Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

Negotiating a debt with CSA

Add Topic

I have a large CSA debt and want to negotiate a fair and reasonable way of repaying.....but the CSA won't negotiate

Hi All,

This is my first post on this site so please be gentle with me!!

I have a child that I have payed child support to for many years.  Although he has now turned 18 and therefore Child Support is no longer accruing, I have a large debt (in the order of $30,000.  CSA recently sent me a letter saying that they were going to deduct 20% of my salary.  There are several reasons for the debt but it was essentially because they were using an incorrect income assessment.  I also have a 3 year old boy and a wife who both live with me and are supported by me.  I want to negotiate a way that I can repay the debt as quickly as I can but does not impact the lives of my wife and child too much.  I suggested to CSA that I pay $500 per month (about 25% of what they are demanding) but that was rejected. I filled out an Assets and Liabilities form which clearly showed that I can't meet the repayments that CSA is demanding.  However, CSA had decided to disregard this form and demand that I pay an amount that is simply not sustainable given my current financial situation.  I have also told them that in a year or so I will be in a better financial position (because of reasons that I can show and document) and at that time I am happy to take out a loan to repay the balance.  I have exhausted all of my savings and are in deep financial trouble now and dont see what I can do to negotiate a repayment plan that is servicable but also pays out the debt as quickly as possible.  Does anyone know of successful negotiations with CSA?  Is there any legal avenue I can take or someother way I can prove my capacity to pay that would impact CSA's decission to take so much money?  Any suggestions would be extremely helpful and useful since I am under stress that I simply can't bear as a result of this action.
If you work near one of their offices go in there with all your documents etc and throw yourself on their mercy.  DO not get angry, be extremely polite, explain you are in a mess and see what happens.  I can assure you they will not expect to see you face to face.

Also, while you are there suggest you are not convinced about the accuracy of the debt because your income was wrong and ask them to revise it.  

Also, ask them to explain how much of the debt is late fees and how much CS and ask them to "remit" the late fees.

Sec SPCA, whe you read this I suggest you challenge the powers to be on the use of late fees to encourage prompt debt recovery - clearly it has failed because the outstandingdebt keeps growing.
TryingToPay - There are legal options - you can take them to court and request that the debt be remitted.
Payees can go to court and ask for a departure order on the basis of Financial Hardship when there CSA accounts are overpayed, Why is it Taboo for a Payer to even ask for a deferment. And why are arrears  attracting an interest rate when overpayments cannot be forcibly collected  and in no way can interest or late penalties be applied and the only course of action is that any overpayments can be offset against future payments. This is CSA policy, RAPE the PAYER'S wallet and when  the shoe is on the other foot  say "oh sorry we cant do that".

You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cant fool all of the people all of  the time unless they work for CSA and youre a Payee:)
To clarify my previous post you can take them to court if the debt relates to a period of time that goes back further than 18 months. From the info you have provided this might be the case. Also if the debt relates to a more recent period then the court would most likely include this period in the application.

You could inform C$A that if they do not negotiate, you will file a court application under section 110 to argue to have the debt remitted in full.

As long as you can show that the children's needs were adequately met with the child support that was paid in the past and that an order to pay would be unfair to you given your current circumstances, you should get a reasonable result bearing in mind courts never give you what you want. They usually try to find some middle ground for example: 15K to pay off would be better than 30K.

If you go ahead with this and an order is made then afterwards C$A will remit and late fees or penalties due the matter being settled. So do not pay any of them up front.

Inform C$A of the above and they may become more negotiable if you do not want to take such action.

Although the circumstances were different, I did this a year ago and the court reduced the liability by 66%.
Fairgo said
How did they get the income assessment wrong and why didnt you do anything about it? $30,000 is A LOT of child support debt, infact that would be quite a few years worth. Id be interested in hearing about the other reasons why you were not supporting your child financially. Have you explained to your son or daughter why you failed to provide financial assistance to them for so long?
You could inform CSA that if they do not negotiate, you will file a court application under section 110 to argue to have the debt remitted in full. ..I did this a year ago and the court reduced the liability by 66%. How did they get the income assessment wrong and why didnt you do anything about it? $30,000 is A LOT of child support debt, infact that would be quite a few years worth. Id be interested in hearing about the other reasons why you were not supporting your child financially.
editor said
Guest your post was pasted from a word editor that inserted multiple formatting characters. Use the "quick Post" or prepare your text with a text editor such as note pad.

Last edit: by OneRingRules

Hello, new to this forum and interested in the topic of 'remitting late fees'. I speak to the csa on my partners behalf and we have started paying cs for a child of a past relationship. In the years he hasn't paid support he has racked up a fair bit of csa debt that is down to $27 000 in fees and arrears of $8000. Having spoken to a few csa reps they keep reassuring me that as long as we keep paying and handing over the tax refunds, even though the late fees are increasing when the arrears are finalised they will look at remitting the late fees and if we pay consistently it will be looked at very favorably for having these fees remitted.

Just interested if anyone has had this experience these reps talk of?  (or am totally naive that the csa will happily remit a debt that will be in excess of 30000 in a couple of years).

thanks for all the interesting reading!
I believe the information they have given you is correct, however I would advise that you get them to put it in writing to you. This may mean that you will have to stop talking to them over the phone but if you have it in writing, at least you have proof of the advice as they turnover a lot of staff each year and the next person you may talk might say something different.

Also make sure you check their statements ery carefully that you are only paying child support and not the penalties. They have in the past converted penalties into child support in an effort to increase collection. You would only pick this up if you kept track of your payments and statements checking the fine print. Also at the end of each financial you should be requesting a statement of child support paid.

If you have paid all the child support due as per their assessments then they will remit all penalties.

They will also remit penalties if you have taken their assessments to any appeal such as a the SSAT, AAT or Federal Magistrates Court, in case you don't believe the assessments are not fair or correct.
Thank you for the rely, I look forward to the day I no longer have to deal with the csa. I am getting used to deciphering the letters they send and they are always very helpful on the phone but it always irks me that according to them my kids aren't as valuable (for want of a better word), or cheaper to maintain than a previous partners kid… but that is just venting and not useful information for which I thank you again!!
If you want to change anything you need to get sound advice on your financial situation to see where you can make any changes to your benefit. Also look carefully at the ex's financial situation ie: earning capacity, access to financial resources (new partner etc…) and see if anything can be done here.
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets