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Child Support – unfair doubling up of support payments where provision has already been made via voluntary agreement

I welcome any constructive feed back or suggestions that could assist me with the following:

The background is that I have 4 children, the youngest is 23 years of age and resides in France. I have been working overseas and recently returned to Australia which has been my primary residence since 96 when I left NZ. I had been back in Australia for 2 years when I received a liability from Child Support NZ for $89k. I was aghast as I had paid child support directly to my ex wife for all the years my children were dependent. Upon investigation it would appear the liability goes back to 2002 for a 1 year period and from Dec 05 – May 08.

CSA have cancelled all the penalties and left me with a liability for approximately $12k (very good of them) based on the fact that I had never received notice of the liability.

My ex wife applied for child support assessment as she went on a benefit and furnished CSA with an old overseas address of mine in spite of maintaining regular contact with me via phone and email. She has been collecting the benefit and not declaring the child support payments I made to her as income.

Now here comes the fun part… Under Section 65 of the Child Support Act ‘an application for child support formula assessment allows that a voluntary agreement is deemed to have been cancelled from the date an application for formula assessment is received’.

So, now I have had to try and find records dating back to 2002 showing payments made to her. Banking records only go back 7 years so the earliest I have been able to provide is 2003 onwards. I have made application for an administration review under Ground 9. I have only just found out after lodging the application and providing evidence of bank statements with transactions showing payments made directly to her albeit not for the 02 liability, statements from my 2 children (CSA do not accept statements from children as it is deemed to be unfair to put the children in the midddle, even though the children are only providing factual information and are at the time consenting adults), that if found in my favour, the liability will not be wiped but I could be re-assessed at the minimum CS amount. This is not acceptable as I have already provided this support.

I have spoken to my ex-wife who does not want to assist as for her to do so would be admitting to benefit fraud. Which brings me to another point. I asked CSA if they report evidence or allegations of benefit fraud to WINZ and they have advised no, they don’t but if I want to DOB her in, I can. Unbelievable that IRD does not share this with WINZ. So if the Review is in our favour, it supports our case that child support was paid whilst ex-wife received benefit but they will not pass onto WINZ! Yet I could have a snitch on somebody down the street and report them for unsubstantiated benefit fraud and it would be investigated!

The 2nd part of this travesty is that the for the 05-08 period, as I have been assessed by CSA at the minimum CS formula, I cannot appeal as an admin. review or make application to Family Court. My only re-course as offered by CSA is to take Civil Action against my ex-wife which would still leave me with an active debt with CSA.

I have also provided evidence that during the 05-08 period my son was working and flatting. I have provided my sons pay slips and an email request by him for bond and the date he went flatting. The response back from CSA is that even if he went flatting and received support from his mother then he is still dependent and I am liable. My ex wife did not provide any support, I supported him financially and furnished an email to CSA with my sons request for bond and financial support, my email reply agreeing to this request and an email with him furnishing his bank account details. Seriously, if he is flatting and working and I am still liable, who receives the child support??? Him? His mother? Does this make me the custodial parent as I have been providing support to him?

Even though he was working, paying board to his mother prior to flatting, CSA still deems him dependent as he was on a casual contract. His total earning gross for the 18 month period = $29k as evidenced by his pay slips.

This was all set in motion by my ex wife going on a benefit and not giving CSA my correct contact details nor advising me of a change in our agreement. I am now having to battle the bureaucracy of CSA with the potential outcome being that my wife may be entitled to receive a 2nd bite of the cherry through her dishonesty and the constraints I am now find myself under due to the provisions of the Child Support Act.

This case is not about me negating my responsibility to provide financial support to my children. I have well and truely provided this as evidenced by my adult children.

I welcome any constructive feed back or suggestions that could assist me.