Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

CSA payments & shared care

Hello everyone, great forum, my first post.

I have shared care orders for my child, she is 12.

Both myself and my ex have good paying Government jobs, however my income is higher, so I am paying her child support per month. This will probably increase under the new rules when the child turns 13, no doubt.

I have two issues with the CSA:

1. I am financially disadvantaged because she has had a new baby with her new partner. Because of this she gets some sort of exemption for her declarable income, so basically I am subsidising them for their failure to use birth control or for their lifestyle choice to have a child. I should not have to pay for that.

The CSA advise me that I could also receive the exemption if I had another child, I said, "not likely both me and my new wife are in our 50's, so get real." No luck there.

2. I recently had a phone link up with a senior case officer. Somehow the CSA discovered that I was salary sacrificing my super. So they are now going to screw me for more $$$. They also raised the issue that I currently refuse to share the costs, although I have shared care.

I said "well, not quite, I consider any monies that I pay to CSA that eventually make their way to me ex, as part of my overall child costs, ie if she asks for half of say school fees, I say "OK that's $150 less what I have paid you through CSA since the last time you asked for money = $150 less CSA payments.

CSA are saying that she can ask for a reassessment based on the grounds that I don't contribute equally to the cost". I say "But, madam, I do, I just pay some of it through you." She says: "Sorry it doesn't work that way."

Am I not being reasonable here, considering that we have shared care. I mean if she had chosen not to pursue the CSA (which she did for many years, before she found out that she can if she is earning less than me) I would have paid her the $150 straight out, she gets $150.  Now that she is getting child support off me, I give her $150 less child support, the CSA give her my child support, so in effect she still gets $150. Bingo, I AM paying half my way.

What do others reckon?
While I am confused by your last paragraph, you pay CSA and that is the end of your obligation.

Paying half costs on school fees is required, if you both chose to send the children to private school, you are obligated to pay half the fees.

I agree with your view that an ex partner choosing to have another child should increase the payee's CSA. This is a lifestyle choice that the new family should fund. Sadly, it's a way of the government reducing it's liability.

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. 
Artemis said
While I am confused by your last paragraph, you pay CSA and that is the end of your obligation.

Paying half costs on school fees is required, if you both chose to send the children to private school, you are obligated to pay half the fees.

I agree with your view that an ex partner choosing to have another child should increase the payee's CSA. This is a lifestyle choice that the new family should fund. Sadly, it's a way of the government reducing it's liability.
Yes, but the CSA are trying to tell me that I have to pay 1/2 of all costs (because we have shared care) as well as paying the child support through the CSA.

Another issue I should have raised is that we live on a property & we are renting out a cabin. My new wife paid for this cabin, plus a lot of other stuff and the rent money goes straight to her.

My ex has found out about this is and now the CSA are asking questions about whether the rent money should form part of my assessable income. It never ends.
I have never understood the concept of paying money to the other in a shared care arrangement.  Yes I do realise that the money the C$A decides to take from you to give to the 'poorer' partner is to equal your lifestyle for the child but realistically that is rubbish.  You pay when you have the child and she pays when she has the child.  As for school fees, you should pay half if you are not already paying child support.

I agree that the half of the fees you are paying should be taken out of support.

We have the same problem as you; the ex stayed home to have another child and therefore his support was increased dramatically, he had shared care and was still paying school fees.

Exes should not have to support the past partners new lifestyle, just the children.
CSA may tell you that 'morally' you should pay half expenses, but there is zero obligation on you - other than child support and other than private schooling (if this is something you agreed to when the two of you were together).

My ex and I have a private agreement. On top of this, he pays half of sporting and school expenses - when he feels like it. I have no way of enforcing this. We do not have court orders, but a "gentle persons" agreement. Sometimes, he's not so gentle.


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. 
Artemis said
CSA may tell you that 'morally' you should pay half expenses, but there is zero obligation on you - other than child support and other than private schooling (if this is something you agreed to when the two of you were together).

My ex and I have a private agreement. On top of this, he pays half of sporting and school expenses - when he feels like it. I have no way of enforcing this. We do not have court orders, but a "gentle persons" agreement. Sometimes, he's not so gentle.
Artemis.

