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Hi everyone.. Am new here & am just after some support as the "other" wife with a few issues.

Our story is long so bear with me. My husband & I have both been married previously and both have 2 girls from our previous marriages. We are now married & have 2 little children of our own.. yes thats right… 6 children..

Now this is where it gets tricky. My ex & I are amicable, we share custody 50/50 of our girls & no child support is paid. We basically pay half of everything i.e school fee's, uniforms. All is well in our world..

My new husband & his ex wife are not so lucky. She moved the children over to Norfolk Island for a year to live with her Mother & father who were there working. They ALL grandparents, mother & children meant to come home after a year.. My husband SHOULD have gotten something legal sorted out before she left but this was sprung on him & they were moving 2.5wks later. So he agreed for them to go for year on the condition that they return to visit 4 times in the year which they did do. Well they came 3 times we went over there once.. The year passed. She was all set to come home & even asked us to mind the girls for a month when they moved home so she could get her house in order etc We readily agreed as we really has missed them & a year is a long time to little girls who are 3 & 5. Unfortunately 2 weeks before she was due to move back to Australia she emailed.. Yes emailed my husband to say she had met someone & would not be returning at all. This was December. She enrolled the 5yr old in school on the island & she has now been there for 3 years.

We have been to 2 seperate lawyers now who all agree that getting her back would of been near impossible so we just hoped that she would break up with the man or get sick of being on this little island without her parents (They moved back without her) that hasn't happened. We pay the child support that the agency says we have to but its particularly annoying that she says her income is $0 when she actually owns a shop over there. I can only assume she has the shop in her new partners name?

I'm just not sure where we stand as Norfolk Island is a little world of its own. We pay half the childrens airfares to come home which is crippling with a family of 4 here. They come back every school holidays which is ok & the best we can hope for given where they live but the expense of airfares & the child support are really hard at times. The CSA doesnt take into account my girls who live with us 50% of the time. They do recognise our children together though which is one thing.

I just feel that my husband is being unfairly treated.. Yes he is a soft man who doesnt like fighting with anyone but he loves his children dearly & they have been taken away oversea's & we are not only being financially penalised for that every fortnight with child support when we would have them more if they were in the country but we have to pay half of their fares to get them home & now she said we need to pay for half of their passports.. Isn't that an expense that is covered by child support anyway?

What is covered by child support?

What can we do about her having a shop that we know she owns & works in so therefore does have an income..

Would she be getting Centrelink payments there?? IF not how is she even paying for her share of the airfares or to live if she is making a $0 income like she states to the CSA?

phew.. sorry that was long.. just over the whole thing. its incredibly frustrating to have my ex & I on such good terms & my new husband & her ex the exact opposite & because of that our family here is suffereing financially.

Thanks for reading. Any advice would be great..
With regards to paying for a passport, I would suggest that you say to the other parent that they should claim for this through the CSA, this would be very unlikely to be successful.

However what if the other parent doesn't get a passport and says that therefore the children cannot have contact because the other parent says they cannot afford to (is this worth what is a relatively small amount, just over $50 every 5 years)?

Can you obtain any evidence that the other parent owns the shop or that it's in her partners name or that she assists in the shop? If you can then you could consider a reason 8 change of assessment (a parents income, property, financial resources, or earning capacity).

If the costs of spending time with and communicating with the child are greater than 5% of your partners adjusted taxable income then you could try for a reason 1 change of assessment, although if the other parent pays half of the airfares.

It would surprise me little if the CSA used the above attempts to do the opposite and increase what your partner pays, in which case the course would be to object and to then take the matter to SSAT (Social Security Appeals Tribunal), perhaps AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal), perhaps the Ombudsman and perhaps even to court. There appears to be a view held by many in the CSA and especially within the change of assessment team, that the object of the CSA is to make one parent pay everything or more than they can this contrary to object the legisaltion that says that children should receive the proper level of financial support.

There are no court orders, perhaps you should consider getting court orders, although I'm not sure how the children residing in Norfolk Island would affect such matters. You may wish to consider joining the SRL. Click on community at the top and then on SRL-Resources on the left.

Last edit: by MikeT

Hi Shell,

I agree with everything Mike says. C$A exist to extract more $$$ than is reasonable and often do it without legislative backing. Those of us who have taken C$A decisions to court are well aware of their actions.

You need to get some court orders in place for a number of reasons. I am guessing your husband is paying CS based on sole care to the mother. He is entitled to half of school holidays which would give 42 nights care. I think he could get more time given the situation. If he can get more than 52 nights care then child support would be reduced enough probably to cover the cost of the flights.

Child Support is for the children's costs. To get an accurate picture of what is a fair amount of child support should be, we would need to know how the property settlement went - the two go hand in hand.

It is possible for the ex to own a live-in shop, still receive Parenting Payment, and have zero income if she she not making a profit.

As her assessable income is below 44k she would receive maximum Family Tax Benefits minus the adjustments made for receiving child support.

I believe you should lodge a change of assessment application based on what you know, however be very careful how you fill out the form and the information you disclose. The form is a like a multi edged sword and may end up stabbing you instead. I can assist you with this if you like - send me a whisper.

Fairgo said
As her assessable income is below 44k she would receive maximum Family Tax Benefits minus the adjustments made for receiving child support.

However, if she is in a relationship and appears to have been for some time then the partner's income should be taken into consideration, if not then perhaps the other parent is committing fraud, perhaps reporting that you suspect this to be the case may have the affect of the other parent's financial affairs scrutinised by Centrelink and or the ATO and may therefore result in the CSA being automatically notified of an income the other parent may actually have. If this is the case you should then be able to have prior assessments adjusted and any overpayment taken into consideration. Although I strongly suspect that the CSA would try to persuade you to gift any overpayments.

P.S. Fairgo deserves recognition for being willing to assist. Thanks Fairgo, a very admirable and generous offer.
Mike - I am happy to help. The more I work on my child support case the more I can help others. I have quite a unique situation that allows me to cover a fair amount of issues.
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