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Hello everyone.

I am not sure where to start. I am here on behalf of my sister in law and my neices and nephew. They have current orders in place that are about 6 years old now. The children are now 14, 9 and 8.

My sister in law would like the orders changed, mostly to consider the wishes of the 14 year old as he no longer wishes to go to his fathers for every access visit (but will go for some.)

Thier father moved house about 6 months ago to the other side of the city, a min hour and a half cars drive from thier main home, schools etc. Due to the distance, the father wont take the 8 and 9 year old to their sports on the weekend (however, he says this is not because of the distance, but because he was never discussed for the girls to start netball, but this is done through the school) The children are also always late on the days that thier father drops them off at school.

The 8 and 9 year old are also expressing they dont want to go for every vist, however, due to their age, my sister in law is still trying to encourage them to do so.

The thing is, the 14 year old just leaves school before his father comes to pick him up. The father will ring the mother, demanding to know where he is, but she is at work, and the 14 year old always makes sure he dosn't contact anyone till about 5pm. The father's lawyer said that my sister in law has to make the 14yr old avaliable for collection. How does she do this, when he finishes school at 3.30 and she finishes work at 5pm?

My sister in law is also trying to get their father to contribute to school costs, as he currently pays nothing for all three. However, he has stated that since they are all in catholic schools, he wouldn't have sent them to catholic schools, therefore, will only contribute if they were in state schools. However, when he and my sister in law were still married (married in a catholic church) they had all three children baptised and had started the oldest child in a catholic primary. This child, the 14yr old, is now at a catholic secondary college, but his father says because he was not conculted on which school, he will not pay; this was decided at court, with sister in law agreeing to all costs. What costs she is concerned about now is the costs of the younger two starting secondary college; she has tried to start conversations with thier father, but he refuses to talk to her. Only communicating through SMS.

He also refuses the children contact with thier mother when they are with him. To the point of not even letting the 14yr old 'chat' with her online.

Sorry to go on so long.

Is there anything she can do, she can't afford legal representation any more; and we are waiting to find out from legal aid.

Can she get the orders changed; taking the 14 year olds wishes into consideration?

She is happy to try mediation first, how does she go about this, how would she word any letters to her ex?

Is there anything she can do about getting him to pay part costs towards school fees etc for the younger two. (She understands she will not get any costs for the 14yr old after accepting this in court.)

Any information or a point in the right direction would be great, Thank you.
Nisey - I have sat in court and watched many parents self represent themselves over matters such as this and the court is not really in a position to order what a 14 year old should be doing.

I think the mother should make sure she informs the father that when she is working she has instructed her son to wait for his father at school. If the son is not doing the right thing then both parents need to discuss the issues together and work out how to deal with their son's action.

This is obviously not going to happen so at the least the mother will need to deal with this by herself so she can trust her son's actions, and then inform the father of the reason why his son does not want to see him.

The issue of private school fees could be dealt with through the child support agency however there is specific criteria that has to be met for this to be successful.

It is quite reasonable for parents to afford this type of education when they are living together, however when they separate, it can become unaffordable.
Nisey said
My sister in law is also trying to get their father to contribute to school costs, as he currently pays nothing for all three. However, he has stated that since they are all in catholic schools, he wouldn't have sent them to catholic schools, therefore, will only contribute if they were in state schools. However, when he and my sister in law were still married (married in a catholic church) they had all three children baptised and had started the oldest child in a catholic primary. This child, the 14yr old, is now at a catholic secondary college, but his father says because he was not conculted on which school, he will not pay; this was decided at court, with sister in law agreeing to all costs. What costs she is concerned about now is the costs of the younger two starting secondary college; she has tried to start conversations with thier father, but he refuses to talk to her. Only communicating through SMS.
Do you mean that the father has/is contributing additional sums towards the Catholic Primary education, given this was a previously agreed school, so you are only seeking costs in relation to a Catholic secondary education?  I might be misinterpreting but wasn't the court decision that you would pay for this?  Or is this only in relation to the costs of the first child?

