I received an email today, highlighting some concerns around the fairness of admin review decisions.
Of course they will always seem fair to one of the parties involved, and more than likely unfair to the other party. But are they generally fair overall without bias to sending or receiving parents?
There are many sides to this, and points of view however if you have an opinion, or an experience, it would be great to hear it.
Here is the email:
It has come to my attention via bitter experience that Grounds for a child support administrative review particularly Ground 8 are being applied unfairly.
Ground 8 states that I have grounds for an administrative review if the child support assessment doesn’t take into account the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of either parent or child (or children).
As I understand it, both parents are responsible for providing as best as they can for their children and this rule is intended to ensure both parents are earning as much as they are capable of through their working.
My situation is that my ex-wife obtained a full-time job earning $70K/Year but because she was unwilling to share custody (which would have reduced her child support) or utilise child care services and so curtailed her hours to 30hrs/Week (earning her approximatelly $55K/Year) so as to be able to work without paying for child support.
Now that I have won 50/50 shared custody of the children (whilst working 40hrs/Week) my ex-wife is still working part-time, in part this is because her employer hired additional staff due to her part-time working; however, she has not applied for any full-time work nor does she believe that she should.
I applied for an administrative review on the grounds that my ex-wife should be working full-time and hence assessed on her established and potential earning capacity of $70K/Year.
I thought that this case was pretty clear cut given she has a current contract establishing her current market worth but the review officer found that it was reasonable for my ex-wife to continue to work part-time (presumably indefinitely).
This seems crazy to me!
It would have been reasonable to find in my favour because clearly she is not earning to her full potential through her own life-style choices but to modify the downward adjustment of the child support to ensure there was no undue hardship for my ex-wife.
However it seems this ruling supports the position that it is OK for the receiving parent to not maximise their earning potential because it provides no incentive at all for my ex-wife to earn more and assist me in supporting our children – after-all I pick up the short-fall, so I’m the only one who loses money ($300-400) every month.
I am having great difficulty getting accurate figures but anecdotal evidence suggests that this ground is being routinely applied to contributing parents who try to reduce their income but is almost never applied to receiving parents who similarly reduce their income by working in a menial job, part-time or simply rely on the DPB.
I am hoping to challenge this ruling in the courts but I would like to establish a body of evidence to show where this rule has been applied to the contributing parent and not the receiving parent; I’m sure the visitors to your site will be able to provide me with their experiences with this specific area of child support legislation.
If you want to tell me your story, send an email to robstgeorge at gmail dot com. Or leave a comment.
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