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NSW Lies About Income to Child Support Agency - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Mary June, 14 October 2015.

  1. Mary June

    Mary June Member

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    Hello, I just have a question.

    My Ex husband has once again reduced his income so his child support payments are reduced, but the thing is, he has his own business, a successful one at that, he has a factory, he rents out of where he does his business, a couple of storage sheds, staff that work for him as well as his wife family members. He sites on facebook how well his company is doing and he has a Linkedin account that states his the owner/Director of the company.

    Now I was to the understand that when Child Support Agency started collecting for me that they had to know my job role was as they have employment guidelines to how much i should be earning in this role. So if someone who is the owner/director of a pretty successful business should be earning over $47,000 a year?

    I completely understand that the business is most likely in the wife's name and she most likely has quite a huge annual salary. How can this be justified if he has all the working tickets, like heights, confined spaces and abseiling tickets. How can Child Support Agency ignore this?

    He also tells me he cannot have his children cause he is always working, so it's actually been two years since he has had them. Now there is another baby on the way ,it will not be long till his Child Support Agency payments are reduced again.

    I am currently unemployed and for a few years i have been earning more than him. I have gone to child support about my issues and they always say, we will send you the paperwork and fill it out then your Ex husband will get a copy of it.

    Really how does that help any situation?

    He also goes on a few holidays a year and yes he does leave the country and it is all over his facebook page that my eldest son has to see. He lives in a pretty expensive house in Sydney, drives very nice cars and has a few vehicles that he owns for the business.

    Child Support Agency has told me on a few occasions that eventually it will catch up to him.It's been 6 years and while he is getting more and more successful with his business, his annual income is reducing!

    I understand having a business you can write a lot of things off on tax but how does it work getting finance if you don't have the income? When you do a search on how much he should earn in the job he does, it comes up over $200,000 PLUS a year he should be earning.

    Can you help me?

    Cheers
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    It's important to remember that a business is a separate legal entity to its owner. The two are therefore considered to have separate assets, liabilities and profits, meaning his income may not be at all influenced by the business's income.

    The Child Support Agency assesses payment amounts based on his personal taxable income, not the profitability of his business or how much other directors of other companies earn on average. With the business being a separate legal entity, it may be the case that the assets (the car, the house, etc.) may legally belong to the business, not to him, and he may pay also his wife a significantly larger wage than he pays himself.

    All of these actions are very likely perfectly legal under Australian law, as well.

    If you suspect there is some sort of fraud going on, however, you might try contacting the ATO for guidance.
     
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  3. Mary June

    Mary June Member

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    Thank you. Yes I understand that the business is separate. So if they both claim to be owners and directors of the company, how can one receive more money than the other? Which will show on there annual tax returns?

    So basically the more children he has he can reduce his payments while she has the kids and has time off, she is still legally able to earn more than him. Even though they're both owners and directors of the same company? This is legal, isn't it? Which it is a clear case of his income being reduce so he doesn't have to pay too much child support! Seriously what is wrong with the system!
     
    Parallel likes this.
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    This is venturing into corporation and employment law, which I'm not really any kind of expert in, so I'm afraid I can't comment too much on the legality of differing wage frameworks within your ex's company, if that is even the case, but I do understand your frustration. Unfortunately, and from a legal stance, the only real direction I can give is to request that the Child Support Agency conduct an investigation to determine the accuracy of the father's income. Alternatively, if you suspect there is any form of fraud or tax evasion under way, it might be an idea to contact the ATO.

    In any case, though, the income of your former spouse's partner is not taken into consideration, except insofar as the birth of dependent children reduces his child support payments very slightly. Legally, a step-parent will only be liable to pay child support if ordered by the court to do so on grounds that neither of the parents are able to financially support the child. Otherwise, what they earn is excluded from the assessment.
     
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  5. Lotus

    Lotus Member

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    The Child Support Agency can request forensic accounting investigations. I challenged my ex-husband's (IT consultant) alleged $20,000 a year salary, and they found evidence that he had a six digit income. However this was some time ago, and I'm not sure what happens now. If you get any child support I think you should consider yourself lucky.

    While this is no consolation here and now while you are struggling to make ends meet, he's not doing himself any favours in regard to his relationship with his children. I seriously wonder why he is having another child if he has no time or interest in the children he already has.
     
