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My husband and I are having trouble understanding the 'shared care' assessment with child support. Firstly we dont begrudge paying money for his children at all. BUT … I do begrudge paying money to a woman who is a shopaholic and won't get off her butt to get a part time job to help support her own children. She would rather sit on her butt and collect the pension.

We currently have the children one night a week less than her (although that is going to be changed, we are taking her to court for full custody, if we cant get it, 50/50 will be sought). We pay 100% of their care when we have them, yet we are expected to still pay her 50% of their care when she has them?? Apparently those are the rules. My husband is on an on call basis with work. He could go all week without work, or he could work every day of the week. He has to provide some estimate to CSA for them to work out child support. Now if he over estimates, they cannot chase the mother for repayment, its tough luck for him (their words), but if he under estimates, he has to pay a penalty for it!!

 Recently my oldest stepson had an operation. She went into it expecting my inlaws to pay for the operation as the public system was too long. She organised everything, then told us that we needed to pay $1400 for the operation, the full amount .. as she is on a pension and cant afford it. Well at the time, we were both unemployed and she recieved more from centrelink a fortnight than we did combined! Long story short, it eventually became half and half for the costs. My stepfather offered for her to ring child support and tell them that my husband had paid her half of the operation and it could go in leiu for child support, and he would pay her half of the operation. Not likely!! she refused to do it.

She had to borrow the money off her boyfriend, then claimed the entire rebate so she could pay him back! Child support wouldn't take my husband's word that he had paid more for the operation. It was 'her call' if she chose to ring them and tell them. The same with the schooling. She knew before they had children, that he wanted his kids to go to the same catholic school he went to, she got them baptized catholic so that they can go there. Now that they aren't together, not a chance, he has to pay the entire amount for each child to attend this school or she gets her way and send them to the public school around the corner from her, which by the way has one of the worst reputations in brisbane! As far as CSA is concerned, if she doesnt want to have any of the school fees put into a credit on his child support, she doesnt have to. They say they look out for the child before anything, doesn't an opportunity for a child to receive a decent education come into it at all?

Minor changes made to make it easier to read.


Last edit: by monteverdi

        calculation of child support is based upon a number of factors. You start with the income of the parents which is normally a person's taxable income (there can be other additions) the result is what is called the ATI (Adjusted taxable income).

An amount, called the Self-Support Amount, is then deducted (for assessments starting in 2009 this amount is $18808 which is 1/3rd of a value called AMTAWE (Annualised Male Total Average Weekly Earnings)).

If there are relevant dependant children (biological children of one of the parents from a current relationship), then a deduction for that cost of that child or children is made. The deduction is calculated by applying ONLY the CS parent's (i.e. the parent of the Relevant dependant(s)) income and applying that to the cost of the children table. The cost of children tables work in a similar way, but reversed (i.e. the higher the band the lower the percentage of CS paid for amounts in that band), as tax bands. There are 6 income bands all based upon the AMTAWE, the first band is from 0-0.5 times AMTAWE, the second from over 0.5-1.0, then over 1.0 to 1.5, then over 1.5-2.0, then over 2.0-2.5, and lastly over 2.5 where no additional CS is paid (thus 2.5 times AMTAWE is the cap). The AMTAWE figure is changed annually. The bands are then further complicated in that there are three age types, all children are under 13, all children are 13 or over and a mix (only the oldest 3 children are considered). For the first two there are then 3 additional bands for 1, 2 or 3 children. For mixed ages, there are two bands for 2 or 3 children of mixed ages.

If a parent has children in another CS case, then the cost of those children are calculated using the same tables and also applying the taxable income of the respective parent but less any Relevant dependant child reduction. However for mulit-case children, two figures are derived the multi-case allowance and the multi-case cap. In calculating the multi-case allowance the amount is based upon the amount for all CS children (actual case as well as multicase) and that they have the same age as the multi-case child in question, the resultant cost is then divided by the number of  CS children. The multi-case cap is the multi-case allowance for that child, from the other case, with the cost percentage applied (cost percentage is 0% for 0-51 (0-13%) nights care, 24% for 14%-34% nights care and so on). At this stage the multi-case allowance, if any, is deducted from the ATI less any RDC deduction.

This figure is then that parent's Child Support income (the above calculations are done for each parent). If any amount is negative then the child support income is deemed as being 0 from then on. A parent on income support will generally have 0 child support income (this does result in 0 amounts for RDC and Multi-case).

The two child support incomes are then added to determine the Combined Child Support Income, also each parents child support income percentage of the combined child support income is calculated I call this values PIP (Parent's Income Percentage, this value is used to a precision of 2 decimal places).

Considering your scenario, assuming that the other parent is only on income support and that your partner's taxable income is 50,000 and there are no RDC's or multi-case children. Then the child support incomes would be.

Your partner's 50,000 - 18808 (SSA) - 0 (RDC) - 0 (Mulit-case allowance) = 31192.
The other parents would be 0 as there income would likely be below 18808 (as such RDC's and multi-case children would result in a 0 reduction).
Your partners PIP would be 100%.
The other parents PIP would be 0%.

Now we come to care. From what you say I work out that you have 172 nights care (4 weeks = 28 nights, that leaves 48 weeks, half of which you have 6 nights care). This equates to 47% care, which then equates to a cost percentage of 49% (i.e. 25% + 2% for each 1% above 35%, which is 25% + 12 * 2, which is 49%). To determine the percentage of the cost of the children that you would pay, the cost percentage is subtracted from the PIP, thus 100-49 = 51. So you would pay 51% of the cost of the children.

The cost of the children is determined by applying the combined child support income to the cost of children tables.

