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who pays for education with 60/40 share care - is it included in Child Support?

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My ex and I have a 60/40 shared care arrangement of 3 children. There unfortunately is no stipulation in our court order on who pays for education expenses. The children attend public school and my ex believes his child support covers all education expenses. I think that his child support covers expenses for when the children are in my care and he should still meet expenses whilst they are in his care and should therefore contribute 40% to their school expenses. His income is in excess of $100k whilst mine is below $40k. He does not pay for any school costs. The children take all their school items that I pay for to use at his house. They are required to have laptop computers for school, which I pay for, and they then use them whilst in his care. I have asked numerous times for him to assist with their education costs but he has never agreed. With the recent introduction of the schoolkids bonus he will receive 40% of the payment for education costs but does not actually incurr any education costs. He does pay for extra curricular activities when the children are in his care sport etc.
Is this a family law matter or something that the CSA can address due to him not meeting the essential costs whilst the children are with him. Does the Child Support formula assume he is meeting 40% of education costs?

He has a legal background as does his partner so I feel I'm up against it in terms of knowing the legal process.

Am I being unreasonable asking for him to contribute to the childrens education?

Our changeovers occur on school days so the children are already in their uniforms etc when they go to his house so I cannot just not provide them. It is more the actual school fees/costs etc rather than uniforms etc. Although some help with that would be good too!

Where to from here? This has been going on for 5 years.
Child Support covers at least all expenses other than where special circumstances exist. If you believe that special circumstances exist then you can apply for a change of assessment (COA) under one or more of the 10 reasons:

CSA can only change an assessment if one or more of 10 listed reasons is established 'in the special circumstances of the case' (sections 98C and 117(2)).

The CSA Guide - 2.6.2: What are the reasons for a change of assessment? said
There are 10 reasons for a change of assessment (section 117(2)).

    Reason 1. The costs of maintaining a child are significantly affected by high costs of enabling a parent to spend time with, or communicate with, the child.
    Reason 2. The costs of maintaining a child are significantly affected by high costs associated with the child's special needs.
    Reason 3. The costs of maintaining a child are significantly affected by high costs of caring for, educating or training the child in the way both parents intended.
    Reason 4. The child support assessment is unfair because of the child's income, earning capacity, property or financial resources.
    Reason 5. The child support assessment is unfair because the payer has paid or transferred money, goods or property to the child, the payee, or a third party for the benefit of the child.
    Reason 6. The costs of maintaining a child are significantly affected by the high child care costs for the child (and the child is under 12 years of age).
    Reason 7. The parent's necessary expenses significantly affect their capacity to support the child.
    Reason 8. The child support assessment is unfair because of the income, earning capacity, property or financial resources of one or both parents.
    Reason 9. The parent's capacity to support the child is significantly affected by:
    their legal duty to maintain another child or person,
    their necessary expenses in supporting another child or person they have a legal duty to maintain
    their high costs of enabling them to spend time with, or communicate with, another child or person they have a legal duty to maintain.
    Reason 10. The parent's responsibility to maintain a resident child significantly reduces their capacity to support the child support child.

The other parent will in fact be paying around 45% of the cost of children as opposed to the 40% you claim due to the way that CS is calculated. For your scenario assuming 2 children (a third child, if there is one, would not alter this percentage anyway as it's dependent upon the income difference (i.e. the other parents income percentage (PIP) is 80.36% (100k/40k) % the % of the CS the parent would pay if there was no reduction for care) and the amount of care. The care even though 60/40 results in a reduction of CS of 25% + 2% for every 1% above 35% = 35% (i.e 25 + 2 * (40-35) = 25 + (2 * 5) = 25 + 10 = 35) rather than 40%. The actual percentage of the cost of the children is then 80.36% - 35% = 45.36%. So straight away 5% of the CS paid exceeds your expectations of paying as per percentage of care. However, having been in both situations of payer and payee I fully understand that the amount of CS is excessive for normal children and not just by a little. It is very clear that CS covers a great deal more than it should.  This doesn't also then consider that much 50% of CS is actually a tax in all but name. That is for $1 paid in CS, FTB paid can be reduced by 50c as opposed to the 20c, then for higher incomes 30c for intact families.

