Powerless Child Support

(blog) My frustration is rising. Child support debt is mounting and there is nothing that can be done about it. I am the recipient parent of child support. The paying parent has declared no assets, not informed CSA of their employer, more than likely works cash and doesn’t keep CSA up to date with changing contact details.

Children don’t live on fresh air alone. They cost money! And lots of it. While our children are healthy and happy, they are court ordered to see a Paediatric Psychologist, require orthotics (which need to be renewed annually because they are growing) and are soon to require orthodontics. Adding this to education, clothing, extra-curricular, housing, feeding and all the rest of the activities done as a parent.

The Australian government didn’t choose to have my children, so they shouldn’t have to pay for them. Why is it that we can’t hold the paying parent more accountable for their actions, choices and decisions? Seemingly, if the paying parent doesn’t have any assets and isn’t declaring an income, CSA can’t garnishee or caveat anything.

It is more frustrating when the should-be-paying parent is enjoying a luxurious life with expensive hobbies and able to support thoroughbreds held in another person’s name (and they thought I didn’t know about it).

In Italy, unlike Australia, there is a social pressure put on parents to provide for the children of the marriage. During separation and divorce, Italian’s heavily consider the extended family involvement when making decisions and judgements. Similarly, where one parent isn’t paying child support (or ‘maintenance’), the Italian Government agencies lean on the parents, siblings, brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws, aunts, uncles and any other close relatives to ensure that the children are cared for. This creates a social stigma for parents not providing financially for their children, to the extent of being excommunicated or thrown out of the town. Australians who don’t pay child support may have caveats on their assets, however, the Italians’ have taken child support further: If the parent isn’t paying for their children they may face additional fees, suspension of assets or imprisonment.

I strongly feel that if Australia adopts the same financial responsibility on the paying parent and their extended family as the Italian’s have done, they will be more likely to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of CSA, ensuring and encouraging the paying parent to go to work, to work hard, to declare income and to support their children as they should. The should-be-paying parent won’t be able to enjoy expensive hobbies and blow their money gambling, drinking or holidaying with debt because the extended family will not tolerate paying for the should-be-paying parent’s children as well as their own.

Hypothetically, if my should-be-paying parent was to die tomorrow, I won’t see the funds because, conveniently for them, there aren’t any assets. Australia needs to make a change. We need to find a way to better support the parent in receipt of child support and give CSA better legislation to recover unpaid funds.

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