So because the other parent is only on a low income you end up paying 50% of the costs of the child. In regard to other fees etc, you have a sound argument to refuse to pay for any additional costs as those costs are covered by the child support payments. However there may be special circumstances that come about in which you should rightly pay and the method to resolve this is for the other parent to claim such amounts by way of a change of assessment for the (likely only reasons 2, 3 or 6), noting that for each and every reason there has to be a special circumstance specific to that reason. Really you should have refused to pay for the medical treatment.

School fees is an exception, if did have an intention for such schooling, then the legislation requires a contribution. Personally I think the legisaltion is wrong as it is extremely hard, if at all possible, for the reality of changes to be taken into consideration. I believe the legislation should reflect such realities, one being what many a minister will say and that is that after separation there are additional costs and this can often seriously affect one's ability to pay.

P.S. You may wish to checkout the CS calculators on this site.

With regard to the CSA saying that you should look out for the children before anything, that is actually extremely wrong for them to say that, as it is NOT what is expressed in the Child Support legislation, as the duty to maintain a child does not have priority over one's duty to support themself and or others. Below is how it is worded in section 3 of the Child Support Assessment Act :-

Child Supprt Assessment Act 1989 - Section 3 said
3  Duty of parents to maintain their children
   (1)   The parents of a child have the primary duty to maintain the child.
   (2)   Without limiting subsection (1), the duty of a parent to maintain a child:
   (a)   is not of lower priority than the duty of the parent to maintain any other child or another person; and
   (b)   has priority over all commitments of the parent other than commitments necessary to enable the parent to support:
   (i)   himself or herself; and
   (ii)   any other child or another person that the parent has a duty to maintain; and
   ©   is not affected by:
   (i)   the duty of any other person to maintain the child; or
   (ii)   any entitlement of the child or another person to an income tested pension, allowance or benefit.

Perhaps if they make such a statement again you should ask to speak to that person's supervisor and make an objection. I'm wondering whether making such false statements, in order to put a person down as such, would constitute abuse and or contravention of the APS guidelines.
hey Mike
Thanks for that, and yeah Im aware of how it works, I just think its wrong that she chooses to sit on her butt and not get even a part time job when she doesnt have the kids, that we have to pay 100% of their care when they are with us (that i do not begrudge at all) but then pay her 50% of their care when she has them. She is quite capable of working and her sister could get her a job with her but she doesnt want that. And her answer for when their youngest turns 7 and she actually has to look for work and do job network appointments etc, is that she will just have another baby. She doesnt care for these kids properly, ok maybe not the way i see that kids should be raised. Everyday things that a mother SHOULD be teaching her children are not being taught unless they are at our house. And Australia wonders why this generation of children have no respect for anyone or anything, not even themselves! Im just grateful that my income doesnt come into his child support assessment, cos I would loathe giving her money for her to raise HER kids (which im constantly reminded that they are not mine), when she is doing a crappy job of it. As for the medical expenses, he really needed it done. He had 20% hearing loss in both ears and constant bouts of tonsilitis, he had been on antibiotics for the better part of 15 months, and as far as I know, once he gets immune to that medication, its not going to do him any good when he needs it. He starts school after christmas and we didnt want things to be hard for him when he couldnt hear the teacher properly, so we agreed to get the operation done sooner than the 3 yr public waiting list. Since that has happened tho, I arranged for health insurance, as it looks like the youngest is going to need the same operation when he is older. But whenever we took the kids to the dr and she would get the kids back she would take the kids back to her dr cos our dr would be wrong, I cancelled the insurance because it was a waste of money. Money that we just really dont have at the moment. When she found out that I had cancelled it, she went off, calling me selfish etc. That HER kids need it!
But thanks again Mike … I will take note of CSA again when they make those comments … cheers :o)
On the note of the payee not wanting to work, I was told the other day by a representative of one of our Ministers in Canberra, that the government can't make someone work if they don't want to. Mh, funny how they can make the payer pay more because of the payee not working. Not quite sure how this is fair. Minister's office referred to the Change of Assessment process with CSA and could not argue the fact that CSA is a collection agency with interest in collecting as much money from payers as possible. Clearly they have no interest in finding out that the payee could contribute as well. If Centrelink is not worried, CSA surely isn't. We are currently on our 3rd COA in 18 months to get payee's earning capacity recognized. Payee is starting to run out of excuses and CSA has realised we will not stop sending in COA's. The long road might have been worth it. We'll see….
hahahaaa good grief ... they cant make someone work if they dont want to? sure they can, cut their pension! or make them do like a work for the dole. Yes her youngest is 2, BUT 2 days of the working week she does not have any kids, make her get off her butt i say.

Your situation sounds complicated although I might be able to help you with some of it.

Since your care is almost 50/50 but is worked out using a night count methodology you may benefit by working out the care percentages on an hours count.

To do this you will need good evidence of the care provided by each parent such as court orders.

It is possible that if you do an hours count you may have more than than 50% care. If you can justify one hour over 50% care then your care percentage will be rounded up to 51% care. If this happens then the ex will lose her pension.

If you have the evidence to justify your claim first get Family Assistance to make their re-assessment first as they will acknowledge hours of care due to being covered in their legislation.

Then write to the C$A informing them of the new care percentage assessment from Family Assistance. They will probably tell you they do not acknowledge hours of care so go through the appeals process and the SSAT should be more agreeable.

What amazes me with some shared parenting cases is there is one parent working their butt off whilst the other sits back living off everyone.

Parenting payment single should be paid in proportion to the amount of care provided for the children.

ohhh ... thanks for that! This is how I think CSA should work out the percentage of care for everyone, it seems much fairer.:thumbs:
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