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Private school fees mutual intent

I am about to go to ssat.  Ex is claiming mutual intent to send son to private school.  I put him on a waiting list 4.5 years ago as an option.  We split up 4 years ago.  I did not put him on state school wait list as it is not required.  She enrolled him behind my back for 2010.  No discussion.  School accepted unsigned enrolment form.  Csa decided I am liable for half fees.

Issues.

No mutual intent from my side.  It was an option not a done deal
Where does the act describe mutual intent.
I have 3 children, 2 with ex, and cannot afford them all to go to private school.  Don't I have an obligation to treat them all equally?

Any help much appreciated. 
Some questions:

Is there any written evidence showing him on the waiting list 4.5 yrs ago.

Did you take him off the waiting list after you and the ex split?

Did you tell the ex that you did not want him to go to a private school after you split up?

How much care do you have?

Do you have any court orders about the care?

Hi Fairgo.

Yes, there is a waiting list enrollment form. The ex has presented that along with the other 2 (younger) children's waiting list forms. He was not taken off the waiting list. And there has been zero discussion about schooling. Communication is almost zero. I have since taken the others off the waiting list (well trying to, the school wont let me - and I have enrolled them in local state schools). The ex wont talk to me about it. She has never talked to me about it - not since splitting.

The original intent when we were together was that we would send him to a local state school, but keep options open for the local private school just incase we decided later it was a good idea and could afford it. So I kept him and his younger sibling on the waiting list just to keep the option alive, knowing that it was just a waiting list - no committment required until the year prior to school starting. When the Form (committment) came to enrol him at the private school (about 6 months before the start) I didn't sign it, neither did she. I told her that if she wanted him to go there then I would pay half if there was a binding agreement to replace CSA payments (I had just received a COA that tripled my assessment). I heard nothing more, she wouldn't give any information about his schooling. I rang around the schools just before school started and found him enrolled at the private school. Then I got the COA reason 3 letter from CSA and the evidence making it look like that was my intention from the start, when it was just an option.

The ex is on full centerlink benefits. She works on the side for cash but CSA just says that ATO has no record of income for her.SHe stole alot of money from me and got a good property settlement even though she didn't contribute anything when we were together. We have shared care and have had for most of the time (35%). Yes there are court orders, but they don't talk about schooling.

My income is not enough to send kids to a private school - maybe one, for senior school, but not all of them, and not from prep. (My income and job situation has not changed since before we split up.) The local state schools are good. I have always made sure I treat all kids equally - that is really important to me. CSA's decision has set an unfair precedence.

I think SSAT just reviews things re the law, and I don't know if I have a leg to stand on given the law and the bad evidence that paints the wrong picture. She is an actress - rehearses lies and delivers them perfectly. Truth doesn't matter much to her.

Any help or direction would be appreciated. I am going to SSAT out of desperation.
C$A say that the children should have the same quality of life after the breakup so that is why they are making you pay, although they do not appear to care that you are now supporting two households.

Also their reasoning is based on the age old belief that parents should be supporting their children regardless the cost so if you have assets etc.. that can be liquidated, then they will expect you to use them to support your children. If your income is not high enough to support all three in private schooling, you should be able to show this in your evidence.

Also was it planned that the ex would working to support these extra expenses? This is usually what parents do when trying to provide extras such as private education. You could mention this as well.

If all children are over the age of 7, and the ex is caring for 65%, then the ex has to complete 15 hrs per week of work, study etc… to justify parenting payment. At 65% care and all kids in schooling she certainly has an earning capacity which could be worked out on what she was doing before she started having babies.

To be honest if you cannot show the SSAT clearly that you do not have the income or resources to support this education choice, then they will probably affirm the C$A decision.

I think the most effective way to deal with this issue is to take your current orders back to court for reworking. I think the process would be quicker than the COA, Objection and SSAT process. C$A have to follow court orders.

