I arrived around 10 minutes early and made my presence known to reception who advised to take a seat. There was no line and very few people in the reception area. I sat in the waiting room for around ten minutes before I was called into an interview room on the side by a lady who I will call M. She has been doing these reviews for 18 years she told me. I would estimate her age to be around 55-60 years old.
She had a folder full of information laid out in front of her. And asked me to take a seat.
M asked me whether or not I had been through one of these prior to today and I stated no. She proceeded to give me a run down on how the process would go and talked about why the reviews exist and she told me she would hear both sides of the case and then send out a decision in around ten days. My ex, I was told, had a phone hearing later that day.
Firstly she asked me what my responses were to the correspondence that my ex had sent in by mail. There were 3 grounds that I had applied on and they were..
Ground 3 – A ground 3 is about a situation where as you may have had expenses in re-establishing yourself after your relationship breakup that are significant, for example you took on a loan that was present before and are still paying it off. I had the debt of a previous property transaction left over so made a claim under this ground.
Ground 4 – This is where you have a moral duty to support others that affects your ability to pay. In my situation I was helping support kids through a moral duty and was hoping for some relief because of this.
Ground 7 – Where it costs you more to educate or care for your child due to the expectations of one or both of the parents. On this ground, as I pay for my kids semi-private education, tutor fees for my daughter and many other activities and expenses I was hoping to get a tweak on the standard formula.
She listened to what I had to say and asked questions now and then to clarify things. She was obviously pretty clued up on these types of situations and I could tell from her questions and comments that she was a no nonsense kind of person who could quickly drill down to the real situation and issues at hand.
M would sometimes drag me back to the agenda if I started to go on too much about one area and pretty much told me I was going to struggle with ground 4 due to the fact that it was up to another admin review to be taken on the person involved, that had not been helping much, rather than any credit given to me for stepping up. I guess I understand that although not what I wanted to hear. Ground 3 she was pretty quiet on so I am of mixed feelings as to what if any benefit I will get from that. The ground 7 however she really seemed to light up about and we worked together through all the extra things that I pay for and I got the vibe that this one was going to be the one I perhaps got some justice on.
At the end I was able to give a brief summary, I outlined how I hoped that a fair decision would be made and I pointed out that in no way was I trying to avoid child support I was just trying to point out I had an unusual situation that the generic child support formula did not fairly take into account.
I think this is a crucial point as I am sure M gets to see plenty of parents that are trying to avoid paying child support, I asked her a bit about her work and she was certainly not a chatterbox but did tell me got to see all sorts and often, she stated, she would see the same people over and over again.
At the end she made a really nice comment about what kind of person I was, which I really appreciated as have always put my kids first and I do believe my actions and attitude had shown that.
Now the waiting game begins, every day I will be checking the mail wondering if the decision has come through. I will post the decision outline when it comes through.
If you have any questions or comments please share, don’t be a stranger we all have a story to tell and we would love to hear yours!