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Hi all, does anyone know the legislation or were in the CSA guide I can find the percentage of private school fees payable. I read here in the forum that if you have 30% care you only pay 30% of the school fees but cant find it. Is this legislation? Please help.

thank you
macuser76, I'd suggest that you perhaps read what someone thought should be the case. There is nothing in legislation that states a percentage of school fees payable. Rather you have to follow a bit of a tangled web through the legislation to basically find that in theory the school fees can be applied in a number of ways.

The trip starts with Part 6A and you'll get to section 98C (or for registrar initiated COA section 98L) this then points to reasons in section 117(6) which states :-

Child Support Assessment Act 1989 said
(6)   In having regard to the proper needs of the child, the court must have regard to:
   (a)   the manner in which the child is being, and in which the parents expected the child to be, cared for, educated or trained; and
   (b)   any special needs of the child.

a) being the relevant part.

You then go back and you progress until you find 98S (and then 98SA) in Division 4 which say :-
Child Support Assessment Act 1989 said
98S  Determinations that may be made under Part
   (1)   The determinations the Registrar may make under this Part are as follows:
   (a)   a determination varying the annual rate of child support payable by a parent;
   (b)   a determination varying a parents or non parent carers cost percentage for a child;
   ©   a determination varying a parents child support income;
   (d)   a determination varying the parents combined child support income;
   (e)   a determination that:
   (i)   the column in the Costs of the Children Table that covers a parents child support income or combined child support income that is, or is determined to be, greater than 2.5 times the annualised MTAWE figure for the relevant September quarter, is the column headed 2 to 2.5; and
   (ii)   the column is to apply as if the second dollar amount in the heading to that column did not apply;
   (f)   a determination varying a parents child support percentage;
   (g)   a determination varying a parents adjusted taxable income;
   (h)   a determination varying a parents relevant dependent child amount or multi case allowance;
   (i)   a determination varying a parents self support amount;
   (j)   a determination varying the costs of the children.
Note:   There are limitations on the Registrar making a determination that varies an annual rate of child support payable in respect of a child support case below the minimum annual rate (see section 98SA).
   (2)   In proceedings under Division 2, the determinations under subsection (1) that the Registrar may make are not limited by the terms of the application.
   (3)   A determination under this Division may make different provision in relation to different child support periods and in relation to different parts of a child support period.
   (3B)   The Registrar may only make a determination under this Part in respect of a day in a child support period, being a day that is more than 18 months earlier than:
   (a)   the day on which the application for the determination is made under section 98B; or
   (b)   the day on which the Registrar notifies the relevant parties under subsection 98M(1);
if a court has granted leave under section 112 for the determination to be made.
   (3C)   If a court has granted leave under section 112, the Registrar may only make a determination under this Part in respect of a day in a child support period if the day is within the period specified by the court, under subsection 112(6), in the order granting the leave.
   (4)   The Registrar must give, in writing, the reasons for making the determination (including the reasons for which the Registrar is satisfied as required by paragraph 117(1)(b)).
   (5)   A contravention of subsection (4) in relation to a determination does not affect the validity of the determination.


98SA  Variation not to be below minimum annual rate of child support
      The Registrar must not make a determination under this Part that varies, or that has the effect of varying, the annual rate of child support payable, for a day in a child support period, by a liable parent for all of the children in the child support case that relates to the child in respect of whom the determination is made to a rate below the minimum annual rate of child support for the child support period, unless the liable parent has at least regular care of at least one of the children in that child support case.

Basically the CSA will very likely do what they think they should do, they may at times consider judgements.

I my myself may have said something about percentages and that would likely have been saying something along the lines that the fees should be apportioned in a similar way to how CS is apportioned (e.g. perhaps it should just be added to the cost of the child in question) and to then let the formula determine the amounts). There again others may well say that as it's both parents expectation then they should have equal responsibility. Personally I believe that the legislation denies children the experience of children within intact families where intact families can change their expectations to better suit a changing family life.

Private School Fees

Hi, we are in a 50/50 shared care arrangement. I am assessed to pay Child Support to the other parent. I also pay all the children's other expenses (medical, school, extracurricular) because their father refuses to contribute to them.

In 2007 I had a COA decision from the CSA that reduced the amount of Child Support that I paid the other parent by 30% in recognition that I paid all of my oldest child's private school fees, books and uniform. I understood this was somehow related to the limit on prescribed non agency payments being 30%. This decision continued after the legislation changed in 2008.

