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Hi,

My husband went away nearly 5 years ago, with no word and not knowing where he was. Hes paid very little, if any support for his children in this time. We are still married and in October last year, I sent numerous emails out in hope of locating him for a divource and to get signed passport for our children. I managed to locate him after months of asking everyone through facebook. I eventually got hold of his mother and she got him to contact me. From the pictures on facebook and put 2 and 2 together I found that he was working in Paupa New Guinea and has re-married in Thailand.(which is bigamy) I told child support about what I knew and to cut a long story short, they have cancelled my case from 10/03/2008 and have issued me with an overpayment saying that he is now classed as a non australian resident. They are unable to tell me how they come to this conslusion or where he is as he has the right to privacy. I am left unable to divource, left supporting our children with no emotional or finacial support and now substain an over payment bill of $836.10. I would like to know how I stand legally as this is making me physically sick as well as extremey stressed that he can abandon his children, remarry and have other children in another country, and not be held accountable for anything? He is an Australian born and breed in Australia.



Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
With regard to child support the CSA can only deal with other countries that have agreed to reciprocal agreements (a reciprocal jurisdiction) as the countries mentioned do not have such agreements then there is nothing that the CSA can do and hence the termination event.  The CSA guide, which is the CSA's interpretation of the legislation says:
The CSA Guide - 2.10.3: Terminating events (Extract) said

Liable parent terminating event


A terminating event happens if a parent liable to pay child support:

    dies; or
    ceases to be a resident of Australia (and is not subject to an international maintenance arrangement).


……


Terminating events and International Maintenance Arrangements

If an international maintenance arrangement applies in relation to a case, a terminating event happens when:

    the parent liable to pay child support was a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction and s/he ceases to be a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction or Australia (section 12(3A)); or
    the reciprocating jurisdiction in which the liable parent resides becomes an excluded jurisdiction (section 12(3B)); or
    the carer entitled to receive child support was a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction and s/he ceases to be a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction or of Australia (section 12(2A)); or
    from 19 July 2007 both parents cease to be resident in Australia (section 12(4B)).

Note: a child support assessment will not end when the carer ceases to be a resident of Australia or a reciprocating jurisdiction if the child is an Australian citizen, present in Australia or ordinarily resident in Australia. In that situation, no international maintenance arrangement applies in relation to the case and therefore section 12(2A) does not apply.

A child support assessment will end pursuant to the AustraliaNew Zealand Child Support Agreement (see Schedule 1 Child Support (Registration and Collection) Regulations 1988) if the carer entitled to receive child support becomes habitually resident in New Zealand. Under the terms of the Agreement, the date from which the assessment will end is either:

    where either the carer, the payer or the Central Authority gives a notice in writing that the carer is habitually resident in New Zealand  the day before the receipt by CSA of that written notice (Article 5); or
    where a New Zealand child support assessment is made in relation to the same parents and child/ren  the day before the start date of the New Zealand assessment (Article 7).


This is based upon Section 12(3) of the Child Support Assessment Act:

The Child Support Assessment Act 1989 - Section 12(3) said
(3)   A child support terminating event happens in relation to a person who is a liable parent in relation to a child if:
   (a)   the person dies; or
   (b)   the person ceases to be a resident of Australia.


As for privacy the CSA are bound by the laws that protect privacy. The CSA have done nothing wrong according to the legislation but would have contravened the legislation if they had provided personal information. I would have thought that divorce is possible if the other party cannot be located. Perhaps a read of the following might be of use:

Are you having trouble serving your divorce application. This was found by simple entering "divorce missing person" into google and then selection results from Australia only.
HI Mike,
Thanks for the reply.
How does CSA determine whether he is an Australian resident ? He was working in Dubai 2 years back and as far as Im aware that is in Australian jurisdiction. But they have not countered that? They have taken CSA payment back to 2008
msmine said
How does CSA determine whether he is an Australian resident ?

I'd suggest reading the following section of the CSA guide, but in short they undertake the same test as the ATO, which could well mean that if the ATO have a person notify them that they are no longer a resident then that status will automatically be applied.

The CSA Guide - 1.6.1: Australian residence - parent or non-parent carer

msmine said
He was working in Dubai 2 years back and as far as Im aware that is in Australian jurisdiction. But they have not countered that?
According to the summary of reciprocal jurisdictions, as per section 1.5.1 of the CSA guide, Dubai is not listed. However, working in a country does not mean that a person is resident in that country. As such it is not really an argument that needs to be countered, the argument needs to be regarding the residency status. Of course to show respect the CSA should have informed you that the argument was wrong and pointed you in the direction of the correct argument. If they did not then I'd suggest complaining to the CSA, to your local Federal MP, the DHS minister and the Commonwealth Ombudsman regarding the breach of the APS guidelines (not showing respect).

msmine said
They have taken CSA payment back to 2008.
All I can assume from this  is that the CSA have been satisfied with the evidence that supports taking this action.

You may wish to have a look at sections 1.5 and 1.6 of the CSA guide. You may also wish to have a look at the PI's (Procedural Instructions) for residency. These are
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here.

Last edit: by MikeT

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