I'm not sure if this is applicable or even acceptable to the CSA but I thought that even if you could not apply to have higher school costs taken into consideration under Reason 3 if the school was not agreed on that the cost related with schooling (given it is still being paid by you) might be taken into consideration under general expenditure (or Reason 8??)???  I'm sure someone who knows far more than me about all of this will correct me here, which will be good as at least you'll have the right info…and so will I :)

In any instance I think that mediation would be the best way to go as a starting point for agreements about this.

Cheers   
  

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
Hi,

Unfortunatly, the father refuses to speak to the mother. At all. Over anything. The elder child was injured on one of his weekends, hospitalised and he never informed the mother. My SIL would be more than happy to sit down and try and work things out but this is not an option when he refuses to communicate.

The father has never contributed to any school costs, for any of the children. (apart from the eldest's first 2 years at primary school when they were still together) Since they split, nothing, so not primary, or secondary.

I am not sure about CSA, they have never been very helpful!!

I too am thinking mediation. Does anyone know what happens if the ex refuses mediation? Does it go straight to court?

Also, are there any outcomes of elder children having a succesful say in court?

Thanks for your responses so far! :)
Court would very likely make a decisions based upon what a 14 year old wishes, as has been said.
Nisey said
"How does she do this, when he finishes school at 3.30 and she finishes work at 5pm?"
Is something the parent agreed to, or was ordered to do, by the sound of it. As such it's really that parent's responsibility to find out how to meet their responsibilities.
I would hazard a guess that long term welfare and responsibility is shared, if so then unilaterally arranging Netball which would clash with the other parents contact, would be contrary to that responsibility. You say the Netball is done by the school, however the school has to obtain permission from the parent(s).

With regard to school costs, if a CSA assessment is applicable to the case and that payments between parents are according to that assessment, then unless there are special circumstances for a Reason 3 departure from the formula, then the parents have both been contributing to such costs, in the way implemented within the formula.

Child support is based upon the cost of children in "normal" circumstances and that includes normal school fees, uniforms, sports, activities etc. For a reason 3 departure (Change of Assessment), the extra cost has to be for a cost that is for something in the manner expected by the parents, plural not one parent unilaterally.

If a parent makes a unilateral decision to take on such a cost, then that parent should be fully responsible for that decision and should not be trying to blame the other parent if they are unable or unwilling to manage that responsibility unilaterally.

If such a parent is then allowing such unwarranted denigration, such as "the other parent pays nothing" to be dispersed either to the children or to the public, then perhaps one could understand why a parent so denigrated would be unwilling to co-operate with the one who is denigrating them.

I don't see that anything has been said that could be used as grounds for a reason 8. Just because a parent isn't paying school fees doesn't mean that they have income, property, financial resources or a greater earning capacity.
MikeT said
Nisey said
"How does she do this, when he finishes school at 3.30 and she finishes work at 5pm?"
Is something the parent agreed to, or was ordered to do, by the sound of it. As such it's really that parent's responsibility to find out how to meet their responsibilities.
MikeT you've confused me a little with this one.  Whose responsibility are you refering to the mothers or the fathers?  I haven't got any after school pick ups myself so I'm not 100% certain how this works but I would have thought that given this kind of pick up is directly from an institute not associated with the parents then unless the child is absent from school that day then it would be the responsibility of the collecting parent?  

Mike T said
I would hazard a guess that long term welfare and responsibility is shared, if so then unilaterally arranging Netball which would clash with the other parents contact, would be contrary to that responsibility. You say the Netball is done by the school, however the school has to obtain permission from the parent(s).
Mike T is correct, you can't organise something on the other parents time.  After speaking to my munchkins father about weekend sports that the children were keen to participate in as several of their friends were and he didn't want to take them on his weekend, I opted to book them into the sports anyway and they play only on the alternate weekends that they are in my care.  If at some stage their father decides he would like them to also do the sports on his weekend then fine, but until that time, if ever, this is the way it will remain.       

