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Hi, I am the payer of child support, have a property case in court taking its time, I live in the family home still which ex and I both on mortgage as joint tenancy. Since separation I have payed the full mortgage as ex refuses to contribute or negotiate a settlement out of court and ex potentially living rent free with parents. It is clear from her financial disclosure statements that all of my child support is just accumulating in one of 3 of ex's substantial bank accounts. A few questions:

1. Will the CSA consider a change of assessment under these circumstances (ex also has the car that is registered in my name and I had to buy another)?
2. Could the CSA look at the significant cash in ex's bank accounts and the fact ex potentially lives rent free or at family rates and conclude that she doesn't need child support payments? (I'm dreaming right?)
3. Are there other avenues I can go down to reduce my child support in the context of the mortgage issue?  
4. should I just shut up and pay the money…?

Last edit: by Perennial

I'm an experienced optimist, which means I'm a pessimist.
   The settlement and CS are separate issues.

   My partner was in similar position when I met him (four months after he separated), he also had to pay for his ex's first child in the divorce settlement - not fair but how the law is.

   On the plus side the house was valued at the time of separation and therefore had increased in value whilst he had paid all mortgage repayments by himself until property was sold. It stayed empty for a while - he was planning on renting it out, but figured she might be entitled to half the rent or something ridiculous, so he and I moved back into the property until it sold.

   I would talk to your lawyer and see if her share of the mortgage repayments that you are paying could be considered somehow in the settlement down the track. Send a letter through her lawyer regarding the issue, it may be enough to prompt her to get it finalised.

   I strongly doubt CS will do you any favours on this.

The change of assessment process is designed to extract more cash from the payer as they are responsible for maintaining their children and they usually are the payer due to having little care of the children. C$A will not likely reduce your liability if they believe the children will not benefit from a change.

As you have not finalised your property settlement the C$A will not likely do anything to help you (the payer) in regards to reducing your liability as they do not know what the outcome will be and will always err on the side of caution for the payee.

There are a number of ways to reduce your child support liability:

  1. Have greater care of the children.
  2. Reduce your taxable income. (not including super contributions via salary sacrifice or claiming net losses deductions)
  3. Increase the ex's taxable income.
  4. Have more children with a new partner.

I suggest you pay for good financial advice to find ways of reducing tax payable other than utilising salary sacrifice super contributions and/or claiming net losses deductions.

More importantly you should be working out how you are going to continue to be a great parent to your children with all the changes that are occurring.
Hi Perennial,

I am in no way an expert on this, but just yesterday I agreed for the CSA to decrease the amount of CS ex was assessed as having to pay, because he is solely reliable for the mortgage payments of our home (he lives in the house), personal loan and credit card debt.

He put in a dispute (or something similar) on the grounds of financial issues, and they called me and I agreed that yes, it would be better if the amount he was due to pay was lessened.

So, it can be done, but I guess, I
                  changeofassessment does allow agreement to be reached and thus circumvent continuance of the process. I also believe that the CSA are trying to reduce the administrative costs of something like 500 COA's per week and agreement simplifies matters greatly. Certainly paying a mortgage comes under a reason 7 COA (necessary commitments of self-support) and thereunder under "reasonable costs of accommodation".

In regards to property settlements the CSA Guide says
The CSa Guide (extract) 2.6.13: Reason 7 - necessary commitments of self-support said
The effect of a property settlement or agreement

An order or agreement relating to a property settlement which requires one parent to assume liability for a debt is unlikely to amount to a special circumstance. However, the responsibility of one parent for debts pending property settlement may amount to a special circumstance.

Where property settlement has not been made, CSA will consider:

    who exercises control of the relevant assets e.g. it is less likely to be fair to change the assessment where the parent retains control of the asset.
    whether a property settlement is likely to occur within a short period. If so, it may be appropriate to change the rate of child support for a short time pending property settlement and/or disposal of the asset.

However as Fairgo says a liable (CS paying) parent is wise to be very wary of COA as the CSA virtually automatically very frequently use it to artificially increase the amount paid so that they can report a greater amount collected or transferred to the DHS.
Thanks for your advice everybody. What I got from all of that is not to bother with a COA. I may try approaching the ex asking if she will agree to a decrease in my child support payments but seeing as though she is the type that tried to prevent our child from seeing me on christmas day and went to the CSA 5 days after we separated our track record tells me this will be a firm 'no', but worth trying none the less as I'm always open to new strategies.

My lawyer has written letters regarding the mortgage repayments but they won't negotiate on anything. I live in hope that the final settlement will be adjusted by the amount I have payed into the mortgage but I am also worried that I will just get screwed. Someone told me that I should have the final settlement adjusted by the full amount of the mortgage / rates / bills repayments I made when no one lived in the house and from when I started living in the house I need to offset the adjustment in the final settlement by what I could rent the house out for. As the property prices have dropped so much along with the mortgage payments I have made and the other circumstances in our case every calculation I make ends up with her owing me money.

I am fighting for more time with my child, I have been in the court system for over a year and the last extra night my child was ordered to spend with me decreased my CSA repayments by about $7. wow.

Offsetting my taxable income isn't an option at the moment as I need every penny I can get my hands on but this will be an option down the track.     

I'm an experienced optimist, which means I'm a pessimist.
Sometimes you can salary sacrifice to your mortgage (thus covering payments on your income and tax calculated after). This is not be the case with all employers, but it may be worth enquireing
Not a good move!

Salary sacrifice will be added back to your income for the purposes of child support calculations as are losses from an investment property.

Think again….
MikeT - That's what it was!  A COA - not a dispute as I initially wrote.

I must admit that the Case Worker did sound a bit stunned when I said 'yep, he pays for that, no worries, reduce it until he's back on his feet'.  Maybe no one had ever said that to her before?
downlow said
Not a good move!

Salary sacrifice will be added back to your income for the purposes of child support calculations as are losses from an investment property.

Think again….

 Not quite right. My understanding is that salary sacrificing superannuation will be added back onto taxable income for CS calculation purposes. Thumb of rule, if it shows up on your group certificate like fringe benefits, CSA will add that back on. If it doesn't show up on the group certificate, they will not.
My partners ex tried via a COA to get my partners CS payments increased as she was paying the mortgage. It didn't work as CSA deemed her to be in sole control of the house. My partner had previously signed the papers to sell it but she refused and instead took it upon herself to rent it out. CSA said under the legislation they could not consider the house and that it should be left up to the court at property settlement to sort out if she was in-tilted to get any mortgage payments credited at settlement. The SCO put in the decision that he thought she would be in-tiled to get it back at settlement. Turns out she is not as we found out she lied and never paid any mortgage payments as the payments where well ahead at separation (by about 20k), so the bank used that up for monthly payments and she pocketed the rent.   
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