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I am single mother of two, having them 9 days in fortnight +half school holidays (or 223 days in a year). I am also working full time, with income is a bit higher than my ex (who is on decent salary). As a consequence, the ex only pays $15/week for each child, which is $3/day to raise the children when in my care. As CSA explained to me, from this $3/day I am supposed to cover not only their food, lodging etc., but also 100% of school fees, childcare fees, uniforms, medical bils, dentists etc. - he is not responsible for any of that as they are 'minor' expenses.

It appears that the parent who earns more (regardless mother or father) has major financial responsibility to support the children, in many cases going to the extremes, where one parent becomes, responsible to as much as 99% of children's expenses. When I spoke about this with CSA officer, he said they realize it is unfair, but they are just applying the law.

I know I can support my children with or without the child support, however there is great impact on children knowing that dad's contribution is towards their upbringing minimal.

If you are affected in a similar way, or have any thoughts on this, please post…

profmum said
however there is great impact on children knowing that dad's contribution is towards their upbringing minimal.
How do they know this?  Surely you don't discuss this issue with them?

I'm with Conan on this, while you may see it as unfair I would NOT under any circumstances be letting the kids know. Does their father not pay for food, housing, clothing etc when they are with him? I would concentrate on being the best Mum you can be and allowing them to enjoy their relationship with your ex without teaching them that love is based on $$ amounts.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
$120 a month (from what you've said, I assume this is the total payment you get?) equates to $1440 a year, so do you really think their father's fair share of the school fees, uniforms and medical bills would be more than this, especially given that his income is lower than yours? I recently worked out that my three cost about $2000 total for this sort of thing each year, so as far as I'm concerned if the other parent gave me $2000 a year then they'd paying the whole lot and I'd be contributing nothing to those costs.

If they have special needs that cause them to cost a lot more than other kids, then maybe you could consider a COA application. Otherwise I agree with the CSA.

And I also think it would be best for the kids not to know how much he pays you, I don't see what good can come of it (ie. if they think it's too little they'll resent him; if they think it's too much they'll resent you, or start pestering you to spend it on certain things). Maybe if they are really insistent about it you could tell them something bland like "the government decides how parents work out the bills after divorce and your Dad and I are both putting in what we've been told is required, end of story".
I am with profmum on this.  The CS liability does not reflect reality in this case.  Suggest she make her scenario made to her local politician.  My suggestion would be she talk to ex about a CS agreement that closely reflects real costs of the kids.  You can only ask.

More time with the children and less money - bring it on

I am a professional female and earn good $$$, self employed ex also earns good $$$$$$ but claims to earn $15,000. Prior to Oct o7 I had primary care of my children now 7 and 12.  As a result of not having any Orders in place and my ex preventing me access to my children Orders were drawn up and I now (as the Orders state 'spend time with my children') fn and every Wed night and I am not privy to school activities or parent teacher meetings etc.  Give me at least 50% care of my children and treat me like a parent at school and not an extended family member or visitor and I will pay whatever it takes.  Children don't need to know what money is exchanged.
            the formula I believe is fairer than it used to be, treating parent's more equally. The reason that the other parent pays so little, is that the other parent pays by the way of caring for the children and in fact pays over the odds by something like 7% due to the way the level of care is biased toward the parent with greater care.

Basically the formula takes the taxable income of both parents (there are other factors that can adjust this a little), an amount is then subtracted from each income to reflect a self support amount ($18808 for 2009).

If there are relevant dependent children and or multiple cases then further amounts are deducted to take into consideration the costs and responsibility of a parent towards such children.

The  amounts (each parent's child support income) are then added together and the result is the combined child support income.

This combined child support income is then applied to the cost of children tables and the resultant amount is the cost of the children.

Also at this stage each parent's percentage of the combined child support income is established, this is known as the Parent's Income Percentage or PIP.  

A reduction based upon the level of care is then determined; for 0-51 (0%-13%) nights care the reduction is 0%, for 52-127 (14%-34%) nights it is 24%, for 128-175 (35%-47%) the reduction is 25% + 2% for every 1% care over 35%, for 176-189 (48%-51%) the reduction is 50% (from 53%-100% it is basically the remaining percentage from the calculation for the other parent). In your case with a 142/223 split (38%/62%) then the care reduction is 31% for the 142 nights care (hence the 7% in favour of the parent with the greater care i.e. 38% case equate to only 31% reduction).

The care reduction amount (31% in your case) is then subtracted from the PIP (in your case the other parents PIP will be less than 50% so would be under 19%). this is the percentage of the cost of children that is due to be paid in child support.

In my experience based upon the fact that I was the "Spend time with" parent and am now the "Lives with parent" and that I am financially far better off swapping the payment of CS for the care (without receiving CS as I elected to end the assessment when the change occurred) can say that without a doubt the cost of children figures are grossly exaggerated.

As an example for 1 child, under 13, where the care split is 142 and 223 (i.e. as in your scenario) and the taxable incomes are $45,000 and $60,000 (used as this results in approx $15 per week CS).

The child support incomes are $26192 and $41191 with a resultant combined child support income of $67384. This results in a cost of child amount of $10343.

The PIP's are 38.87% and 61.13% (at this stage the CS payable would be $4020 p.a. i.e. 38.87% of the $10343).

Taking the care reduction of 31% into consideration then the percentage of the cost of children that is to be paid becomes 7.87% so the CS payable is $814 p.a. ($15.60 per week). The parent with the greater amount of care, should in theory pay $9529 due to their greater income.

Should the incomes be $37,311-$37,318 and $60,000 then no CS would be paid.

Should the income of the parent with less care be less than $37,311 then the parent with the greater care would pay CS.

Perhaps taking it to extremes, would one expect a multi-millionaire, who's ex is on a very low income, to not pay and for the ex on the very low income to pay CS?

Last edit: by MikeT

Thanks everyone for toughts on this.  Someone gave extensive explanation of the formula.  What many don't know is that for example, in the formula, fathers get credited 50% towards children's accomodation costs, eventhough in fact they are only having children say 30% time.  This means mother gets credited remaining 50%, while in fact they look after the children 70% of the time, so the mother is expected to 'fork out' those 20% regardless on her income…
            I'd like you to explain exactly how you determine that father's get credited 50% of the cost for accommodation for only 30% of the care, it would be very interesting and also quite important.

My understanding is there is no gender bias in the scenario you mention. My understanding is that if it is the father who has 70% care and the mother 30% then the calculations undertaken are not any different, however please correct me if I am wrong. This is quite important as I would need to arrange for changes to the calculator's available on this site (though this site currently for the advanced calculator). We could also put it to the CSA, through the channels available through the FLWG, that their estimator would also need to be changed accordingly.

My understanding is that the application of the formula in the scenario you speak of, with 70/30 care, results in the person with the lower level of care only getting a reduction of 24% instead of the 30% that should be the case, furthermore such a parent loses out on 30% of the FTB that should also paid to that parent. Even furthermore it is my understanding that often the person with the greater care, has the greater portion of the assets from divorce, often 70% (perhaps the SRL's can be so kind as to provide the average portion).

My understanding is that Cost for accommodation by way of a reason 1 change of assessment for a parent with 30%, or any parent with regular or greater care (14%) cannot be claimed. Only cost's related to travel can be claimed.

I do understand that I may have misunderstood the legislation as such look forward to you explaining where these loopholes in the legislation are.

Asset split

If there is only one child, and the marriage was a 'normal' one, then a 60/40 split would be the norm. If there are two children, then a 70/30+ split would be the norm.

 After saying that, there are other factors that come in to play when determining the asset split: age, education, health, wages and others.

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