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Hi all,

I am in a very bad financial situation. Separated from ex 4 years ago, divorced 2 years ago. We have 2 kids, one is now 18, the other will be 18 in April. We had numerous businesses and owned investment property together. My ex refuses to pay me a settlement, or even just take my name off the mortgages and it's been dragging through the courts. We have a 3 day court hearing with a federal magistrate in June NEXT year. I can't get a loan, I have been very ill, and have been fighting Centrelink and Child Support as well.

Initially my youngest stayed 1 week with me, then 1 week with her dad (until his new wife arrived from overseas, and whom he introduced as his visitor). Since then my youngest has stayed with her dad a weekend once a month, and since we moved it had been 2 nights in the last year TOTAL. I was unaware that  had to call CSA separtely as Centrelink assured me they were linked. The ex estimated his income as $32,000 pa and so was paying $178/ month child support. In addition, he is a builder, mostly cash jobs, and paying $120,000 a year on INTEREST only mortgages on the investment properties. He does not declare these payments on his personal income return, nor to child support as he runs the loss through a company set up for this purpose.

I lodged an objection, and was told I needed to provide affadavits from teachers, friends and relatives re hours of care etc. I provided a letter from my flatmate who lived with me for 3 months and who I've known for over 20 years and was well aware of the situation. Child Support changed the hours of his care to 82 days after speaking to the ex and when I questioned this was basically called a liar. I filled out paperwork for a review of his income and they changed it from his estimate of $20,000 to his "declared" $32,000.
My Centrelink payments have been cancelled at least 6 times and this is despite me (NOW) getting receipted copies of everything I give to them because they keep asking for paperwork I do not have access to or that does not exist.

We owned the businesses jointly for over 15 years and due to my hard work I am well aware of how much the true income figures are. My ex makes at least $200,000 a year
and claims all his personal expenses through the business including mobile, car lease payments, home electricity, overseas trips and holidays.

My income from Centrelink is $466 a fortnight and I get $212 a fortnight for the youngest. My payment includes rent assistance; I am considered to be single with no dependent children according to Centrelink and to help pay some of the bills I took in a lodger so I only get 2/3 of that full rate. I pay rent of $340 a week, and get $198/month Child support.  So basically after I pay rent we are living on $192/month and it is always late. According to the family Law Web calculator I should get $1600/ month in child support (calculated on easily proved minimum income for him of $130,000 (mortgages plus what he did declare). Oh, and I can't get Legal Aid to help me get the properties out of my name… as I own property.
Can anyone point me in the direction of how to get this reassessed or complain? Any help at all would be really appreciated.

For complaints have a look at this, The CSA Guide - Chapter 6.9: Complaints.

If you believe that the other parent's financial resources are incorrect then you need to apply for a reason 8 change of assessment. A form for applying can be found here The CSA Website - Forms (under the heading of Changes).

I'd suggest that you should consider your attitude as it appears that it may not be helping you. e.g. you say "We owned the businesses jointly for over 15 years and due to my hard work I am well aware of how much the true income figures are. My ex makes at least $200,000 a year and claims all his personal expenses through the business including mobile, car lease payments, home electricity, overseas trips and holidays.".

The implication is that your hard work was the prime factor that the business earned what it did and therefore that now without your hard work it could not earn that much. Perhaps you are, by making such claims, shooting yourself and the children in the foot. Perhaps you are also giving adequate proof of your capacity to earn at least $200,000 p.a. and that's why Centrelink are cutting you off, although it might be because you're not meeting the expectations of someone who is on income support. A reason 8 COA includes a parent's capacity to earn, it may well be that $200,000 is seen as your capacity to earn if you have left a trial of such evidence. The CSA are known to visit this website.
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