In mid 2009 I submitted a COA requesting a reduction of 60% as my second child is now attending the same private school and the costs have therefore doubled. The CSA made a decision that the Child Support I pay the other parent would be reduced by 50%. However, the other parent objected and I have just been advised that the 50% reduction has been overturned and it will revert back to 30%. Again this is is somehow related to the 30% limit on prescribed non agency payments.

Please note this is not a 30% contribution to the school fees, it is a 30% reduction in the Child Support payments I make - which is equivalent to less than 10% of the school fees etc.

I am interested to know how other people have had the payment of private school fees taken into account by the CSA.

Thanks
Guest,
         perhaps another useful insight could be gathered by looking at court decisions. In theory such decisions should be basis for CS decisions. I heard of quite a few that basically split the responsibility to pay between parents 50/50. However that is only a few and it might be that I recall them because that very often seems fair. Anyway I'll go through some decisions according to the order in which they are displayed when an advanced search of austlii was done through the Federal Magistrates Cout - Family, Family Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia (Full Court) databases for the search item "school and fees". Uhhm I'll probably show myself as wrong.  :$


Roland and Atkins said
26 That each party shall be liable for one half of all the costs associated with the children's schooling and such costs and  school fees  to be paid as and when they fall due and payable. Any additional costs associated with late payment or non payment of  fees , is to be borne by the party who did not pay the children's schooling  fees  as and when they fell due and payable or were responsible for those additional penalty  fees .

Gleeson & Leighton {2007} FamCA 11 (16 January 2007) said
School fees not changed from what appears to be each parent previously being order to pay their share (didn't check into details, saw something along those lines and this was after the orders, so nothing in the orders). From now on NIO will be used.

Federal Magistrates Court of Australia - Family Law said
(12) The Mother and Father do all acts and things and sign all necessary documents to enrol the child to commence Year One in January 2010 at {S}  School  in [W] ({S}  School ), such enrolment to be conditional upon the Father paying all  school fees  and directly related charges associated with the childs attendance at {S}  School , including but not limited to the cost of travel by the  school  bus from the bus stop near the Mothers home in {Y} to the  school  in the weeks that the child lives with the Mother.

Sanston & Sanston {2008} FamCA 303 (2 April 2008) said
NIO

Beazley & Andreopolis {2009} FamCA 567 (12 June 2009) said
NIO

Bartin & Baddle {2008} FamCA 1089 (15 December 2008) said
NIO

Green & Knowles {2009} FamCA 271 (15 April 2009) said
NIO

Sladin & Scabel (No. 2) {2007} FamCA 1079 (12 September 2007) said
NIO

There be a departure in relation to the Husbands child support liability as assessed by the Child Support Agency so that:

Benjamin & Bardot {2008} FamCA 1011 (26 November 2008) said
    * 20.1. the Husband pay 67.23 per cent and the Wife pay 32.77 per cent of private  school fees  and related  school  expenses and  school  uniforms referable to the attendance of the child M at S  School  and the attendance of the child B at W  School  until completion of each of their secondary schooling and for any extracurricular activities of the children;

Note the above decision could perhaps highlight how this 67%/33% is derived, here's a link to this one Benjamin & Bardot {2008} FamCA 1011 (26 November 2008)


Robbins & Rosemount {2008} FamCA 486 (25 June 2008) said
NIO

Raymond & Ryde {2009} FMCAfam 301 (24 April 2009) said
NIO

There's something like 1,400 more in the listing. If you're interested then Austlii can be found here Austlii

Private School Fees

Thanks Mike,

I checked out the 67/33 split and the reason was because this is the split between the parents relative incomes, similar to the CSA Income Percentages. In my case the split is approx 75/25, so I should pay 75% and the other parent 25% of the costs.

However the CSA can't make the other parent pay the school directly, and I can see how this might be difficult to put into a Child Support Assessment. But it would not be impossible, so I shall follow this line with the CSA.

The other parent has a good income and receives significant CS payments, so I do not believe this amount would be unreasonable and would still be significantly less than CS payment he receives from me.

Thanks again
Guest said
However the CSA can't make the other parent pay the school directly, and I can see how this might be difficult to put into a Child Support Assessment. But it would not be impossible, so I shall follow this line with the CSA.

They should be able to use 98S(1)(a) to vary the annual rate accordingly (as long as 98SA doesn't limit it).

