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WA Ex Refusing to Pay Child Support - What Can I Do?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by NDM0808, 11 August 2016.

  1. NDM0808

    NDM0808 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, my ex doesn't pay child support. There is an assessment, he just doesn't pay. I recently submitted a change of assessment as he had started a job (having quit his job when we separated) and I want him to contribute to his daughter's school fees - she has been at the school for years - and years before we separated.

    Anyway, child support just rang me and have made a decision that, yes, he should pay more than the minimum as he is now earning and that, yes, her schooling was a consensual decision and he should be responsible for contributing to her school fees. However, he is claiming to only earn $38,000 pa and therefore child support have decided that he only has to pay a total of $180 per month.

    He has an assessment for another child, and that assessment has him paying $350 per month. Anyway, the Child Support Agency officer suggested I should appeal and take it all the way as she is convinced he is doing something dodgy - ie his expenses are listed at 52,000 pa yet he is only earning 38,000.

    He hasn't lodged a tax return in 5 years. That said, she also said it is all very well changing the assessment, however, getting him to actually pay is a different story. Has anyone had any success at AAT?

    I am already fighting him for the property settlement - even offering 50% but he won't accept it. He is so bitter and twisted he will do whatever he can to ensure I struggle.

    I have 100% care - informally. He moved away and I predicted he wouldn't bother with his daughter. I was right. I cannot remember the last time he saw her. The last time he made plans to see her he sent a text to her half an hour before with an excuse. I make (she is almost 12 and I literally have to dial the number and hand it to her as she won't do it off her own back) her ring him once a week but he rarely answers the phone. He doesn't call her back or even send a text. We have a log of when she has tried just in case he ever tries to suggest I am not letting him see her. I keep everything.

    I don't know what to do anymore. I struggle financially - I am paying nearly $40,000 in "family debt" that he should be half responsible for but he won't and I don't want a bad credit rating. I can't afford a court case, I can't afford my lawyer who has to date been ineffective in getting the property settlement resolved. I have no fight left. Part of me just wants to let him have it all (we are talking about $110K in cash) and start afresh but the other part needs the money.

    Sorry, I'm blabbing - I'm very upset at the CSA decision as it is clearly based on his lies - he manages a Club - works 7 days a week - is listed as their GM yet only earns $38,000 pa? The Club hasn't responded to any of CSA's requests for information - probably because he opens the mail and probably rips it up.

    Can someone tell me what to do?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    I think we've talked about the property matter elsewhere, so above and beyond that, I'm not sure what to tell you. The child support issue, however, is a new one, so I'll just address that primarily.

    You can certainly apply to have the decision from Child Support reviewed. The first step is an internal review, and after that, you can apply to the AAT for a first review on appeal.

    My personal experience with the AAT is limited - my husband appealed a decision about care percentages at the beginning of this year and we found the process very easy and relatively informal, but the difference is that your case before the AAT would be about an assessment, and would therefore also involve disclosure about financial positions by way of a Statement of Financial Circumstances. There's an expectation of full disclosure, and if the AAT suspects one party has failed in this obligation, it can make still make a decision regardless of whether disclosure has been made or not.

    A first review by the AAT is free, so it is probably worthwhile pursuing, but if you don't get the outcome you are hoping for and decide to pursue it further, then there might be costs. This can also be a fairly time-consuming process - for us, we first notified of change in care percentage in August 2015, the other party disputed in September 2015, internal review decision handed down in November 2015, we appealed in the same month, then the hearing with the AAT was in January 2016, with reasons and outcome formally delivered in February 2016.

    So, in the meantime, contact CSA and ask them to collect child support on your behalf, rather than have him pay you directly. If he refuses to pay, they can eventually garnish it from his wages. $180 a month is better than nothing, and the outcome from the AAT will be back-dated and back-paid (if required) from when you first notified CSA of the change in circumstances that warranted the new assessment.

    The CSA is going to be much better at recovering owed child support than you are, so you may as well hand responsibility over to them.
     
  3. NDM0808

    NDM0808 Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, CSA are meant to collect. They can't get money out of him either. He is the boss at his work - so all requests for information sent to them by CSA have been ignored. And given that he is so obviously lying to them about what he earns (I still can't believe they take it on his word) and the amount he has to pay me is so little to them, it's not worth their while chasing too hard.

    He owes his other ex thousands and doesn't pay her either and CSA aren't doing much about that either. But they did at least adjust her assessment to an amount that was more feasible.

    I might as well give up now. And they wonder why some parents just run away.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    If he hasn't filed a tax return for 5 years, it would be worthwhile calling the ATO about that...
     
  5. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    I agree that ATO is worth a call. BUT I'd go to AAT first. Easy, free and they can make a determination. ATO will be harder
     
  6. running

    running Well-Known Member

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    My first husband hasn't lodged a tax return since 1985. The ATO won't chase him. I recently reported him for tax evasion as that was my only recourse.

    He owes me over $36,000 in child support (on a minimum assessment). Child support said they put him in the too hard basket. He just had child no 6.

    I would go the garnishing route. He must work for a company that owns the club he manages. Maybe try and find them and then apply to them to get his wage garnished?
     

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