How to Challenge a CSA Income Assessment
The assessment of child support by the CSA under the formula requires a determination of what is the ‘child support assessable income. In some cases this can be a complicated process.
If one of the parents is dissatisfied with the assessment they can challenge it by way of a ‘departure application’.
A complex case recently came before the court that involved the consideration of the father’s military pensions.
- There were two children aged 11 & 9. The mother had primary care and she was in receipt of a Centrelink benefit.
- Prior to the marriage and birth of the children the father had a car accident which resulted in a brain injury. His only source of income was 2 pensions: a Military Super, which was taxed and a total and permanent disability (TPD) veteran’s pension, which was not taxed.
- The mother sought a departure from the CSA assessment on the basis that the father’s real income was more than his taxed Military Super and should include the TPD pension, the difference being approximately $30,000 vs $60,000 per annum. At the time of the hearing the father was being cared for by his parents, lived in his parent’s home and was putting aside $400 a week into a superannuation account, with the intent to provide for his residential care at an RSL facility in the future.
- The tribunal departed from the CSA assessment and used the father’s higher income in assessing Child Support. The father appealed to the court.
- The court granted the appeal and returned the matter to the tribunal for rehearing before a differently constituted panel. The tribunal again took the higher income and the father again appealed to the court.
- On the second appeal the court excluded the father’s veterans pension.
- The CSA then appealed the decision to the Full Court.