Child Support Assessment Act 1989 Section 98S said
98S  Determinations that may be made under Part
   (1)   The determinations the Registrar may make under this Part are as follows:
   (a)   a determination varying the annual rate of child support payable by a parent;
   (b)   a determination varying a parents or non parent carers cost percentage for a child;
   ©   a determination varying a parents child support income;
   (d)   a determination varying the parents combined child support income;
   (e)   a determination that:
   (i)   the column in the Costs of the Children Table that covers a parents child support income or combined child support income that is, or is determined to be, greater than 2.5 times the annualised MTAWE figure for the relevant September quarter, is the column headed 2 to 2.5; and
   (ii)   the column is to apply as if the second dollar amount in the heading to that column did not apply;
   (f)   a determination varying a parents child support percentage;
   (g)   a determination varying a parents adjusted taxable income;
   (h)   a determination varying a parents relevant dependent child amount or multi case allowance;
   (i)   a determination varying a parents self support amount;
   (j)   a determination varying the costs of the children.
Note:   There are limitations on the Registrar making a determination that varies an annual rate of child support payable in respect of a child support case below the minimum annual rate (see section 98SA).
   (2)   In proceedings under Division 2, the determinations under subsection (1) that the Registrar may make are not limited by the terms of the application.
   (3)   A determination under this Division may make different provision in relation to different child support periods and in relation to different parts of a child support period.
   (3B)   The Registrar may only make a determination under this Part in respect of a day in a child support period, being a day that is more than 18 months earlier than:
   (a)   the day on which the application for the determination is made under section 98B; or
   (b)   the day on which the Registrar notifies the relevant parties under subsection 98M(1);
if a court has granted leave under section 112 for the determination to be made.
   (3C)   If a court has granted leave under section 112, the Registrar may only make a determination under this Part in respect of a day in a child support period if the day is within the period specified by the court, under subsection 112(6), in the order granting the leave.
   (4)   The Registrar must give, in writing, the reasons for making the determination (including the reasons for which the Registrar is satisfied as required by paragraph 117(1)(b)).
   (5)   A contravention of subsection (4) in relation to a determination does not affect the validity of the determination.

Child Support Assessment Act 1989 Section 98SA said
98SA  Variation not to be below minimum annual rate of child support
      The Registrar must not make a determination under this Part that varies, or that has the effect of varying, the annual rate of child support payable, for a day in a child support period, by a liable parent for all of the children in the child support case that relates to the child in respect of whom the determination is made to a rate below the minimum annual rate of child support for the child support period, unless the liable parent has at least regular care of at least one of the children in that child support case.

Private school fees

Thanks again Mike,

This certainly gives me something to work with. Splitting the cost in proportion to each parent's income certainly seems a lot more logical and fair than reducing the CS payment by an arbitrary percentage amount that is unrelated to the costs involved (as long as its within the parents capacity to pay, which I believe it is in my case)

Private school fees

One more question… do you have any comment on the CSA's comment that a 30% reduction in CS payments for private school fess is the maximum allowed because that is/was the limit on prescribed non agency payments ? To clarify, since mid 2008 I have not been entitled to claim any non agency payments as there is shared care.
Thanks Mike, (I am registered now).

I've just found the Legal Practictioners Guide on the CSA website, Section 4.2 states:

"4.2 Cost of the child

The new formula from 1 July 2008 approaches the cost of the child in quite a different way from the previous formula.

Generally, if the cost of the child is higher than normal, this higher cost should be distributed between the parents in accordance with their share of available resources, in the same way as the cost of the child is normally distributed. (If one parent has a greater share of the resources than is reflected in the assessment, this can be addressed by adjusting elements of the formula relating to those resources, rather than by assigning additional costs to that parent.) If care of the child is shared, the cost percentages may also need to be adjusted, depending on who is meeting the child's additional costs. Alternatively, if one parent is meeting all of the additional cost, it may be easier in situations involving shared care to work out the other parent's dollar share of the additional cost, according to their income percentage (see 1.3, step 3), and add to or subtract this from the annual rate. However, such decisions may become outdated if the parents' incomes change.

Sometimes it may be appropriate to adjust the annual rate payable instead. For example, a parent paying child support may particularly want the child to attend a certain school, and therefore agree to bear all related costs. Adjusting the cost of the child would distribute the extra cost between the parents, so the amount payable could be adjusted instead, depending on who actually pays the school fees. "

I think this means that they can take the cost of the school fees, multiply it by the other parents Income Percentage and subtract that from the Child Support assessment (since I pay the Child Suport and I pay 100% of the school fees)

I am interested on your views in relation to the CSA proposing a 30% reduction in Child Support for school fees because this is the limit on prescribed on agency payments.

Thanks
I think what the Legal Practitioners guide is doing, is hinting at some of the options according to the legislation (as per 98S). If you read further it goes on and gives pro and cons but sets no specific rules as such. I believe that it would be far better if written to address the various scenarios specifically.

