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Fairness in paying Child Support

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CSA needs to look at individual cases... I think that the government has a rough figure on how much it costs to raise a child: say if it is $5000 a year, then each parent should pay $2500 each...

Similar to A.V.O's & D.V.O's, Child Support is one of the first steps in any Family Law dispute. Always suggested by Family Law Solicitor's to custodial - "lives with" parents, presented as a legislated weapon of spite, utilised to weaken the other party's position, both financially and emotionally. When utilised in this fashion the protracted, long term effect is to continue to do so. Planning and building the lives of both the custodial - "lives with" parent and the children around the affect any changes will have on the other party and payments received. Similarily, avoiding payment or minimising incomes, planning and building the lives of the paying parent and children around these same changes is to reciprocate that spite.

Often in "functional" seperations, Child Support is rarely required. In instances where Child Support is required, however NOT utilised as a means to punish the other party, the outcome is successfully achieving what is required for the children. This scenario would be rare, however would exhist. Overwhelmingly common is the use of Child Support merely as a weapon, prolonging disputes the system is fundamentally designed to conclude. Whilst waving the flag, "for the children", many have forgotten this.

Many have recognised that there must be a minimum amount set for the costs of raising a child. The Government does this in many other similar areas, pensions, carers allowances, foster parent payments, disability payments, unemployment benefits and even to the cost of supporting our elderly as they reside in nursing homes. These same principles should also be extended to the Government run Child Support Agency. Setting a minimum amount, that is also the maximum amount, that the Agency should account for, that is passed between parents on a "cares for children" basis. Seperating Child Support from Alimony.

Effectively ceasing most avoidance and all minimisation of income, providing incentive to seek employment and better the parents lives, providing an opportunity for the children to receive support from both parents and everyone to achieve their maximum potential. If one seperated parent is blessed with the opportunity to provide more for their children above the minimum/maximum set amount and are willing to do so, it is they who should receive the gratuity and respect of the children which also carries the recognition of the children's ability to achieve the same. Encouraging all that are able, in the long term, to seek to provide for themselves, carrying their own responsibilities relieving much of the burden from the Australian Tax dollar.

unfair

i would like to throw this in

i am a recently divorced male who gets to see his daughter once a week- she is 1.5 years old, the relationship went sour after my now ex was cheating on me with one of my employees (but thats ok because i wasnt meant to find out…?)

anyway being that i have A for 1 overnight stay a week (i actually see her thru the week too just 1 overnight stay) we decided to tell CSA that the mother has her 100% of the time- i have a well paying job so i can actually afford the $82 a week which i want to for my daughter.

now i would just like to point out my ex partner just received a $900 family payment (paid annually) which is to help with the running of a family. its abit rich that she got that money given that the house, the bills, the food was paid for by me for the last 2 years..

now she is receiving single mother pension which is 575 a week tax free plus what she gouges from me takes her to 665 plus she can get a job and earn 260 a week with none of this being affected. thus putting her on about 925 a week PLUS the weekly family payments. now when she moves out of her parents place to her own place centrelink will be giving her another $70 in rent assistance. this puts her on 52k per annum tax free… for 1.5 days work

yes she has the baby but i have her too! and what do i get? well i have $171 in my bank right now with a mortgage payment of about $230 about to come out and not to mention the debts thati get to keep after our relationship fell apart (yes they were in my name stupidly enough) and she is hounding me for this weeks payments, even though i am a week ahead!

oh and for all of you who think CSA is fair your stupid. CSA asseses my total payable on my total income. being an area manager a large chunk of my pay is actually fuel reimbrusement- so i receive $100 in fuel reimbursement (which is less that it costs me to drive thru my stores i take care of) and also get to pay support on that!

dm

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

I don't think that many on here consider the amounts paid as fair (I personally believe that the cost of the children figures upon which CS payments are based are very inflated by something like a factor of 10. I myself know, having been on both sides of the CS fence, in that I am financially far better of having care as opposed to paying CS as I was), however I think many would consider that it is fair to expect both parents to be financially responsible to their children. Unfortunately the legislation is very one-sided in this aspect, it imposes responsibility upon the payment of the money for the child but imposes nothing upon the responsible spending of the money received.

In your situation your $82 weekly payment would be about $20 less if you rightly claimed the 52 nights per year (perhaps more if you claimed by the hour).

Furthermore it is not only CS that would appear to be at fault, perhaps some fault lay with the payment of the other benefits.
Is there a reason that CS is calculated on your gross income and not your net income?  I think it would be a much fairer system if was calculated on what you actually do earn AFTER tax…not before!

