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NSW Custody of Children - Paying Too Much Child Support - Options?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by givingdad, 18 January 2016.

  1. givingdad

    givingdad Active Member

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    Hello, my partner has 50% care and custody of children (in which he had to fight for). However, he still has to pay a significant amount of child support to their mother. She works less than full-time hours (chooses not to work full time) rents in her grandmother's house and most likely claims rental assistance and is getting way too comfy with having an additional income for herself.

    My partner wouldn't mind paying the additional child support if it was actually supporting the upbringing of the children, however, the children return to our house in brand name clothing or expensive new items on a regular basis (I am talking almost every week before Christmas and after Christmas). She and her boyfriend go on several holidays a year whilst the children are left with her parents (she won't allow us to have any additional care of them) and she just bought a brand new car which is worth well over $30000. I should also mention she has her mum, who doesn't work, look after the children on a regular basis for when she is at work.

    It may seem we are too caught up with her life and are jealous, however, we are struggling to make ends meet on our side. We can hardly afford the small car repayments. We pay rent just so the kids have their own rooms, we try and accommodate and always have to pay for the extracurricular activities such as dancing and singing so the kids have some stability and involvement, we pay for regular school fees and we have the same amount of children expenses to pay for as she is expected (as per the child support agreement). We also pay additional child care fees just so we can work additional hours to make ends meet.

    Is there a way my partner can pay into an account for the children for when they are older? Is there a way he can pay directly to the additional expenses such as childcare, dancing, sports, additional activities rather than paying his ex for her own spending money? I just find the system to be so unjust in this situation when I, as their stepmum, is even having to pay the additional bills so the kids can benefit?

    Any suggestions or help are welcome and appreciated.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Is the amount you're paying the assessed amount from the child support agency?
     
  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    2.6.4 Kinds of Change of Assessment Decisions | Child Support Guide

    That is a link to the CSA rules. You might have something to claim based on 'capacity to work' and that her lifestyle indicates she is rorting. You might have something for the school fees but probably not sporting stuff or after school care, but definitely worth calling them.

    I have to say I've always found them pretty good to deal with despite me having a pretty horrid situation with a crazy ex. Trust me - my ex is worse than your hubby's ex.

    But, is it worth it? IMO, Nope. Given 50/50 care, how much are you actually paying? Are you collecting family tax benefit?

    Look - I reckon the CSA system is ok.

    BTW - I used to pay $500 a fortnight while having 4 nights a fortnight. My ex had a cash in hand income, her partner lived with her, not that that mattered, but it contributed to her finances. She also refused me extra time with the kids, but would occasionally leave them with me with no notice for a week or so, causing me to have to call in sick for work, etc., but would deny doing so when CSA asked. In short, she was a professor in rorting.

    The reason I tell you this is because it is the foundation to the next bit of suggestion. Learn acceptance or go grey worrying about it.

    Oh, and 2 years after we did property settlement where she got about 75% because she was the primary carer of 3 young kids, do you know what she did? She dropped off the kids and left. And do you know how much child support she pays me now the kids live with me full time? Go on have a guess. Zero, nothing.

    So even with $100 000 in the bank courtesy of my hard work via the property settlement and even though she advertises her business in the local newspaper, online, etc, etc, she has not done a tax return in 5 years and as a result, her taxable income is determined based on her income from 5 years ago, which is when we were still together and she was a stay at home mum.

    Now hold on to your hat, because there is a reason for my ramblings. I earn about $90 000 a year and have the kids with me 80% of the time. According to CSA, the ex has no obligation to pay a cent until she declares an income of over $35 000. So I could have had her investigated and I reckon CSA would make a determination in my favour, but they would assess her as earning about $35 000 because that is how much I reckon she earns. And if they made that determination, do you know how much she'd have to pay me? About $10 a week. Less actually.

    So armed with that knowledge / experience, I reckon your best bet it to forget about it and, at least, you know that she is buying the kids nice clothes. Oh and lodging an objection with CSA will cause her to get angry and you don't want that.
     
  4. givingdad

    givingdad Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply and sharing your story. I totally get where you are coming from, but it's just frustrating that she only can have it her way or it's no way at all.

    I know for some it doesn't seem worth it, but when you have someone who denies access to the kids just because it's 'her time' even when she isn't with them (which has resulted in the kids sleeping with their grandparents or on the couch whilst they are being babysat for over a month whilst she is overseas), which isn't in the eyes of the court mind you, leaves $35000 debt on a joint loan and refused to pay it as her new partner can take care of her, and lives in her elderly grandmother's house, rent free.

    It is worth it to get the $100 or so back a week that my partner pays. We would much rather pay into an account for the kids to access when they are older so they have savings for a car or uni fees for when they're older - something we most definitely won't be able to provide them if we choose to have children together in the future.

    That $100 or so a week could go towards a deposit for a mortgage so my partner and I can secure not only our future but a future for those kids so we don't have to go without groceries every now and again. We can't even engage the kids in weekend sport or a weekly holiday because she refuses to 1.

    Take the kids on her weekends with them, and 2. refuses to allow us to have the kids outside of our normal 50% care which means it restricts the kids a lot. To be honest, buying the kids nice clothes is nothing compared to the experience and quality of life they are having alongside their peers. The kids would much rather be able to attend a weekly sporting session than have brand name clothes bought for them.

    I know I am preaching to the converted and sound like I am whinging as there are much worse situations out there, but thought it would be worth a try to see if there was any room to move or alternative options.

    Rant over.

    Thanks for your suggestion. Will look into the link, however, I don't think there is much we can do.
     
  5. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    If you're paying $100 a week with 50/50 care I can only assume that your hubby is on a six figure income and the ex is on four-fifths of stuff all and you're talking two teenage kids. If she doesn't have very young (pre-school) aged kids then you could have grounds for an appeal.

    Let us know how you go. And if you don't succeed, you can appeal to the Administrative appeals tribunal.

    As far as the joint debt goes - yep, I'm hearing you... I spent about $35 000 just to get to see the kids and then she decides she doesn't want them.

    But lodging the appeal or, at least, making some enquiries might make you comfortable that the assessment is correct.
     
  6. givingdad

    givingdad Active Member

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    One is starting high school this year, the other is in year 3, so not teenagers yet. Not sure if the assessment changes once the oldest turns 13? He most definitely isn't on six figures - the small amount (I only say that because I know others pay much more and don't want to offend) would not be noticed as much if he earned that much, I most definitely would not be looking as our budget would be able to cater for meaningful things for the kids.

    The other frustrating part is that she involves the kids in the child support arrangement and keeps telling them that their dad never pays and she is poor and can't afford things for them as he doesn't pay so they end up feeling sorry for her. Not that we can fix that but I really can't understand some people!

    Thanks for your help and reply, seeking information on here has also helped to know that we aren't the only ones in this situation.
     
  7. Graham Ward

    Graham Ward Member

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    When I inquired about this with my ex, CSA informed me that if I wanted to, I could apply to the courts for a child support order, in which the judge delegates certain expenses to each parent to pay. Eg. They might say that you guys pay for the schooling or child care, etc. I haven't gone any further with that yet but that was my understanding. Hope it helps
     
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