by Sonata  13/11/2018  402 Page Views
6 Comments  Family & de facto law, financial agreements, consent orders
Hello, good folk. Long time, no post, hope everyone is well.

So, my husband's ex-wife has just requested that they enter into a binding child support agreement for $0 in ordinary child support payments and that each party instead just contributes to half of any fees associated with schooling and extra-curricular activities.

This was basically occurring over the past 12 months anyway - ex-wife was the payer of about $180 in assessed child support for the year, and we voluntarily paid for half of school event and sporting fees (which came to about $700 in total, so $350 for our share).

They have equal care (week-about) in accordance with consent orders sealed by the FCCA, and their incomes have been roughly the same for the past couple of years.

At the moment, ex-wife's income on the latest child support assessment is provisional while waiting for her to tax return to be processed, but the provisional amount is only about 20% of what her income was last year. We also understand that she's started working a couple of extra days a week, so there's a good chance her income will have gone up, making it hard to get an accurate idea of what the actual child support assessment should be.

At first glance, a BCSA for $0 in child support and payment instead for half of all fees sounds good, but I'm hesitant for a couple of reasons.

First, we don't know how circumstances will change in coming years.

Second, we have very different philosophies when it comes to financial management, and we don't want to fall into a trap where ex-wife buys the $500 version of something and then sends us an invoice for half, when we would have purchased the $300 version instead.

Third, though their relationship is amicable enough most of the time, there is still a lot of mistrust, and financial issues in particular are often subject to petty complaints and hostility. For example, ex-wife recently complained that contributions toward school fees were being made from 'my' account and she wanted them to come just from my husband's account (which is non-existent because all of our accounts are joint). If that's the nature of the issues that are going to be raised, then there's some concern that a BCSA is only going to cause more problems than it solves.

What would you do?