Child support - when kids refuse to visit Father?

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KEJ

Active Member
31 October 2018
9
0
31
Good afternoon everyone,

I was hoping to get some advice on a situation my partner is in.

He has 50/50 time with his two kids aged 16 and 13.

Recently, his kids haven't wanted to attend his house on 'his' weeks. Different excuses are offered each time, however what it comes down to is that their mother has very relaxed rules relating to tech/homework/going out compared to him, which is obviously attractive to kids of that age. Also, it seems to be that once kids reach a certain age, they tire of the back and forth and would prefer to stay full time in one house and see the other parent in more of a social sense (weekly dinners, coffee catch ups etc)

He is not at all on the same page as his ex regarding almost all parenting issues and they have no relationship -she won't discuss issues with him and requests him to deal only with the kids.

He has tried (and continues trying) to have them come over in his weeks. His concern is that he obviously at that age cannot force them to come - their mother will not get involved,and the kids are happy with her. However, he really does not want to be liable for the amount of child support he would be expected to pay if she has 100% care - especially when he wants them with him for his weeks and 50/50 is the arrangement (on paper).

Does anyone have any advice on how CSA would deal with something like this? Is it just a pure case of him having no choice but to pay, regardless of the fact he wants the kids with him and it is them refusing to come?

Any clarity would be appreciated!
 

Step2Three

Well-Known Member
21 December 2018
41
12
154
Hi KEJ. In the long run, were the children not to spend any overnight time with their father, the mother could advise CSA that she now has 100% care and get the assessment changed accordingly. Your partner can either agree that is the actual care arrangement (and accept the change in CSA assessment) or he could dispute the care arrangements if he can demonstrate he is "taking reasonable action to ensure compliance with the existing care arrangement" for an interim period, such as negotiating with the mother, attending FDR etc. The length of the interim period varies depending on circumstance (court orders vs parenting plans) and if there is no written care agreement there will be no interim period. After the interim period if your partner's actual care time remains different to the prior arrangement, the CSA assessment will likely be updated to reflect the actual care levels whether he has agreed to them or not.
 

KEJ

Active Member
31 October 2018
9
0
31
Hi @Step2Three, thanks for taking the time to reply.

There is no court orders or formal parenting plans in place. She has signed a stat dec to state the kids are here 50% of the time (for the purposes of one of them attending an in-demand school he is in the catchment area for and she is not).

It sounds as though he is going to be liable to pay even though he wants the kids 50% of the time - which seems terribly unfair.
 

Step2Three

Well-Known Member
21 December 2018
41
12
154
Here's a link to the fuller information on disputing care with CSA: 2.2.4 Disputed care arrangements | Child Support Guide.

This is just random internet advice, but given the children's apparent desire to stay with the mother, and their ages, your partner may risk hurting his relationship with them if he gets too hard headed about maintaining 50/50, especially if they get the impression it is motivated by his CS obligations. It might be more worthwhile to direct his energy into figuring out an alternative care arrangement that is more aligned to their needs as teenagers, which will probably end up being less than 50/50, but maybe a bit better than 0% (or <14% where CS starts changing).
 

KEJ

Active Member
31 October 2018
9
0
31
Thanks for that @Step2Three - I did have a quick read of that section previously, it just seems that most scenarios I can find info on disputed care levels pertains more to younger kids where it is a parent withholding access, not a decision that the kids themselves have made independent of both parents.

He also covers school fees and medical in addition to child support so it will end up being a huge financial burden to bear for the next few years purely so the kids can choose a care arrangement that involves relaxed rules - however it is what it is.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
4,514
654
2,894
The informal solution - See if the kids will do 5 nights a fortnight.
Plan B - child support goes up - stop paying school fees and medical. Time for kids to learn some tough love...