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CSA and children working Full Time

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We are in a bit of dilemma at the moment. Partner's ex has submitted her tax return and it has generated a new assessment, which asks for about $450/month. My partner is not working and I support him, CSA know this. He still has to pay for these two teenage boys, 16 and 17years who he has not seen in 15 years (the mother has made it impossible for the children to ever contact him), we do not mind paying but the amount just reeks of 'spousal maintenance.' Anyway, we have information that the two boys work in their own sole trader contract businesses as roof plumbers or tilers and have their own listed ABN. The ex partner insists that they are both not working but their ABN status is listed as 'active'. They are not apprentices,and are able to earn $120-150/day as a contractor. The mother's income is reliant on new husband's disability pension and part time work (10hrs/wk)

My question is should we employ a private investigator to actually find out who they contract to, and how much their earnings are before we put in a COA?

We realize this would initially cost us but he would save in the long run on Child Support is they accounted for both boys incomes. We have estimated their incomes at $30000 pa and at the moment in the building industry (WA) there is a lot of work.

My ex partner will be going back to employent in January 2010 as a part time cleaner (salary/wages)as he is tackling some major health issues at the moment and CSA don't really care about that, they just want him to keep on paying.

Has anyone else had to use a private investigator to find out info that CSA won't find out or divulge? It is a bit sad that we have a Govt agency funded by our taxpayer$ that only investigates the payers, not the payees. The mother is committing fraud by not telling CSA that the boys are working full time.

Any suggestions welcome
If your partner is not working, why does he have a CS liability? Unless his income has been 'set' by a COA decision, he should be lodging a zero estimate and paying nil, shouldn't he?

Of course the mother can then apply for his income to be artifically increased by a COA, but if he can prove he really 'can't work' (as opposed to 'won't) at the moment, he should be okay.
Have you tried to put in an estimate of income? If not then I'd suggest that you try doing that.

Here's a link to the CSA guide in regard to Estimates of Income The CSA Guide - 2.5.1: Estimates of Income

And getting evidence of the children working may well be a good idea. Have your tried it from another angle, as it would be likely that if they are working and not notifying say the ATO, Family Assistance Office and perhaps Centrelink, then they and the other parent could well be liable to prosecution for fraud. If you do get evidence, then as you have notfied the CSA, the Ombudsman may well then be interested as this is an area where I believe the Ombudsman has reported a deficiency in how the CSA operates. I'm also quite sure that the CSA staff have in the not too far past been given training in regard to acting on reported fraud.
All I can add is that you should put in about 3 separate change of assessment applications and utilise the appeals process to the fullest extent.

You would be better off having a court issuing orders for information than spending money on a private investigator.

Get the P.I on the case

Mike where were you when i was going through my very expensive and unpleasant FMC matter.  Everytime i go to give advice you give great advice…leaving me to go "yep, i agree with him".

Firstly, if your partner isn't working and can't work, then NO he doesn't have to pay child support.  But he may be required to sell assets in his name, or CSA can get court orders forcing him to sell.  But if there are no assets in his name, then there is no problem…is there.  I know because i recently went through exactly the same experience.

CSA can sometimes be a bit of a bully unless you are prepared to stand up and challenge the system.  Write letter, complain and appeal.  Trust me, it all takes time, but it is worth it in the end.

And yes…get a P.I on to it immediately.  At least then you will know the facts and the truth.  You're not spying, you are trying to determine the truth in the event you are being ripped off.  If the kids aren't working…then at least you will know that your initial suspicions were incorrect.
Uhhm 2 or 3 years ago, well my advice would then likely have been very different I was then in a sort of limbo, between being a bit of a hot aired activist, to quote one of your fellows in the media a "passionate ncp" and whatever I am now. I ventured here in late 2007, kicked up a bit of a fuss, got sort of told to show that my mouth isn't all I have, showed that and learnt one hell of a lot in the process, oh and likely forgotten half of that. Perhaps now I'm a bit of an enigma. :)

Decided to hire a PI

Thanks everyone for the information provided. We have decided to hire a PI in December and then towards the end of February 2010 submit a COA. Not very trusting of the COA in the past but we will go down that track again if we have any evidence to submit. My partner will also be returning to work part time in Jan 2010 and this will lower the amount we will have to pay. At the moment we are in Credit with CSA, so we will not have to find the monies from my wages.

I have doubts about the FMC as in the past my husbands ex partner tried (unsuccessfully) to have DVO against him…just because she could stop him from seeing the kids. When this was unsuccessful, she moved away from the city and no-one knew where she was living. That was 16 years ago, and my partner has contacted the oldest children (who are now 30yr olds) and they more or less told him where to go. Its all very sad, he is the greatest step-dad to my kids and the most wonderful partner…definitely non-violent, and I would know after 15years if he had violent tendencies. I guess the FMC seems to believe a lot of what ex partners say, to some extent. Unfortunately….mud sticks…even if it is all totally untrue. We have learnt to value our real friends and found out who are the people who listen to gossips and lies throughout this. I just say to people going through ex partners who  have narcisstic tendencies and prefer to play the victim to justify their evilness…that there is karma in the world. Our karma will finish in about 24months. then the ex wife will have to find a real job for once in her life because the meal ticket will end (hopefully unless CSA decide to go back into the past!)

Thanks again for all your advice.
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