Iten said
Is this a family law matter or something that the CSA can address due to him not meeting the essential costs whilst the children are with him.
I very doubt that the Family Law Courts would see anything wrong with the other parent meeting their legislated financial responsibilities. With regard to the CSA they would very likely jump at the chance to have a change of assessment done for such a high income earner. However, from what you have said I do not believe there are grounds for change of assessment.

Iten said
Does the Child Support formula assume he is meeting 40% of education costs?
As explained the cost of children covers normal/ordinary circumstances.

Iten said
He has a legal background as does his partner so I feel I'm up against it in terms of knowing the legal process.
I would say that few in the legal profession would profess to know much about CS legislation so being in that profession does not necessarily have such an advantage and I'd say that such an advantage would in fact be quite rare within the profession. I'm not in the legal profession. However, I know that some in the legal profession have said that they could not do any better than myself in regards to CS legislation. The fact is is that you have the support of those who I believe are very much behind the legislation and behind the money centric and the collect as much as we can attitude of the CSA. The other parent. the other parent's partner their families, friends, colleagues and acquaintances would very likely be grossly outnumbered by those actually in the CS profession that go all out to collect what they can rather than support the very object of the legislation that parents meet their financial responsibilities towards their children and it is those whose support you have.

Iten said
Am I being unreasonable asking for him to contribute to the childrens education?
No, you simply misunderstand that the other parent is in fact paying for the child's education both in CS and in the far greater taxes that the other parent pays that go toward the children and their education.

Iten said
Our changeovers occur on school days so the children are already in their uniforms etc when they go to his house so I cannot just not provide them. It is more the actual school fees/costs etc rather than uniforms etc. Although some help with that would be good too!
Where to from here? This has been going on for 5 years.
Hopefully, as you have the answers, you will see that nothing has in fact been going on rather that you have for 5 years misunderstood what you have in fact been getting.

I just did the math.

Am I being unreasonable asking for him to contribute to the childrens education?
I think you might be a bit unreasonable, so others can see, I ran the numbers you provided through the CSA support calculator.  I made the following assumption.

  • You have no addition children nor does your ex
  • don't have a partner
  • you own your own home
  • the children are under 12
  • 60% care (219 days) 
  • Your income  40k   father's 100k

Child Support payable to you.   $445.00 per F/N   (Annually $11577.00)
Family Tax Benefit Part A     $143.78
Family Tax Benefit Part B     $63.42
Large Family Supplement     $11.34
Estimated Family Assistance payment     $218.54  per F/N

Given the father high income and mostly his partners he would receive very little if anything in FTB as her income would be taken into account for FTB
If he earns over 100k a year plus his partner works in the legal profession then I can't see how they would be getting a % of the family tax benefit part A for your children to be entitled to 40% of the school child bonus? Surely their combined income would be too high?

You must also be receiving a pretty high rate of monthly child support as it is cause his income is very high. Plus I am assuming he only has the kids in the holidays, from what you said about changeovers (so presumably you have majority care), so yes I think you are being unreasonable.

Laptops (which i've never heard of being compulsory in any public school) ect are claimable under the education tax refund, so if you are receiving family Tax Benefit part A you can claim that payment as well.  
Thanks for the independant views. This is why I posted on here to get some unbias views. A few assumptions which are not correct so just to add. He does have other children with his current partner. I do not have other children or a partner.  His partner works part time after returning from maternity leave so not sure of their combined income for FTB entitlement for them but with so many kids they might just be under the cut off. I have one child under 12 and two over 12. The children spend 3 school days per fortnight with them, one weekend per fortnight plus half of all school holidays. Yes I receive a reasonable amount of monthly child support which he pays regularly and I am grateful for, and not complaining about.  It was more, regardless of how much child support he pays, should he still contribute to education expenses incurred whilst the kids are with him? Is it really reasonable that I pay for the education, uniform, computer etc when they are also with him on school days? From the responses received so far it would appear that yes it is reasonable and that it is built into his child support. I'll look forward to hearing some more opinions. Thanks
Frenzy said
Laptops (which i've never heard of being compulsory in any public school) ect are claimable under the education tax refund, so if you are receiving family Tax Benefit part A you can claim that payment as well.
They no longer are. However, instead of the ETR, parents are being paid $410 for a primary school child and $820 (Sec SPCA added - for secondary school kids).

