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What child support cover and how to work the % of 'extras'

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Sorry all I know this has been asked many times but I am confused.Separated for 2yrs and my ex has resettled interstate with a new partner. For this last 4 months I have provided sole care for the 3 kids. She will soon receive a substantail cash settlement from me. I get to keep a main assest which will be financed by me for its full value. Our youngest is about to move to live with her. The child support figire does worry me. And I had agreed to pay half of extras. But what are extras? What exactly is CS suppose to cover? My ex has no income. There fore this is the way she thinks extras should worked out. Her list of extras is schoolfees medical, dental extra curricular activies and sport. So we work out our incomes minus the 18000 self support. Add together for a combined income the work out what % of that total each owns then this is how who pays what percent of extras. So for eg. if mine is 45000 and hers 5000 after self support I should pay 90% and her 10% of extras! Forgot to mention travel between our places for all kids on school hols etc is also on the extras list, and I'm not the one that moved interstate. This is why I really need to know what CS covers. Don't get me wrong I am not about to agree to this and feel it should be all 50/50. I want to support my kids but does anyone have a thought on the fairness of this. I really don't want to have to go back to mediation on this.
Bris40,
          there are two child support calculators on this site, the advanced is recommended. If you use this you can ascertain the "Parent's CS Percentage" (click on show calculations), which is the percentage of the cost of children that parent pays (note that this is on a per child basis as factors can change for each child e.g. level of care). You quoted the self support amount as $18,000 however this changes on an annual basis, for assessments starting 2009 the amount was $18808, for assessments staring in 2010 it will be $19618.  

The parent's CS percentage is derived from two values, a) the Parent's income percentage and b) the Parent's Cost percentage. b is subtracted from a.

The parent's Income percentage, is the percentage that parent contributes toward to contribution of both parents. The parent's contribution is the parent's adjusted taxable income, less any relevant dependent child amount (relevant dependent child is a biological or adopted child of an ongoing relationship) less any multi-case allowance (that is an allowance to take into consideration the cost to the parent for children in other cases of that parent).

The cost percentage is the percentage reduction applied for a percentage of care. e.g. for 14-34% care the cost percentage is 24% (the advanced calculator has numerous ?'s  over to the right (inside a blue circle), moving the mouse over these will display help, moving over the ? adjacent to Parent's Cost Percentage shows the cost percentages for all the levels of care).

The cost of the children is another figure, this is the accumulated cost of all children before being apportioned to the paying parent (according to the parent's CS percentage). Thus the other parent's theoretical contribution can easily be ascertained i.e. it is the cost of the children less the CS payable (note that in some cases, what I term as split care, parents can each, in theory pay CS (the total paid to the parent with the lower amount, is the higher amount less the lower amount), where this determination is a little harder).

The cost of the children is the amount derived from research in regard to the cost of children, it is not an amount that excludes anything for the normal situation, basically there should be no extras at all. However in some situations there will be "special circumstances" and in such "special circumstances" parent's are able to apply for a departure from the formula based assessment. This is better known as change of assessment. Thus my advice, is that you should ignore any inclusion of extra's, saying that the change of assessment process is what is used to determine if these meet the "special circumstances". Saying that the COA process has been shown, time after time, to be extremely biased against the paying parent with what appears to be an underlying concept throughout much of the CSA that a paying parent should be made to pay as much as possible by hook or by crook. However now with the introduction of SSAT and perhaps even more relevant the publication of SSAT decisions, the CSA are increasingly having to be more and more careful and also that some of the techniques they use are being exposed.

School fees are claimed by way of a reason 3 change of assessment, basically if it can be shown that there was an intention by both parents for this manner of education then this meets the special circumstances. I would suggest that 50/50 for school fees would be a reasonable compromise, however I'd suggest getting any agreement in writing. This could then negate the special circumstance (a tactic often used by the in COA's, even though contrary to the legislation, is to use one special circumstance as an open door to other reasons that would otherwise be a closed door).

Travel costs for contact, would perhaps be best covered implicitly in the parenting/court orders. e.g. (note the example is only showing the technique of setting costs at 50/50).

The mother to make child/children available for collection at airport x at time xx:xx for the start of the time the child/children spend with the father, the father to make the child/children available for collection after the end of the time the children spend with the father, at airport y at time yy:yy. Each parent to provide the other parent with the flight details at least x days/weeks in advance.

However I'd suggest discussing proposals for parenting plans/court orders, you should likely consider joining the SRL-Resources where such details can be discussed more privately.
Thanks Mike. I think at the end of the day I will be in a no win situation. If she has next to no income I will be paying for what she can't. I am not about to not support my kids but hardly seems fair I pay CS and pay for all the 'extras' aka everything. And I am sure if a COA was submitted by her I would be worse off.

CS extras update

I have also recently spoken to CSA who have said CS covers everything, bar special circumstances i.e. private school, sport costs if you have a budding tennis star etc.

Actual CS is not an issue. We have a little of a tricky situation where in 08/09 I had tax free income therefore a greatly reduced income for 08/09. We have agreed verbally to estimate what my wage would have been and worked out CS accordingly. Both parties happy there. Also CSA have told me this how they would work it out if we were disputing this. Is this right?

But for the extras we can't agree on whats included and the % of payment. Now I know a COA can be done but I have been told by CSA this a definate backward step. And I am affraid if it goes to a COA or god forbid to the courts that I will be screwed. The agreement she wants will be a written one but would only be between us, I understand this would be non binding but affraid it would count against me if it ends up in court. Plus I am affraid she will be rack up a bill on extras I have agreed to pay which will just compound.

I have (maybe foolishly ) being paying her $500/ fort night to support herself whilst I had the kids, for about 4 months which I offered and as she says she didn't ask for, but still accepted. Will this hold me in good light should it go to court or will I get told silly you. This money she does not want to agree to minus from my income figure for her proposal. Thats what you get for doing the right thing. I don't want the kids to miss out on things but I don't want to have an agreement that may come to bite in the backside if things went to court. This proposal has only popped up now because previously I had all kids paying all extras no questions asked. Even told her she didn't have to pay CS she was meant to, to help her out.

I just don't know what to do here, any thoughts… anyone…..Buller?

Short of that anyone know a good but (dare I say it ) cost effective family law expert/solicitor in Brissy. My bloke from legal aid for settlement just won't cut it here I think, nice guy though.
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