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Change In Care FTB and Child Support

My son who is in his mid-teens is coming to live with me very shortly. His mothers has previously been the primary care giver. She has asked me to put together a Parenting Plan, I have put together most of our previous court orders. However she his haggling over the amount time my son will now spend with her and there is a chance agreement won't be reached before my son moves in with me (agreement is close). My question is how do I stop my current Child Support payments (which is based on an existing court order) if she won't agree on the time ? I believe you are required to inform the Family Assistance Office and the CSA of how many nights our son will be spending with each parent and that it needs to be verified by both parents. I don't want to be paying child support to my ex when my son is living with me.

Will I need to go to court ? if so what sort of application do I submit. The local FCR cannot see us for months.

Thanks for any help you can provide
Since July 2010 "Actual Care" overrides court ordered care/parenting plan or agreement. However, a parent who has less care than as per the court order, agreement or plan, can apply, by disputing the level of care, for an interim period of registered care (ie what determines the CS) for up to 14 weeks except in "special circumstances" where the period can be extended to 26 weeks.  

To apply for the interim period that parent also has to satisfy the registrar (CSA) that they have taken reasonable action to have the care as per the court order/parenting plan.

Basically, if the other parent disputes the level of care it will end up being a situation of who's evidence best suits the decision maker (note evidence cannot be collected from the child or children). I would suggest that you start obtaining the evidence. Keep a diary of all events regarding the child coming to live with you, perhaps overdoing things (eg send recorded delivery notifications to school/doctors dentists). Keep any texts, emails regarding the child coming to live with you (try to use these). Perhaps do things such as have the child take on extracurricular activities, perhaps join the local library (assuming that the area would be different). Tell neighbours about the change and get them to make an affidavit or statutory declaration. Take the child to the dentist and or doctor to get some proof of attendance (sick note for school) (if you use these perhaps ask the CSA officer to ask the other parent to say when they have visited the doctor and which doctor as they see a visit has been recorded).

Note don't make anything up as the CSA may contact the person(s) involved. However, don't try to insist that they contact, rather suggest that if they contact x then they should be able to confirm (ie give them a hint as to what they could do).

If the other parent does dispute the level of care be nice to the CSA officer as I believe it can sometimes be that the less problematic customer can have the decision go their way. Furthermore, some officers can make assumptions or unintentionally act with bias as the father having care is not the normal situation. I actually went through roughly what you went through, although the level of care wasn't disputed, also this was pre 2010, and the officer recorded the other other parent as being the recipient. Then they miscalculated the CS, then they refused to accept or act upon my notification that the other parent had additional relevant dependants. You could use the CS calculator available from the home page to check the resultant CS (only the advanced calculator (Red) is kept updated).

Perhaps have a look at The Child Support Guide - 2.2.5 Percentage of care determined by the Registrar based on actual care and The Child Support Guide - 2.2.8 Interim determinations from 1 July 2010.

Regarding alignment with Centrelink/FAO this should be done automatically (the CSA officers in disputed care now have access to the Centrelink system and it is part of their role to apply the changes to both the CSA and Centrelink system). I would suggest, feigning ignorance of this and contact Centrelink to record the new level of care (I believe that you would end up being put through to the CSA anyway but would get confirmation). You should receive letters regarding the FTB payable etc quite soon after you inform them (the CSA) of the change in care.

Last edit: by MikeT

Change In Care

Thanks Mike. Just the advice I was looking for and also for the pointers to the relevant CS Guide clauses. I didn't particularly want to attend court and pay the $600 application fee just to confirm something that was already in place. I lodged his enrolment papers at his new school on the last day of the 2014 school year (he still has to attend an interview before he is accepted). There is a good e-mail trail and there will be no problem in getting Stat Dec's from people who know about it. As the ex has been the primary care giver in the past she is having problems letting go, particularly as she is moving some distance away.
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