Frenzy said
You must also be receiving a pretty high rate of monthly child support as it is cause his income is very high. Plus I am assuming he only has the kids in the holidays, from what you said about changeovers (so presumably you have majority care), so yes I think you are being unreasonable.
I took the 60/40 to indicate the level of care. Assuming that the incomes are 40k and 100k and there is a mention of children (so I've assumed two). The the CS would currently be around $10,000. For 3 children it would be around what NewGuy has calculated, so about another $1,500 per annum.

NewGuy said
Given the father high income and mostly his partners he would receive very little if anything in FTB as her income would be taken into account for FTB
I believe, but I may be wrong, when a parent has over 35% care then their share of FTB is based upon the level of care and not the income of that parent and that the income of the partner is not taken into account. Only the income of a partner of the main/original claimant is taken into consideration. That in itself is wrong as a child of separation will often have their FTB reduced by two other incomes, their partner's and also due to any CS which effectively means the income of the ex. I believe that something really needs to be done about how children of separation are discriminated against and exploited for monetary gain by the Government through this double dipping. Either FTB should be reduced due to the CS paid and thus the liable/biological parent's income is used or FTB should be reduced according to the new partner's income.






Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

If the Payer has UNDER 35% care then FTB is apportioned to the Payee parent only. There is a sliding scale if a Payer has over 35% of care where the Family Tax Benifit - Part A is shared but is also based on income levels and income support payment exemption allowances

There is also Family Tax Benifit - Part B

How do you see an equitable scheme operating?

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Most responses have commented about how much money I receive in Child Support and Family payment - which I am aware of what I receive.

My questions was not intended to be about what I receive it was more whether the other parent should pay part of the school expenses (books, uniforms, fees, computers etc) for the time the children are in his care (3 school days a fortnight) given that the children use all these items during their time with him.

The answer, I would have thought, should be the same whether I get $1000 child support or $10000 child support.
Iten, the answer is no. The other parent is not legally obliged to pay more if they are paying Child Support as assessed by the C$A.

That's what Child Support is for, school expenses etc.

If you want more you will have to apply to C$A for more money from the other parent and prove why you need it.
what would happen if the payee parent does not inform the family assistance office or child support that the care of 1 child has changed from 100% care to 0%, and the payer informs both agencys and is told that the payee has to inform them and still dosent, and continues to get family assistance for the child not in their care.
Secretary SPCA said
How do you see an equitable scheme operating?
 I'm sure this question has been asked for many years and will be asked for many more to come!!

I really don't know that answer to that. Obviously it is very difficult to come up with systems that suit all situations and there is always going to be people on either side not happy with the decisions made by the government.

Obviously the children need to be the focus, which is sometimes hard for parents who no longer get along.

There are a number of things that seem inconsistent to me. That a payers child support reduces their tax but it also reduces the recieving parents FTB payments. That is probably due to the fact the government does not want to support children whose parents are able to. The other is that if one parent does not qualify for FTB (due to high income) only a % goes to the parent who does qualify which can sometimes leave a large portion unallocated - there are cases where children could beneift from the whole amount being allocated. And my situation in relation to the new SchoolKids bonus is an example of that. If he qualifies for FTB then he will receive 40% of the payment but does not actually incur any education expenses. If he does not qualify due to high income that 40% goes unallocated but I have the same 100% bills as other parents who will receive the full amount.

