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CSA and change of assessment application by ex due to private school fees

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Hi folks.  We are brand new to this site so if I've placed this on the wrong area, I apologise in advance.  We too are unfortunately involved with the CSA as payee's.  After a much drawn out process in the family law court, we finally have an order in place too.  Onto money matters, with the change in the CSA on the 1st July 2008, we like many other payer's had a reduction in the huge amount we were paying to the wicked ex.  The wicked ex has taken exception to this reduction in money we were handing over and has now requested that the CSA conduct a change of assessment due to the wicked ex now demanding that we pay her for half of the kids school fee's.  Even though I don't have too much experience with this, I have worked out that the CSA will more than likely find that there was some sort of intention to send the kids to private schools.  The part I am confused about it this.  When couples separate/divorce, surely the expectation of what was intended during the marriage is somewhat different when all parties seperate.  Can the wicked ex actually decided on what ever schools she choses and then chase the CSA to make us pay half??? How is this fair given the very large amount of child support we already pay her (shouldn't this amount already being paid contribute towards this expense???) And also how is it fair to us and our already high day to day living expenses?  I guess what I am looking for is advice from people who too have been in this bad situation which is obviously very upsetting and highly emotional.  What should we respond to the CSA with?  Can we use the arguement that we already pay a high amount of child support per year?  Can we also use the arguement that we simply can't afford to pay any more?  Any advice given would be highly appreciated.  CoolChick

Last edit: by CoolChick

I think you mean you are a payer, ie you pay money to CSA to pay to someone else.

If I was you I would go to the CSA website and read the change of assessment information.  I would then lodge a change of assessment request using as many grounds as I could identify, eg high costs of contact with children, any additional infrastructure costs.  Would also argue on costs of new family and current living costs mean current situation is not just or equitable.  Also carefully examine whether exs income used by CSA is likely to be correct or not - is there any unreported income.  If there is anything in the assessment that looks dubious lodge an objection within 28 days of the assessment date - this will mean you will maintain your opportunity to present your case to the SSAT.  If you are outside the 28 days, lodge an objection anyway - rejection on the grounds of being out of time is also appellable to SSAT.

Some people here will say be fair, but I would argue that you also need to be fair to yourselves as well, but be realistic.

While this is all going on ring the CSA case manager and offer to pay the rate you think it should be while the assessment is considered.
CoolChick said
Hi folks.  We are brand new to this site so if I've placed this on the wrong area, I apologise in advance.  We too are unfortunately involved with the CSA as payee's.  After a much drawn out process in the family law court, we finally have an order in place too.  Onto money matters, with the change in the CSA on the 1st July 2008, we like many other payee's had a reduction in the huge amount we were paying to the wicked ex.  The wicked ex has taken exception to this reduction in money we were handing over and has now requested that the CSA conduct a change of assessment due to the wicked ex now demanding that we pay her for half of the kids school fee's.  Even though I don't have too much experience with this, I have worked out that the CSA will more than likely find that there was some sort of intention to send the kids to private schools.  The part I am confused about it this.  When couples separate/divorce, surely the expectation of what was intended during the marriage is somewhat different when all parties seperate.  Can the wicked ex actually decided on what ever schools she choses and then chase the CSA to make us pay half??? How is this fair given the very large amount of child support we already pay her (shouldn't this amount already being paid contribute towards this expense???) And also how is it fair to us and our already high day to day living expenses?  I guess what I am looking for is advice from people who too have been in this bad situation which is obviously very upsetting and highly emotional.  What should we respond to the CSA with?  Can we use the arguement that we already pay a high amount of child support per year?  Can we also use the arguement that we simply can't afford to pay any more?  Any advice given would be highly appreciated.  CoolChick
A few less 'wicked ex' and more details would have helped but you say

I have worked out that the CSA will more than likely find that there was some sort of intention to send the kids to private schools.

Therein lies your problem, if it can be shown there was intention or agreement to do this - then there is a good chance the CSA will assess some of the costs.

Is there anything in the Court orders that deals with education?

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
The other thing to consider is if the children are already in education are they public ?

If they it could be suggested that this was the intent from the start although if she intends to put them into private education she will have to pay the other half and it would need to be proven as to the cost.

And of course Bigreds suggestion will no doubt create some retaliative inconvenience that may well send a clear message that you are abiding to law as she should.

  

Choosing a school

Hi Coolchick,

                 If you have court orders where 'guardianship' or 'custody' is joint (which is par for the course) then the choice of school falls on both parents to agree. If one parent disagrees on a school then the other can take it to court if they are determined to send them to the school. Under these circumstances the parent applying will most likely have to cover the costs of the school. Either parent can enrol or remove a child from a school without a court order, but enrollment needs to be agreed by both. If you don't want the children attending the private school then make it known in writing to the mother and/or school. (ensure you have copies and receipt of delivery) You can then present this arguement to the CSA and claim change of living and financial circumstances or best interests of the children being the reasons. If you undertake no action the CSA may deem you consent to the children attending the school and adjust the liable amount accordingly.

In a matter like this , no matter what has gone before, the Courts and Government will only consider your present and future intentions.

" Perspective depends on which side of the barbed wire fence you sit, or indeed if you are sitting on it! "
Coolchick - its par for the course for the person without the money to engage in expenses and expect the person with the money to pay. CSA support this - particularly once the person has been designated the payee. All sorts of claims can be made and essentially CSA will approve them and you will have to fight each one. So best get some skills and experinec for this.