As for looking through job ads on the newspaper for work they are qualified to do - I cant see this working at all.   How do you prove exactly that they have applied for the jobs you have seen? You obviously cant (and honestly who would!) call the companies advertising the job and asking them if "John Smith" has applied for the job advertised.

As for the dad thats paying $82 a week and has his daughter overnight - Im shocked the CS amount you are paying is so low tbh.   I have my daughter 50% of the time and Im paying her father a fraction over the amount you are each week!

Is there some reason why you cant have her more? The more nights you take care of your daughter the less CS you will pay the mother. Its as simple as that. Also why tell CSA that the mother has her 100% of the time when thats not the case???  You are just shooting yourself in the foot doing that!!

Also if you are in financial hardship due to amount of debt you are in …you can have the CSA re-assess your case.

What payments is your ex hounding you for ?? If you are divorced then why are you paying her anything other than CS???

"The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never any  use to oneself."

Supermum said
Is there a reason that CS is calculated on your gross income and not your net income?  I think it would be a much fairer system if was calculated on what you actually do earn AFTER tax…not before!

I don't think it would be much different, as the percentage rates would likely be adjusted so that the amounts collected/transferred would remain very much the same. Perhaps some losers and some winners.

Hi Supermom, you do not have to call up companies and ask if soandso has applied for a job. When you lodge a change of assessment application CSA will/should ask for documentation whether the other parent has applied for any jobs or not. This will establish whether they are avoiding work or are actively looking. If you know they are not looking, reason 8 capacity to earn can be established.
SuperMum said
Also if you are in financial hardship due to amount of debt you are in …you can have the CSA re-assess your case.

 
 Good luck with that.

 I am still on the re-assessment merry-go-round. Been on it for two years and getting a bit dizzy.

 I only have a few weeks financially up my sleeve (economy downturn) and they are now looking to garnishee money direct from my account customers. They have me assessed at over $700- a month. I don't have a problem morally supporting my children except I now can't afford any of it at the moment.

 It is definitely about the other side. She has all the numbers in her favour, guess that is why she only works 20 hours per week, down from 40, and I believe even less now. But she is indicating financial hardship to the CSA. Never guess who they believe?


Don't ever mention 'Fair' and CSA in the same sentence.

Plug me back into the Matrix
Was speaking to a visitor from,let's say,Mars.  They observed there was something fundamentally unfair with a system that allows an orgainsation to calculate a sum of money it can forcibly extract from  an individual by reference to a number that could be 15 months old. Further,if the person says "you have got it wrong"
If 15 months makes it fundamentally wrong, what does 48 months make it?

You cannot say their system is unfair as all their literature states it is fair. Because I read it in their literature it must be true, just ask them.

Has anybody bothered looking at the employment criteria to work at the CSA?
Read it and then tell me that they don't have incentives and bonuses that encourage them to collect $'s.
This system is loaded. Wake up and realise why it is the NCP that is fair game. Stop taking it personally. It is about who they can target and not be labeled morally apprehensible.

It is of no concern to them that a person I know, not from Mars, that is typing away at the same keyboard as me at the same time as me is going down the s**tt*r. They have the best reason (read: excuse) in the world to hammer you. It's all for those cute and cuddly kids. Thanks to my X my memory of this is fading somewhat after 10 years.

Forgive my attitude here but sometimes reality is reality and it can make things a little bitter.

My stepson said to me a few weeks back that he wanted to be in control of his own life. A good learning experience for him is what I am going through.
You can never be in control, you can only try to influence the events that may lead to the outcome you desire.
Even less with the CSA.

Plug me back into the Matrix
oops meant to add "they reply 'we don't have to do anything, lodge an objection or COA, wait the mandatory 90 days for a result and be sure to keep paying'."  
I know of someone who has been getting royally *****ed by this sort of attitude on the part of CSA. The ATO made a stuff up on one of his returns resulting in a taxable income of let's say $20K higher than correct. Because he lodged it way late this resulted in a big backdated debt with CSA. It took the ATO a few months to right the wrong and now they tell the guy they can't automatically update his assessment to reflect his true, lower income because it's more than 15 (or 18? not sure) months old. In all his conversations with them not one officer has offered him a solution such as an objection or a COA. They told him if he doesn't want to pay it he has to front up to the mags court and get a temporary stay order. They also told him he should pay it in the meantime because once it's sorted out it'll be credited against his future payments. His kid is 18 soon - do you reckon if he pays it in the meantime he'll ever see that money again?? I don't.