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
First of all I think it is wonderful that your sister in law has enrolled her children in sports (being netball) it is wonderful for children's confidence and health. The father certainly seems to be immature in that he wants to be consulted on this and yet refuses to speak to SIL at all on any issue. As for the catholic/private school costs for the younger two children, I doubt any costs will be the fathers responsibility due to the previous court decision. Unless your SIL can prove that all other schools are unsuitable (racial or violence issues in closest state secondary schools) the court will deem her responsible for entire cost as it is her decision to send them to private school and not the other parents intention.
As for changing orders, I believe as Mike T said that a 14 year old will be heard in court at the very least, however his say might not be final. It would be advisable for SIL to ring her local womens information service for access to child psychiatrist so that the 14 year old can discuss his issues with contact with his father. This will be helpful for the child and may address the problem or the report from the psychiatrist could be used in court.
Does the father pay any child support? and is he reliable in these payments? It could be that he feels powerless with how the children are living their lives (with little of his input) and how child support is spent, could he be encouraged to pay for direct costs for the children if this is the case?
Thanks again!

Mike T, after checking with SIL, the last time the father tried to raise the issue of her making the son avaliable for collection, she was advised by legal aid that the fathers weekend started at the closure of school on the friday, that being 3.30 and therefore, his responsibility to collect him and to take it up with his son. I remember the father asked the school to hold the son in the office until he came to collect him, but the school refused.

I do understand about the Netball now and having to ask first, and I am glad that my SIL enrolled them anyway and they play every second week. Netball is done through the school, but they have only ever had contact with the mother. She is the only one involved with the school and therefore, the only one who they would ask permission from, I guess.

The father pays child support, but for 3 children, he pays $105 per month. With no additional contributions. My SIL has offered to him to pay directly to dentists or the school but he refuses to pay any more than what CSA says he has too. We were thinking that she could offer to pay the costs of the catholic school fees but ask him to contribute to uniforms, books, stationary etc (which would be roughly the same no matter what school you attend).

babygirl, the 14 year old has been seeing a child psychologist for over 2 years, due to bullying at school and these issues with his father. All he wants is to be able to have a say in his time. He didn't go to his fathers this weekend (again, hid after school).

Responsibility seems to sound like a dirty word for the main parent, even though it is something the other parent is constantly forgetting.

I apologise, I get very emotional with this situation, which I know isn't good for a legal situation. I dont understand why he wont communicate with my SIL about the children, it will only benefit the children. I dont understand why he dosn't contribute what he can extra, to pay for their needs. Surley he dosn't think that $105 a month, for a 14, 9 and 8 year old is enough? As a parent myself, I dont understand.
Mike T, after checking with SIL, the last time the father tried to raise the issue of her making the son avaliable for collection, she was advised by legal aid that the fathers weekend started at the closure of school on the friday, that being 3.30 and therefore, his responsibility to collect him and to take it up with his son. I remember the father asked the school to hold the son in the office until he came to collect him, but the school refused.


Is it not a duty of care issue as the school is responsible  for knowing where the child is until close of school at 3.30?

if the child were injured at 3.29 would you sue the school as they have a duty of care?

The school refuses to assist the father…..in my matter the school principal  has signed an affidavit stating that i have contacted the school once to seek school reports. funnily enuff this once was a letter stating that i have called and left several messages with the receptionist which have not had a return call and to top this they say i have contacted but regardless have still not provided school reports.

just another example of schools interfering in the relationships between fathers and there children



sorry we cant help you send us a court order saying we have to and we will.

should this not be  we have not received a court order saying we must not help you so we will provide these documents at your cost provided you show proof of parentage.

why is the school psychologist discussing  contact between a father and a 14 yr old?

if the child is 14 this means the child has been seeing a psychologist since entering high school…. is this normal or was this a request from the mother

how a parent talks about the other parent greatly affects children.

do you speak often  about how your ex does not want to pay

do you speak often about how your ex moved away

do you tell your 14 yr old his father moved so he would be further from his friends.

