–. Wednesday. March. 14. 2012. ( 8:01am )
Dear Bossy: I have been separated and divorced from my ex for over 2 years. She was not happy and was having an affair.
We have 3 children under 15 and I have had half custody of the children since separation.
NOW – what gives me the shits with child support is that I have to pay her so much for the children when we have them the same time.
I know this is the way the CSA works out there figures but how unfair. Because I earn double what she earns I have to make up the short fall for her.
No good getting a better job or a pay rise because guess what IT will go to her.
I always help out with school fees and clothing etc but what gets me every time she buys anything for the children I have to pay half onto of the child support.
She knows that she does not have to find a better job because what she gets paid now plus family assistance and what I pay her.
Also I provided to CSA a copy of bank statements of what was paid into her bank account to what she put into tax return ( $20K ) difference for a review of my child support
And they come back to say that because she is a merchandiser it was correct because the extra was for fuel. Over $350 a week in fuel??
You tell me Bossy who is getting screwed over.
Bossy says: There is no doubt the issue of child support is an emotional one. And it would be great if I could give you an easy answer in 400 words or less.
But unfortunately child support and child custody arrangements - especially once a government department or court is involved – are usually extremely complex.
The way you explain it you are being hit hard by the child support system that is designed to create parity between parental living situations. This system is intended to create a level standard of living for the child or children involved. At least this is what I have been told by the Child Support Agency (CSA).
It means, at its most extreme example, children do not go from one parents’ house where they were scratching to come up with milk money, to another where they are living large.
I can see from your perspective it seems unfair. I hear from a lot of people who agree. And even
without knowing your ex or your relationship with her I’d say having to prop up the income of a lower earning ex must rankle beyond belief.
But while you feel strongly the system is benefiting your ex, the CSA says it is trying to benefit your kids.
Whether that is actually true in your situation I don’t know. What I do know is no system – especially one like this which administers family relationships – is ever even close to perfect.
But while I can offer sympathy and an opportunity for you to vent, I can’t snap my fingers and change this imperfect system any more than you can.
The truth is lawmakers need to cast a wide net. Laws and systems can’t be tailored to suit everyone involved – although at a family court level that is what they aim to do. So they cast the net wide to capture almost everyone, but usually to suit no-one at all.
Of course there are many taxes and government systems that seem unfair, to many different people, me included. And we are often lumped with them. The difference for you and other people trying to live under the restraints of CSA payments is this situation involves your children who you love very much and a woman you once loved but don’t any more. So it’s hard not to be emotional about it.
But while these rules may suck, unless you find a way to change them - legally - or to resolve the conflict with your ex so you can handle your finances and support privately, you are stuck with it.
Separating with children and sorting through your differences is rarely easy and I feel for anyone in your situation. But in the end your frustration – while understandable – is also pointless, and probably just makes for poorer relations with your ex and maybe even more tension for your children.
This is not about sucking it up. But my question to people is often this: Can you change it? Not can your ex change it or can the government or your kids or the bloke next door change it? Can you?
If you can change it get busy and make it happen. Be proactive.
If you can’t? Then accept it and move on. Make the most of your shitty situation, even allowing that things could be much worse. Concentrate more fiully on the things you can control, including having a great relationship with your kids.
Decide which situation you are in. Can change? Or can’t change. Go from there.