LPG said
Generally, if the cost of the child is higher than normal, this higher cost should be distributed between the parents in accordance with their share of available resources, in the same way as the cost of the child is normally distributed.
If this method is used, then the recipient should pay the cost as the liable parent is paying their share of the cost via the increased CS. i.e. amount is added to the cost of children. The result is that the liable parent would pay the % according to their income percentage and cost percentage.

LPG said
(If one parent has a greater share of the resources than is reflected in the assessment, this can be addressed by adjusting elements of the formula relating to those resources, rather than by assigning additional costs to that parent.)
I'm not at all sure what this is saying, but I suspect that it may be saying beware because the above method can be unfair. e.g.

Example 1

Say school fees are $10,000 for a child and the level of care that the liable parent has is 14%, and both parents have the same income so a 50% income percentage. The 10,000 is added to the cost of the child, which results in another $10,000 to be distributed, however as the income percentage is adjusted by the cost percentage (24% for 14%) then the liable parents portion becomes 26%. So the liable parent would pay an additional $2,600 and the receiving parent would then have to fork out $7,400.


So this may lead to why this is then said.

LPG said
If care of the child is shared, the cost percentages may also need to be adjusted, depending on who is meeting the child's additional costs.

However, using the above example, a legal practitioner, may well work out that the each should really pay according to their income percentage and than adjust the cost percentage to be 50% to counteract this. I guess that this would be done by adjusting the cost percentage to the income percentage, but this would then have the effect of negating the reduction for the level of care reduction as this is what was taken away from the income percentage that caused the initial inequality. The effect would then be that although the school fees would now be apportioned fairly, the CS for the child would not.

Example 2

If the costs of the child was $10000, without the cost percentage adjustment the CS payable would be $2,600, with the adjustment the CS would then be $5000. You then have to add the 50% of the school fees, so the CS payable would end up as $10,000 and effectively the paying parent would now be paying 74% of the school fees.


LPG said
Alternatively, if one parent is meeting all of the additional cost, it may be easier in situations involving shared care to work out the other parent's dollar share of the additional cost, according to their income percentage (see 1.3, step 3), and add to or subtract this from the annual rate. However, such decisions may become outdated if the parents' incomes change.
This could be considered the fairest way, but for some reason appears to have the greatest warning (sheesh obviously any method would be affected if the so highly unlikely event happened that the school fees changed).

Personally I believe that another factor should be considered to more closely align intact and separated families and that is to allow some form of adjustment for each parent's ongoing wishes, especially with the move away from private to public school, which I believe has had two recent drivers, the economy and now the publishing of school results.

With regard to 30% I think the confusion may be what is termed as school fees. The reason 2 is for private school fees, which was what was being discussed. However public school fees, the voluntary amount and fees for classes comes under prescribed payments. The 30% in regard to the latter is the maximum of the CS that can be credited per payment, but the rest remains as uncredited until the next payment and so on. My guess is that the objection by the other parent was based upon there not being an expectation that this was the manner in which the second child would be educated. Perhaps the confusion is within the CSA. Perhaps you should ask the CSA to explain exactly how they have worked out the 30% (not that I think they will be forthcoming though). Perhaps ask to speak to someone in TSO (Technical Support Office) or ask the CSA person to get the information from the TSO.

Private school fees

Thanks Mike, Good advice. I will ask CSA about this (if my calls are returned)

The CSA has determined that the both parents had an expectation that the children go to a private school as we both signed enrolment forms and there was a trust fund set up for this purpose in the Property Settlement. This has now been exhausted as it only covered 2 years worth of fees.

Actually, the other parent didn't object to some reduction for school fees and seemed to accept the 30%, what he objected about was the increase to 50% for our second child attending the same school.

Incidentally, I wouldn't be pursuing this if the other parent actually assisted with any of the children's other expenses directly, but I pay for absolutely everything (school, medical, extracurricular), as well as a significant amount of child support, while he salary sacrifices an even more significant amount into his superannuation. I even purchase the uniforms they need while they are staying with him.

Thanks
Luthien said
while he salary sacrifices an even more significant amount into his superannuation

The you'll be glad to know, if you don't already know, that pre-tax super contributions will be included in the tax information gathered by the CSA and that this component will be added to the adjusted taxable income. This will be from when 2009-2010 tax returns come in.

Private school fees

Thanks Mike, yes I did know that, and as I guess you know, although Child Support income is supposed to include salary sacrificed amounts, up until now you have had to, first, know its happening, and, second, lodge a Change of Assessment application to get it included. This will make it much more fair, and less confrontational.
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