You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cant fool all of the people all of  the time unless they work for CSA and youre a Payee:)
leroy, the school will provide reports to the father, will send duplicate notices home and, the father is invited to come and make his own parent teacher interviews etc (not that he does)

What the school refused to do, was forcably hold a child, against thier will until the father arrived. The court orders to do not involve the school at all (except as a collection point), yes, if the father wants this, he will have to go to court to try and get them changed. The school is not refusing to assist the father, they are refusing to be hold this child against thier will. That is not their responsibility.

Why wouldn't the school psychologists discuss the issues the 14yr old has with his father? Just because he is a school psychologists does not mean he is not equiped to discuss all aspects of the childs life. No, it was not the request of the mother, the child was refusing to come to school, being bullied and due to incidents that happened at school, was set up to go to school counselling (with parental approval ie, BOTH parents). He still goes as it is his choice when he stops. The counselor has met with both the parents.

And, no, the father told the 14 yr old that he was moving to be closer to his new wifes family. Nothing to do with the kids.

I dont know why I am trying to justifing myself. At the end of the day, I dont care about my SIL's personal issues or her ex personal issues, I care about what is in the best interests on the children.
Leroy - Unfortunately it is a fact that although there is many fathers who are being subjected to PAS and are stopped at, it seems every turn, trying to have contact with their children and having access to their childrens reports and achievements through the schools. This is likely to be due to some mothers' pre-warning the school about husband and making up stories or whatever to maintain full control. There is always the other side of the coin - fathers who want to have little to do with their children; fathers who want access to their children only to continue to abuse the mother (common in dv); fathers who are urged by new partner not to have contact with children due to their insecurity. Let me tell you a little story from my experience. My son's father has always been extremely slack with contact - not seeing him for more than three times a year for about ten years (despite me begging him too). He did start to improve, then met his now wife, he got worse after their marriage. I make sure he knows everything, ring him and send him texts to update him on son's achievements etc. I recently got a heap of photos and sporting awards together with the last three report cards. I hand delivered it to fathers letterbox. The wife threw it away. Son asked him when he saw him for half a day over christmas period - father did not know what he was talking about. I got angry and upset at sm. I got another package together (at cost to me to get copies of photos') wrote a letter to his lawyer stating only client could pick this up personally and brief reason why. Took it personally to lawyers office. I also asked in letter to be informed when above mentioned collected the documents. Have since received confirmation that he has. No thanks or text from him.
Just trying to demonstrate that not all custodial parents do the PAS thing. Don't be clouded by personal experience and try to be open to all possibilities.
Nisey - Your SIL is fortunate to have you in her corner. Good on you for trying to help. The father seems to be paying a pathetic amount of CS, perhaps she should look at lodging a COA. What was his income during the marriage? and has it dropped considerably since separation? If so there may be a case for reason 8 and earning capacity. The 14 year old - in fact all the children - are of the age that if they see their father not helping their struggling mum to raise them, who works and puts them first, are able to form their own opinion as to what they think is fair.
The father wanting to force the child against his will to have contact, clearly demonstrates his (seemingly) bullying nature. As a father he should be concerned enough to put his wants aside in order to find out the reason the boy is unwilling to come. Take action to get to the bottom of it - write son a letter or contact SIL to arrange to speak to boy with her present so the 14 is heard by both parents. It could very well be as simple as the boy wanting to be with his friends every wkd or it could be as serious as the son blaming his father for not protecting him from bullying at school. The boy should have his say in what he wants contact to be.
Nisey - we don't know a lot about the father's circumstances as you have not provided much information so before he is labeled a dead-beat dad, perhaps you could provide some info on him.

