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The ex said her income for next year will be zero. So now, she is able to have a baby to another person and I am required to pay 100% of the costs of my own child, with her making no contribution

I got my new CSA assessment this week.

The ex is having another baby.

She has said that her income for next year will be zero. So now, she is able to have a baby to another person and I am required to pay 100% of the costs of my own child, with her making no contribution.

How fair is that?!
If I decided to enter into a new relationship, how would the CSA treat  me if I decided to reduce my income to zero?
I think that mothers should have to at least make a minimum  contribution to the children they have had in previous relationships.

I feel that I am in fact subsidising her ability to have children in  other relationships.

What do people think?  :$
First and foremost, I am not saying that child support is fair; I believe that it rarely if ever is. However it cannot be said that the other parent is contributing nothing overall, for you to be paying you must have at least under 66% of the care of the child and therefore the other parent is contributing in kind due to the care they provide.

Another aspect, is that if the other parent did have an income above the self support amount(SSA) ($18808 in 2009), then you would actually pay more in CS than you would before the arrival of the new child, due to the way that CS is calculated.

 That is the other parents income after subtracting the SSA, would then be used to ascertain the cost of the new child. Such a child is termed as a relevant dependant child (RDC). The calculation used is exactly the same as that used for working out the cost of CS children (for CS children both incomes after subtracting SSA, RDC amount and Multi-Case Allowance are fed into the calculation). This results in a lower cost of the CS child due to the subtraction of the RDC amount, but it also has the affect of reducing the parents income percentage (PIP), , that is the parent with the RDC, and thus increase your PIP. The PIP is used, but not solely in determining the percentage of the cost of child(ren) that each should meet (the parent with the higher amount becomes the parent who has to pay CS, except if they have 66% or more care). The other factor that alters the percentage of the cost of the child that a parent should meet, is the level of care. The actual level of care is converted to a cost percentage (0-13%=0% CP, 14-34%=24% CP), this percentage is subtracted from PIP and becomes the Parents Child Support Percentage.

As an example, if one parent had an adjustable taxable income of $50,000 and the other parent $30,000 and there was one under 13 year old CS child and the first parent had care of the child for 52 nights (14%). Then :-

50000(ATI) - 18808(SSA) = 31192 (CSI) (PIP=73.59%)

30000(ATI) - 18808(SSA) = 11192 (CSI) (PIP=26.41%)

Combined Child Support Income(CCSI)=31192+11192=42384

This when fed into the cost of children table results in a cost of the child of $6922

The cost percentage associated with 14% care is 24%, therefore the first parents portion of $3433 would be 73.59-24=49.59%

The second parents portion would be 26.41-86=-49.59% (0 or below results in no payment).

Thus the annual CS is $6922/100 * 49.59 =  $3433 (rounded).

However if we introduce a RDC for the second parent then :-

50000(ATI) - 18808(SSA) = 31192 (CSI)

30000(ATI) - 18808(SSA) = 11192

Cost of RDC for an income of 11192=$1903


Parent 1s PIP=77.05% (up from 73.59%)

Parent 2s PIP=22.95% (down from 26.41%)

CCSI=31192+9289=40481 (down from 42384)

This results is a cost of the child of $6636 (down from $6922)

The cost percentages remain the same at 24% and 86% respectively.

The first parents portion is 77.05-24=53.05% (up from 49.59%)

The annual CS is $6636/100 * 77.05 = $3520 (rounded)

That could be considered less fair, however the argument is that all children deserve to be supported, although this doesnt take into consideration the fact that there would likely be another parent (they wouldnt be paying CS other wise the multi-case allowance comes into play).

You ask what if you had an RDC, well if the first parent had an RDC rather than the second parent then the cost of that RDC would be greater than the other parents RDC at $5423, the first parents CSI would drop accordingly. The CCSI would be $31741. The cost of the CS child would be reduced to $6135.  The first parents PIP would drop to 69.87% and the first parents portion would be 45.87%. Thus the annual CS would be $2814.

If a parent of an RDC is at or below the SSA, as would be in your case (i.e. zero income), then there is no change for an RDC.

With regard to you reducing your income to zero, well this wouldnt actually happen and very likely isnt the case with the other parent. They will have income and to be honest a darn good income for the contribution to society that they make. They will in all likelihood be getting PPS, Full FTB, Baby Bonus, Rent Assistance and much more. If they are not then it would very likely be because they are more than adequately provided for by a partner. However back to what would happen to you as a paying parent. It would very much depend upon why your income reduced to zero. If the reason were to care for a new child, then you should be treated in a similar fashion, however you may have to pay the minimum rate of CS, which is currently $6.82 per case for up to 3 cases (take a case to be a family). If you were legitimately on a low income (on income support) or were genuinely on a low income, then the same minimum rate of CS would apply (note that if you had 14% or more care of the CS child, then the CS would be $0). If the CSA were not satisfied that the low income was genuine then the fixed rate of assessment would likely be applied, that rate is $1178 per annum, for up to 3 children.

The CSA do appear, in general, to have a rather biased approach to being satisfied. The bias very much dependant upon whether the parent is a payer or payee. It is frequently heard that for a similar scenario, the opposite applies when the decision results in an increase in the monetary amount collected or transferred. E.g. for a RDC that has special needs, those needs have been considered when the parent is a recipient, however the special needs have been discounted when the parent is a payer. Another example, I have never heard of a recipient of CS, being given a fixed assessment, yet I have little doubt that there are those that report a low income and are not on income support or have a genuine reason for a low income. In fact I believe that I have actually encountered such a person on the forums that I visit.

I wont go any further into how and why I consider CS to be unfair, I believe Id end up writing a book that would dwarf Tolkiens trilogy.
Yes you are subsidising her child from a new relationship. I know the C$A would not see if this way but a court would.

I suggest that you offer to become the major carer of your children to delete child support.

Failing this I would suggest that you put in a change of assessment application citing reason 8 that she has and earning capacity and has voluntarily decided to reduce financial support to your children knowing that her decision will result in you having to pay more.

I know you will be unsuccessful in this application however it will allow you to access the appeals process that will eventually get you to a court that I know will make a fair decision.

You should not have to pay more because she has had another child to another man. He should be providing the difference.
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