Last edit: by Fairgo

A quick thought for anyone facing the school fees rort through a COA. Pay the lot directly to the school immediately if you can afford and lodge a non agency payment request.   
I have been told that if you have shared care and/or there is no written proof from the ex that the payment "was in lieu of child support" then the payment wont be granted. Even with ones that could be "prescribed" payments. And if you do by miracle get granted a non agency or prescribed payment then they can only apply at a 30% rate.

So if I go direct to the school now and pay half of the fees, and apply to have it reduce the CSA payment which was increased precisely to pay half the fees, wouldn't it only (if you're lucky) be credited on a 30% per CSA payment basis?
My comments were general. Do not apply to you.
I am not getting much help here - am I doing something wrong?

When I fill in the SSAT Child support appeal form, is it better to rehash the arguements from my CSA objection or keep it really brief and to hope that they read everything that has already been submitted.

And, if there is new evidence is it best to send it with the appeal form or wait to be contacted and submit later?

Thanks.
I am in the process of preparing an SSAT appeal for a COA right now

First I read all the info on the SSAT site:
http://ssat.gov.au/iNet/ssat.nsf/pubh/role.5.0

That site tells you all about the process and what will to expect

I will be submitting my Appeal Form, Financial Statement, detailed supporting documents for the reasons for the appeal, copies of my initial COA Response, the COA Decision, my COA Decision Objection, CSA's Objection Decision letter, my response to the Objection Decision letter and other supporting documentation for (in my case) reduction of income.

The SSAT website says that participants need to submit all documents that they will be relying on at the hearing at least 14 days prior to the hearing.

Do not assume that CSA will supply the SSAT with all relevant documents - their pay bonus and collection statistics are at stake.
I would suggest that you assemble the entire case that you wish them to consider so that regardless of what the CSA supply them, they will have all the evidence you want them to look at
Seriously, thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

So a previous post when I said the following:
"I have been told that if you have shared care and/or there is no written proof from the ex that the payment "was in lieu of child support" then the payment wont be granted. Even with ones that could be "prescribed" payments. And if you do by miracle get granted a non agency or prescribed payment then they can only apply at a 30% rate.

So if I go direct to the school now and pay half of the fees, and apply to have it reduce the CSA payment which was increased precisely to pay half the fees, wouldn't it only (if you're lucky) be credited on a 30% per CSA payment basis? "

Can anyone confrim that this would be true? If I end up losing and have to keep paying I would prefer to pay it directly to the school so they can include me in their reports/notices etc…. rather than treat me like a secondary parent. But if it can't be a credit at 100% then I'll be paying some of it twice.
I advise don't pay any school fees until you go through SSAT - by paying these fees this shows mutural intent. I think there is some case law which does not consider an application to go on a private school waiting list as a indicator of mutual intent - the preference is that of jointly signed enrolement forms. If there are court orders that give joint responsibility to both parent for long term welfare (as distinct from day to day responsibility), you can argue that you were not consulted in relation to the school. I'll do a bit of search and post up various points regarding mutural intent.
Tired said
So a previous post when I said the following:
"I have been told that if you have shared care and/or there is no written proof from the ex that the payment "was in lieu of child support" then the payment wont be granted. Even with ones that could be "prescribed" payments. And if you do by miracle get granted a non agency or prescribed payment then they can only apply at a 30% rate.

So if I go direct to the school now and pay half of the fees, and apply to have it reduce the CSA payment which was increased precisely to pay half the fees, wouldn't it only (if you're lucky) be credited on a 30% per CSA payment basis? "

Can anyone confrim that this would be true? If I end up losing and have to keep paying I would prefer to pay it directly to the school so they can include me in their reports/notices etc…. rather than treat me like a secondary parent. But if it can't be a credit at 100% then I'll be paying some of it twice.
 
Hello!

