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Child Support and supporting my new family

Hi I am new to this sort of thing and desperate for information. I am on Income Compensation due to a spinal injury in 1992 when I was married to my 1st wife and supporting my children. I am unable to increase my income at all and are struggling to support my new family.

Since 2005 I have been unable to work due to the spinal injury getting worse. I have always paid child support through CSA wage deduction. I have been with my current wife for 5 years although only married for 2. I am really struggling to pay child support which is calculated on 75% of my pre injury wage in 1992.

Due to ill health my current wife is on newstart incompacity payments and I am also supporting her son due to her illness. The father of my stepson doesn't support him at all as he reports a nil income. I know CSA do not take into account my wifes income or lack of, but we are finding it hard just to pay bills and food. I have tried talking to CSA but always find they can't wait to get of the phone from me. I have only another 5 months until my daughter who I pay child support for turns 18 and all I cope is look at whats best for your child. I am not saying I don't want to support my daughter but want my family situation listened to. I am scared that we will end up homeless if I we miss paying our monthly rent. We are trying to get into see a financial counsellor to work out our budget.

Does anyone have any suggestions
I can think of two potential ways to paying a fairer amount.

1) With regards to child support, you could have ground for a change of assessment for reason 7 and or reason 9.

2) If your taxable income is below $13980 (if the current assessment started in 2009, otherwise $14615 if it started in 2010), and if you have less than 35% care of the child, and you are paying the Fixed Assessment Rate (Annually $1178 for 2009 $1193 for 2010 per CS child), then you could try applying under section 65A to have the Fixed Assessment rate not apply due to a genuine low income.

1) Is unfortunately very much a risk, as the CSA, when undertaking COA's have a great tendency to misinterpret or ignore the object of the legislation that parents should provide the proper financial support for  their children. Proper, taking into consideration the financial resource of the parents.

A reason 7 change of assessment is for necessary commitments of self-support. I'd suggest that you have a good look at the relevant section of the CSA guide and here's a link. CSA Guide - 2.6.13: Reason 7 - necessary commitments of self-support

A reason 9 change of assessment is for the duty to maintain any other child or another person. I'd suggest that you have a good look at the relevant section of the CSA guide and here's a link. CSA Guide - 2.6.15: Reason 9 - the duty to maintain any other child or another person

There is also a chance that you may have to pay CS or a further 4-5 months, after you expect it to end. This is because the new legislation introduced in 2008 allows for a parent to apply for CS to continue past the age of 18 and until the end of school. Bad as it seems I would suggest that you anticipate that this will happen. The other parent has to apply before the child is 18, however I suspect that the CSA will very likely prompt the other parent to apply.  Here's a link to the appropriate section in the CSA guide. CSA Guide - 2.5.5: Application to have an assessment continue past a child's 18th birthday

If after considering the above, then please feel free to ask questions.

Another option could be to come to some sort of agreement with the other parent and then jointly with the CSA. The agreement would be to reduce payments but counter acting this by paying over a greater period (note if the other parent would agree to this but the CSA wouldn't, then you could jointly implement this by having CSA collection changed to private collection or by the other parent electing to end the assessment). This would obviously depend upon a good relationship between yourself and the other parent.

Another option could be to ask to talk to the CSA Specialised Services and see if they could assist.

I assume that you've spoken to Centrelink in regard to this and are therefore obtaining all the benefits that you are entitled to.

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

Thanks for your reply Mike T

As I am on an Comcare Insurance Compensation which pays me a little of $1100 per fortnight before tax and child support is taken out. After these things are taken out I am left with a little under $900 to pay bills and support myself and family. We can just manage finacially but if say the rent, household bills etc… go up things are going to be tight. I am considering at the moment option  9 change of assessment is for the duty to maintain any other child or another person. Although from what I have been reading from this forum its still up to CSA and I feel they will reject the COA and won't take into account that I am financially supporting my new wife and stepson while she is unwell and not able to support herself or her son.

The child I pay CS for graduated from secondary school in December last year and will turn 18 in June this year. So I am looking at the light at the end of the tunnell so to speak. My daughter is working and has been living in a defacto relationship with her 23yo boyfriend under her mums roof since she was 15.

I am trying to keep my daughters best interest when making my decisions and have never denied my x child support. My daughters was moved interstate 5 years ago and I have not seen her since. Her sister is 23 and I now have a strong realationship with her since she moved out of her mothers house and away from the lies from her mother. CSA  I hope will soon be over for me and my last daughter at home will eventually get in contact and get to know me again and work out for herself what has been lies over the years and what hasn't. She has my ph # & email. My oldest daughter is stuck in the middle of all of this. I am a private person and any problems I have with my x I keep away from my daughters. My x isn't like that and I know one day (like with my older daughter) all the lies and the like will bite her bottom and will affect her relationship with our daughters.

I am sorry to ramble but to all those other parents out there look at the future and make sure you are true to yourself and your children. Yes it's tough sometimes but I believe in the long run things will be the way they should have been all those years ago when my girls were growing up without their dad in their lives where they have a strong relationship with me as adults.
BrokenMan said
My daughter is working and has been living in a defacto relationship with her 23yo boyfriend under her mums roof since she was 15.

                the daughter should therefore not be an eligible child. To be an eligible child, the child must not be a member of a couple (i.e. living with another person as that person's partner on a genuine domestic basis or with someone they are legally married to) (sections 5(1) and 24(1)(a)(iii)).If the boyfriend were a girlfriend then only in WA would it be different. Do you have evidence of the relationship? It would appear that you have been paying CS when you shouldn't have been paying.

How much is the daughter earning? If this is significant, then a Reason 4 change of assessment should take this into consideration. Significant would be something like $230 per week :-

To be significant the income would have to be regular and it exceeds the equivalent of the Youth Allowance payable to a child under 18 years of age living at home plus the income free threshold applicable to students/New Apprentices. This means that, as at 20 September 2008, a child would generally need to earn or receive a taxable income of at least $215.25 per week for the earnings to be considered so significant as to be capable of affecting the assessment.

Currently youth allowance for being single with no children, under 18 years and living at home is $206.30. Tax free threshold is $6000 (6000/52 = 115), so perhaps my guess of $230 above is off the mark and it may be as high as $320.30, but I find it hard to believe that the Youth allowance would appear to have changed from $100.20 to $206.30 in two years. I'm pretty confident that the tax free threshold hasn't changed.

Anyway, the non eligible child due, to the daughter being in a domestic relationship, should be your first issue as the others then become redundant. As it would have been the other parent's responsibility to notify the CSA of this, then there should be grounds to address the overpayment. The CSA would perhaps not do anything in this regard, but you could take it so court. It may well be that the other parent has also not been a responsible citizen and not reported the change of circumstances to other bodies, such as Centrelink. This is another area which could perhaps be followed up.

Failing that you appear to have grounds for a COA on multiple grounds, Reason 4, Reason 7 (perhaps although other reasons could perhaps counter this) and reason 9.
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