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1 day/week vs 52 weeks/year.

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Hello all.

I dont know if this has been answered before, as I am totaly new here……

My ex has decided that I am having my children 4 nights per month, whereas I am actually having them every weekend…..

According to CSA, 48 day vs 52 days is a major difference in payments.  Can anyone help with any assistance with my complaint/concern!!!!
I suggest working out care percentage in hours rather than nights. I have copied From website….

Care other than in nights

From 1 July 2010, CSA can base the care percentage determination on hours of care over the care period if a determination based on nights would be inappropriate. A decision as to whether nights are an appropriate basis for a care percentage determination will depend on the particular circumstances of the case.

Generally, the number of nights a person cares for a child will be the best measure of their percentage of care. However, this will not always be the case. Although a determination based on the hours of care that a person provides might result in a different percentage of care to a determination based on the nights of care, this would not necessarily mean that the nights of care are not the best measure of care that the person provides.

If a person has some overnight care and a small amount of additional "daytime" care that is not associated with an overnight stay, this will also not necessarily mean a calculation based on nights is inappropriate.


M and F have two children, A and B, who live mainly with M. F has care of the children every second Friday and Saturday night and some school holidays. F also picks the children up from school on Wednesdays, takes them to soccer and has dinner with them, before dropping them back to Ms house for the night. As the daytime care F provides each Wednesday does not significantly affect the care arrangements, it is appropriate to base the percentages of care on the nights of care that each parent has of the children.

A persons percentage of care will only be based on hours if CSA is satisfied that in the circumstances of the case, the calculation based on hours provides a better measure of care than nights. CSA will take into account the information from each parent and/or non-parent carer about the care they provide and why they think nights or hours is the better measure of care.


M and F have one child A. M works night shifts and so can only provide care for A during the daytime. M cares for A for 45 hours per week while F cares for A every night. A percentage of care based on nights would not properly reflect the parents care arrangements for A and CSA would therefore determine the percentages of care based on the hours that each parent cares A.


M and F have one child, A. M has 98% care of A and F has 2% care based on the number of nights care over a 12 month care period. During the 12 month care period, A stays seven Saturday nights (from 4pm Saturday to 12 noon on Sunday) with F and the rest of the nights with M. F works night shifts and takes care of A every weekday from 8am until M returns from work at 6pm. This occurs for 40 weeks over 12 months. F requests that his care percentage be calculated using hourly care.


Saturday nights

7 x 20 hours

= 140 hours

Daytime care

5 weekdays x 40 weeks x 10 hours

= 2,000 hours

Total hours care

2,140 hours

Care percentage

2,140 hours / 8,760 hours

= 24%
If you have care one night every weekend then it should be 52 nights minimum; unless there are exceptions to some weekends. As Craigo suggests care can be calculated based on hours. However, the CSA are very reluctant to use this method. I'd suggest getting blood from a stone in another universe in a parallel dimension in the middle of a black hole could be the simpler task of the two.

It would appear that there are no court orders that define the level of care or perhaps that this is on of the cases where the surreptitiously introduced legislation changes (AKA spring 2010 changes) have been applied that reward a parent for contravening court orders.

If there are no court orders then you should co about getting court orders. This would normally be to go through the Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process of mediation probably at a Family Relationship Centre (FRC). Where you would get up to 3 hours mediation free. If mediation result in a parenting plan it would be advisable to get a solicitor to draw up court orders from these. This shouldn't cost that much more than the $200 (I think) application fee.

In the meantime keep a diary/record of all contact as I believe that the CSA have taken diary entries as evidence. However, the CSA appears to have a clear policy that rather than observing the objects of the acts and the guidelines for public servants that the CSA should collect as much as they can by hook or by crook. It would surprise me little if the other parent were even led to say 1 per month instead of 1 per week so as to not reduce the CS by the 24% that a level of care of 52 nights (14%) receives.

If you could have an authoritative person sign a weekly statement/affidavit that could assist as could simply making an affidavit by yourself and getting an appropriate authoritative sign it stating that you have care every weekend.

Even if this matter gets resolved without court orders I'd still advise considering getting court orders and trying, if possible/practicable/reasonable, to go for more time. You would likely get at least Fri-Sun and if close to the other parent perhaps until Mon with you dropping them off at school, if applicable. Normally you'd also get at least half of the school holidays. There is a good chance if reasonable and practicable that you could get midweek time and something like 5-7nights per 14 nights.

