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CSA Dilemma

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I separated from wife in 2002, it was very messy as there were four kids. Finally the court made orders in 2004. I went from fulltime care of the kids to every second weekend.
The act of picking up my kids for contact became fraught with anxiety as I received threats and abuse from her BF. One time he even pretended I ran him over, police and ambulance involved. Police told him to drop his complaint as it was abvious it was faked.

In 2005 fed up with this worsening situation I filed in the court for 50-50 shared care, this time without a solicitor thus saving 20K. Prior to going to court I told the ex I had enough of the current situation and just wanted to pick up my kids without issues. We traveled to court in my car and discussed the whole thing. By the time we got there we had it all worked out much to her solicitors displeasure (who had to write the whole order out coz I did not have a solicitor haha). In the same day we agreed on Financial orders too (haha again).

2005 to now. I am a good dad to my kids I love them dearly. As I have no partner ( no woman wants a man with four kids sigh) I have to be both mother and father, I cook clean, run them here run them there and I do it all alone. When I first separated from my ex she indicated that my youngest was in fact not mine. Despite this as I had already formed an emotional attachment I decided I would continue to treat him as my own.

About seven weeks ago my ex dropped the clanger that my oldest (now 16) was not mine. I did not react other than taking it on board and reviewing past events in my mind. I now think three out of four are not mine I started to push those thoughts away and thought stuff it, too late anyway.


Along comes CSA and starts sticking the greedy grubby little fingers into things again. Admittedly some is my fault as I have tried to hide my true income by not filing tax returns. Now I have a much larger debt wich will most likely get bigger. More on this later.


The bottom line is it has raised in my mind how unfair the whole situation is that I have been paying for and looking after kids created by other individuals. I do not blame  the kids one bit they are just the innocent victims of there mothers infedelity. Also my gullibility into assuming her fidelity. Anyway I keep thinking now if she was honest to me in the first instance when the first was born about his parentage I would have walked away and life would have had a whole new direction.

the issues I have are as follows:

1. My ex has four more kids to her BF (same one who pretended I ran him over). Why is it that I have to pay more Child Support because she has other children. THis is grossly
unfair.

2. Why is it when I have 50-50 care I have to pay child support at all. I thought that we are all adults and create our lot in life. Her current situation is her own creation so why do I have to make up the difference to her life. I do the same job I did when our marriage broke up just that my pay has increased. I have a bigger bucket of money than her but the CSA deems that I must empty my bucket into hers until it runneth over. Currently 89.76 % me and 10.24% her and this is with 50-50 shared care.

3. My ex now works but only six days in a fortnight. Her BF works too so they have a double income household. Seven out of the eight kids attend school and the youngest is in childcare for ten days each fortnight. Does this mean I can get my assessment adjusted because there are four more days in the fortnight where she should be working ?

4 This one is the biggy. Paternity. I love my kids and will always continue to love them. Despite them not being mine I just cannot switch my love for them off. I think three out of four are not mine. If that slimy greasy grubby fingered organisation had just butted out I would not be thinking along these lines at all. I am 50  years old life is running away the youngest is 10 so there is at least 8 more years of paying. I am not after a refund from her, I am not wanting to desert the kids I love but I am just tierd of being financially crippled by the CSA when other men are responsible, they had their five minutes of fun they had and then thay walk away scot free leaving me to wear the responsiblity. I am thinking  I would like to remove my financial CSA obligation by going down the paternity road but at the same time remaining the emotional father of the kids. Before I start anything in the courts would this be  acheivable or would the court wave there magic wand over me despite the kids not being mine and order me to continue paying.

5. Does anybody have a better plan of what I can do, or should I just do what CSA want me to do just shut up and pay get back in my box and be miserable.
oz_mick - wow you should be voted dad of the year!

To answer your questions:

1 & 2  - You have to pay more child support to her because her income is low. It is not because she has had more babies. Even though you have 50/50 care, the principle is that your children need to have a similar standard of living when they live with her as they do with you. So as you earn more the standard you provide is deemed higher so you must pay the ex child support so she can provide a similar standard of care. I personally can't see much logic to this when the family benefits the ex would receive for the kids is determined by the income of her BF and not yours.

3. If she is now working then her taxable income should be getting higher. It wont reduce your CS until it goes over 19k. Given the large family and the family benefits due, it is not really in their best interests to have a combined taxable income above 45k so I think you will find her taxable income will always be below 19k. If she has the capacity to work full time then yes you could initiate a change of assessment to have her earning capacity assessed. Please remember that in this process they will also look at your situation and since you are the payer, they will be more inclined to try to increase your liability. C$A employees get pay bonuses if they can increase collection.

4. I observed a few small matters in court the other day about paternity and would suggest that because you have parented the children for so long, you would be continue to be held liable for their care. If you could locate the father/s then this might be a different story. If the ex has told the 16yr that you might not be the father then it may be appropriate to do something.

5. I recommend that you get some good financial advice on how to maximise incoming and minimise out going $$$. I also think you should manage your finances so you can plan ahead and lodge tax returns without any surprises.

Regarding any child support debt you might have, under certain circumstances you can apply to a court to have the debt remitted. The courts are more reasonable with Child support issues that the C$A and SSAT.

Hope this info helps - good luck!
This whole CSA thing is a farce designed to give the Government a touchy feely thing, so they can wave statistics arround at election time as to how many so called "deadbeat dads" are driven to the wall. The media is largely responsible in creatin an image that anyone who pays child support is a "deadbeat dad " . Surely compulsory crucifying of the Payer to the point of despair is not in the best interests of the child(ren). As a human being don't I have the right to life of sorts. It is just a horrible feeling that if I try to improve my horrible lowly little existence that some minion in the CSA will see that as an opportunity to squeeze me for more, so as he can gain another notch in his belt to put himself in line for a Xmas bonus and toaster.

