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Hopefully someone can help clear up some confusion my hubby and I are presently facing that may also affect some of you.

My hubby pays $1,000 per month in CS to his ex-wife (supposedly for his 2 children). We look after the 2 kids 45% of the time and his ex 55% - shared care. Both his income and his ex's income is taken into account as "family income".

His ex wife also receives, in addition to her income of $80,000+ per year, all the Government handouts i.e. Family Tax Benefit A & B, sole parent benefit etc etc. Why isn't combined family income taken into account for these government handouts.

Question one is why is his ex be entitled to "sole parent" type income from the Government when she gets such a good wage, and $12,000 per year from my hubby not to mention rental income from her newly purchased rental house?

Also, as at 1 July we are not entitled to any amount of family tax benefit whatsoever re the new income threshold. But extra payments keep being givento help "struggling" families which his ex wife certainly isn't i.e. $375 per child per year (under 13) for education PLUS today's $1,000 per child bonus to help re the current financial crisis why should there be an income threshold placed on these bonuses? We should be entitled to 45% of the bonus as we have the children for 45% of the time and have to pay for them whilst in our care and also pay forthem when they are with the ex?

I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who is in a similar circumstance or can shed some light on any of the above that we may have wrong and missing out on some type of assistance. Also,it would be great to get some sort of petition going to the powers that be to ensure that all parents get a portion of any special type of one off bonuses dependent on their recognised access.

I can't answer all of the questions as I'm not that clued up on benefits, however I do think that one prime area that you're getting confused with is with the term "Family Income". With regard to CS, the amount is termed "Combined Child Support Income" that is the combination of the incomes of both parents as opposed to family incomes, the latter perhaps being a very confusing term, especially if the parents are in subsequent relationships/families and even more confusing when there are multiple child support liabilities.

I've run some calculations based upon the ex having an income of $80,000 and for 2 children (under 13) with 166 nights care (45%) and that shows that to pay $1,000 per month CS, your hubby's income would be around $655,000. If the children are both over 13 then to pay $1,000 per month your hubby's income would have to be about $322,700. If only one child is over 13 the your hubby's income would be about $423,000. If this were my situation I'd not be worrying about a what would be relatively paltry amounts.
I also have care split 55/45, and receive the same % of Family Tax benefit as my % of care.  My ex is entitled to the remaining percentage, but as their household income exceeds the cut-off they don't receive it. Nobody does. A similar thing should be happening in your situation, however if MikeT's estimates of your income based on the amount of CS you pay are correct - your income would be over the threshold to receive that %.

Your husband's ex would not be receiving ANY sole parent benefit/pension on an income of $80K with 2 children. What she will be getting is FTBs.

If Mike's calculations are wrong, then the Family assistance office has a calculator on their website where you can put in your income and amount of care of the children and be given an estimate of your FTB entitlements. If you then find you do qualify for FTBs - then you should claim your % of them (including the $1000 at Xmas).
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