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Ex claiming CS arrears for money she owed me and agreed to pay

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Ex is trying to claim arrears because I took money owed for a car loan from CS as she agreed to do this.


I have a query regarding collecting arrears. I split with my ex in June last year and I was paying CS via direct deposit into her bank account. I was left with a $12000 credit card bill and a $6000 car loan. She wanted to keep the car and I told her that she would have to get a loan and buy it from me as I couldnt afford to pay the loan and our other debts.

She was unable to get a loan so asked if I could take the loan repayments out of her child support each week. I gave her 6 months grace before I started to do this and even then would only do it every second week or give her extra if the kids needed money for soemthing. We only had a verbal agreement on this.  In February she had a car accident and wrote the car off. I was left with a $900 excess which was taken from the insurance pay out. I told her that I would pay half of it and she could pay the other half. If she had borrowed the money to buy the car off me she would have had to pay the full amount anyway.

Because of this she went to CSA and asked them to collect. They asked her if she wanted arrears and she went back one week which I was able to prove that I had paid anyway.

Recently though she kicked my eldest daughter out (13 yrs old) and I told her that I was going to contact CSA as she was getting CS for her and wasn't looking after her (Shes living with my sister in law as I dont have room because I live in a 2 bedroom unit with my mum because I cannot afford to rent my own place)

So she has now told CSA that she wants to collect CS going back 3 months. She is trying to claim the money that I took out for the car loan and insurance and has no doubt not told them about the car.

I did tell them about the car but unfortunately I have no proof of the verbal agreement. I can prove she drove it and it was still in my name, I can even prove she was driving it when it was involved in the accident and that she was driving it back in January when she went through a speed camera but I have nothing to say she agreed for me to take out the loan and insurance money from Child Support. Even though the amount was $80 per week when you consider all the times I didnt take out the full amount or gave her extra money for other things it works out to around $500 that I may have to pay her.

How is it that she can claim arrears now when she was asked back in April and only went back one week?

CSA listened to my story and have asked me to get friends to sign a letter stating that she had possesion of the car but Im concerned that it might come down to her word against mine. I know its only $500 but I have given her thousands of dollars in extra hand outs since we split up, I even paid for her to fly interstate to see a friend.

Im still living at my mums because Im trying to pay a $12000 credit card bill which paid for furniture that she now has, whilst she lives in a nice 3 bedroom house. When she wrote off the car her sister went and brought her a replacement which is what I wanted her to do in the first place and buy the car from me but she wouldn't do it.

Anyone else had some experience with this or similar?

           the easy question first,"has anyone had similar experiences", I have little doubt that a very large proportion of CS liable parents have had similar experiences whereby the other parent is exploiting their children for monetary gain and a life aboard the proverbial gravy train. You are without doubt not alone, in fact my response before this appears to be the same.

With regard to the CSA being able to go back, yes and unless you can prove otherwise, they very likely will. The legislation even though in principle fair to parents still has a great deal that favours collection of money from one (somethimes both) parent to another person purportedly supporting the child or children for which the money is paid.

The CSA being an agency is accountable and held accountable for the money it collects or has transferred and this is the top line that gets reported and thus is what drives the majority of the CSA, thus monetary targets are set for many of the workers to achieve, all of this then is reported as reducing FTB (I.e. $1.00 collected = 50c not paid in FTB).

You could liken it to speeding fines and the machine that has been put in place for that, a system that assumes guilt unless you prove your innocence and prove it at great personal cost. However it does appear that you have evidence, i.e. the direct deposit transactions, that you were paying.

Although in principle I would be against it, it may be that accepting the $500 as arrears and making an arrangement to pay it over time, perhaps $5 per week (the CSA worker would get brownie points for this and they want those points sooner rather than later), could be relatively painless, although it could easily not be (after separation people tend to go through recognisable phases and some of these would make such an injustice an issue and therefore painful).

Also have you got your sister in law to contact the CSA, as it is very likely that she could claim CS from both of you.

You may also wish to consider the potential to claim under a reason 3 change of assessment so that you could accommodate the 13 year old, this could perhaps be the difference between the two bedroom unit and a three bedroom place. You would likely need to get evidence that this was expected by both parents. Perhaps have a read through the CSA's Guide here CSA Guide - 2.6.9: Reason 3 - Hi costs of caring for, educating or training the child in the manner expected by the parents (I guess the special circumstances would be to facilitate the child living with a parent).
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