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The Forum > Article Comments > The battle for balance > Comments

The battle for balance : Comments

By Alby Schultz, published 2/10/2006

The Child Support Agency is a customer relations nightmare.

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Not one of the posts made by non-custodial parents, OR subsequent spouses here have ever ONCE argued that financial support of their children should be done away with. What we have ALL stated (in one form or another) is that there should be EQUALITY in all areas.

Hamlet and Lote - If the 'father' isn't allowed to have anymore children, then fine... sterilise the 'mother' as well. After all, equality means treating each the same. So, that being the case, I gather the two of you will be first in line to be sterilised? After all, you wouldn't want to look like hypocrites, now would you.

If you were in a relationship where finances were tight, you would get a job to make things easier, yes? After all, that would be the decent thing to do....so why is it different when the relationship ends? There shouldn't be any, should there? NO.

And I have to wonder why you are all so afraid of Shared Parenting being the default. Because the kids will no longer be the emotional and financial tools of blackmail that they seem to become in divorce (this applies to BOTH sides, not just one.)

James...I'm on YOUR side here! - if you look closely it was AZILIZ who mentioned the holidays, and the downgrade from their expensive schools, and expensive clothes etc. Not me! In fact I was amazed at the sheer snobbery of the comment.
Posted by Scrapnmafia, Tuesday, 3 October 2006 6:19:34 PM
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So much comes down to taking responsibility. Firstly, I do not believe in 'no fault' divorce: well, people should be able to divorce without fault coming into the decision, but that fault should be determined when it comes to any financial settlement.

When it comes to children, the only things that are important are the interests of the children, not who 'own them' (therefore the term 'custody' used by so many people shows their own biases). The parents' ego should have nothing to do with the interests of the children.

I don't care how aggrieved a mother or father feels if they don't get what they want for themselves, the only important thing is the healthy development of the children.

By the way, only about 5% of family law matters ever get before a judge. Does that tell you something?

I believe in child support, but not, except in specific circumstances, spousal support. That is why I proposed there be a set amount determined for the reasonable support of children.

As for people having more children - simple - everyone has to decide whether they can or cannot afford to have children and what standard of living they want to maintain.

In the same way that I would aim criticism at teenage mothers who have children irresponsibly, I consider that anyone who has children without taking responsibilities into account are open to criticism.
Posted by Hamlet, Tuesday, 3 October 2006 6:42:52 PM
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After reading these comments, I just wanted to say that when my ex-husband and I separated (and subsequently divorced) we were naive and thought that if the CSA collected the CS payments, it would make everything as easy and smooth as possible. Man, were we wrong about that! They messed up payments, messed up records and files... generally just made like hard for both of us. We decided we could do without them and went through miles of 'Red Tape' just to get them to STOP being involved!

That was 14 years ago! It seems from these comments that nothing much has changed.

PS: I would like to add that I received a 'Part Pension' (as I always worked) for being a Sole Parent. When I moved in with my partner, I did the right thing and told the DSS that I was now in a De Facto relationship and therefore, no longer qualified for the (part) Sole Parent pension. Anyway, they said they COULD NOT STOP my pension because- get this- I was in a SAME SEX relationship which was NOT RECOGNISED by the Government! Therefore, they continued to pay my 'Sole Parent' pension- even though myself and my partner (female!) were working full-time! The Law is so ridiculous at times! *sigh*
Posted by chrislovespugs, Tuesday, 3 October 2006 8:42:56 PM
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Scrapnmafia, I've never been fully in the non-custodial camp and am currently in the prime care role so I don't quite fit your grouping but I do suspect that the costs to kids and society of keeping parents involved in each others finances is not worth it.

In particular the formula where payer and payee are both impacted by the choices the other makes seems to be a massive contributer to ongoing conflict, ill feeling and damaging residency arrangements.

On a general note
1) I don't believe any parent should be responsible for the costs associated with the care of their children for time when they are willing to have the care of the child and don't have it through the actions and choices of the other parent. If we must have child support the reasons for the residency arrangements should come into the process.

2) The financial details of individuals should not be disclosed to an ex at any time after the property settlement. C$A send out estimates of income to former spouses and require massive breaches of privacy to get a change of assessment.

