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G'day all

I know my son needs some dental work and currently I have no care.   I'm trying to budget and my ex receives almost $1000.00 a month in C$ for 2 children.  The mother is on Welfare.  I am in full time employment.   I have kept the children on my health fund at my own expense. 

If the treatment cost a total of $4000.00 dollars and my private health will cover $1000.00 will the CSA expect me to

a. cover the entire cost?


b. pay half the gap  ie  $1500.00


c. pay half the cost $2000.00 and than I can claim the $1000.00 from my health fund thus I have a $1000.00 out of pocket cost. 

            the other parent, to claim such costs, would have to initiate a reason 2 change of assessment (special needs of the child). This requires that the special needs be an out of the ordinary expense, which may not be the case for dental treatment. However, the CSA may well rule that it would be fit with a special need as it would increase the amount transferred or collected and that there is evidence that the CSA apply bias in change of assessment decision making.

However, if you paid the dentist directly for the cost of the treatment you should then be able to have those costs credited towards CS payments (assuming that it is classed as essential and not cosmetic).

An option would also be to make no offer and defend against the special circumstance (i.e. the dental treatment is not an out of the ordinary treatment).

The latter is, considering that the cost of children is based upon extortionate amounts that are very likely 10 times the actual costs to support children, in reality the fairest option.

I think the choice will depend very much upon the relationship with the other parent. If they can be trusted then an agreement to assist the other parent in meeting their responsibility could be the way to go. If they cannot be trusted and there is conflict then I'd suggest letting them take whatever initiative they take but plan to cover the full cost (the CSA are likely to resort to using the child support income percentage i.e. your proportion of the combined child support income as per the 5th paragraph of the CSA Guide 2.6.8), this amount would be paid over the child support period. If the relationship is between the two or the other parent is unlikely to be a responsible parent and not have the treatment undertaken then I'd suggest paying for the whole treatment and then claiming it as a prescribed non-agency payment.

Here's a few links to the CSA Guide:

The CSA Guide - 2.6.8: The special needs of the child.

The CSA Guide - 5.3.1: Non-Agency Payments
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