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Objection to COA decision disallowed

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We don't disagree with paying the new rate, but the facts on which the decision was based

The COA lodged by my husband's ex gave us a new annual CS rate.  We are not disputing the new rate, but have sent an objection and have requested our objection not be sent to the other party, because of the obvious hostility it will cause.  We were under the impression that an objection did not have to be sent to the other party if it was not going to affect that party ie CS payment. (CSRC Section 85(2))???  However, it seems we were wrong and have been informed that our objection will be disallowed if CSA cannot send a copy of it to the ex.

Some of the facts in the SCO's decision are breathtakingly inaccurate, and no doubt would have made the ex furious when she read them.  It lists my husbands copious shareholdings which would have led the ex to beleive he is a closet millionaire. For the record, my husband has never been a shareholder in his life.  There's many other 'facts' in the document which we would like to take CSA to task on, which is why we objected.  But as usual, we have been stonewalled.

Should we just bypass the CSA and go straight to the Ombudsman?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Ajae
Ajae

Unfortunately, it comes down to the doctrine of natural justice, if you place an objection it would be unfair for the other party not to get a copy so that they can respond to the contents. I have to say I would go with CSA's decision on this one.

If you are looking at going to the ombudsman you will first have to make a complaint to CSA.

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
Thanks LP, I understand now. A complaint it shall be then.  The reason we didn't make it a complaint is that we went down that path once before regarding a gifting debacle.  The complaints officer listened to the recording in question and dismissed our complaint out of hand.  Lo and behold 2 weeks later our objection to that same matter was granted by an objections officer.

Our objection to the COA is 6 pages long and includes another 4 pages of supporting evidence. I'll ring CSA today and ask if they would cross out the word 'objection' and substitute it with 'complaint' and send it off to their complaints department.  Wish me luck with that request!! No doubt they will want us to re submit the entire thing again and send it to the correct department.

I am quite astounded at how these COA's create major hostility between ex's whose relationships are already cold and miserable.
My husband has had a stellar record with CSA in the past 6 years, never incurred a debt (until 2 popped up through system errors in December) and has faithfully paid beyond what would have been required of him (he is medically required to recieve DSP) with my help.

It has come to pass that it is my help that has been our undoing (resourses).  Lovely.  Seems to be a case of biting the hand in which both CSA and the ex are complicit.  So they get the rewards and we reap the stress.  And what fun it's been!!  I suspect CSA has installed a hidden camera in our house and is noticing we have nothing better to do.

Thanks again
ajae
The decisions made by SCO's are not regularly consistent and you have experienced that already. We are attempting to help CSA fix this by working on the reform group around the COA process. The work is in three main areas. A pilot project changing the engagement process, The FORMs and legislative changes.

The process has to be transparent in that the other party has to see the claims and an objection is no different. The only page that the other party does not see is the first page of client detail. Is there a problem with this natural justice?
ajae said
I'll ring CSA today and ask if they would cross out the word 'objection' and substitute it with 'complaint' and send it off to their complaints department.  Wish me luck with that request!! No doubt they will want us to re submit the entire thing again and send it to the correct department.
Is this really going to work? I sense much anger and disturbance here. It may be a short term solution but will not get you any further ahead with the CSA, who are there to administer the legislated requirements and collect as much as they can…

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 

Thanks Sec SPCA.  We got a call from an objections officer yesterday and as it turns out they have forwarded our objection onto complaints dept without our prompting. It has been given the highest priority due to the seriousness of the incorrect info and allegations made by the SCO. The SCO has taken the ex's word on everything and basically accused my husband of giving false and misleadiang information. Perhaps SCO's should warn those lodging the COA of the seriousness of making false and misleading statements!

My husband didn't stand a chance in the COA conference. Ours cannot possibly be an isolated incident, and without the help and insights gleaned from this forum we would have been doomed in our battle with CSA.  For that we are eternally grateful.

Perhaps attitudinal changes and some forethought into how COA's can have deleterious effects on already strained relationships might be called for. It's the rather heavy handed and aggressive approach that I question, especially when applied to those payers with an unblemished CSA history.

The CSA now has my husband's latest medical report - he has serious health issues and should probably not be working at all, and occasionally relies on DSP.  But as my accountant pointed out, the SCO's "assertions" of his shareholdings would also suggest he is defrauding Centrelink. And according to OLSC those "assertions" are tantamount to professional misconduct.  All pretty serious stuff I'm sure you will agree.

CSA issues can obviously often have a disastrous impact on payers' new relationships.  I wonder how many payers, who have lost their first family through divorce, then find themselves on the brink of a second divorce because their new partner is fed up with CSA dramas?   Hmmmm  That might be one for the stats.

Cheers, and thanks again
Ajae
ajae said
…CSA issues can obviously often have a disastrous impact on payers' new relationships.  I wonder how many payers, who have lost their first family through divorce, then find themselves on the brink of a second divorce because their new partner is fed up with CSA dramas?   Hmmmm  That might be one for the stats.
I would agree and suggest it is quite a significant number as the pressures for payments and multiple COA applications along with dealing with court orders and the multitude of other issues relating to school and contacts takes its toll on new partners. It never really goes away until you are out of the CSA system. A number of Payers find it all so onerous and stressful they opt out of employment altogether and that is shown in the numbers of Payers who pay the minimum amount. Having children is an ongoing commitment that many only realise just how financially significant after a separation. Second partners need to be a special lot with much strength of character and calm and we can clearly see you are a very supportive partner in what is a difficult time. There is much support here. Let us know how things progress.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Progress (if you can call it that) report. We've had a call from CSA complaints officer apologizing for the variety of incorrect information in the SCO's decision. They are blaming the most glaring innacuracy on a completely different government department. I've looked into whether the error can be attributed to the other government dept, and everything points to 'highly unlikely'.

This is the third matter we've had with CSA over the past few months, and the third we have had to fight long and hard to have reversed because of their errors. They are now granting us a new COA conference. But it's now reached the stage where we have absolutely no trust or confidence in CSA's procedures.

I believe we have every right to expect sensible and honest service from an agency responsible for ensuring CS liabilties are calculated and passed on correctly and efficiently. That's clearly not happening as they keep shooting themselves in the foot. There must come a point where they put the gun down, and limp away.  Surely?

Ajae
Suggest put the wind up CSA and put in a compensation claim for defective administration. Go to the Federal Ombudsman's website and read about how the system works. Another option is to complain to the Manager of Child Support Policy Branch in the Dept Family Housing Community Services & Indigenous Affaits (FaHCSIA) - they really do listen and are prompt with their responses and communications.
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