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  6. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Ok so you can object based on earning capacity. Have a read
    2.6.14 Reason 8 - a Parent's Income, Property, Financial Resources, or Earning Capacity | Child Support Guide \

    If memory serves you're required to provide evidence... Stuff like Facebook pages that show holidays in Europe can contribute to showing a lifestyle that does not match the alleged income.... BUT..... In my opinion, you might just be causing yourself more grief.

    Trust me I understand. I have primary care of the kids. The ex sees them in the holidays and I have to provide clothes for them when they visit the other parent. Often, some or all the clothes do not get returned. My ex runs a business and does not pay a cent in child support. I've decided not to pursue it through child support. Just not worth the grief...
     
  7. melast

    melast Member

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    Hi

    I don't know if you have already filed an application for change of assessment, but I just wanted to share my recent experience to give you an idea of how it works.

    My child's father provided CSA with an estimate lower than his actual income and my payments were reduced.

    I filed an application under Reason 8 and you don't need to provide evidence, you just roughly give them a run down of the situation and why you think he is earning more than he claims, then someone will call you and you can go into more detail and they can then investigate deeper for you. They will let you know if they need physical evidence.

    Basically, I think that even if he is self-employed they will look at the "earning capacity" anyway and you might get an increase if they can find something to show what he makes or owns because they also look at assets.
    In my case, it was easier as he isn't self-employed so they got payslips from his employer and I was successful.

    I would apply if I were you as you have nothing to lose.
     
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  8. Parallel

    Parallel Well-Known Member

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    I've been up and down the Change of Assessment path too. It is now coming up to 5 years. A well trodden path.

    Main character, the self-employed father, very good at playing the victim, and extremely talented at twisting the facts and not submitted any tax returns since 2008 therefore basing his income on half of what he's earned since. Should win an award for his performance.

    CSA acknowledged my meticulous calendar and evidence of nights of care and also acknowledged in their politically correct wording that he wasn't kosher on his information. I submitted bank statements, his employment invoices, evidence of his car, his super, his insurance, photos of the kids time stamped, diary entries, emails, receipts - way too much. I'm sure I overwhelmed the case manager - but I believe truth is overcome with evidence. This was because the first change of assessment was based on his verbal testimonies, so it spurred me along to re-align to the truth.

    All this time and effort in the hope that somehow persistence would result in the proper and fair result for the benefit of the children, to feed them and clothe them etc. On the second go, CSA finally acknowledged his income was over $150,000 plus fringe benefits. That lasted until he figured out how to dodge and weave again, and the next case manager just basically believed that he was unemployed*, so back to square one.

    So if he had paid correctly form day one, I bet the child support owing would be over $120,000. It is currently calculated as an outstanding amount of $60,000. I will just think of it as the kids inheritance, that I've saved for them way off into the future.

    (*An unemployed man that commutes to the city for work and can go away to Daylesford and Anglesea for the weekend and take the kids out to restaurant for dinner but can't pay a cent in child support for even a piece of toast.)
     
  9. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    If I may, @Parallel, how often does dad have the kids?
     
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  10. Parallel

    Parallel Well-Known Member

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    The 3 eldest are now over 18. Last one is now 16. All really lovely good kids. They see him whenever they wish. 2 eldest, never really. 2 youngest, dinner once a month.

    5 years ago, I was originally going to agree to do 50/50 share, but my family counsellor and friends explained all the pros and cons and in the end I stayed firm committing to 9/5 nights (fortnight care) for the children's sake. Bouncing between homes is so hideous for kids. The father played games for the first 18 months and 'nights of calculated care' constantly fluctuated as the kids adjusted to 2 households. In addition, being teenagers, school and social life dictated being at home with mum closer to school and their friends.

    It is never really stayed 9/5 - it was just a guideline. If he had rented in our neighbourhood, it would have been easier on the kids. Instead their Dad rented a place miles away, next to a brothel that was front and centre in the media for a notorious murder and so many parents of the kids' friends didn't like their kids going there. Eventually, the 2 older kids fell out with their father and he moved away out of the city and so only 2 of them see him basically just for dinner about once a month when ever they wish.

    Lots of battles, but the best advice I was given was to just keep trying to be the best mum and keep bringing them up listening to your gut feeling of what is in their best interest. I did what I thought was right, and what I believed I would have done as a parent without the acrimonious drama going on.
     
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