In regards to the school - if a parent has contacted the school requesting they hold their child for a short time due to unplanned delays in picking up the child, the school has a duty of care to oblige.
Fairgo said
In regards to the school - if a parent has contacted the school requesting they hold their child for a short time due to unplanned delays in picking up the child, the school has a duty of care to oblige.
 
Good Point Fairgo, this duty was recently re-enforced by the NSW Supreme Court in a torts matter. 

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
Nisey, information overload!!

I will try to explain all of this the best way I know how as I understand how confusing it all can be.

PAS is "Parental alienation syndrome".  I believe it is a term that is discouraged in the Family Courts in Australia their preference being the word "Alignment".   In my opinion just as there are numerous cases where false allegations are made against parents so too is the term PAS over used inappropriately. 

Parental Responsibility is something that is automatically implied (presumed) or if Court Orders are in place is allocated according to the Orders.  Equal Shared Parental Responsibility is what is usually in Orders unless they state otherwise.  Parental responsibility includes those long term decisions that a parent would otherwise have in relation to a child such as schooling, medical, religion, etc.  In your SIL's case, decisions in relation to choice of school forms part of parental responsibility and must be decided jointly (unless the Orders say something contrary to this)

Equal Shared Parental Responsibility does not refer to day-to day decisions.  Extra curricular activities such as netball in your SIL's case does not need to be discussed if it is not affecting the other parents time with the children (i.e. only falling during the time the children are in her care) and just as equally, there is no obligation for the other parent to take the children to these extra curricular activities while the children are in their care.  Discussion could unify this in some instances but if both parents have differing views this is just the way it is.

With regards to ESPR as you have said that the secondary school was not agreed and there are Orders in place that your SIL must cover these then it is highly likely that this independent choice of your SIL's may have left her with no alternative than to continue to cover those particular fees on her own.    In relation to the primary education, I am uncertain why your SIL's ex does not have to contribute to these (unless again per the Orders) as if this was a previous decision made (i.e. a child was already attending this school pre - separation), then ESPR also involves the responsibility of both parents to continue the commitments of previously joint decisions.  I do understand that a person's financial position can change making this impossible but I am of the view that the commitment to the children in meeting these obligations (unless determined through the appropriate channels as impractical to continue or a parent can no longer) then ESPR works both ways.

In regards to the other necessary requirements which must be met by a parent in relation to school, I can understand your viewpoint that $100.00 per month CS wouldnt even come close to  meeting these however as MikeT says, these additional costs are considered to be part of the standard CS assessment and as such already covered.  Even if a COA could be filed for reason 3, these additional expenses would not be factored into a departure, only fees/levies would.  I am not sure of the real financial circumstances of the father or your SIL for that matter so reason 8 might not be applicable either (?) as it would really depend on if the father CAN contribute more.  You can't give what you don't have!!

As far as the child is concerned you have been told already that at 14 years of age his opinions would be taken into consideration by the Courts.  I only just met a man today (lovely gentleman) who has recently separated from his wife and has 2 children aged 14 and 15 and according to his mature approach his view is that at their age he understands that they would want to be with their friends more than either mum or dad, I would expect this is not dissimilar to your SIL's son at his age.  Having said this though, while I questioned before the responsibility of pick ups for the 14 year old as I believe that is the fathers in your SIL's situation, this does not mean that your SIL does not have the responsibility to at the very least try to address this issue with the 14 year old.  It is clear that given you have said the 8 and 9 year old are still being made to conform to the Orders by your SIL then this is not an instance of your SIL trying to withhold a relationship between the children and their father.

To those who have made comments in relation to the subordinate powers of schools in detaining students after the end of the school day.  Although I have used the word "enforcement" previously in relation to obligations by schools to ensure Orders are followed while students are in their care (just like any other institution) to all of my knowledge and experience a school does not have the legal authority to enforce detainment of their students (especially secondary) where no consent has been given by parents for such detainment to occur.  LP could you please give me the information regarding the decsion you refer to, I am very interested to read it, thanks. 

