CHILD SUPPORT

 

What to do if you disagree with a Child Support Agency Decision

 

Steps to follow if you disagree with a Child Support Agency Decision

 

If a parent:

  • disagrees with a decision of the Child Support Agency; or

  • disagrees with information provided to Child Support Agency; or

  • has had their circumstances change at any time;

then the Child Support Agency should be contacted and provided with the relevant information. 

Most decisions of the Child Support Agency will be notified to you in writing. You should make sure you read any letters from the Child Support Agency very carefully.

If the letter or the decision is not clear to you, you should telephone the Child Support Agency on 131 772.

 

Objecting to a Child Support Agency Decision

 

If the Child Support Agency have all relevant information, but a parent still disagrees with a Child Support Agency decision then an objection can be made in writing. 

This can be done by sending an email or letter to the Child Support Agency or by filling in an Objections Form.

An objection is a formal request for a decision to be reviewed.

You may want to lodge an objection if the Child Support Agency has:

  • used incorrect information;

  • not considered all relevant facts;

  • overlooked relevant details;

  • not been aware of new information that has become available;

  • not applied the appropriate law or policy correctly; or

  • made the wrong decision in the circumstances of your case.

 

Decisions to which you can object

 

You are able to object to most Child Support decisions if you feel it necessary.

There are some decisions which cannot be reviewed through the objections process. Those types of decisions include:

  • parentage - decisions about whether you are the father can only be resolved in a Court;

  • most collection processes - interception of tax refunds, garnishing, or a payment arrangement amount (although you may be able to renegotiate the decision with CSA); and

  • Departure Prohibition Orders (DPO) - if you disagree with our decision, you may apply to us to have the DPO revoked or varied. The only appeal rights to these decisions are through a Court.

 

What to put in an Objection

 

You can object to a decision of the Child Support Agency by sending an email or letter to the Child Support Agency or by filling in an Objections Form. Your objection must be in writing.

Make sure you include the following information in your Objection:

  • the date of the letter advising you of the decision to which you are objecting;
  • the date you received the letter advising you of the decision to which you are objecting;
  • the decision you are objecting to;
  • the reasons why you think the decision is not correct;
  • copies of documents or other evidence to support your objection, if that is available.

 

Time Limits to Object to a Child Support Agency Decision

 

You have 28 days from the date you received the letter notifying you of the decision in which to object. If you live overseas then you have 90 days to object.

Objections received outside these time frames cannot be considered unless you make a request for an extension of time in writing or you telephone the Child Support Agency on 131 272. You will need to explain why you were unable to object within the time frame.

If the Child Support Agency refuses to give you an extension of time to object, you can apply to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) for a review of the extension of time decision.

If you are objecting to a decision about care percentage then you can lodge your objection at any time. However, if your objection is not lodged within 28 days (or 90 days if you live overseas) the Child Support Agency will only be able to backdate any changes from the date you lodged your objection, unless there are special circumstances.

 

What happens if you object to a Child Support Decision

 

After you object to a decision of the Child Support Agency an Objections Officer will be appointed. The Objections Officer will:

  • discuss your objection with you;

  • discuss your objection with the other parent over the phone (the CSA is required by law to pass all information provided in the objection to the other parent);

  • request any relevant information from you and the other parent;

  • exchange any relevant information that either parent provides; and

  • gather information from other sources if necessary.

The Child Support Agency is to make a decision about your objection within 60 days, although if one parent resides overseas the CSA has up to 120 days.

Usually the Objections Officer will attempt to phone both parents and advise them of the likely objection decision.

Once a decision about the objection has been made, you will be advised in writing whether the objection is allowed, partly allowed or disallowed and the reasons for the decision.

If you do not agree with the objection decision, you might be able to apply to the SSAT for further review.

While your objection is being reviewed by the Objections Officer, you must remember that the original decision still applies. Accordingly, any payments should be made as usual.

You can apply to a Court for a stay order which prevents any collection action while you're objecting or applying to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT).

 

Appealing a Decision of the Child Support Agency

 

Before you can appeal a Child Support Agency Decision you have to make a formal objection to the decision.

You must also wait to receive in writing, the decision of the Objections Officer to your objection before you can apply to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT).

Only after the Child Support Agency has made a decision in relation to the objection, can a parent apply to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT). 

In some cases a parent can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and or to a court.

You can contact the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) on 1800 011 140 or to to the SSAT website to print out an appeal form.

Unless you are seeking a review of a care percentage decision, you can apply to the SSAT at any time however if you do not apply within 28 days (or 90 days if you live overseas in a reciprocating jurisdiction) then the decision of the SSAT will only affect your Child Support Assessment from the date you applied.

If you do not agree with the SSAT decision, you can only appeal to a Court on a question of law. A question of law is how the law or legal principle was applied to the facts of the case or whether the process was legally correct.

You cannot apply to a Court just because disagree with the SSAT decision.

 

Child Support - More Information

 

The following fact sheets in our Child Support section may also help you:

You can also find more information in the Child Support Guide.

 

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Content By:
Michelle Beatty
MRB LAW

Other Questions answered in the Child Support Section

 

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