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Mother says did not agree to ballet lessons in 2009, yet encourages daughter to ask for them to be paid for in 2010

In a recent conference regarding COA Reason 8, we mentioned reason 3 in our cross application for expenses because it costs us around $1500 p/a to pay for daughter's ballet lessons.  The mother countered with "she never agreed to the lessons, therefore they should not be classed as an expense".  To this we argued that it was mother who bought the dance gear and mother who drove daughter to the lessons twice per week, so how could she not have agreed?

2009 was a nasty year for us financially, and our agreement to pay mother far more than C$A assessed us at, was partially to blame. Consequently my husband went for almost a year without seeing the kids (in previous years he flew the kids up to us in Qld from NSW every school holidays 4 times per year without fail for the past 6 years).

We may have tried, at a pinch, to afford daughter's ballet lessons this year, even though it would have disadvantaged us financially. And due to the fact that C$A would not have recognised it as an expense if we had paid for it, mother would have made it a contentious issue (along the lines of; "if he can afford that, then he can afford more CS").  So when daughter rang today to ask about payment for the lessons father had to refuse.  Point I am making is that mother encouraged daughter (we got texts and so forth) to ask father about paying for the lessons in 2010, even though mother stated to C$A that she never agreed to them in 2009, and knew from our response to her COA that we were struggling.

Bottom line is, daughter was very distressed and disappointed that she had to miss out on ballet this year.  We feel mother could have explained the situation to daughter and not goaded her into requesting payment for lessons and getting her hopes up. To me, it was a cruel and heartless act.  Also, we feel mother's actions were a way of setting father up - damned if he did (C$A) and damned if he didn't (daughter). To his credit, as usual, father simply told daughter that he could not afford the lessons this year, rather than go into detail and demonize the mother.  He will always cop the brunt, but it's better to shield the kids from what's really going on I reckon.

I'm thinking C$A should be informed of this event, because mother's game playing is definitely not in the best interest of the child.

Any thoughts anyone?  I will stand corrected if I'm wrong here.
Ajae said
I'm thinking C$A should be informed of this event, because mother's game playing is definitely not in the best interest of the child.

I don't think the CSA would show any care or consideration.

I believe that you had every right and also the special circumstances that would have constituted a departure by way of reason 3. There is without doubt that the extra-curricular training was agreed to by both parties. When was the decision made? Perhaps for the sake of the child you could try to take the matter to the courts. Obviously first by way of mediation. Thus it appears that this is another case of the CSA acting in a manner to only increase the amount collected and or transferred, rather than support a child.

SRL's what do you think matter about this going to court? Would it get around Rice and Asplund? I'm thinking that orders could perhaps be made, assuming that evidence is put forward that shows the other parent's previous and current willingness, for the activity to go ahead, with parent's contributing according to their means and thereby removing a cause of distress. Not as high a priority as private school, but a similar scenario. Would the courts be likely to say that in the past Ajae's side paid in whole, thus they should continue to do so, or would they be more likely to make a decision based upon the income of both set's of parents. Perhaps Ajae should join the SRL's so that information about finances can be securely obtained and then considered.
Joining SRL-R would be a definite, so that due consideration can be given of the whole matter. The courts have shown some clear patterns in the last six months on issues of child support, so would definitely be worth some exploration of the facts. I have also seen that the courts are somewhat hesitant to touch on Child Support matters until other options such as SSAT have been exhausted. 

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
Thanks Mike, you have no idea how your advice, and the info on this forum, has helped us. For years we just acquiesced for the sake of "peace and quiet" but there comes a time when enough is enough.  The poor kids only get one side of the story, which is good in a way because it's less confusing for them at this stage I guess. We are big enough to roll with the punches.  However, some parents must realize that the games they play affect everyone involved - the kids, non custodial parent and step parent, plus the other kids in their household who would surely notice the drama and mood these issues create. And for what?  A few extra (unfair) bucks in the bank account, and perhaps some form of retribution if they feel that way inclined.

It also results in less custodial parent's quality time spent with the kids while they are battling with these inanities.  How anyone who already has full time custody of (so many) kids could find the time and energy to instigate and fight these battles is beyond me. That in itself must be some form of neglect.  Which is another reason we have held back in the fight all these years.
  
Sorry about soapboxing. Hopefully others will read this and think twice about how they approach and deal with such matters.

Our COA has not yet been decided, daughter started ballet lessons at the beginning of last year. C$A wanted something in writing to prove that mother agreed to the lessons.

Obviously that's not how things roll.  But from now on we will request everything in writing, otherwise unfortunately, the kids get no extras.

Which bings me to another question; For years the mother has reqested that extra money we pay for the kids only ever be deposited by us into the kids' bank a/cs, not hers.  Why do you suppose she requested this form of deposit? She always maintains that these deposits are strictly between father and the kids, which is why the kids are always the ones requesting the monies. Over the years we have deposited $1000's, yet never questioned it.
 
I've applied to join SRL.
Thanks again for your help.

Last edit: by MikeT

Ajae said
Sorry about soapboxing. Hopefully others will read this and think twice about how they approach and deal with such matters.