If they can go back and adjust your income UP without a COA then they should also be able to adjust it DOWN the same way. It's so unfair. He's not asking them to take his word for it, the ATO has amended the assessment!!
Yet they can go back to your first pay cheque and adjust your income to a higher level if they under calculated if it suits them.
Kinda like they just did with everyone that tried to cash in on the recent government handout.

That must be fair somehow (?) I'll think about it for a while longer.

Plug me back into the Matrix
I know someone when confronted with a COA alleging they had "hidden income" who loaded both barrels (figuratively of course) and successfully argued that the impact of the stimulus payments be included in the other parties' assessment.  Bet that one had CSA central in a spin.
Maybe getting back to what it costs to support your children. I don't believe anyone can put an exact figure on it, not even an estimate.

My thoughts towards this reasoning is that you have two children so therefore you need a 3 bedroom house. The children grow up and move out. Do you keep the 3 bedroom house or trade back to a 1 bedroom house to accommodate yourself. So how does the size of the house factor into the equation of supporting the children if you keep the 3 bedroom house. I am not talking apartments/villas here. Generally most houses are standard with three bedrooms.
Not stating any particular opinion on this, just a thought.

What I would really like to see is a system implemented that counts against the parent with custody preventing access to the children to the NCP.

So assess me, then start deducting from them a daily rate (similar to the current scheme if you actually have access) for the time that I would like or could reasonably expect to have contact with them. If no contact is allowed it should be seen as a 50/50 split and work from there.

The CSA state they do not get involved with Contact yet their assessment criteria does take it into account. How many cases of no contact allowed would this solve I wonder?

Plug me back into the Matrix

lost dreams

I agree with you. Your not offensive. I'm not a dad in distress or some unfortunate hard done by bloke. I am a mother, and yes its very hard when your children leave of their own free will. I'm not dead yet but child support is financially killing me. I have no where to turn and when I ring them and say that the father is not looking after my sons best interest they ignore me when I tell them that the father works they ignore or tell me I have to provide evidence. I'm so sick of hearing those poor dads.  There are women out there trying to do their best as well. I literally support my ex husband. When I had my son living with me I got 6.13 a week.

  My son wanted to go and live with his dad and although it broke my heart I let him go. I pay him $675.00 a month so my son cannot be at school and not in a course learning something new and not playing sport and did I mention the decaying teeth. My son is 15 and is smoking and drinking. And does not want to come back home.  He isn't allowed to ring me the addressbook goes missing at mothers day and my birthday. My ex is allowed to treat me like c**p yet hold his hand out for money that my son doesn't even see. I have been late with a payment once and CSA nagged me for it.  They say to me I'm the responsible parent and must pay so I guess the parent looking after my son doesn't have to be.

Last edit: by monteverdi

 Can I add as much as I love reading everyone's comments and seeing that my family are not the only family CSA has SHAFTED…. I would love to take this a step further with everyone's personal letters and take them to an MP… And now I know is the point were everyone says dreamer: nothing will change. But you have to remember these are how all changes in government are made. I just want a number of how many people would be interested in writing signed letters, I am willing to further this in anyway possible. I am fed up of CSA telling me it does not matter that our hard earned money is going to support her Drug habit when my Step son spent years in shoes that were to small for him and when we replaced his shoes she would take him and the shoes back to the store and get a refund…. I learned very quickly to only buy from stores that have a policy: no receipt no refund! Now my step son is 18 and living with us cause his mum threw him out (not working) now we are still paying back dated child support and she wont even speak the child. CSA responds to that: the child is 18 now we do not have any control over what happens now only what has happened. We all know that there are paying parents who just do not pay, the system is hard and it is only fair to the receiving parents. And I think it is about time we take things to the next step, anyone interested? It is not a step that can be taken by one person, I have done that.
Your proposal I'm sure would be taken up by many.
You would think that this forum would not exist to the level it does if everything was running smoothly.
This idea should have its own thread to guage its response and to attract interest.

Plug me back into the Matrix
This forum is in danger of becoming a 'bash to CSA' forum. The CSA, like any large government department has very good people, very bad people and many people in between. The good do not get a mention in this forum, but they do exist.

The payment system is better than what it was but it can never be perfect. Sure some mothers spend 'their' CSA payments on drugs and booze, but I also get to see the other end of the spectrum - all the money and more goes on the kids. Sure there are single mums who are work shy, but there are also mums that go out to work to help the kids.

The best way to deal with the CSA is to get every thing in writing - their policy is one of phone first and phone often. They want you to make a verbal agreement, which you should try not to do. They tend to be some what careful of what they write.