Yes there are some schools who make it difficult for parents to receive reports etc but this is a separate issue. 

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
Nisey said
Mike T, after checking with SIL, the last time the father tried to raise the issue of her making the son avaliable for collection, she was advised by legal aid that the fathers weekend started at the closure of school on the friday, that being 3.30 and therefore, his responsibility to collect him and to take it up with his son. I remember the father asked the school to hold the son in the office until he came to collect him, but the school refused.
Nisey said
The thing is, the 14 year old just leaves school before his father comes to pick him up. The father will ring the mother, demanding to know where he is, but she is at work, and the 14 year old always makes sure he dosn't contact anyone till about 5pm. The father's lawyer said that my sister in law has to make the 14yr old avaliable for collection. How does she do this, when he finishes school at 3.30 and she finishes work at 5pm?

I got the impression that the Mother was not ensuring that the child was at the changeover place as specified in the orders and also that the changeover wasn't until 5pm.  Even if the school has responsibility until 3:30 p.m. I doubt very much that the orders would then make the school responsibility for the changeover itself. It also appears that the Father is at the changeover ("14yo just leaves school before his father comes to pick him up. The father will ring the mother…", this indicates to me that the father is at the changeover place. place and  Obviously if the father is not at the place specified for the changeover then yes the father would be at fault. Considering that legal aid say something there is obviously confusion in regard to what would appear to be poorly constructed orders, perhaps you should state exactly what the orders say.

Nisey said
I do understand about the Netball now and having to ask first, and I am glad that my SIL enrolled them anyway and they play every second week. Netball is done through the school, but they have only ever had contact with the mother. She is the only one involved with the school and therefore, the only one who they would ask permission from, I guess.

Orders will normally have something about parental responsibility, if they don't then I believe parental responsibility is between both parents. Responsibility is generally spit into two distinct areas. General day to day responsibility, often given to whoever has the care of the child. So a parent would be responsible for that child washing as an example, when the child is in their care. The second is long term responsibility, this is regarding matters that affect the child on a long term basis, skills, schooling etc. Weekly Netball would come into this. If the orders do not restrict shared long term responsibility, then both parents are responsible for such decisions. As such if a unilateral decisions has been made then it is contrary to shared long term parental responsibility. Thus if the parent has made arrangements for the child to attend Netball on a weekly basis, without consultation with the other parent and there is nothing saying that there is not shared parental long term responsibility, then that parent is in the wrong. If that parent then, through whatever medium bags that other parent for not giving up their time with the child or children to suit that parent's decision, then are are being even worse in that they are denigrating that parent. It is also very likely that they are using the situation in an attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities of the child, by making arrangements that will most likely have the other parent seen in a bad light. Other have mentioned PAS, it's the sort of action that could lead to that.

Nisey said
The father pays child support, but for 3 children, he pays $105 per month. With no additional contributions. My SIL has offered to him to pay directly to dentists or the school but he refuses to pay any more than what CSA says he has too. We were thinking that she could offer to pay the costs of the catholic school fees but ask him to contribute to uniforms, books, stationary etc (which would be roughly the same no matter what school you attend).

I believe the father is paying according to the formula, as you've not said he is arrears. Everything that you have mentioned is covered under the normal costs (apart from the school fees, which have been fully explained). In fact it is highly likely that the other parent is paying well over according to their means to pay. I can say this as I have been in the situation of not being the lives with parent and thus paying CS and then becoming the lives with parent exchanging paying CS for taking on the actual costs. The financial position when swapping from paying CS to paying for all normal costs was most certainly to my advantage and I believe by a factor of 10. Now if there were a need say for braces, then that could perhaps be considered a special circumstance and the parent would then be in a position to request a change of assessment.

