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CSA including partner's income

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Hi.

I would like to know if anyone has been so 'lucky' as to have their partners income included in an assessment.

My partner pays child support and the CSA has decided that because I work 2 days a week I contribute to the household expenses.

My partner and I have a 10 month old daughter and I'm pregnant with our second.

I thought partner's income did not come into it. Apparently it does.

My partner's ex only works part time. Their son goes to school 5 days. You would think they would make her go to work full time rather than including my low income.

Has anyone been in this situation?

Is there any way out other than not working? When I was pregnant with our first I was not a dependent. I did not know this was an option. Does CSA need proof that I'm not working or is this a matter of privacy? Any help would be great.
My understanding is that they only include a spouse's income if the spouse is providing significant financial support.

I would not think a two day job would do this. Do you have it in writing from CSA that your income is taken into account?

Any change in circumstance should be reported to CSA. Sometimes this puts you at advantage, sometimes not.

I'm sure some of the more CSA-wise folk will have comments to make also.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

I have never heard of this. My partners income never comes into the equation with CSA but it does with Centrelink. My income has never affected his ability to pay CSA either. Maybe someone else can shed more light.
When my partner was the payee, csa took my income into account to minimise the payers amount. (true story) When my partner became the payer, csa would not recognise that he even had a partner?  

When 'Life' is hard and things are tough,

and you feel like you've had enough.

Remember always this one thing true,

Someone else depends on YOU.
Artemis.

Thank you for replying. To answer your question I do have it in writing that CSA is including my income, stating I was contributing X amount in living expenses. Isn't this illegal?

I haven't provided them with how much I earn or work, they are just estimating. How can they do this? I have read the act and it clearly states that only the biological parents income should be used to calculate the CSA amount.

I read the act and only the biological parents income are used for assessments. How can they do this? I

In 3 months I will be on unpaid maternity leave and may not return to work for a couple of years.

Where do I go from here?

I don't want to do another COS. I don't have the time or the energy for this. I just want it to go away.   

I don't trust the CSA and don't want to ask them for help. Can any one please help.
Does your partner have a business and are you working there?  The CSA can and do take "clear financial relationships" into account when doing a COA.  This is usually related to a payer owning a business and employing/including their partner.

It could be argued that your income is enough to support "your" children and therefore your partner's entire income should be assessable for CS purposes. I rang the CSA under the guise of requesting some generic information and was advised that, due to my income, if my partner and I have a child my income would be considered a financial resource and as I am working now we would need to explain if I chose not to return to work.  When I rang back a week later and asked the same question in reverse  - pretending to be high earning payee giving up work to have baby, I was advised that I would be able to stay at home and care for that child until they were at school, and my partner's income was irrelevant. Despite claims to the contrary, it appears the CSA are much more willing to include the income and assets of the payers partner than the payee.
Hi Varity. I couldn't agree more.

Both my partner and myself have normal jobs. We do not own a business and we have no deductions from our wages.

I don't receive any Centrelink or Family Assistance.

I don't earn enough working 2 days to support our child as she is only 10 months old and I'm pregnant.

We have never been behind in our payments and did not try and get a reduction when I was on unpaid maternity leave with my daughter.

All I want is for the CSA to use the biological parent's income and that's it.

CSA care to reply

Verity said
Does your partner have a business and are you working there?  The CSA can and do take "clear financial relationships" into account when doing a COA.  This is usually related to a payer owning a business and employing/including their partner.

It could be argued that your income is enough to support "your" children and therefore your partner's entire income should be assessable for CS purposes. I rang the CSA under the guise of requesting some generic information and was advised that, due to my income, if my partner and I have a child my income would be considered a financial resource and as I am working now we would need to explain if I chose not to return to work.  When I rang back a week later and asked the same question in reverse  - pretending to be high earning payee giving up work to have baby, I was advised that I would be able to stay at home and care for that child until they were at school, and my partner's income was irrelevant. Despite claims to the contrary, it appears the CSA are much more willing to include the income and assets of the payers partner than the payee.
  Would the CSA care to respond to this post?

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. 
I have had similar incidences when I have contacted CSA. They have given me 2 and sometimes 3 different responses.

I thought they were supposed to abide by the legislation. Apparently they make up their own rules, depending on who you talk to and what their interpretation of the law is.

Game to reply

This is a great topic and it will be with interest that I watch as the responses or lack thereof occur.

I can add some interesting facts to this argument that show the CSA up on their biased attitudes however I choose to wait and see if a satisfactory explanation is forthcoming.

I believe this issue is about to explode in their face as I have already witnessed the maneuverings of people to avoid being held accountable to the new regime, mostly payees protecting their little scam.