Well I agree with you but the senior case officer I spoke to (who was actually a family law lawyer doing contract work for CSA) said that my ex could apply to the CSA for a re assessment because I wasn't paying 1/2 costs. In another phone conversation I had with someone else at CSA a while back , the officer said basically what you guys are saying, ie. My only legal obligation is to pay the CSA.

You know that before the CSA got involved in our parenting arrangements, I actually had a half decent relationship with my ex, we were both intent on doing what was best for the child, now its all gone out the window & guess who is effected, yes the child!

The sooner they abandon the CSA, the better, IMO.
valian

What you are experiencing is what I went through.My ex worked in the public service. we had 50/50. 6 years after divorce she took a package from work, applied for csa and got it. I fought all the way. CSA , the courts, SSAT and the politicians all told me how right it was to pay her CSA money ('its all about the children').

I lost my house, my health, any respect (hah) for the judiciary or politicians.

Until the silent populus starts shaking this tree to its foundations the idiocy will continue.

Women have been successfully getting money for doing nothing for so long now - many people don't even question it anymore.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Hopefully now the system is getting slightly (I use that term loosely) fairer, less women will be encouraged to seek out CS by removing the children from the father because they wont be financially rewarded for it.

Too many fathers lose everything due to this flawed system.

I am a mother and even i think it is unfair. (and no I don't get support as my ex and I have shared care, technically I am the one who is to pay him as he earns $0).  Why should the women work to support the children they chose to have with an obviously perfectly good partner at the time, when they can take the kids and let the government, tax payers and the ex support them.

And yes I believe your only legal obligation is to pay CS not extras on top.  Jon you are right, no one does question it at all any more.
I think the solicitor doing case work for CSA was over stepping the boundaries.

If anything alarming is said, ask for it to be sent to you in writing, or ask to speak to a supervisor. It may also be interesting to request your notes under FOI.

 

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. 
Jon Pearson said
valian

What you are experiencing is what I went through.My ex worked in the public service. we had 50/50. 6 years after divorce she took a package from work, applied for csa and got it. I fought all the way. CSA , the courts, SSAT and the politicians all told me how right it was to pay her CSA money ('its all about the children').

I lost my house, my health, any respect (hah) for the judiciary or politicians.

Until the silent populous starts shaking this tree to its foundations the idiocy will continue.

Women have been successfully getting money for doing nothing for so long now - many people don't even question it any more.
Jon.

Man that is sooo wrong, I cant see how the CSA sees that this sort of thing is in the interests of the child, namely one parent losing their home due to the Agency. I feel very sorry about that & sorry for all the men out there that this had happened to. Disgusting.
Valian.

Perhaps you should look at some of the reports the CSA make to the department that it is under and as such to the government. I'd suggest you'd find it hard to find anything about children being rescued from the depths of despair, instead I think that you'd find things like the amount of money transferred and how much FTB has been saved.
MikeT said
Valian.

Perhaps you should look at some of the reports the CSA make to the department that it is under and as such to the government. I'd suggest you'd find it hard to find anything about children being rescued from the depths of despair, instead I think that you'd find things like the amount of money transferred and how much FTB has been saved.
Yep, I would agree with you there!
So am I reading the preceeding responses correctly?

If a payer is in a 50-50 shared care arrangement there is definitely no obligation to pay anything else like uniforms, school fees (public school) etc.

No obligation

worriedstepmum said
So am I reading the preceeding responses correctly?

If a payer is in a 50-50 shared care arrangement there is definitely no obligation to pay anything else like uniforms, school fees (public school) etc.
It depends what you really mean by "no obligation".

IF you have the kids 50/50, do you consider it fair that one parent pay ALL the school fees, uniform etc?

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
worriedstepmum said
So am I reading the bove responses correctly? If a payer is in a 50-50 shared care arrangement there is definitely no obligation to pay anything else like uniforms, school fees (public school) etc
This is a tricky consequence of the new formula. The formula includes the cost of state school education, including uniforms, fees etc.

State school costs are, I think, just about the only costs included in the 'costs of children' calculations which extend across the two household.

By taking the level of care into account, the formula assumes the parents are sharing the cost of levies, uniforms etc equally.

If the incomes and the care are equal, no child support is payable. Clearly, the school costs should be shared equally in that situation.

The question still remains, is equal sharing of school costs required where one parent pays child support?

When child support is payable in a 50-50 care arrangement, this is intended to balance the contributions between households where one income is higher than the other. In essence, one parent pays more than half of the costs because that parent has more than half of the income.

