claim the family tax payments etc. I was advised by a top city lawyer not to go to their school and just take them and that it would be best to go to court and this is what we did it took 2 months to get a court date (hence why I didnt see my kids for 2mths) .. this court case dragged out for 2 years. We did try the week on week off for about 6 mths but my ex then told the courts it was not working. Not sure what he thought was not working because he was receiving half of the family payments as well as child support from myself and yet did not pay any of the school exepenses etc. So we had to go to trial. The trial was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I was attacked by his barrister and asked the craziest things but then they adjourned it to get psychatric reports on both of us because my ex was saying I was not mentally fit. The reports from the psychiatrist said that we were both sane (it is great to have in writting that I am sane lol) and that basically it was her belief that the children should live with the person that they had the closest relationship with. When it went back to court the children's barristers said that their recommendation was that the children live with the mother as it was evident in the 2 family reports that the children were closest to the children due to being the one that has always raised them. My ex was granted 4 days a fortnight and half of holidays. A lot of emotion, tears and money was wasted during that 2 years but it made me a much stronger person and I appreciate my children even more than I did before (if that is even possible). I feel sad for my ex that due to his stubborness, greed and desire to hurt me ended with him being granted less time with his children. As he was a few days short of having a high enough percentage to receive any family tax payments he appealed this and lost that appeal (I was not aware of what was going on there) THe day he lost the appeal he called me at work to tell me it was all my fault and that he wont be having the children again (this was on the friday of his weekend) It has now been 2 years last month since then and in that time he has been to the children's school 3 times for a short 10 minute visit.

Again I feel sad for my ex but the fact is he has a right to see his children whether it is on paper or not but in his case it is on paper so no one can stop him. Let it be clear that i have never ever stop him from seeing his children and have never asked him for money even though I know he is have a lot better life financially than we are. Another sad fact to our story is that my ex only lives in the next street.

Through all this pain the children have suffered greatly and it breaks my heart to see them every time they act out in anger etc. A friend asked me the other day if I could have any wish in the world what would it be and I said I would love for my children to have a relationship with their father and that he did everything he can to give his children the best.

It is very sad that the majority of parents can not put aside their differences so they can work in unity to give their children the best. Just imagine how well grounded and balanced our children would be.

To all those parents that are fighting to see their children and are forced to pay crazy amounts of child support that they know are supporting the mother and not the children, hang in there, it may not be fair but in time your children will know the truth. For those parents who are like me and dont get the financial assistance or the other parent does not see their children… I know how hard it is but again you need to hang in there and know you are doing great by your children and they too will know in time which parent really cares. Life is too short, lets live it the best we can with what we have. Again there is good and bad in every category in life..

I forgot to mention that I am not a mother that sits at home all day. I have always worked even when my children were babies. There is only 2 years & 11 mths between my eldest and youngest so it has been tough going but you have do what you have to do. Unfortunately the company I was working for went into liquidation several months ago and I found myself jobless but I didnt sit at home and take advantage of the system I decided to get out there and finish my degree so that I can make an even better future for my kids.
Sec SPCA said
Some good commentary worth serious consideration

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

Wow,  I think most of us can agree that mumof4 is not the regular type of 'payee' that is usually discussed on this forum.
Her dignified response is a reflection of that.
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