I have made this mistake myself *sigh* ! With shared care, "prescribed payments" are not the same any more- the other party needs to agree to the credit. I had this as a verbal confirmation from my ex- which he then denied when asked by CSA… Get it in writing (if indeed private schooling goes ahead…)

I of course prefer to pay fees direct to school too- in fact even in a shared care arrangement (50/50) I have always paid 100% fees and claimed them back from CSA when ex permits… not ideal but at least I know fees are paid :dry:

I would think you would have an good chance at SSAT, in addition to the other good points made here, ensure you have the school's information regarding waitlist times (to show why you put in the early application as an "option").

Goodluck! :thumbs:
Also, check with the school - with the enrolment forms, the parent(s) have to sign that they are responsible for the school fees - if your ex has signed this form, then see if she can provide a copy - SSAT would be the best forum to ask for this evidence. She needs to explain why your signiture is not on the form. In relation to application for waiting list form verses actual enrolment form, have a look at  WGB & CEM [2004] FMCAfam 17 on AustLii
Thanks valere. I appreciate the help. It seems crazy that such important decisions can be made without any consultation with the other parent.
Yes it might seems so, but if you have court or consent orders determining joint responsibility for long term welfare - which covers schooling arrangements verses sole responsibility (on the part of your ex), this strengthens your case, but only if you did not sign an enrolment form.
I've done a bit of reading and the whole issue around Private School fees still confuses the heck out of me.

If both parents have signed an enrolment form for their child to attend a Private School, is the mere fact that the enrolment form was signed by both parties sufficient to demonstrate Mutual Intent in relation to the payment of school fees?  If not, is the fact that both parties have signed documents with the school stating that each parent is responsible for 50% of the childs school fees sufficient to demonstrate Mutual Intent?
Yes that is the idea. That is what all reference sources such as the CCH Family Law bible and the CSA's own web site all alude to. What happens in reality is that this may not be considered as such by some decision makers. You have a far, far better chance if this is a point of dispute or appeal to go to case law and quote that.
But where do parents stand when they can no longer afford to send their kids to a private school? With the financial downturn many parents have had to make this decision.
There has been at least one Fed Magistrate's decision that I can recall which recognises this. I'll try an do a bit of reasearch in the next few days and post the relevant ones.

The paying parent, although obliged to contribute to private school fees, can only contribute only as much as he/she can afford after taking in account reasonable necessary expenses. It is this area that appears to cause the most angst as it is clear that both the CSA and SSAT (generalisation here!) are unable to determine what and how much these reasonable necessary expenses are - that's if they do actually go about determining these! I have had one Snr Case Officer tell me that he only looks at this only if the 'Necessary expenses for Self Support' reason is applied for in a COA.
I guess its a case of to bad so sad for the paying parent ….same as mother moves interstate  and says cant afford to pay for flights regardless of court orders does csa care no they ask the mother if she is willing to accept as NAP for cost of flights  and of course she says no so boo hoo poor  paying parent … wanna see your kids you pay….

Has the CSA or ssat approved a reduction of CS due to  costs associated with contact? I'm guessing a defenite no.



I know seems off topic but its  not really if parents lived together and cant afford private school kids will go to state school

if seperated  its bad luck matey you still have to pay for it

just boils down to the same old thing…CSA will collect every cent they can even if they have to con you into it.

for those who keep harping on about its for the kids benefit…. i can guarentee every paying parent notices how when the payee receives funds its almost never spent on the kids.

further to that point  CSA can still collect arrears after a child is no longer a collection vehicle.

So why cant I pay 1/2  to the  mother and put the other 1/2 in trust for when my child turns 18 so they can directly benefit… why does it even go into the mother's account if its for the child and to be spent on the child for the child's benefit then why oh why does it not go into the child's account… doesnt centrelink payments go to the childs account when they turn 16….CSA has but 1 purpose and 1 purpose alone … to collect as much as possible so as the govt can pay as little as possible out no matter how they hide or pretend it is not so

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:)
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