So, the requirement to pay child support in a 50-50 care situation is intended to allow the lower income household to meet half of the costs.

Both parents should therefore contribute equally to state school costs as child support payable is to even the playing field not to cover the payers share of school costs which have been factored into the reduction in Child Support due to shared care.

As Monteverdi says, it depends what you really mean by "no obligation".

The amount payable as child support pre-supposes that the payer is also bearing half of the cost of state school education, and in that circumstance it is not fair to expect one parent to pay all school costs.

There is probably no legal obligation unless one is created by a court, but the assumption on which Child Support is calculated is that the paying parent will pay half, so that would seem like the only fair way to me.



Katie said
This is a tricky consequence of the new formula. The formula includes the cost of state school education, including uniforms, fees etc.

Could it be Tricky or could it be beneficial? Perhaps, it simply makes it closer to the situation of an intact family, where monies would generally be worked out to suit the circumstances of the family. Perhaps it would foster the separated family to do so likewise. I think there are many other facets that could come into this, especially depending on the actual care regime. Perhaps one parent would be the one with the greater weekend care regime, thus perhaps being required to foot the cost of activities, not support as such, but still in reality of cost of raising that child. Perhaps one does a greater proportion of transporting the child/ren between the households.

Katie, it's great to see that you have a grip on the new formula, however the 50/50 in association with the same income, I would guess, would be quite rare and also changed by other situations, such as one of the parents having other natural or adopted children (Relevant Dependant Children).

Would it be fair, assuming this equal income/shared care scenario, that if one parent then has a child from another relationship. That it then becomes that the parent without the child who then has to pay CS, which is effectively for the child that is not theirs?
Yes, I am not saying that I dont think I have a 50/50 obligation. I do. What I am saying is that any monies I pay to my childs mother for 1/2 costs (she's the one who pays out first for glasses , school fees etc, because she is a control freak.) should be those costs less whAT I have already paid her in child support. That way she still gets 1/2 of those costs.

The Child support is also unequitable because she has the 'new baby factor' built into it.
I'm not sure if, legally, you have to pay for anything other than CSA in this situation.

With shared parental responsibility, it would seem fair to pay 1/2 for large, unexpected requirements such as braces, glasses etc. Perhaps not school fees, as this is a murkey area depending on whether it was your choice as well, for private schooling.

As for half costs of uniforms, I believe this is fair. My ex partner buys his own shoes and uniforms for the times that the children are with him. I have lives with and more time with them by agreement. He also pays for any school activities that occur during his time, although, this seldom occurs because of my majority care.

It's an incredibly murky thing to navigate, let alone legislate.

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. 
Artemis said
It's an incredibly murky thing to navigate, let alone legislate.
Would it be? What if the child support (CS) money, from both parents (i.e. not actual money paid, but the Cost of Child calculation from which the subsequent CS payment is derived), were placed, into a pool, from which actual spending on the child/ren were then taken.

As an example parents for a child had incomes of $35,000 and $25,000. The paying parent at 50/50 (182/183 nights care repsectively), would pay the other (on the lower income) $70 per month, however the cost of children calculation would be about $4,300 pa, which could then be reserved (between both parents and considering the percentage split). The $4,300 would be made up of $2,150, from each parent after the $850 annual payment from the payer to the payee or the payer would pay $3,000 pa, whilst the payee $1,300 to this pool.

Not at all hard to legislate for, and it offers what many would like accountability for the CS and also protecting against abuse of CS. OK the regulations upon what it could be spent on may be quite complicated.
I thank you all for your input.

My husband does pay 50% of all costs on top of his child support obligation.  He has done this since the separation, as he actually had a shortfall in nights anyway for shared care and so an agreement has always been in place.

He has now been notified that his CSA liability will decrease under the new rules from July, so the ex is claiming he does not do his required nights (he falls short by about 10).  However we have trawled the legislation and believe he can still claim shared care and ongoing daily care because he does qualify with days up until July, (he will qualify with nights also after July).

She is also now claiming that my husband's nights have decreased because her parents took the children away on holiday.  It has always been agreed on both sides that should the children holiday with her during his nights that the nights still be counted as his and vice versa.  Up until now there have been no problems with arrangement, and only after the new rule letters have come out has she disputed the level of care, when it has been a long standing arrangement for years.

All very frustrating.
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets