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Christmas

…and so this is Christmas, and what have you done?

I know that I won't be able to see my kids. Eight months and counting, all because my ex wife knows that she only needs to refuse mediation (which she did) and the process becomes very nasty and prohibitively expensive for me. Add to that the stresses of court and it becomes unbearable.

What sort of a system grants one party that much sway in what's supposed to be a non adversarial, impartial system?

End rant.
Sleepy I'm so sorry to hear that you have to see you kids for so long. I really feel for you.

Have you tried just filing an application yourself in the court and getting the guys on here to help you fill out the papers etc and just represent yourself.

By the sounds of things, the outcome couldn't get much worse than your current position.
Sleepy said
What sort of a system grants one party that much sway in what's supposed to be a non adversarial, impartial system?
Since when was it a non adversarial system? The Family Court has LAT (less Adversarial Trials) but the operative word is "less" not "non".
 
Thanks Conan. That really makes me feel better.
Sleepy said
Thanks Conan. That really makes me feel better.
Sleepy, surely after all your time on this site you would have understood the system is adversarial. Look at it another way, unlike the CSA your case will be handled by a professional - someone that has had more than 2 weeks training.
The fact remains that I, like many other fathers, have reached the conclusion that our family law and child support systems are stacked so heavily in favour of primary carer mothers that it's easier to walk away from it completely. I see child support as a $1986 per month reminder of why I should never stop searching for a way to reduce that child support liability to zero then forget the whole mess and get on with life.
Sleepy said
The fact remains that I, like many other fathers, have reached the conclusion that our family law and child support systems are stacked so heavily in favour of primary carer mothers that it's easier to walk away from it completely. I see child support as a $1986 per month reminder of why I should never stop searching for a way to reduce that child support liability to zero then forget the whole mess and get on with life.
Sleepy I understand some of your feelings but I don't understand your attitude of reducing child support to zero, surely you want to offer some financial support to your children.

Family Law decisions in favour of Fathers have increased since the 2006 amendments and remember the major amendments to CSA rates in 2007. These were the result of many years of intense lobbying by a number of organisations BUT it is not going any further - it is going slowly backwards! There are no new people taking up the batons from the old soldiers and there now even fewer old soldiers fighting in the proverbial front line. As you know people complaining on websites does not move any government one inch - only combined and organised lobbying does.

When things go really bad in a Family Law matter the situation is sometimes described as "All is fair in Love, War and the Family Courts". As an ex soldier you know that strategy and tactics are all part of training and preparation. In Family Law what do most guys do when they know what strategies and tactics the other side is likely to employ, most just fall for the same ones over and over again.
Conan,

         I wouldn't want them to go without and I know that they don't. I suppose my position has been tempered by having volunteered everything up to and including my life for my country only to have the laws of that very country used against me, and being defenseless throughout the process.

My ex wife should've gotten one or the other; the sweepstakes style property settlement or me paying her what amounts to a salary out of my salary. Not both. She gave me no access to my own earnings throughout marriage but because I'm male that still means nothing. My impression is that men have to be seen as losing at every turn in order to satisfy the powers that be that wifey is getting as much as the law can afford her.

I want to be involved in trying to improve this situation for all so if you send me details of how to do it, I'm in.
Conan, I'm also in boots and all.

I think the situation is disgraceful.

We have these court appointed family consultants, all women that make inaccurate, unfounded and biased reports that sway towards mothers against fathers. The first thing the family consultant said to me when I met with her at the interview was that she did not agree with young children being in shared care or living predominately with the father. This was prior to the interview or hearing anything about the circumstance. As you can imagine I was not surprised to see the rest of the interview spent gathering information to support this view.

In relation to financial and property, my senior counsel said me don't try to understand why it's so unfair, it will send you mad, just accept we live in a society that wants to take from the financially ,ore successful and give to other to try and even things up. The just seems to be this understanding that regardless of the circumstances i.e. if one person brings all the assets, short duration of relationship, kids in shared care, no impact on either earnings capacity, earning capacity equal, they still seem to think the second party can walk away with a large chunk of money.

The CSA system well we know what that is all about. As I have posted elsewhere while ever we have an organisation with a KPI of increasing the transfers between the parties, they will always try to bias the payee.

Maybe we could rally the troops and get an action plan going.

