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What child support covers and how to work out the extras - continued

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An update and more questions in addition to my previous post. Also sorry tried to post this last night but forgot to logon when doing so,so it may be out there under a guest and I can not find it to get rid of it.

A quick rehash on my previous post about CS extras. - this is the way she thinks extras should worked out. Her list of extras is school fees, shoes, textbooks and stationary. 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

I have since delivered my youngest and his belongings to her. We spoke for some time on the % proposal for extras. She wants to work it out on an estimated 09/10 taxable income, for which she won't even come close to going over the self support figure which leaves me with 100% of extras and travel costs (i.e. interstate flights for 3 kids up to 4 times a year). If we were to use the 08/09 incomes she would exceed the self support figure and would be liable according to her proposal to pay a percentage all be it a small one. The 50/50 I counter proposed just won't work as she has no income and refuses to dip into cash from our settlement.

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 bit 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 normally 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. I know a COA can be done but I have been told by CSA this a definate backward step and that only the payee can initiate it. And I am affraid if it goes to a COA or god forbid to the courts that it will go against me. 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 afraid she will spend on extras without consultation which I would have to pay, which will just compound and I will end up with a debt.

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 when I had all 3 kids, to help her out. Of course anything I have paid for in the last 4 months in extras I have not kept receipts.

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 appointed from legal aid for settlement just won't cut it here I think, nice guy though.
Bris40,
         as the CSA have said, the CS as per the formula covers the items you've mentioned. Thus unless you are feeling generous you only have a liability to pay what is assessed.

If the other parent considers that there is a special circumstance or are special circumstances, then the other parent can try to initiate a change of assessment. From the look of it, there would be no special circumstance.

If the CSA do consider these normal extras, as a special circumstance and you believe that they are not, then you could object to the decision and if the objection does not result in a what you consider a fair decision, you could then take the matter to SSAT, who often (about 2/3rds of the time) change the decision in some way. If you are unhappy about the SSAT decision then you could take the matter to court, although it has to be on a matter of law.

I'd suggest that you simply agree to pay the CS. If a change of assessment is initiated, then perhaps come back here and we can perhaps help you tackle that.

Certainly keep a record of the money that you voluntarily paid, that would likely be a credit towards you, in court. The CSA may try to use it against you, sort of a "you paid it before, so why not now". Perhaps the stock answer should be that you didn't realise that you were not following the object of the legislation to ensure that parents provide the correct financial support ad that you have no wish to deprive the child of the financial support that they should receive whilst in your care, nor have them placed into a situation where you deprived the other parent of living up to their responsibility according to the legislation. Perhaps profusely apologise for allowing this to happen as you know that you a failure to know the legislation is not an excuse. :)

I'd suggest that you may have a relatively reasonable chance in court of representing yourself, it may mean some hard graft and your behalf. I believe CS matters go before a limited number of magistrates (I'm not sure if it would go before FCoA) and I believe that you'd have a good chance of having justice done in court.
MikeT said
         (I'm not sure if it would go before FCoA)
 
I have seen a few departure decisions coming out of the FCoA lately, not a substantial amount, but definitely more than the norm.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas
MikeT

Thanks again. I have every intention of paying the CS the CSA have worked out, it is the extras that are in dispute.

I really don't want have this go to court it will be no good for either party or the children, and that is a decision I will have to make at the time. I'm not affraid of some some hard graft as you put, but is something I can address at the time should it progress that far.

Can you tell who and what the SSAT is?
bris40,
          it would be your choice to go to court. Very few go that far, if you did it's basically you v SSAT as it's the decision made by the CSA/SSAT that is the matter. Anyway that would be some time from now. You're far more likely to take the matter before SSAT, no cost other than perhaps to attend a conference. If you like we keep a list of the SSAT decisions, you may find that interesting/helpful. If so then follow this link SSAT decisions..

Oops nearly missed the last question. SSAT is the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. Their website is here SSAT website. There's also another body that in some instances can also be used to question the CSA, that's the AAT, which is the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (fewer matters go to them). We also keep a list of the decisions that they make, it's here AAT decisions. Their website is here AAT Website

Matters can also be taken to 2 other bodies but they would not really affect individual cases, they are the privacy commissioner (obviously for privacy issues) and the ombudsman (for all sorts of wrong doings), so you can likely ignore this last section.

Follow all this and you can take my place. :)

Saying alll that, though I doubt that it would go that far. The CSA would know that they're on a hiding for nothing by trying to push a "normal" circumstance as a "special circumstance". In fact I'd suggest that at first, if they attempted this, that you'd simply insist that there is no need to cooperate when there is obviously no special circumstance and that you believe to do so would perhaps implicate you in assisting them with a breach of privacy (i.e. they are not allowed to ask for information which they will not have no use for). I'd advise, again if it came to that, that you do so in writing and insist that they respond in writing.
Bris40, as MikeT has already stated, a lot of what your ex considers as extras is already accomodated for by way of CS. If it is school fees that you are talking about and they are for a private school (which you AGREED to) then that could possibly be considered as extra. But normal monies due to going to a public school are well and truely covered by CS as are school books and uniforms etc. With Medical and dental, unless it is out of the ordinary expenses such as surgery or braces, then this is also covered according to the CS formulae. Even glasses for reading are covered by CS, as they are a common expense.

Do not get fooled into paying more than you should or you will just simply be ripped off. CS is worked out according to incomes and to the times you have your children. As for the travel costs, CSA will sometimes look at that (on your behalf) if it exceeds a cetrina percentage of your income.
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