Child Support - help!!??
I am so confused and feel so let down by this agency so would like to hear others experiences.
I was advised to apply for child support by centrelink due to separation so I submitted my details. CSA advised me on the phone that I would be eligible for child support from the ex.
They asked me for current financial year income details plus last years 18/19 financial year income details (however no returns lodged as of yet, thats fine doesnt matter at this point they said). My income was and is considerably lower than ex partners. We have 2 children with 50/50 care.
I just received the assessment and they are now saying I have to pay my ex child support!!! They have based this on the 17/18 tax returns in which my income was higher than partners, only because he was a sole trader at the time and had a lot of deductions to offset his income. This was the first and only year I earned more than him.
I am at a complete loss and very stressed. The separation is highly volatile and financially crippling. He booted me out of the business of which I am a director, closed business accounts and locked me out of the accounting software, emails everything (DV involved as well) so I was forced to get another job because he refused to pay me a wage (seeking legal advice on this already). I am paying the mortgage whilst it is still in both names while we try to reach a property settlement. My job is only a temporary 3 month contract and I am actively looking to secure full time work.
So my questions are:
1. CSA has advised I lodge a tax return asap to reduce my income for the assessment, however what happens if my ex doesnt lodge his return. Do they still go off the last tax return he has on file until he does lodge one? Can they force him to get one asap?
2. Given he is a director of the company, can CSA look into or ask him to provide proof of his income or companys income if he lowers his income "on paper" on purpose to avoid child support or make me pay him. How does this work?
3. I financially cant afford to pay child support at the moment and I shouldnt have to because I know he is on so much more than me. I dont understand how they only go off the last tax return to make their assessment. In my case, my last tax return certainly wont reflect my current financial situation. If I literally cant afford to pay it, what do I do, I dont want a debt for something I shouldnt even be paying.
4. Can I request to go to a private agreement instead of using CSA, how does this work.?I would rather not deal with CSA at all or receive any payment from my ex even if he ended up doing the right thing just to avoid this anxiety of constantly having to worry what figures they work off.
Any advice would be appreciated :(