@Twentypercent aka Mick and @Sleepy. Are you guys offering with CSA issues, Family Law or both? I think you would be most welcome to create a sub group in one of the support/lobby organisations thus ensuring that whatever you do does get put under the noses of the appropriate people. Do you have particular issues that should be brought to the fore? I shall be making some extra phone calls about this tonight.
Hi Conan,

            I see room for improvement with the acts pertaining to both but CS in particular. If I was to summarise my opinion it would be that the receiving parties have too much (supported/encouraged) influence in these matters. I won't go into specifics here because I've covered most of it before and, should anything come of this, it'll be covered again in detail.

If I don't act on it I have no right to voice my gripes so yes, I would be more than willing to invest time and even money in lobbying for change.
I think the CSA issues are the easiest to try and address first as they are just wrong and I think some effort could drive significant and major change.

It is just ridiculous to refuse legitimate expenses such as depreciation and interest on an investment mortgage. I believe they only get away with this because the decisions are not brought into the public arena so they can pick on the individuals. A collective voice of individuals may be more powerful.

I think what is needed is change to the legislation to provide clarity and more direction. The legislation and subsequent guide is written in such a way as to provide scope gor these decision makers to continually make incorrect decisions. One way I can see this change occurring is if these incorrect decisions are challenged successfully in court and the common law then drive legislative change.

To get these decisions overturned in court, I suppose we firstly need to prove the decision is incorrect on a point of law, we need the individual to be willing to take the matter further and we need funds to be able to resource the application and have the correct professionals involved.

If successful then the decision could be released to the media and requesting all effected customers to contact the csa and seek amendment to their situation and visit the familylawwebguide.com.au for further information.
I can't resist providing a few specific contentious points:

As Twentypercent has mentioned, some of the income inclusions are the work of madmen. Depreciation does not mean more in payers' wallets thence an increased capacity to pay.

Who writes the guide and on what authority are they adding their own little tidbits of information to expand on the acts via that document? Who checks their amendments?

Why is 'financial resource' not defined other than by case law?

What are 'reasonable steps' in relation to restoring ordered or agreed care arrangements?

Why are payees not required to repay CS in cases of contravening care arrangements for financial gain?

Why are there no provisions for penalties for not abiding by care agreements where risk is not a determining factor? I won't even bother making mention of penalties for contravention of orders. I know they exist but have yet to hear of them being applied in anything other than extreme cases.

If a party refuses mediation (in cases where risk is not a factor) why is the other party left with a legal bill by default should they take the matter further via the courts, that being their only post mediation option?

How have CSA/legislative boffins deemed it fair, just and equitable that child support formulae doesn't include child support itself, and why do payers have to pay tax on the income which is then docked to pay that child support?

CSA runs at cost. Why hasn't it been disbanded in favour of a new or overhauled system which actually works?

Are front line CSA staff ever going to receive any legal training?

What is the benefit to the taxpayer of exempting certain CSA decisions from judicial review?

In cases of property settlements where substantial sums are involved, would it be possible to place a cap on the amount recipients can receive without it effecting child support payments?

Statistically, spousal maintenance claims are becoming alarmingly frequent (I do have a source from a few years back). Our standard of living hasn't decreased but the number of claims seems to have increased. What are the extra expenses to warrant these claims?

Why aren't all sources of income (IE anything from Human Services/Centrelink) taken into consideration when assessing spousal maintenance claims?

CSA are under no obligation to actually investigate anything. This is particularly damaging in CTE cases and when care levels are disputed. Who else in our entire country can enforce an act of law in the complete absence of evidence and why do rules of evidence not apply to CSA decisions?

Save the best for last…it's beyond doubt that the ATO can more accurately assess actual income. If CSA operates at a loss but the ATO can fulfill the same role for virtually nothing (excluding collections) then why not reduce CSA to a debt collection only role and have the ATO assess and manage all incomes for child support purposes, and done so under the Income tax (Assessment) Act rather than the Child support (Assessment) Act? Cheaper, far more reliable, a massive reduction of public service positions which would appeal to the current government, parties to cases on both sides would have a far more consistent and dependable agency and above all, the ATO wouldn't have huge chunks of its workforce investigating complaints about the rest of its workforce.



Conan,

         I have far more detailed information on most of these points but for the moment these are my primary sources of niggle in brief. I'm not one to shy from a worthy cause and this is a very worthy cause. I practically insist on being involved with lobbying for improvements.
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