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Children's father states he cannot afford current child support.

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I'd like some reasonable opinion/advice from others please, from both sides of the CSA coin.

My children's father stated one evening that he didn't want the responsibility of a family and that he wanted to do his own thing, leaving me with 100% care of my two girls whilst he moved interstate consecutively.

Although we arranged a legal separation agreement, and I granted him unlimited access to the children, he very rarely saw them and his interest was trite and shallow for a couple of years whilst he rediscovered his youth. Once our property was sold and divorce settlement finalised I commenced a CSA collect arrangement with his consent to limit our need for discussion/involvement re financing etc. I hate discussing money. This has worked ok and he has occasionally contributed otherwise to some costs such as orthodontic work etc which I have credited his CSA account for.

Recently, his relationship broke down and he decided that he should move back locally to spend more time with his children, which I supported amiably and encouraged.

Once he moved back however, he still saw the children minimally and then 6 weeks later announced that his partner was too good to let go and he would be moving away again to make a go of the relationship.

This distressed my daughters, however, we've become used to getting on with things regardless and they continued to see/speak to him when convenient for him. I continually bite my tongue about this but don't interfere with their casual arrangement as I feel that any contact they have with him is important.

The CSA assessment for the last financial year was extremely low due to his taxable income being quite minimal compared to his previous years, however, I didn't question it as I usually avoided any knowledge of his personal life.

A week ago, he contacted me asking to change to a private collect arrangement with CSA as "he had had enough of them mucking him around". The reality of the situation (after speaking to him and CSA about this), is that he dodged his tax return last year, claiming so many deductions that the ATO audited him and have slapped a revised income assessment on him with a resultant tax debt. This also means that CSA were advised by the ATO and his CSA liability has been revised to reflect the ATO's finding. This means he also now has CSA arrears and his support payments have been doubled.

In our conversation he lamented that I don't understand how expensive it is to live in Sydney and he can't afford to pay for everything and has made me feel quite terrible for being reluctant to allow him a private collect arrangement so he can make reduced payments.

I feel torn and awkward and compromised.

For a year he has been happily reaping the benefits of a huge tax refund based upon a fraudulent tax return and subsequent low CSA payments, plus making his own selfish choices to move away from his children and live in the inner city with his architect partner, now I'm feeling upset by being asked to be lenient.

I am remarried and both my husband and I work, however, we have three shared children 100% (my stepdaughters mother is deceased) and I work an additional job to supplement our income. (We subsidise my elderly mother-in-law's mortgage, I drive an old but reliable car and try to live within my means).  I feel I should be advocating for my children's rights in this situation and if I don't I will feel like I've let them down.

Consequently, the girls father has harassed me over this and I feel really awful. He states that I will be financially breaking him and thus he won't be able to come up to see the girls or have them down there and now I feel more upset that my decision to be firm will result in them missing out or him being very spiteful. I don't like being put in this situation as I feel I have been gracious and tolerant over the years and seem to continually accommodate his irresponsibility and selfishness.

Have I been unreasonable?  :(

 

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

No I don't see you as being unreasonable, tell him this is out of your hands and he will need to take it up with the C$A.

In my book, you breed, you feed, nobody held a gun to his head and made him move to Sydney, that was his decision.

He needs to suck it up!
I have said that anytime he wishes to see them or they wish to see him I will arrange it and his CSA payments can be used for this. I've reiterated to the girls that they only have to mention that they'd like to visit him and I will book them flights or train tickets etc without question. I've not discussed the nasty details of this with them.
Guest said
…A week ago, he contacted me asking to change to a private collect arrangement with CSA as "he had had enough of them mucking him around".
I wonder what the CSA "Mucking him around means". Does it mean that I want to get out of CSA collect so that when I don't make any payments all I have to do is deal with my ex, which means I won't pay anything?
Guest said
In our conversation he lamented that I don't understand how expensive it is to live in Sydney and he can't afford to pay for everything and has made me feel quite terrible for being reluctant to allow him a private collect arrangement so he can make reduced payments.
Welcome to living in a Capital City… Perhaps it is time for a career change. They are his children as well and he needs to work out how he can support them under the current formula and or make an arrangement with the CSA. The contact arrangements seem liberal and therefore there is time when he wants it.

Did someone say "Suck it up?" Goodness me, I had a similar thought for a moment … It seems to me you need to let the CSA deal with the collections for the moment until the employment issues settle down. If the amount he is paying is a problem he needs to work this through with the CSA case officer and come up with a plan. It is not your problem to come up with a plan. If you "hate" discussing money then let someone else do it. In this case the CSA.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Guest said
….'ve not discussed the nasty details of this with them.
and rightly so. This matter is strictly for you and your ex partner to work through.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 

Don't allow yourself to feel sorry for him

Very disheartening to hear you story.  It sounds that you have kept a lot of information quiet over the years to allow your children to have respect for their father and worked very hard to provide the best you can.

You have given him too much flexibility and do not allow yourself to feel guilty.  Let the CSA handle it and don't allow him to make you feel like you are doing the wrong thing by him and your children.

"You commit the crime, you do the time".

If the CSA have done an assessment based on new audited facts then he should pay, obviously if he has ended up with a tax bill he would have been making a reasonable income that he could have provided more support for your children previously.

It has never been your fault and you are doing a wonderful job in supporting your children.  Let him take some of that responsibility for a change instead of galavanting around and having a good time and using his children to comfort him when things go haywire when his lovelife breaks down.  He may have to make some sacrifices for a change.

I feel sorry for your daughters.  Some people have no idea of what they are missing out on. You owe it to yourself and your children to let the CSA put the pressure on to get every cent out of him that he should have been paying before.

Emotional blackmale from an ex is not a very nice thing when children are involved.  Stand strong!!

Keep your head held high and keep up the fantastic job you are doing.
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