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can i claim extras against my CSA payment?

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I pay a considerable amount of child support for my two girls to my ex-wife.  I have them about 35% of the time i.e. every 2nd Thurs night to Mon morn and half the school holidays.  Can I claim any costs of supporting the girls whilst in my care and is there a list that CSA have to go by i.e. clothing, meals, bills etc?
cliffo55,
          it is very unlikely that you could claim anything, the formula takes into account the level of care and you get a percentage reduction in-line with the level of care. However if you have 35% or more care then you can claim a share of any FTB (Family Tax Benefit) paid for the children and I believe that is at the same percentage as the level of care, so I think you should get 40% of the FTB that is paid. You can claim this through the Family Assistance Office (you can initiate this online but you'll likely have to attend an office to submit the required documents).

In your position I would be looking at ascertaining the exact level of care as about 35% could place you either side of the 35% barrier. From what you have said 4 days per fortnight, plus half of the school holidays may equate to 40% care. i.e. :-

4 * 26 = 104 (every 2nd thu-mon mornings )
3 * 7  = 21 (3 2 week school holidays)
21 = (half of summer holiday)

104 + 21 + 21 = 146 = 40%.


However it may well be that during the school holidays the 2nd weekly contact is dropped as it coincides with the school holidays.

The legislation does not restrict the working out of the level of care to only nights. It may be that you have an increased level of care if you consider working out the level of care based upon the hours. However with 4 nights for what would appear to be under 4 days, assuming that it is worked out with contact starting Thurs evening and ending Mon morning. Your level of care could drop. However if changeovers are at school, then I believe you have the right to consider the hours that the child is at school for one of the days as time in your care. This would then equate to exactly 4 days. So I'd suggest that working the level of care out based upon hours/actual time, rather than on overnight care. Would not be of benefit.

Are you paying according to a CSA assessment? If so check the level of care that you have and if it's 35% or more then claim the FTB that you are entitled to. If the care is not what you expect it to be, then you should have this amended by the CSA. The assessment will have something along the lines of the following (for each parent and for each child), where XXXXXXXX is the child's name, YYYYYYYY is the parent's name and ??.?? is a numeric value:-

for XXXXXXXX, YYYYYYYY's care percentage is ??.??% and his/her cost percentage is ??.??%.

If you are paying an amount that is not according to CSA assessment, then I suggest determining this amount according to the calculators available on from the homepage (I'd recommend using the advanced, however from what you say both would handle your situation), alternatively you could go to www.csa.gov.au and use the estimator. The calculators on this site though, are easier to use (everything is input and displayed via a single page). The accuracy has been checked extensively (in fact there are some in the CSA who use the calculators on this site). The advanced calculator, unlike the CSA's estimator, caters for all formula calculations. If you are paying more then perhaps you should contact the CSA and apply for CSA assessment.

If you have 35%-48% care, then the cost percentage (the actual percentage reduction) is 25% plus 2% for every 1% care over 35%. So at 40% it is 25 + (2 * 5) (40%-35%), so it is 35%.

I'm assuming that you have either court orders or a parenting plan, you may wish to post whichever you have, however you must not reveal any personal information, you must change names and addresses, and locations.

You don't mention any special circumstances so on the face of it, it would appear that you have no grounds for a change of assessment. Anyway these are known to often be worked in order to wrongly increase payments. However if you believe that you have special circumstances then that can be discussed. You may wish to check out the CSA guide in regard to change of assessment (departures). Here's a link to section 2.6 CSA Guide - 2.6

If the level of care was under 14% then non-agency payments could apply, so I've not covered that area.
cliffo55 said
I pay a considerable amount of child support for my two girls to my ex-wife.  I have them about 35% of the time i.e. every 2nd Thurs night to Mon morn and half the school holidays.  Can I claim any costs of supporting the girls whilst in my care and is there a list that CSA have to go by i.e. clothing, meals, bills etc?
 

Is this why you want more time with your children?

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. 
cliffo55 - You have mentioned in another post that you have remarried. Given this situation you may be able to make a claim that you are now supporting a spouse or step children and that these extra costs are making it very hard to provide financial support for your children. If you and your spouse decide to have children your child support will be automatically reduced. You also mentioned that you now have a job that allowed you to spend more time with your girls. It is quite reasonable to spend more time caring for your children and pay less child support as a result.
I suggest you seek professional financial advice to determine the best way to structure your finances.
I want more time with my children because they are my children.  I do have another family to support with my wife, however the money side of things is a seperate issue when talking about more time with my girls.  i just want to be the best father I can be to all my children and have the opportunity to father them all evenly.
I have just found out that I can make a claim on high costs for access to children once Final Orders are made. That is if the children remain Interstate. Example being the costs associated with flying the children to the state I reside in and then back ( must be accompanied by each parent one way). The link posted in an earlier post is excellent.
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