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Need some suggestions regarding a change of assessment response?  I received a COA application in the mail today from my ex wife claiming reason 3, education costs of $5500.  The COA process is not new to me, we receive an application every year, however, I am not sure on where I stand with establishing that increasing the assessment would not be fair and equitable.


I have documented a summary of events:


-          I have always paid and will continue to pay half of all education costs.


-          The receiving parent has remarried and has another child.


-          I am also remarried with two other children.


-          X sent me the high school application to sign (although there was no discussion regarding the school my daughter would be attending and she documented her new husbands details as next of kin).  Although this is the case I agreed through sms (have since damaged that phone) that we would halve the costs of education.  


My X states that due to the fact that I have almost 70% of the child support income percentage, I should pay 70% of the school fee payment along with all of uniform costs.


Even though my income percentage is 70% of the combined child support income, I request two overtime shifts each week to enable me and my wife to meet our bills.  I work 12 hour shifts six nights a week and we are only making ends meet at the moment.  We were planning on redrawing from our home loan to enable us to meet the 50% of education costs.


Does anyone have any ideas or have previously been able to establish that meeting higher than 50% of costs would be unfair and inequitable when an agreement was previously reached?
I advise that at not time do you let C$A or anybody know that you can or plan to redraw on your home loan to pay extra fees. If they find out C$A will expect you to do this to meet your duty to your children.

Regarding Fair & Equitable - you need to look at yours and your ex's overall financial situation and standard of living including your property settlement. If you are not as well off as the ex and you can clearly show this with credible evidence then you might have a shot at it. If you don't a good decision then you can go through the objection process, then a SSAT appeal, and then appeal the SSAT to a court. If the Objection and SSAt don't work out and you believe it is not fair then take appeal the SSAT decision to the court as this point of law is where I believe the court woudl give you a fair deal.
What sort of school is your daughter enrolled in, if it is a normal public school, CSA has already taken the costs of this into account in the formula.

If it is a private school, you need to make it clear you did not agree to her being enrolled there.

As for the percentages, if they find in the payees favour, they only usually award half of the additional cost.
She is enrolled in a private school.  Although we had no choice in which school she was attending I did sign the enrolment form for the school.  I believe that she should have the best possible education we can provide which resulted in a 50/50 split.  I have no problems with this whatsoever.

Although mum has now changed her mind and decided that we should pay a higher rate because i earn a bit more than her.  My problem is that I have 3 children.  I pay $200 per week for my daughter who does not live with me and my two other children who do live with me often miss out because of this payment.  My wife and I dont spend $200 per week on our two children combined.

When my wife and I had our second child, our assessment reduced by $6 per week.  Is that what she is worth?  Either way, I have had no problem with making my payments and continue to do so weekly to avoid being behind.

I have to query though - what are my other two children now going to miss out on if CSA decide that I have to pay higher than the 50/50 split previously agreed?  My daughter is going to have a great education whereas my other two children are going to go to our local public school which doesnt have a good reputation.

Such a shame that all three children arent given the same opportunities in life…
You have agreed to contribute half of the private school fees. That is to say not half of the total private school costs but half of the core base fee. There is a difference because the total school costs often includes the consolidated fund contribution, additional school trip sand related costs , uniforms etc.

If you have agreed to pay half the school fees then that is the extent of your liability under reason 3. Your ex cannot go and double dip based on the % of core child support distribution/allocation.

Perhaps suggest that should she continue with this approach you will have to re-asses your contribution at all due to the financial impost this 50% contribution to school fee core payments is placing on you.

It is quite extraordinary that it seems here we have a party paying their allocated child support at the rate of 70%, paying half the private school fees but it is still not enough. Send your shirt in the mail to her !

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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