I guess at the end of the day I would like to see all parents support their children the best way they can regardless of the parents relationships or incomes. At some time those parents did actually get along and at the time wanted the best for their children - that focus should not change just because the parents are no longer together.



IF THIS SHOWS UP TWICE IM SORRY - THINK I MAY HAVE ENTERED IT WHEN I WASN'T LOGGED IN (IM NEW TO THIS)
In reality just like Iten has pointed out, many men will not pay but technically they should be paying their portion if you look at it in terms of share care percentages and number of nights.
Why just single out men?, there are female payers out there who fail to pay their CS obligations.

In this case the payer earns 2 1/2 times the income of the payee, so is already paying a greater % of CS to the payee every month because of it. If both parents incomes were equal (or assessed as equal by CSA), & they had between 35-65% care (125 -175 nights,what CSA calls shared care) then I could see why both should contribute to costs of out of pocket school expenses. However when parents are sharing care why should they both pay 50% of school expenses (so both covering costs equally), but the payee keeps on getting monthly CS payments as well. What are those monthly payments meant to be for? In situation like that, yes I think it's a great idea parents share public school costs equally but the monthly CS payment payees receive (just cause one earns more) would have to be wiped to make it fair.
If CSA is supposed to cover all a child's expenses including education (which is a huge and debatable topic but this is not the thread to debate it) when a payer pays 100% CSA then surely if the percent is decreased due to shared care , then they are also therefore responsible for a share of the childs expenses, including education.

For example a payer who has the child between 52 - 128 nights pays 30% less CSA (I may not have figures right but they are close) because they are SHARING the expenses of the child.  Therefore shouldn't they be paying 30% of the education/clothes/medical/optical/social/after school activities/ etc etc costs?  To me that just seems logical.  The Government clearly think that is the case if they give a percentage of the Family Tax and the schoolkids bonus to the payer and not the payee.  Surely that is because it is expected that the payer will be SHARING the costs.  When shared care is 50% then both parents are expected to pay 50% of the costs - including all the above mentioned costs.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
When shared care is 50% then both parents are expected to pay 50% of the costs - including all the above mentioned costs.
Yes fair enough if both parents pay half the school costs & that is all they pay. However in cases where one parents income is significantly higher, for example when parent A earns 100k & Parent B 40k, plus 50% equal care, 2 kids over 12, I kid under 13, Parent B would already be receiving $15,522 per year in child support, ie at least 15% of Parent A's whole income. I used the online calculator to work out the actual amounts.

Statistics show that the costs of public school costs for high school students on average is $2,200 per child per year & $1,200 for primary, so all up for 3 kids ( assuming one under 13 is in primary) then 50 % of that cost would be $2800 each parent………so why is parent A receiving $15,522 per year? plus government benefits (which I didn't add in).

What is that monthly child support actually for?? why is Parent A (the payer) actually paying more then triple the whole amount of school costs to parent B, when they share care/costs in all other ways. How is that $15,222 being spent by the parent B? How would it be fair to add an extra 50% of school costs onto that $15,522.

You can't just go of care % you need to factor in income to asses what is all ready being paid monthly to see what extras could/ should be justified in any individual case.

How many payees with shared care would be happy to trade $15,522 for 50 % ($2,800) of school expenses, not many I don't reckon.
Iten, you have said you already receive a decent amount of child support. It seems you are not in financial difficulty. Regardless of whether the children are with him or not, those expenses would still have to be paid. By the children 'using' their school things while they are with him you are not incurring additional expense. Quite the contrary in fact. I would not rock the boat on something that is quite petty. If it were private school fees or medical expenses I would be in agreement but public school expense, no.
Frenzy said
When shared care is 50% then both parents are expected to pay 50% of the costs - including all the above mentioned costs.
Yes fair enough if both parents pay half the school costs & that is all they pay. However in cases where one parents income is significantly higher, for example when parent A earns 100k & Parent B 40k, plus 50% equal care, 2 kids over 12, I kid under 13, Parent B would already be receiving $15,522 per year in child support, ie at least 15% of Parent A's whole income. I used the online calculator to work out the actual amounts.
 

