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Payee Has Severe Mental Health Issues - What should we do?

Mother (payee) has SEVERE mental health issues, so much so she requires a carer to assist her with day to day activities.

Hi all.

Dilemma we face: we pay child support for my husbands daughter aged 15. We don't have contact with her sadly (her choice) she's at that age I guess. Anyhow her mother (payee) has SEVERE mental health issues, so much so she requires a carer to assist her with day to day activities.

Now we dont mind paying child support this is not the issue, what is concerning us is come July our payments jump quite significantly to around 800 per month and we are concerned as to how Mum is going to cope with large amounts of money.

This probably sounds greedy but we are currently paying 400.00 a month or 100.00 a week if you like and we recently seen her hitch hiking along the highway only to find out Mum couldn't give her bus money?!

Mum is currently in the hospitals care for an attempted suicide and all we want to do is make sure the payments are to benefit the child in question. I guess this is the same question all payers would like answered, but when the payee has mental health problems so much so they cant cope on their own it makes one wonder how they have the ability to budget.

Please don't judge us as greedy its not that, we DON'T MIND PAYING we just want the money in the hands of someone who has the ability to know what to do with it. How would we go about that?

You can put up to 33% towards supportive costs (not sure of the correct wording). I'm not sure if Non-Agency payments would count. Also check out the every picture tells a story (in the library on here). I've got a feeling that there's something in there about lump sum or is that up front payments which could be to a third party providing a service (say perhaps rental).
"Significant parental mental ill health may result in a court suspending or refusing residence or contact. Another alternative is supervised contact. This contact can be implemented where the court is satisfied that there is an unacceptable risk that the child will be exposed to physical, emotional or psychological harm: In the marriage of Bieganski.25 In many cases it is often argued that a parent's mental illness gives rise to an unacceptable risk to the child. In the case of In the Marriage of R26 the Full Court stated that the court has to identify a course that it considers will best advance the child's best interests. As such, the primary question when an "unacceptable risk" is raised is whether, looking at the whole of the evidence, residence or unsupervised contact with that particular parent might expose the child to an unacceptable risk. In determining these cases the test to apply is the civil standard, that the court must be satisfied that on the balance of probabilities the child is or is not likely to be exposed to an unacceptable risk.27

As a general proposition in relation to mental illness, an analysis of the cases shows the courts striving to ensure that children continue to have a relationship with their parents including those suffering from a mental illness. Given the available range of orders the critical issue becomes the type of parenting relationship which best promotes the child's long terms welfare. There is no one size fits all outcome to these issues. Few would argue the proposition the outcome usually focuses on the quality of the expert evidence provided to the court."

This extract is from a very balanced report filed on the FMC website. Here is the link.

I agree with Mike that the most sensible thing you can do is ensure as much of your child support is going in to concrete things to help them both keep a roof over their head.

Your partner's daughter may also feel obligated to stand by her Mum as she sees she is not coping.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Off topic a little though you may be able to access this in your situation.

For certain reasons one of my family members was made " Ward of the State " because he was unable to manage money correctly they accessed a " Public Trustee " who controls his money, they pay all of his bills and allow him a set amount each week to live on. If any unexpected costs or needs arise he applies for extra money to provide these things.

Back on topic I couldn't add anymore to the great advice already posted.
You raise a range of interesting questions that I will bring up with CSA on Friday…

Have you discussed this situation with a CSA case officer?

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Thanks so much for the replies.

Yes we have raised our concerns with CSA and typically the response was, as long as the child is residing there, we will continue to pay the resident parent. As for a trust situation, I believe that the other parent would have to agree and that definitely wont happen we tried that before. Her response was that she needed it. However the last stint in hospital was 3 months long and to me that does not make her the resident parent at the time. God knows where the money went.

Ideally we would love to be able to 1. Give the daughter the money direct (we know this wont happen) or hold at least 50% in trust, we realise the other half would be needed in cash for bills etc. But as I mentioned the other parent wont agree, its worrying my husband sick that we will be handing over 800.00 per month and we have serious concerns where it will go.

We have also made notifications to Child Welfare, but because there is a carer present during the day and because of her age she will not be placed in care - no less we would have her come to live with us before that ever happened. I guess it comes down to accountability really. We even thought of having the carer take monetary control but seeing as Mum receives her Disability Support Pension into her own bank account, then she would be having CS payments made to her account as well. Ho Hum, thems the breaks I guess.
Am I reading that right? The mother has a carer during the day?

If that is the case, can you not approach the public trustee of your state for assistance?

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
It certainly wouldn't hurt to check if CSA could be paid to a public trusty for your daughter sighting the increasing irrational behaviour of her mother plus the danger your daughter is putting herself in by hitch hiking at such a young age.

Myself personally if I had my daughter living in an enviroment as you describe, I would go full hog for change of residency with mother having scheduled time with her daughter with aim to revert when the mother is stabilized and receiving correct health support.

Not as punishment to child or mother but rather just to establish routine for her and perhaps a break for the mother.

Who cared for the daughter for three months ??
The daughter stayed with her grandmother (Payee's mother) for the duration of mum's time in psych ward, so we found out months after the fact.

As I said, residency has been challenged by us before but because there is a carer in place 8.30am to 6pm daily and daughter already being 15 we had no case for removal of the child. In other words the court appointed service provider decided child wasn't in any danger. Pffttt I say as daughter was the one who rung ambulance on discovery of slit wrists etc.

That's a whole another story. Also daughter has been self sufficient for a few years now she basically is the "adult" in the home.

Not a thing we can do… who do I approach about a Trustee? Lawyers? CSA isn't going to help.
Here is the link for your states public trustee. I'm not sure (as you are not relatives) if you can push for the state to control her finances, but perhaps a word to her mother - or the suggestion to DOCS to have a chat to mother/grandma may be an option.

ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.

If you do not have power of attorney, you can get the public trustee to look at an option called "adult guardianship" - it's when people can't control their finances.

I looked into this when my aging father started giving large sums of money away. Fortunately, I had power of attorney and was able to convince him to hand over management of his finances to me - stopping the large sums of money he was drawing out for his cleaning lady  :offtopic:

Click the tab for financial administration. That has lots of information and is an avenue you may be able to investigate further.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
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