I think the failing here of the CSA is the failure to recognise that we are just not a dollar figure to put into a calculator, but that we are real people with hopes dreams aspirations that are slowly being shattered.

STEP 1:  So I think my first step will be to request a new case minion, I mean manager (oops) in my local area so I can meet them face to face. So they can see who I am, so I can explain to them face to face how much they are hurting me and the kids. Whether this will make any difference I do not know.

STEP 2:  I think I will try and goto court and get the arrears owing remitted after I have submitted all my tax returns.

STEP 3:  Seek some financial advice

As regards Paternity. I agree that I am the emotional father I just think it is unfair that the Family Court would continue expecting me to keep paying for someone elses sperm donation and lack of courage to step up to the plate and be responsible for what they created. I know with the youngest the name of the person responsible, I know that he was aware that she was pregnant to him, I know that he wanted her to abort and then he took off. With the first one after she said what she did a whole series of events surrounding a former work colleague now click and fell into place, and likewise he took off too.

 Question 6: What is the function of the admin fee that I get charged monthly, can I request it to be waived ? (or does this pay for toasters and bonuses OK bad joke)



** Very much appreciate the advice ** thanks
Hey oz mick,

RE the CSA dilema I don't really have enough knowledge in that area I'm sorry.  fairgo has offered some very good advice and I'm sure more will come.

I just have one question for you.  You say that you separated 8 years ago and for the past 5 years (since 2005) you have had a 50/50 care arrangement for the 4 children between yourself and the mother.  I realise that you have given reasons for parentage testing and have also been very clear that you still want to be an emotional support to the children.

As much of what you discuss is interrelated i.e. parentage, CS, care levels etc I am expecting that to remain as an "emotional support" but not a "financial support" to those children that might not (after parentage test) be yours biologically that a very good arguement (to an FM) would be required for this to be determined in your favour.  What I mean is…if your intent is to keep the status quo 50/50 it might be very difficult to argue that you should not have to pay CS??

Cheers

Last edit: by CrazyWorld


"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
CrazyWorld said
Hey oz mick,


As much of what you discuss is interrelated i.e. parentage, CS, care levels etc I am expecting that to remain as an "emotional support" but not a "financial support" to those children that might not (after parentage test) be yours biologically that a very good arguement (to an FM) would be required for this to be determined in your favour.  What I mean is…if your intent is to keep the status quo 50/50 it might be very difficult to argue that you should not have to pay CS??

  I would only do the Paternity testing as a last resort, I in no way shape or form ever want to do anything to hurt those kids. I guess it is at the moment just exploring options. for myself it is a sad situation  that I have even had to contemplate thinking about it. I read recently somewhere "A woman knows a child is hers as it comes from her, a man relies on the honesty and integrity of the woman to tell him that the child is his". The feeling I get is that life has been stolen from me.

If the CSA would just get out of my life and let me get on parenting my kids and having some semblance of life left then it would be fine.
CrazyWorld makes a very valid point for consideration. Undoubtedly a stressful time, but I think you need to make sure you maintain your focus without emotion. It's hard I know.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas
oz - I would seek financial advice first.

You can easily go to court to deal with any arrears that go back further than 18 months. Read section 110 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act. If the arrears is also more recent than 18 months, you can also have this included in your application. Make sure you have a genuine case - in other words you can demonstrate that you are much worse off than the ex and the assessment is not fair. The ex will also be able to put their case forward for enforcement of the arrears.

We are not aware of C$A charging an admin fee. This is possibly a penalty of fine. Don't pay them as when the issue of the arrears is settled either by court or other means, C$A will remit all penalties if you ask them to.

If you meet with them them face to face, make sure you do not disclose any personal or financial information to them. Use this time to extract information from them. Otherwise conduct all communications in writing (snail mail) Yes it is a good opportunity to explain to them the misery they cause.

Tonight on the way home from work, I dropped into the ex-wifes house to work out what we were doing with the kids for the weekend and next week. I am fortunate I can do this. We have a very flexible arrangment.  All the four  little ones always come barreling out of the house to greet me give me a hug and we make some jokes and play for a bit. My oldest son was working tonight at his Pizza hut Job, the next son is working the next night at Hungry Jacks. I chatted with the ex casually about our arrangements for the rest of the holidays. I am going to have them this weekend and the following weekend. During the week the oldest kids will babysit the younger kids. Her BF and me chatted casually about the new rates notices and the increased costs so on and blah blah. I hugged my daughter and told her daddy will be there to pick her up tomorrow night. Sort of put things in perspective again a reality check.

Previous post mentioned the word FOCUS and I am going to do just that. FOCUS on the CSA to reduce the debt through the court if need be.

Tonights little visit reinforced what I have been able to acheive, what I am lucky to have whether I am the Biological Father or not they are my kids, they look up to me (coz I am taller ok another bad joke) so the Paternity thing would probably hurt me more than it would hurt the kids. So it is pointless. I was adopted so I can sort of relate to there situation. I  really think its better they never know that I may not be there biological dad.  I am blessed to have four great kids who love me. An easy going relationship with my ex-wife.

I have been through the horror parts of separation, court, DVO's, childrens contact and in no way want to go through the same again.

So the FOCUS for me is too stop feeling sorry for myself and get on with sorting out the CSA whether I agree or disagree with there policies thats what they are so there is no point in whinging about it just try working towards getting them out of the picture if possible ASAP

I will keep asking questions though especially about the CSA and how to deal them. Really would have loved to have had a website like this when I was going through court before.

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