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Child Support and "extras" in 50/50 shared care

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The problem is, anytime my ex needs to buy something for the kids - school shoes, bags, lunch box, excursions at school etc etc - I get asked for half, and i am "expected" to pay.

Hi, i hope this isn't a repeat, I can't seem to get a clear definitive answer on this.

I currently have shared care 50/50 with my ex wife.

I pay the amount that CSA tell me to every week. On top of this, I also pay the total amount for Private Health Cover for kids, Dental Checkups, Sports Activities and Music lessons. I also pay for some of the kids excursions as school (I don't ask for half from my ex).  I pay for at least half of the school uniforms. I also pay for all clothing and shoes used when they are in my care - i.e. these items stay with me, so I pay for all that on my own (she would also pay for these items used at her house).

The problem is, anytime my ex needs to buy something for the kids - school shoes, bags, lunch box, excursions at school etc etc - I get asked for half, and i am "expected" to pay.

But aren't these all things that should be covered by my child support payment? Considering i have 50% care and pay for the items above , do i also need to pay half of other expenses the kids incur? I have in the past, but the demands continue and I am "guilted" if i don't agree to pay for something extra.

Thanks in advance.
Guest said
Hi, i hope this isn't a repeat, I can't seem to get a clear definitive answer on this.

I currently have shared care 50/50 with my ex wife.

I pay the amount that CSA tell me to every week. On top of this, I also pay the total amount for Private Health Cover for kids, Dental Checkups, Sports Activities and Music lessons. I also pay for some of the kids excursions as school (I don't ask for half from my ex).  I pay for at least half of the school uniforms. I also pay for all clothing and shoes used when they are in my care - i.e. these items stay with me, so I pay for all that on my own (she would also pay for these items used at her house).

The problem is, anytime my ex needs to buy something for the kids - school shoes, bags, lunch box, excursions at school etc etc - I get asked for half, and i am "expected" to pay.

But aren't these all things that should be covered by my child support payment? Considering i have 50% care and pay for the items above , do i also need to pay half of other expenses the kids incur? I have in the past, but the demands continue and I am "guilted" if i don't agree to pay for something extra.

Thanks in advance.
 
How you deal with this is up to you. Perhaps you haven't made your position clear enough? I have nominal 50-50 and the CSa is not involved in any way any more. The way we work it is that we each pay for expenses that we incur while the kids are with us, like food, entertainment, normal clothing requirements, etc, but we go halves in purchases that are not specific to our own home, like school expenses, extra tuition, orthodontics, etc.

It took a long while to get to this point. At one stage the ex was trying very hard to do exactly what you're complaining about, so I said "you can't have it both ways". After a lot of effort to "make me", she finally worked out that cooperation is better than confrontation, although she still tries it on. She also earns about twice what I do and lives in a housing commission house, so if the CSA got involved again, she'd end up being the "payer", but that doesn't stop her trying to get money out of me.

In the first instance, I'd be simply making it clear to her that if she wants you to pay for something that is her responsibility, you'll be claiming it back via the CSA's non-Agency payment process. If she gets snaky over that, you've got a problem you'll need to take further, I suggest. I'd also NOT be paying the full amount of any of the mutual expenses. I used to do that and it ended up causing no end of trouble. A typical scenario: "I've booked the kids in to get braces [for tennis lessons; for extra tuition; for music lessons, etc, etc, etc], you're right to pay for that, aren't you?" I worked out that I spent nearly $8000 one year in additional costs that she simply didn't contribute to at all and which gave me no credit with the CSA, because I didn't ask for them to. Don't get caught out, take a stand early and often.
Guest, child support is calculated using a formula that considers the cost of children. This cost of children more than covers the cost of normal situations (i.e. I believe it covers the sum of most normal but differing situations). When the cost of children was put forward by the committee the cost of children was based upon the average cost of raising a child being over $500,000 when the average wage was below $50,000. The fact is that the cost of children is extravagant and I believe by a factor of 10 (this based upon my own situation and more recent research that looked not at summing every conceivable cost but looked at the disposable incomes of families with and without children.

The CS legislation also considers special circumstances, e.g. private school fees where a departure from using the formula may be made. This is generally known as "Change of Assessment" (COA).  Parents can apply for such special circumstances to be taken into consideration.

I would suggest that you simply state to the other parent, when they ask for additional amounts, that you say to the other parent that they have the right to apply for a change of assessment (which would, in the circumstances that you have explained, very likely be turned down).

The main reasons that governments throughout the world get involved with the collection of CS is that in reality CS is in all but name a tax. In Australia a $1 collected in CS results in 50c being used to offset Family Tax payments. A parent receiving money for CS outside of the formula is therefore fraud as this offsetting is being avoided. As such you may wish to word a refusal to pay additional sums as being a move to protect both parents and thus the child or children against the potential for being complicit in fraudulent transactions.

A word of caution. Many receiving parents react to not getting more money for themselves by abusing the children by denying them their established rights in regard to how much contact they had with the other parent (i.e. they reduce contact, often to nill and then increase the guilt factor by making claims to all an sundry that the other parent is responsible for the lack of contact). Unfortunately the CS legislation basically condones and rewards such such actions. The CSA, in their endeavour to collect or transfer as much CS as they can, often irrespective of the very object of the CS legislation and very often irrespective of the full extent of the legislation have procedures that further condone this abuse of children (perhaps there should be a term "System Violence" that Australians should say NO to). Basically the CSA would require that the parent with the reduced level of contact to take the matter to court, even though the legislation clearly defines other actions.

As such you may be forced into a situation where you have to take the matter of reduced contact to court. You would therefore be advised to get evidence (e.g. records of contact etc). Hopefully the other parent will be a good enough parent to not put their financial gain above the abuse of the children.
I feel blessed that in my 50-50 situation, we have cancelled out child support and just pay equal amounts for everything, though my sons father is helpful as he does have more money so is happy to front my share for a little while.

As above, be mindful of reduced contact. It has happened to many people. I hope it isn't the case for you!
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