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SSAT hearing and financial information

Can someone shed some light on something I can't get my head around? Hubby had pre-hearing and respondent had chosen not to participate. In preparation for the actual hearing, he receives a letter outlining the financial information he has to provide (bank statements even in joint names, credit card statements, payslips; all for the last 3 months). This letter included also a list of things the SSAT wants from the respondent.

Questions: 1. If the respondent does not participate in the pre-hearing, do they still participate in the hearing or not?
2. If the respondent does not send in their financial information, do they still receive the information of the applicant?
3. Why is the respondent not required to participate?

None of this makes any sense. Thanks for any info on this one.

Oh, and for your info. Pre-hearing officer mentioned that we can also go to the Ombudsman instead of the SSAT. It is quicker and in some cases more effective. Interesting……
Please provide more details about your case.

What is the decision you are appealing?

Did you provide the information they are requesting to the C$A for their original decision?

Can't see what the Ombudsman can do as they usually refer you back to the C$A.
Fairgo, CSA has made a mistake and did not follow CSA policy when denying a COA regarding the payees earning capacity. It is essentially a question of law, which the Ombudsman can help with as the CSA needs to review the case and potentially come to a different conclusion. As we all know the CSA does not like to be told by customers that they did not follow procedure. The Ombudsman however does seem to have some influence. SSAT claims to look at the whole financial situation whereas the Ombudsman will address the question of law only, which basically means the ball is back in CSA's court. In our case this might be the way to go.
If the payee does not participate in the SSAT process, what's the point? CSA nor the SSAT seem to have no power to get any informaiton out of the payee and we on the other hand have to justify how much we pay in dog food every month. Hardly just!
Babushka said
1. If the respondent does not participate in the pre-hearing, do they still participate in the hearing or not?
My understanding is that the pre-hearing is not mandatory, this not participating in this does not exclude participation at a later stage. It would appear to be contrary to the process, perhaps you should ask SSAT to explain what they intend to achieve at pre-hearing and why the respondent has chosen to not be involved. (unsure if by respondent you mean the other parent or the CSA, I think the respondent is actually the CSA)

This may be of significance :-

CSA Guide - 4.2.5 (extract) said
A pre-hearing conference may be used to explore the issues between the parties and to narrow the ground between the parties. If the parties reach agreement, the SSAT may make an order by consent, if it thinks it appropriate to do so.

Babushka said
2. If the respondent does not send in their financial information, do they still receive the information of the applicant?
I believe, although I cannot actually find it in the guide, (and I may be getting this mixed up with the COA requirements), that all information used by one side is provided to the other side.

Babushka said
3. Why is the respondent not required to participate?
Because the review isn't mandatory, it may be that the intention of the pre-hearing review is to cut a deal to which the respondent wouldn't refuse.

Babushka - thanks for the info - Yes their decision has to be fair and equitable so that is why they want your financial information. But in order to make a fair and equitable decision they must also have the same information from the payee.

If the payee does not show up nor provide the information and you have evidence of their earning capacity etc…, then as long as you have got your side of the case together by having nothing to hide, then I think the SSAT would make a decision in your favour if all the criteria is met.

Mike might be able to shed some light on this?

Last edit: by Fairgo

If the matter of law is that the CSA did not follow procedure, then it may be that SSAT will only review this and decide upon whether or not they should have accepted the application and if they find against the CSA, then the CSA may be told that they have to follow that procedure. So it may be that there is no need for the other parent's finances.

Here's what the CSA Guide says :-

CSA Guide - 4.2.5: The SSAT review process (extract) said
Decisions that can be made

The SSAT is independent of CSA and will take a fresh look at the decision under review. The SSAT will make a fresh decision after considering the relevant information provided by all parties (including information provided at the hearing) and the applicable child support law. The SSAT must determine what is the correct or preferable decision in the circumstances of each case.

After reviewing the merits of CSA's decision the SSAT must make a decision to (section 103S):

    * affirm that decision; or
    * vary that decision; or
    * set aside that decision and substitute a new decision; or
    * set aside that decision and send the matter back to CSA with directions or recommendations.

The parties to the review (other than CSA) may reach agreement on the review decision that should be made (section 103W). If such an agreement is reached the parties may advise the SSAT in writing, signed by the parties, of the terms of the agreement. The agreement may address some or all of the issues before the SSAT. The SSAT may then make the decision as agreed if it is satisfied that it is within its power to make that decision.

The SSAT can only make decisions that are in accordance with child support law. The SSAT cannot make a decision that CSA could not make (section 103T).

The SSAT's decision is taken to be the decision of the original CSA decision-maker and has effect from the date of the original decision, or from a date specified by the SSAT (section 103V).

CSA must immediately take action to give effect to the SSAT decision (section 110V).
Thanks for your replies. Very helpful. I do believe that the SSAT might come to a favorable conclusion, however, I am very reluctant to provide any more personal information to anyone as the CSA has already breached our privacy. We know the other party involved (payee) will not provide anything and yet, most likely will receive all or our bank statements, credit card statements and payslips. As our bank accounts and credit card are in joint names, I will not consent to this information being provided. The payee does not have to provide her information or any information about any partner living with her. This is just not acceptable. At what stage is the payee made accountable? Ever?

I would not provide any of that information until they  come to a conclusion on the payee's earning capacity. Good luck!
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