And in courts - one of the questions is  (and lawyers know this) is about the schooling of the children. They will argue it was a prior agreement or the best interests of the child to go to private schools.(hence make you pay independent of CSA)

It makes no sense and its all about causing damage and taking money from the payer (man usually). It also fails to recognize that fundamentally the situation has changed financially when people split. Children must experience a lower standard of living.

What has typically been the case is that the government is happy for payers (men usually) to lose their house, children and income so women (usually) can be supported by them. This was in the intent of the family court and CSA systems and still is to this day.

The argument goes 'well you married (or now defactoed) them' and 'till death do you part'. So welcome to the CSA and Family court systems - but take heart - the advice you get from others here may provide practical solutions to your current situation. As far as for the future of society and your children as they grow into adults and go through this same system - I have my doubts that much will change - particularly given the strengths and funding of the militant lobby groups.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
zoehasrights said
Hi Coolchick,            
In a matter like this , no matter what has gone before, the Courts and Government will only consider your present and future intentions.

Unfortunately this is not correct. What has gone before either in 'implied', 'intended', 'acquiesced' or 'agreed' has a great deal of bearing on decisions made by the Courts and the CSA on the type of education.

You can make all the statements you want about 'not agreeing' - but if a Court finds a 'basis' for prior agreement then it is likely to make some type of orders regarding school fees.

The ability to pay those fees is a different issue.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Agog said
zoehasrights said
Hi Coolchick,

In a matter like this , no matter what has gone before, the Courts and Government will only consider your present and future intentions.
Unfortunately this is not correct. What has gone before either in 'implied', 'intended', 'acquiesced' or 'agreed' has a great deal of bearing on decisions made by the Courts and the CSA on the type of education.

You can make all the statements you want about 'not agreeing' - but if a Court finds a 'basis' for prior agreement then it is likely to make some type of orders regarding school fees.

The ability to pay those fees is a different issue.
That is what happened to me.

Just because I signed the forms to enlist the kids in the school  and paid thefees before the separation they made me keep paying after.
Part of the underlying problem is the 'continuity' principle. Things have to continue the way everyone expected 'for the sake of the children'. This principle then goes on into CSA - which then suggests that , for example , you should still be able to afford horse riding lessons, orthodontics  etc for your children  - the children should not 'suffer'.This is madness (of course) and fundamentally wrong on many levels.

Whats its really about is giving the one without the money or the one with full custody POWER over the  other one. The government likes this system. The one without the money (or has full custody) is usually considered the 'better' parent - after all they do it full time (at home) or don't chase money (by working) - they must be good for something surely?

The government hopes that by helping support these people children will get their education, horses and teeth - all without the government having to pay anything and its ONLY TOO HAPPY to see the PAYING PARENT LOSE EVERYTHING - for the 'benefit of the children'.

The message is - don't earn money, don't acquire assets and don't get involved with people who earn less than you. Women learned this lesson years ago. Many men for some reason - just don't seem to get the idea.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Child support in its essence was established to facilitate the basic needs of the child, that being food, shelter, clothing, health, EDUCATION etc…. and in its infancy spousal support due to the fact that not many payees worked (mainly women in the 70's) over the years we have seen it digress to a greater form spousal support. But the effective use of the system is to keep the view on the primary needs of the child. If the child is in public education and YOU see it that this is effective and DO NOT agree to private education then you do not have to pay - If the other party wants them in designer clothes then keep the premise to "clothing" not deisgner". I had a friend whose ex would send the kids over in ratty old clothes not fit for the weather conditions (forcing him to buy more each time they visited) but she would claim to CSA that clothing bills were $500 a month in a COA. After some advise from moi - he then started buying clothes on their visits and taking the cost off the CS each month… she soon stopped. Recommendatio to you here, keep the kids in public school, but get them a tutor or life coach when they visit you and take the cost of this off the child support. CSA cant refuse legitimate expenses and her request for increased money will soon stop.

been through this one as well - The ruling - I did not have to pay for private school as I did not agree to it and saw no benefit from it.

Please remember everyone that CSA has new intelligence gathring software which can track responses and dates that you include in forums such as this and these can be compiled against acutal cases that "may" in fact identify you to CSA from forum inputs. Its called pattern matching or Business Intelligence (an oxymoron for CSA I know) but it is happening. So when writing keep the premise or context of you argument/statement/question to the point - but modify dates times and amounts etc.

Regards nxus
nxus, CSA software is no where as advanced as you suggest.  If CSA garners information about your case from here, it will be entirely incidental and because you have said a little too much.

Also, my general advice to anyone dealing with them is keep verbal communication to a minimum and make all your requests in writing, keeping a facsimile receipt because they also lose stuff that challenges them.

Thanks BigRed… Agree with your statement. but will be cautious all the same.

Have indepth knowledge of what BI can do and now that CSA are asking for credit card statement, bank statements etc in longer periods am thinking that the 2 may be linked. Seems like an intensified fishing excercise is underway and the fish they catch have to be placed in an esky somewhere.
nxus, I have similar fears about "fishing", eg give an account number and it may be used to grab some disputed arrears at a later date. I am well aware of what BI can do and know what CSA can do and the gap is huge.  Also, anyone caught by a fishing expedition should check for the published privacy protocol and request the privacy impact statement under FOI to check every thing has been followed, and if not "scream loudly".

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