Are you saying that if the payer and payee are 50% care and one earns $40 and the other $100 the payer still pays $15,000 in this case?  That is a lot and should cover normal school costs (not private and so on as it should be paid 50/50 if it was agreed to send them).  I would hope that 50/50 care means that both parents buy clothes, medical/social and everything else though - ie a set of clothes in each house.

If that is correct that is only one example with a number of assumptions.  There are many other cases. For example what if it is a multi payer case.  Mine is as my ex fathered twins to a one night stand while married to me, never sees them but pays CSA.  What if the parent remarries and legitmately has a new family with new wife, then the CSA amount goes down.  What if the payee doesn't get any FT benefit as they earn too much or remarry and the household income is higher. Is the stepfather supposed to pay for the children when he may have his own children to pay for?

What about the 52 - 128 nights - 30% less CSA whether it is 52 or 127 nights.  My son does band at school and an additional group and the yearly cost is $1000 - then there are music lessons at $30 a week during term time - that is a total $2,200 a year.  That is nearly 2 months CSA payments just for music.  You are saying the boys father, who reduced his CSA by over $5000 a year because he has them for 52 - 60 nights only shouldn't pay his 30% of the school and music fees?

No I suppose not. I don't think you will ever get agreeance on this.  Each family has its own individual situation, financial needs and circumstances and a rule for all will never ever be able to take individual circumstances into account.  And I dont' ever think you will get payers and payees to agree on what is fair and reasonable because it seems to me that many payers want to pay as little as they possibly can, and some payees don't spend all the money on the children.  And some of us fit into neither category.  I will never agree that CSA is fair in my circumstances and I suspect that you will find very few payers or payees who are happy with the system. It stinks but we all have to live with it and in the end it is the children that often suffer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
If both parents had shared care & had their income assessed as being equal, then I'd see it as justifiable that education expenses be split 50/50 but when one parent is already paying the other a decent monthly amount, then I can't see how it is justified.
larissap, said
For example a payer who has the child between 52 - 128 nights pays 30% less CSA (I may not have figures right but they are close) because they are SHARING the expenses of the child.  Therefore shouldn't they be paying 30% of the education/clothes/medical/optical/social/after school activities/ etc etc costs?
How do you work out 30%? If a Payer earns 100k and Payee 40k, and payer had 52 nights care the CS payable for 3 kids would be $15,804. If the payer has 128 -237 nights care the amount payable only drops to $15,522 that is a 2% reduction, no where near 30%.

I gather from the CS calculator on this site, 52 -127 (14-34%) is called regular care by CSA. 128 - 237 nights (35% - 65%)is the CSA definition of shared care.

In this case the payer would only be getting a 2% reduction in monthly CS payments by having shared (40%) care, rather then regular care.
Frenzy said
 How do you work out 30%? If a Payer earns 100k and Payee 40k, and payer had 52 nights care the CS payable for 3 kids would be $15,804. If the payer has 128 -237 nights care the amount payable only drops to $15,522 that is a 2% reduction, no where near 30%.

I gather from the CS calculator on this site, 52 -127 (14-34%) is called regular care by CSA. 128 - 237 nights (35% - 65%)is the CSA definition of shared care.

In this case the payer would only be getting a 2% reduction in monthly CS payments by having shared (40%) care, rather then regular care.
 

I work out figure for 100% care is reduced by around 30% (can't remember exact amount - maybe it is 24% - but around that figure) when the payer has the children over 51 nights.  I wasn't talking about from 127 nights to 237 - I was talking about from 0 nights to 52 nights.