Perhaps what you and the other parent don't understand, is that with CS both parents have responsibility for payment directly or indirectly. Very basically each parent's taxable incomes have a self support component removed (same amount for all $19618 I think for 2010). Other deductions may be made for special circumstances (Relevant Dependant children and multi-case children). The incomes are added this combined income is then used to come up  with a cost for the children. The percentage of each parent's contribution to the combined amount is determined. If level of care is converted to a cost percentage (e.g. 0-13%=0(100-87%=100%), 14-34% = 25%(86-76%=75%) (gets more complicated here as it goes to 50%)). This is deducted from the parent's percentage to the combined income and this percentage, if positive is the percentage of the cost of children that the parent pays (note this is a simplified overview)). The rest of the cost of children is the recipient's responsibility.
Maybe if the father had fifty percent contact it would be an ok amount of child support. But I deemed from the posts that he has only regular care - so I don't agree that $105 for three children (including a teenage boy) a mth is sufficient. The mother clearly has a good job, and the father perhaps not. Would be interesting to see Nisey if you have that info. And as I said before to see if father has had significant change in income after separation. My partner pays about $380 per month for his two boys 11 and 10. This is on income of $42000 They are well fed/clothed and able to do extracurricular activities. I believe that even though most ncp's (non custodial parent) don't seem to agree - maybe because they haven't seen how bad the system used to be - that the reforms have made child support very much fairer for not-lives-with-parent. I have been custodial parent for ten years (one child) and with partner four years who pays cs for two children. I get to see both sides.
The amount the father is liable to pay can have a number of varying factors.  Just quickly using CSA calculator and if both parents ech earn $30,000 & father has average care of 3 nights per fortnight, then he would be deemed to pay $133 per month.  You need to remember that a father pays less if the mother works because she is also responsible to keep her children, this is only fair.  What's not fair is that some mums sit back & don't work (even when kids are at school) just to make sure that their child support doesn't go down (and I know a few of these women personally).  Other factors that can make the liability less are a multi-case (father has another child support case) or father has dependant child/ren.  Possibly, he could be meeting some of the kids expenses directly.  Without all the facts, one can only guess.
Thank you all for the information you have provided.

I know that there are so many dads out there that are fighting for more time with thier kids. I am not meaning to offend anyone, but my SIL's ex seems to put his hatred for my SIL ahead of the needs of his children. His income has dropped over 40% since he and my sister in law were married, I think this is to avoid child support as every year, for the past 6 years, his child support has dropped by about $150. Both parents work full time, he is doing the same job as when they were together.

The main information I really needed was to see in my 14 year old nephew could have a say if they go back to court. Again, this is something we want to avoid but my SIL's ex refuses to talk to her. And if there was any way to change the amount the father contributes.

Thank you for your time.
I just have to say with regard to drops in income, my ex's income dropped by 40% in the past few months (which meant that the child support went down by nearly 60%) and I lodged an objection with CSA. They investigated and "apparently" it is true that his income dropped. Although no reason was given, as such, and he has intimated to the children that his hours are reduced. It is unclear whether the reduction in hours was at his request or at the instigation of the employer. But CSA have done their job…………
Well if that is the case (income and child support payable dropping every year for six years) then your SIL definitely would have a case for Earning Capacity. This would need to be done via Change of Assessment in Special Circumstances Reason 8. The CSA can then set the changed income for up to 22 months giving SIL a bit of stability if she was to enrol younger two in the same school as eldest son in the future. Keeping the same job and reducing hours - if there is no other reason eg: health problems of father - is usually seen by the agency as trying to avoid paying the right amount of child support. As per the rate he would have been contributing whilst still in the marriage. Good luck to your SIL.
Just a thought - if the father and new wife have children together - this could explain part of a drop in child support. Tell your sister to use the CSA child support estimater which is available on csa online and input fathers previous income and current one to see how much difference there is. Also to put in any dependant children. Not the new wife's children only if they have children together.
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