fair enough MikeT - I must confess I did not try any searches as you have.
My thoughts were based on my experience 20 odd months ago, when I was asking similar questions to Ludeking's. At that time, I was able to find the info I needed through the CSA website (or maybe my memory is poor and the info was on a different site - in which case, I do not know where to direct you Ludeking).
Back to Ludeking's original question, you seem to be concerned about how great your financial commitment is going to be AND how this is going to impact on you starting a family with someone else later on.
I believe there is a calculator on the CSA website www.csa.gov.au (there was 18 or so months ago) which will give you a fairly accurate guide as to what your financial commitment will be (you will need to know your income and have a rough idea of hers). You will also find information explaining exactly how payments are calculated including how payments are adjusted when both families expand to inlcude multiple children, step-children, step-parents etc etc.
But most of all, even though you may not have consciously chosen to become a father, choose to be a father because you want to be a father and embrace everything that that entails. I am in a some what similar situation to you, only 18 or so months further on. It has been one hell of an emotional rollercoaster for me, but the joy I get from being with my child is worth every second of it.
Artemis and Testing-one-two, thank you for your replys. Unsurprisingly, I agree with all your comments - the mediation hurdle is my current problem (taking the time to annotate the problem has also clarified the issue). By AG website I assume you mean Austalian Government? I will have a look for an approved provider and hopefully get this issue sorted.
Issue: mother restricting access to child (approx 12 mnths old)
There are no court orders or parenting plan involved (mother refuses to discuss, I want shared custody).
Mediation with a counselling agency is scheduled for mid August (and who knows how much longer before our case gets to court - mothers oft stated intention)
I am allowed regular access to my child (2 hr visits @ her place, 2 - 4 times per week) provided I don't upset mum. Upsetting mum means "requesting we discuss a parenting plan".
Unfortunately, every time mum becomes upset my access is severely restricted or cancelled. Earlier this year it was 10 weeks between visits, currently it will be 2 weeks+ due to mum going away and cancelling tonight's visit (she is "upset"!).
For both mine and my child's sake, I want to put an end to this access charade as soon as possible, however, turning to a lawyer is not really an option due to financial constraints and Legal Aid is probably not an option because we need to try mediation first - scheduled for mid August. Does anyone have any suggestions?