3) As far as practical the same rules as apply to other parents should apply to seperated/divorced parents. The government does not involve itself if a parent reduces their childs financial standard of living as a result of shifting to a lower paying but more suitable job unless neglect becomes and issue, why should divorced parents be held to a different standard.

R0bert
Posted by R0bert, Tuesday, 3 October 2006 8:47:29 PM
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The average payment to custodial parents from non-custodial parents is $41 per week. That is not ‘per child’ but a total. http://www.facs.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/via/Child_Support_Report/$File/CS_chapter5.pdf#search=%22statistics%20men%20paying%20child%20support%20australia%22

46% of non-custodial parents pay the $5 per fortnight payment or less: http://www.csa.gov.au/publications/pdf/ff05.pdf#search=%22child%20support%20scheme%3A%20facts%20and%20figures%22 (page 31 and 32)

I’m sure there are non-custodial parents who pay too much, but they are in the minority. Under these circumstances it’s obscene for custodial parents to insinuate the majority of payees pay too much. The horror is how little they pay and the enormous burden on the custodial parent.

Scrapnmafia I was not talking about simply a matter of losing the private school and plush holiday as you so misquote me, I meant to cover the whole range from the rich to the poor including moving to a hellhole in a violent and underprivileged suburb, being unable to pay basic electricity, food, clothes, etc. I was talking about the effect on the *children* not the mother--are you saying the children are snobs and should put up with the loss of their home, their school, their friends and do without decent food and clothes? This is the too common male confusion of the welfare of the children with the ‘selfishness’ of the mother.

There is a reason CSA take payments before tax, they could take it after tax and increase the percentage, all that would do is benefit the richer non-custodial parent (who pays the higher tax rate) at the expense of the poorer.

Just because 85% of custody is awarded to women doesn’t make me wrong, I said that custody was awarded to the primary caregiver, which is usually the woman. Any man who stayed home and changed the nappies while his wife worked would get custody.

To get around the terrible expense of raising a second family, marry a divorcee with children. You get an instant family to love with another man helping you keep them while you help your ex. If you can find a woman whose ex actually pays—that is. Statistically custodial parents are more likely to not remarry because men are less likely to want women with children.
Posted by Aziliz, Tuesday, 3 October 2006 10:15:26 PM
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The suicide rate for men has been at a consistent level since the 1920's when statistics began. It was slightly lower in the 1970’s--no fault divorce was introduced in 1975 with a huge surge in divorces--with an obvious increase in loss of custody of children for men.

As the CSA opened in 1988, it's often blamed for the small spike in suicides at that time, ignoring the late 1987 stock market crash and the strong correlation over the 80 years of statistics of spikes in suicides with economic downturns. It's insulting to men to say suicides went down when they lost their children but up when they had to pay support for them.

The highest suicide rate in men is the age range of 25-35 years, the second highest suicide rate is from 15-25 years, the average age of divorce is 42. Although I’m sure some men suicide due to family breakdown it's not statistically significant. (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

The net savings to the government by CSA collections is estimated at $193 million (page 55 of link in previous post). Not a loss.

Silversurfer quotes “the PIR Independent Research Group”–such a bogus report:
http://www.pir.com.au/pdf/report_csareview.pdf#search=%22PIR%20Independent%20Research%20Group%22

The “$5 per $1 collected” is based on PIR’s admitted guess that lost productivity caused by men not wanting to work due to their child support responsibilities is $5,000 million. They base this amount on their own bogus statistic that 76% of all unemployed males are non-custodial parents using the estimate of 221,375 unemployed payers.

The CSA report that they claim to use to ‘calculate’ this number only states that 69,556 were in receipt of any government benefit or allowance (let alone unemployment benefits). The $2.80 per $1 collected stat is not in this report.

Silversurfer and the PIR Report also doesn’t take into account that marriages to unemployed men are more likely to break up, nor that a higher proportion of alcoholics, drug addicts and mentally ill, etc are unemployed--so a proportion of the men were already unemployed.
Posted by Aziliz, Tuesday, 3 October 2006 10:32:10 PM
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