It is also possible to obtain a copy of your file through the Freedom of Information Act. It costs about $30. Check out the CSA web site.

Be honest with your dealings with the CSA.

COA - the most disliked area of the CSA. It is a highly intrusive process and causes major arguments between parents. It always seems to be the rudest staff member that calls. Ask for every thing in writing and challenge what you disagree with. If you are self employed you will have problems. If your new partner works for you the problems increase. The tax office and the CSA do not seem to work to the same rules.

It should be noted that the COA process is being reviewed.

A family lawyer friend said to me, "I love the CSA, they generate so much business for me". It might have been said tongue in cheek, but there is an element of truth in it.

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. 
Montiverdi said
This forum is in danger of becoming a 'bash to CSA' forum. The CSA, like any large government department has very good people, very bad people and many people in between. The good do not get a mention in this forum, but they do exist.

However, it's not only about people, some good people do bad things unknowingly and in my opinion the very way that the CSA operates, very much driven by a combination of the legislation, it's interpretation and hierarchically higher policies, is a very significant factor in such good people inadvertently doing wrong.

Also one should consider that discussing the good would have little benefit in improving the areas that need improving, perhaps the saying "to fix a problem you have to know what the problem is", fits in well. Perhaps it should be seen that people bashing the CS system is actually people concerned about having it improved and those not willing to bash the system.  

Perhaps also the CSA is also attracting such bashing, by the very nature in which it often resorts to bashing itself.  We hear time and time again, from the CSA, how punitive measures such as DPO's are so right (do they tell us so openly about the bashing they have had from the Ombudsman?) . It also very often bashes payers with what are know to be distorted facts (e.g. the debt which includes debts generated by the system they utilise and even includes the debts of the deceased). How frequently does the CSA praise those paying correctly?

Personally I think that nothing will change unless bashing takes place so perhaps there is good reason why the forums appear to be bashing the CSA.

Furthermore, this very issue was raised by the CSA in March (well at least the NSW CSA, I think it was March), the response that was given to the CSA was provide the good news and we'll put it up, in fact we reminded the CSA that they have the ability to do this. Since then I don't think any action has been taken by the CSA, so they themselves would appear to want the situation to be as it is, otherwise one would have thought they they would have acted.

I totally agree

JAC666 said
I think that the government has a rough figure on how much it costs to raise a child: say if it is $5000 a year, then each parent should pay $2500 each… (this will probably cause an uproar for all the parents who think they should receive more child support) But why should you be getting 1/2 of a salary per week when you do not need that much money to look after your child. And why should you not have to contribute half.. And before I get abused let me tell you I know a parent who has committed suicide due to child support (not solely but being harassed for money did not help) And I am not going into detail about this but I will say when a person has just lost there whole family they are already suffering and then getting constant phone calls…

This should be done in mediation and reviewed in a suitable amount of time if the Paying parent pays $70 per week the receiving parent should have to produce a certain value but not the whole value where that has been spent on the child especially in extreme circumstances.

Mediation is usually done when parents want access of the child so the amount of child support should be discussed within that.. and it should not change just because you have earned $50 more. The cost to raise the child did not go up just because the paying parent done an hours overtime. And for unexpected situations (medical, dental) half it when it happens. Paying parents should not be punished for earning an income, you will find a lot more parents declaring their incomes properly if it were a lot fairer.

If a paying parent believes that the money is being used for things other than supporting the child/ren there should be another aspect where they can use the funds for schooling events ( my stepson never went to one school camp, never attended one school excursion, never had any school photos, never went to his year 12 formal, for the first 1/2 year of high school never had uniform he was wearing primary school uniform etc) and we were paying $200 a week toward the end.. started at $85 about 8 years ago and just kept going up then as I mentioned on other post day after 18th b'day was booted out of home cause child support stopped..

I am sorry if I offend anyone with this post!

Jac
You wouldnt believe it… I had this same conversation with two of my friends today and I could not agree more!! I am the carer of two children from a marriage gone wrong and I am being duped by a system so wrong (having seen the new assessment today). Even if it was not the "half" of child raising expenses.

The suggestion put forth is that both parents should contribute $1000 per yr until their child reaches 18. In that way there would never be a discrepancy as to assessments or chasing money.

Every child should be warranted with the 18K regardless of earnings from either parent. Would make people think before they started reproducing with little tono responsibilities for their final productions (especially the ones left behind). I don't see it as unreasonable… moreso very practical and less confusing. I am so happy to see others who think alike.
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