Seems like the zealotry being applied to get the deadbeat dads just may flush out a few unintended victims or is that protected species.

I find it hard to believe that these changes will level the playing field, especially if they are not applied evenly ,particularly if capacity to earn is not being applied to both sides.
..and getting back to my pet gripe: payees who salary sacrifice.  Why is it that Matt Miller says that if either parent raises it as an issue we act, but CSA operators including objections staff say we refer it to the Capacity to pay team to decide if it meets their criteria.  We all know the criteria is linked to FTB savings meaning they only target payers for this activity  payees are the ones getting FTB.

Care to comment CSA?
I'm still waiting for CSA's comments on the topic of including my low income of only 2 days per week in my partners assessment.

Remember I have a 10 month old daughter at home and I'm pregnant.

Can any one shed some legal advise on dealing with this please?

Thank you to all who have responded.
overcsa said
When my partner was the payee, csa took my income into account to minimise the payers amount. (true story) When my partner became the payer, csa would not recognise that he even had a partner?
  To quote myself, and reinforce gender bias, 'partner-payee-male' my income taken into account. Partner-payer-male, csa won't recognise me or my children. Payer\payee-female has the best of both worlds.

Macuser76, I can't offer legal advise except to say that you will probably get more information for nothing off this site than paying large amounts of money to a solicitor who knows less.

When 'Life' is hard and things are tough,

and you feel like you've had enough.

Remember always this one thing true,

Someone else depends on YOU.
macuser76 - Obviously the nature of the COA application had something to do with the outcome you are describing. Can you tell us more about it?
macuser76, I cannot for the life of me see how csa can possibly entertain the idea that someone (anyone) can be held financially responsible for someone else's child. Which in effect is what they are doing by using your income. So what if you are their partner, husband or wife, you were not there when the child(ren) was conceived so how can the consequences of someone else's actions flow onto you?
Come on CSA help us out on this one

When 'Life' is hard and things are tough,

and you feel like you've had enough.

Remember always this one thing true,

Someone else depends on YOU.
I've recently had a ruling made by SSAT on an appeal made by my ex. The decision set my income at higher than I earn as they put on an extra $10 000 as fringe benefit for a novated lease. This figure seemed to have been pulled out of the air.

The bit that got me was that they also basically said that as i have a partner and share the household bills and rent increasing my child support payments would not be an issue to me financially as apparently I have plenty of money available to me because of my partners contribution. They in no way took into account that my partner has full custody of her own two children, works part time and earns considerably less than I do. It seems very contradictory that my partners Centrelink benfits have been reduced to the basic since living with me but for the purpose of this she is expected to be contributing equal amounts to the household.

It does lead to the question - if my partner leaves and i have to pay the full bills alone will my child support be reduced. I'm pretty sure it won't!
Duncton

I must say I agree with the SSATs view that an amount should be added back in to cover the amount salary you have sacrificed through the novated lease.  If the appeal is against your income used for the assessment, I think the SSAT may have erred at law, because they should have remitted the matter back to the CSA with a direction to initiate a reason 8 COA and to consider all factors.  If it is an appeal on a COA it is likely to be the correct outcome.  Do you know if CSA is intending to appeal?      
I'll leave the legalities to others but Ducton you raise a very valid point. CSA take into account the partners income if you are the PAYER saying you are only paying partial expenses. However they do not take the partners income into account if you are the PAYEE. Are their living arrangements so different? Are their expenses not covered partially by their partner? Anyone from CSA care to comment?:thumbs:

If we can have a 'costs of raising children' study done and figures set, should we not have a cost of circumstance -partnered,single,other kids-study done and figures or guidelines set so that current partners aren't paying for non biological children?

When 'Life' is hard and things are tough,

and you feel like you've had enough.

Remember always this one thing true,

Someone else depends on YOU.
Bigred

I have no problem having an amount added back in for the car but I would like to know how they calculate the figure and the worth of the fringe benefit to me. The vehicle is 5 years old and although a 4WD its basic (no power windows, central locking etc) and is worth about $16 000. There are some very complicated financial arrangements on the exs side - she owns several properties and close to 2 thirds of her pay are in a salary sacrifice/fringe benefits arrangement.

We haven't heard from the CSA yet. I don't want them to appeal it. I just want the whole matter settled so I can find out what the arrears are and start paying it off as this decision is to be backdated to January. The ex cut back my access to the kids when the new system came in this year and i don't want to risk that again before we get to court.

My point here was more to agree with Macuser that my having a partner was mentioned in their decision, in that they have said that because of my partners contribution to our household I am able to contribute the extra in child support payable by having the car added in.
I would also be interested in the CSA' members thoughts on this matter

They must find it difficult, those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority

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