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Hi

Can anyone clarify for me what the CSA's policy / legislation is regarding their initial assessment to determine who the primary care giver is and what percentage of costs and care each parent has?

I was the primary care giver when we separated, I spent 7 days a week 24 hrs a day with my child but because the ex took the kids the day we separated she won the battle right then because from then on I have been battling for more time with my child and needed court orders to allow my child to see me on christmas day. Why isn't the general public told about this more, why don't the CSA pamphlets spell this out clearly that the day you separate it is important that you keep any children so that you can claim 100% costs and care and dictate to the other person when and where they can see their child and you will be justified in doing so because it will be in the best interests of the child. Then time is on your side because the Magistrate will say you are the primary care giver now, after you have stalled the mediation process and forced the other party to initiate court proceedings because you haven't budged on allowing any time with the other parent and you win again.

Sorry for the rant, I am actually after some policy / legislation information that supports the CSA's actions in this regard. My situation: The ex rang the CSA 5 days after we separated and told them she was the primary care giver. With no other proof than that the CSA awarded her 100% costs and care and when I ring and tell them my side of the story all I get is sorry, we will post some pamphlets out to you but you have to pay what we tell you to. So I am the primary care giver, my kid gets taken without consent and the CSA don't care and award her 100% costs and care.

Can anyone clarify for me that this is all the CSA require to determine this original assessment? When I reflect on this I feel it is an unjust and broken system that allows one parent to take a child without consent and not being the primary care giver and then upon contacting the CSA her word is all that is required to establish facts that I have to now confront. I could have proven I was the primary care giver with documentation but the CSA didn't want to know about it.

Is our law really possession is 100% of the law? She took the kids on that day and that's it, she gets full child maintenance from me and dictates to me when and where I can see my kids. Why is there not more done in the initial stages of separations to determine a fairer baseline from where co-parenting will start?

The legal advice I got was that once she had rang the CSA and established the fact she was the primary care giver if I was to not return my child (after I was 'allowed' to visit my child) she could call the cops and they would take the child away and it would reflect badly upon me. So the police can get involved at this stage but now (fast forward 15 months and lawyer$$$) I have court orders and the ex contravenes them I am told the police can't do jack and it's back to court. How did our system get to be so broken or have I been misinformed or am I blind to the truth some how? The police can get involved when there is no court orders but only for the parent who told the CSA on her word alone she was the primary care giver, but once I have navigated the best way possible through the family court system I get my court orders and I am told sorry, police can't help you, go back to court.

 

I'm an experienced optimist, which means I'm a pessimist.
Perennial said
Sorry for the rant, I am actually after some policy / legislation information that supports the CSA's actions in this regard.

What you want is Division 4 - Percentage of Care (sections 48-54L). However, basically the legislation tasks the CSA with working out the "likely care", which is not necessarily the factual care. The simplified outline in the legislation states:-

Child Support Assessment Act 1989 - Division 4 Subdivision A Section 48 said
A responsible persons percentage of care for a child during a care period is the percentage of care determined by the Registrar under Subdivision B of this Division.

In the actual legislation the following, or something quite similar (e.g. this for no care situations), will be found:-

Child Support Assessment Act 1989 - Division 4 (various places) said
and the Registrar is satisfied that a responsible person for the child has had, or is likely to have, no pattern of care for the child during such period (the care period) as the Registrar considers to be appropriate having regard to all the circumstances; or

Saying that the CSA do not and have any jurisdiction at all in the allotment of the actual care.

As for policy the very obvious "unwritten"policy is that the CSA's task is to collect or transfer as much as they can as this equates to Government revenue by the way of claw-back of FTB, this irrelevant to the harm done in a "the end justifies the means" approach. Basically they are little different to other Governmental revenue collection bodies.
Thanks Mike T for the legislation

5 days after we separated the ex rang the CSA looking for money and told them the truth that I was the primary care giver and they tell her to tell me to go back to work so she can claim the full benefits and in knowing that I am the primary giver the CSA decide that for me there existed no pattern of care for my child during such period (the care period when I was with my child 24hrs a day 7 days a week all confirmed by the ex to the CSA) as the Registrar considers to be appropriate having regard to all the circumstances and award her 100% care.

Regard to all circumstances? If they are told I was the primary care giver and they regarded that as me having no pattern of care then that decision is ludicrous and I want to know how I can challenge that decision?

Am I following the legislation correctly? I get the CSA doesn't have any jurisdiction on the actual allotment of care, but what I am reading is that in determining that I had 0% care the Registrar was satisfied that no pattern of care existed for my child during such period (the care period - I'm assuming this is the care period before separation?) and the Registrar had considered that decision was appropriate having regard to all the circumstances. When I rang the CSA for the first time and I told them my story the CSA girl did make notes on my file. Are these notes obtainable through freedom of information?

Is there an appeals process or something I can do to challenge this past decision?

I'm an experienced optimist, which means I'm a pessimist.
Perennial said
When I rang the CSA for the first time and I told them my story the CSA girl did make notes on my file. Are these notes obtainable through freedom of information?

Your screen notes are not subject to FOI as you are aware of all information. However, saying that, it is very likely that a CSA worker would be unaware if they suggest that they are then insist that they speak to the FOI officer who will tell them otherwise. Screen notes for another person e.g. the other parent would be protected.

Perennial said
Is there an appeals process or something I can do to challenge this past decision?
I believe too much time has passed to object (you normally have 28 days from being notified of the decision). The appeal process is basically to object, the objections officer will then make a decision (most likely the same as the original). If you then believe the objection decision is incorrect you can, for many but not all decisions, take the matter to the Social Security Appeal Tribunal (SSAT) who make a decision. If this decision is still incorrect you can take the matter to court but only on a matter of law.

Saying all that even if the time limits were not past I don't think that you have any recourse. Basically the child support period (care period) is always in the future and therefore the child would for CS purposes be in the care of the other parent irrespective of the past. I think that answers the following:-

Perennial said
the care period - I'm assuming this is the care period before separation?

Basically the real issue is one of Family Law rather than CS Law and that the child was wrongly removed from the habitual residence. If you had known at the time I think you could have applied to the courts and the child could well have been returned likely subject to final orders being made. However, as you say, time has allowed the other parent to successfully and apparently legally abduct the child.
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