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Level of care dispute

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I split with my ex a year ago and we have a daughter together. At first we had a mutual agreement based on me having 30% care, which lasted until I started mediation 3 months ago. She then cut all my access and told CSA to collect based on 0% care.

I received a phone call in early January stating I would have to pay $100pw at 0% care. A week later I received a letter stating I had to pay $75pw based on 30% care. I phoned CSA and they told me to pay based on the letter and that there was some sort of dispute. I was told I would be contacted reguarding this at a later date. I haven't heard anything since and am still paying $75 despite not having my daughter overnight in months.

Am I likely to be liable for the difference in future? I'm a bit confused as to why I'm not paying $100 as I never disputed the level of care.
               I'd suggest that they might have got your income wrong, perhaps they based it upon what they were told by the other parent and then when they checked that they had been given an over estimate. Just a guess though. The income (Adjusted Taxable Income(ATI)) should be on the assessment letters.

However, you should phone the CSA and dispute the level of care if you are intending to take the matter to court, which is advisable considering that the other parent is depriving your daughter of her humane right to know and be cared for by her parents. You have 14 weeks, from the date of the notification, 26 weeks in special circumstances, to take reasonable action (even though the legislation doesn't specifically state that you need court orders I believe the CSA interpret it as such).

As for being liable in the future, if they have made an error, and that's certainly not something that never happens, then yes they will insist on collecting the underpayment. You can check what you CS should be using either the CSA's Estimator or the calculators available from the home page here. Please note that they haven't as yet been updated with 2012 information. However, I believe that your latest child support period would have started in 2011, so that shouldn't be a problem.

I've run some calculations based upon 0% care of 1 under 13 child. For $75 per week your ATI would be close to $43,615. For $100 per week then your ATI would be close to $51,290. If you ATI is the latter, then expect to have to pay back another $25 per week.
My income is the latter. CSA have always estimated my income at 52000.

When I received the first call from CSA I did explain the situation with mediation and how my access had been cut so maybe that triggered the dispute. I will have to call them up tomorrow and find out exactly what is happening.

Mediation was deemed not suitable by FRC so I am off to court soon.
I have now noticed that you said you are still on $75, rather than $100, which I think is you saying you're paying the same as you were previously paying. Did you mention to the CSA that you were going to court? If so then I think the answer is that the CSA have given you the 14 weeks in which to take reasonable action to restore the level of care as per section 51 or 52(i.e. take it to court). I'm actually surprised that you got someone who did this without you having to kick up a major fuss. Perhaps ring and thank the CSO for being so fair.

It may be a good idea to put the $25 a week difference into an interest bearing account until you get the letter telling you you've underpaid. At least that way you can pay any arrears in one hit and get them off your backs…
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