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My Ex’s New Partner is a Goldmine: Can I Stop Child Support?

  |   Family Law

When your ex commences a new relationship, feelings can be quite mixed. Generally speaking, post-separation life might have been going along fairly predictably with the children now doing well, child support being paid and communication with your ex-spouse being relatively civil. The introduction of a new partner for the other person can however bring up a number of hot-button issues. Child support payments can certainly be one of these. And this can intensify if the new individual appears to be something of a ‘Mr or Ms Moneybags’!


Back to the basics


The basis of the Child Support Agency’s (CSA) regime is making sure that both parents have a hand in the financial support of any children from the relationship. While the various forms and formulas can seem complex at times, the many years of child support operating in Australia tend to show that it does a pretty good job of working out support for kids post-separation. With various tweaking and reviews across time, the CSA system is generally considered a fairly adequate mechanism for helping parents with the financial side of child raising.


Too lopsided?


Sometimes though it does seem rather unfair that the ex-spouse can re-partner with a wealthy character – without your child support being impacted one iota. This can certainly be the case where a non-residential parent works flat out, makes an average wage, and only sees the kids from time-to-time. Surely the other person could help out? As you are no doubt aware, your ex-partner’s own income is taken into account when the child support assessment is made. But the income of other adults in a child’s life will in most cases be kept separate from the calculation.


Temptation to stop


Some parents who are paying child support can find their ex’s re-partnering to be quite challenging. And when the new partner is wealthy, the temptation can sometimes arise to just stop paying, in order to balance things out. After all, will the ex even notice if your hard-earned cash doesn’t roll in? Whether it is noticed or not, a couple of real problems can arise if you choose to stop paying. Down the track the CSA debt that has accrued from non-payment may hit your letterbox as a substantial sum. Further, if it filters down to the kids that you decided to stop paying child support because of the new partner, their disappointment about your choice could be significant.


Reasonable alterations


Now, this is not to say that they amount of child support that is payable can’t be varied. There may be lump sum contributions that you are making in areas such as schooling or health, for example, which the CSA is willing to take into account.


Your specialist family lawyer has all of the latest information regarding a possible child support change of assessment. It is also worth noting that sometimes your ex and their new spouse might work in a business together, with the ex-partner’s individual income being difficult to work out. Again, seek out professional help if you believe that your ex might be earning more income that previously thought. A separate issue might be your parenting arrangements, now that a new partner is on the scene. This is a further issue that can be discussed with your family law team.


Silver linings


At the end of the day, the reality remains that the kids are great and you have been doing an excellent job of supporting them financially through child support payments. And the financial side of things is only one aspect. Sure – Mr or Ms ‘Goldmine’ might well have waltzed into the picture recently. Yet one thing remains, and that is that you are one of the child’s constant and irreplaceable parents. In paying child support as it is assessed, it’s a chance to make sure that they will always be okay, no matter who else might be going on in their lives. Certainly it can pay to chat with a dedicated family lawyer about any and all of your child support concerns. If a child support change of assessment is advisable, you can rest assured that your child support payments and issues will be expertly managed by the family law team.