Uhhm, well before moaning to you about soapboxing, I'd have to have a B*****y great word in that MikeT's shell likes. What him and his collecting and transferring for brownie points, him and his section 4 object of the legislation etc etc etc.. Sheesh just wait your turn for me to come down on that MikeT first Ajae. :) More seriously, yep hopefully people will see how the CSA so frequently deny children and people will see they are perhaps the worst option. As I've said often, I don't chase CS, primarily because I believe it would adversely affect my son, so I'm very much in agreement with your sentiments in this regard. Sheesh have I got to warn that MikeT again about soapboxing, :) Actually and off topic, I did give myself a warning the other day  :$  by accident that is. :)

Ajae said
Our COA has not yet been decided, daughter started ballet lessons at the beginning of last year. C$A wanted something in writing to prove that mother agreed to the lessons.

Didn't you say that you have the texts in regard to the other parent asking for payment to continue in 2010, I believe that should suffice. I have absolutely no doubt that it would if it were private school fees and the other way around. There is no difference in the test it's still "in the manner expected by the parents" and such a test is proof of the expectation, as was the transport (would the ballet school owners be able to provide proof (affidavit might be forthcoming if you said that you would otherwise be forced into a position where you would have to subpoena the books and that it would involve them having to attend court as a witness)).

SRL's am I crossing the line by suggesting this?

Ajae said
Which bings me to another question; For years the mother has reqested that extra money we pay for the kids only ever be deposited by us into the kids' bank a/cs, not hers.  Why do you suppose she requested this form of deposit? She always maintains that these deposits are strictly between father and the kids, which is why the kids are always the ones requesting the monies. Over the years we have deposited $1000's, yet never questioned it.

uhhm, I wonder if the other parent goes to some websites for advice and has perhaps found a way of avoiding a reduction in FTB, as I believe such payments to the parent would reduce FTB (however FTB is not an area that I know that much about). Perhaps if they weren't declared then the other parent could be acting fraudulently, but again I'm not sure.

I'd also suggest that such payments should stop unless the other parent is willing to provide the balance of the accounts, along with reasons for any withdrawls so you know that the money has not been diverted or used for purpose other that it's intended purpose. Perhaps you should start your own account(s) for such purposes.
Hi ajae,

Mate the kinds of parents that youre referring to that have the time required to fight/instigate these battles are generally only doing it for one reason, themselves, its not about children or what they need/desire, its about outright revenge and dont ever think for a moment that this person is capable of considering someone else because thats not the case. So like you have stated be more reserved when a request comes in and try to look at the request from another angle because generally with people like this there's always a hidden agenda, even if it seems like there isnt,couldnt be. You sound like youre on the right track now in regards to keeping an eye on this person, so remember to never let youre guard down. Theres a common term for people like this and its Manipulator.

Cheers
Spock
Hi spock,

Thanks for you post and support. We have no doubt these kinds of parents and their motives are everything you say. But you forgot to mention a few things…a couple that spring to mind are their penchant for breathtaking immaturity and their astounding levels (or depths?) of emotional blackmail. We are keeping an eye on this person, but unfortunately, because we don't have her mentality, it's impossible to guage and predict what stunts she will pull next. Of course the welfare mentality surely can't be to blame can it?, Because they would work like the rest of us, if only iron lungs weren't so expensive, damn it!

Thanks again
ajae
ajae - If you have equal shared parental responsibility and the daughter can attend ballet lessons during the time spent with the father, then he should be able to have them seen as a special circumstance for a change of assessment.
Thanks Fairgo, but unfortunately that idea is impossible as we live in Qld and they live in NSW. A few years ago father suggested to mother that, because of ongoing dramas with dates for holiday contact he would move back to NSW to be closer and spend more time with the kids. Mother replied that that would only be detrimental to the kids as she would keep moving away (I kid you not)! So you can see the mentality we are dealing with. We moved to Qld originally because mother asked permission to move here with the kids.  Father said yes, so we sold up in NSW and bought a house up here. Of course, then mother changed her mind.  Nice ploy though, don't you think?
How old is his daughter?
 O_o Fairgo, now you're making me paranoid! lol  Daughter is a teenager.
If she is old enough to fly unaccompanied to spend time with you then she is old enough to decide which parent she wants to live with. Maybe she should consider telling Mum she is going to live with Dad if she doesn't let her have her Ballet.
Thanks for your replies. We will never consider a tug of war with the kids, and would probably have to carefully consider any requests by the kids to live with father, mainly because of the dramas it would cause with the mother. We have to remember not to do anything to induce mother's dark moods which ultimately effect the kids, unfortunately. But at some stage we should let the kids know that if mother wants to apply for COA's and the like, that father most definitely has a right to respond and object.  At the moment I suspect the kids may think father is causing problems by not acquiescing to mother's demands.
The ballet lessons have become quite contentious because, if we do agree to pay for them,(even if we could afford them this year) then they will not be classed as an expense, and mother will use it as a reason for more CS. It's a catch 22.
And before anyone asks, coming to some kind of logical agreement with mother on anything is out of the question. We are talking 'gestapo' mindset here!  And I'm convinced the kids have something akin to stockholme syndrome, so we will never be able to guage what they are thinking, feeling or wanting.
But we have to govern our actions in such disputes to minimise the fallout in their household.
Thanks again, keep your thoughts and suggestions coming.   ajae
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