And once again the figure you are using is for a non multi - capped case.  It is considerably less when other children the payer has to pay for are factored in, the payment to first payee drops markedly.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
And once again the figure you are using is for a non multi - capped case.  It is considerably less when other children the payer has to pay for are factored in, the payment to first payee drops markedly.
When the other children the payer has is figured in it drops by around $1000 per year for each other child the payer has with his new partner. Assuming the payer has 2 new kids, Do I think 11-13k is enough to consider 40% of the general school costs the original poster is asking about already covered in that yearly CS payment, yes I do.

If my partner goes to court and gets 50/50 shared care his ex wife will be paying us 15.2k per year because she earns 100k & my partner only 40k & neither have new kids (which is what I based my earlier hypothetical figures on). Do I think that would be fair that she pay that, no actually I do not. As CSA would force her into paying it anyway, that 15.2k would easily cover 50% of her share of general expenses like uniforms, school fees, extra circular activities ect for the 3 kids. It does not cost anywhere near $30,400 per year for such things ($15,200 from each parent).

Maybe if the children were wearing Louis Vuitton shoes and taking Prada handbags to school, 30.4k a year wouldn't cut it. Maybe I should use the logic of some on here and expect the ex wife to pay 50% of everything so we can pocket the 15.2k and I can get a Prada handbag :lol:. Seriously though, I don't like his ex in anyway but I would not be greedy enough to expect her to pay us 15k plus 50% of general education expenses on top of that if it ever came to shared care. Her 50% share for those things would already factored into that 15k by CSA.

larrisap said
You are saying the boys father, who reduced his CSA by over $5000 a year because he has them for 52 - 60 nights only shouldn't pay his 30% of the school and music fees?
 larissap, what i've posted in this thread, is only in relation to the original posters circumstances, where one parent earns way more and has shared care ie 128 days and above. So please don't go making assumptions that I am talking any about your boys father, your situation or non compulsory expensive things like music lessons ect. Every case is totally different.
Larissap said
I work out figure for 100% care is reduced by around 30% (can't remember exact amount - maybe it is 24% - but around that figure) when the payer has the children over 51 nights.  I wasn't talking about from 127 nights to 237 - I was talking about from 0 nights to 52 nights.
It is actually 24%, care reduction for a level of care that ranges from 14%-34% inclusive, which is 52-127 nights.

Thus according to Larissap's admission

Larissap said
You are saying the boys father, who reduced his CSA by over $5000 a year because he has them for 52 - 60 nights only shouldn't pay his 30% of the school and music fees?

the indication is that CS for Larissap was around at least $20,000 i.e. 25% of $20,000 is the $5,000 mentioned as the reduction due to the other parent being awarded the care and thus is now around $15,000. So it is very clear that the other parent in Larissap's case is paying for school and music fees. It is simply Larissap's greed that is behind Larissap's false claims that have been made in this topic. So in fact Frenzy is not saying anything of the sort. Frenzy has throughout this topic responded with facts and facts that are easily obtainable from this website (albeit that the CS Calculator still hasn't been updated to cope with 2012).

Larissap mentions multi-case. Well assuming a continuance of the 100k/40k with two 13+ children and then 3 of another case and that the other parent of the multi-case children has less than the self-support amount and that the other parent of the CS children has no care of the Multi-Case children (i.e. the very worst-case extension of the scenario) then the CS will drop to about $6,300 p.a. which of course would be offset by an increase in FTB of 50% of the decrease in CS (so that the children would get over at least $9,000). Again plenty to cover a fair share of school fees even if the fees were excessive and also even music lessons if they were in fact agreed to by both parties, which is very doubtful considering Larissap's frequent denigrative descriptions of the other parent. The full liability of the parent would increase though to just over $21,000 (from the original $12,174).

The simple fact is that CS covers school fees and all ordinary expenses according to the income of both parents. If a parent does not consider it enough then except in a few cases they have the power to actually increase what the child has or children have by doing something them-self rather than burdening society with their unreasonable and exorbitant expectations of those other than them-self. Any person could accept this simply because the legislation then caters for special circumstance by way of departures commonly called change of assessment.
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