Perhaps Secretary_SPCA could ask the CSA if they have ever taken a personal record/diary/log as evidence and what the criteria there would be for acceptance. We could then assist the CSA in doing their job by advising exactly what the requirements were. Same with affidavits (I believe that they have certainly accepted, at least until they were proven to be falsified and fraudulent, three affidavits from a parent, that parent's parent and a friend as evidence).
We have kept a care diary for the last 8 years and it has saved our bacon over and over when the OP told outright unsupported lies to C$A re care %. It's tedious to have to do it, but you will thank yourself later.

I also advocate getting court/parenting orders asap while you have a pattern of care. Once you cant show a recent pattern of care, C$A ask the OP what sort of care they will be offering you, and C$A will happily base their assessment on that.

Court costs money, but how much is your peace of mind worth?
Re- mentioning what MikeT said even if you work out the level support in hours you still end up with 52 days a year care.

For example: you have the children/child 4pm sat- 4pm in Sunday for 52 weeks a year
  = 24 hours x 52 weeks
=1248 hours
= 1248/ 8760 ( hours in a year of 365 days)
=14.24% care
= 14.28% of 365 days
=52 days

I think the other parent is calculating via thinking there is 4 weeks in a month - where she should be calculating it on 52 weeks
In our case, the care pattern was totally irrelevant for the CSA. We were able to show a care pattern for 2008-October 2011. The payee informed CSA that the payer will not see his children until day x, therefore the level of care dropped. It wasn't the payers choice not to see his children for 3-4month! This is also irrelevant. The payer, in your case, is able to call CSA, informing them, that she will be withholding the children from you and you therefore will not have them for 52 nights. In our case, we were lucky so far, that the payee agreed with regular care after all and CSA is backdating this to the day the payee requested CSA to collect. We were happy enough to go to court. We are stil looking into getting consent orders and mediation. CSA informed us (well I knew this before) and apperantly even the payee, that court orders can simply be broken by her. This is correct for child support purposes. If she would decide to drop the care, breaking court orders, she simply has to inform CSA about such and they will reduce the level of care for the payer. The only enforcement is going back to court. A court may then warn the payee at first, later maybe send him/her to parenting courses or fine the payee. The court has the power to sentence jail time. But seriously, how often has that happened? It certainly wouldn't be the best interest of the children. If the payee has a job, a fine sounds reasonable and paying for court costs does also sound reasonable. In a lot of cases, the court will simply ease the parenting plan to favor the payee, after this occurs to often.
If the parent withholds care and your care % drops below 14%, you will then be eligible to put 30% of your total monthly C$A towards a Prescribed Payment. Then the payee only gets 70% of what they normally would in the hand. I would say the payee hasnt bargained on this outcome. Fight fire with fire.

Not to be nasty, just to balance things a bit.

Some people only learn this way.
What is a prescribed Payment?

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure"
Prescribed payments are certain payments that can be credited as child support even if the parent receiving child support doesnt agree the payment was in lieu of child support. As long as the paying parent pays 70 per cent of their normal monthly child support payment on time, a maximum of 30 per cent of the monthly payment can be credited in this way.

Prescribed payments can be for child care costs, school fees, school uniform and book fees, essential medical and dental items, the other parents share of rent, mortgage, utilities and rates, or some motor vehicle costs.

We only credit prescribed payments if the paying parent has less than 14 per cent (regular) care for all the chidren of the assessment. This is because if you have more than 14 per cent care of any of the children, the direct costs you incur when you care for the children are recognised in the child support formula.

Oh ok, I think lol.

If I understand what you are saying, then if Parent A (the main care giver) has 86% and Parent B has 14% (or less) care, then Parent B can pay CSA 70% of the assessed amount, and the remaining amount goes straight to bills for the children?? Is that right? If thats the case, thats a great concept. Can this be done for the whole amount?

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure"
My last post was copied direct from the CSA website (haven't figured out how you guys box up your quotes etc). You need below 14% care to be eligible. And yes, you can pay the other 30% direct to the school for fees/uniforms/books etc. Type "prescribed payments" into the search box on the CSA website.

Its their token for parents who have no care and no say in their childrens lives, but 30% is the maximum.
Thanks BDouble, really appreciate it. I will have to go and have a look.

(PS and off topic so sorry, but I recently did a road trip in a triple road train - Kenworth - Adelaide to Alice and back. Awesome machines!)

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure"
BDouble said
(haven't figured out how you guys box up your quotes etc)
1) Highlight the text to be boxed (quoted).
2) Click on the Quote button at the top of the reply area and when the input box appears type the name of what is being quoted (note it automatically follows this with said).

The button looks like this: Quote boxx

You can approach Family Assistance to work out the care percentage by hours and they will let C$A know. Since all the agencies were merged into Centrelink last July they should be working together but there are still plently of C$A nasties in the system so use FAO to calculate the care instead of C$A as they are much nicer people to work with.
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