4.1.2 Decisions Made under the CSA Act to Which a Person May Object

Context

A parent or non-parent carer may object to certain decisions under the CSA Act.

On this page

A parent or non-parent carer may object to particular decisions made under the CSA Act. A person cannot apply to the AAT for an AAT first review of a decision unless they have already objected to that decision. In most cases, a person cannot apply to court about a child support assessment unless they have already objected to a decision about that assessment and have also sought an AAT first review.

CSRC Act section 80(1) provides that parties to an assessment can object to the following decisions by the Registrar that were made under the CSA Act:

The Child Support and Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Act 2010 introduced new rules for objections to care percentage decisions made for periods after 1 July 2010. See 4.1.8 for more information.

Prior to 1 January 2007 the objection provisions relating to decisions made under the CSA Act were contained in Part 6B of that Act. The Reforms Act repealed those provisions and resulted in the current arrangements. Objections provisions for decisions under the CSA Act were introduced by the Child Support Legislation Amendment Act 1998 and apply to decisions relating to assessments from 1 July 1999.

An objection may not be required to correct an obvious error in an assessment. Refer to 2.9.5 for more information.

A decision to accept an application for assessment

A parent who is assessed in respect of the costs of the child can object to the Registrar's decision to accept an application for a child support assessment. The objection can be on any grounds other than the ground that the person is not a parent of the child (CSRC Act section 80(1) item 9 and section 80(4)).

Example: The Registrar accepts F's application for an assessment of child support for her child A, payable by M. F provided a statutory declaration signed by M, stating that M is the father of A.

M advises the Registrar that he didn't sign the statutory declaration and he doesn't accept that he is A's father.

M can't object to the Registrar's decision to accept the application for assessment. His objection is on the basis that he is not a parent of the child concerned.

In these circumstances a parent who has been assessed in respect of the costs of the child can apply to a court under CSA Act section 107 (4.3.2) for a declaration that they should not be assessed in respect of the costs of the child because they are not a parent of the child ('Bixby and Farraday (SSAT Appeal) [2009] FMCAfam 647').

Example: The Registrar accepts F's application for an assessment for child support for her child A, payable by M.

M advises the Registrar that he doesn't believe he should have to pay child support for A, who is aged 17, as she is living in a de facto relationship with her boyfriend.

M can object to the Registrar's decision to accept the application for assessment. The ground of his objection is that A is not an eligible child as she is a member of a couple.

The Registrar may suspend payments to the payee while the Registrar considers the payer's objection to the validity of a child support assessment for reasons other than the parentage of the child concerned. See 5.5.4 for more information on suspending payments to payees.

If there is an obvious administrative error in a decision to accept an application for assessment, the Registrar may be able to correct the decision without the need for court action.

Example: The Registrar accepts F's application for an assessment for child support for her child A, payable by M but was not able to contact M. The Registrar based the decision on a statutory declaration from F that M was named on the birth certificate as a parent of A.

M subsequently contacts the Registrar and contradicts F's claim about the birth certificate. The Registrar later confirms that M is not named on the certificate and that the declaration was false. The Registrar can correct this error, M does not need to apply to court for a declaration under section 107.

A decision to refuse to accept an application for assessment

An applicant can object to the Registrar's decision to refuse to accept their application for an administrative assessment unless one of the reasons for refusal was that the Registrar was not satisfied that the person who was to be assessed in respect of the costs of a child is a parent of the child (section 80(1) item 10 and section 80(5)).

If an applicant disagrees with the Registrar's decision to refuse their application because the Registrar is not satisfied that the person who was to be assessed in respect of the costs of the child is a parent of the child, they can apply to a court under CSA Act section 106A (4.3.2) for a declaration that the person should be assessed in respect of the costs of the child because the person is a parent of the child. If a court grants the declaration, the Registrar is taken to have accepted the application for assessment (section 106A(6)(a)).

If there was more than one reason for refusing the application, the applicant can apply to a court for a declaration that they are entitled to have the Registrar reconsider the application because the person who was to be assessed in respect of the costs of the child is a parent of the child. If the declaration is granted, then the Registrar must reconsider the application (section 106A(6)(b)).

If there is an obvious administrative error in a decision to refuse an application for assessment, the Registrar may be able to correct the decision without the need for court action.

Example: The Registrar refuses F's application for an assessment for child support for her child A, payable by M. The application is refused because F did not provide the necessary evidence to satisfy the presumption of parentage (2.1.3) rules.

F subsequently contacts the Registrar and advises that the evidence was sent to the Registrar 2 days before the application was refused. The Registrar confirms that the evidence was received before the decision was made but administrative delays prevented the decision maker from considering it. The Registrar can correct this error, F does not need to apply to court for a declaration under section 106A.

A decision as to the particulars of a child support assessment

Parents and non-parent carers can object to the Registrar's decision about the particulars of their administrative assessment (section 80(1) item 11), except for care percentage decisions made for periods after 1 July 2010 where the objection is made under section 80A.

The particulars of a child support assessment are the other elements of the child support formula including:

  • the adjusted taxable income of each parent (this includes a parent's estimate of their adjusted taxable income)
  • the child support income of each parent,
  • the self-support amount of each parent,
  • the income percentage of each parent,
  • the care percentage of each parent (for periods before 1 July 2010),
  • the cost percentage of each parent,
  • the child support percentage of each parent,
  • the costs of each child,
  • the annual rate of child support.

Example: M disagrees with the Registrar's decision to reduce the child support assessment because F has lodged an estimate of income. M can object to the Registrar's decision because it is a decision in relation to a particular of the assessment i.e. the adjusted taxable income of F, the parent who lodged the estimate.

Example: F disagrees with the amount of child support the Registrar worked out in accordance with his child support agreement with M. F can object to this decision because it is a decision in relation to the annual rate of child support, a particular of the assessment.

A decision as to the particulars of a notional child support assessment

Parents and any non-parent carers can object to the Registrar's decision about the particulars of their notional assessment (section 80(1) item 14A). There are no review rights in relation to a provisional notional assessment (2.7.4), as either party can ask for certain variations to the provisional notional assessment. Once a provisional notional assessment has become a notional assessment (2.7.4), an objection can be made to the particulars of the notional assessment.

A decision to make or refuse to make a determination under CSA Act Part 6A (change of assessment)

A parent or non-parent carer can object to the Registrar's decision to make a change of assessment decision or to refuse to make a change of assessment decision (section 80(1) item 15). The person who objects does not have to be the person who applied for the change of assessment.

A decision to accept or refuse to accept a child support agreement

A party to the child support agreement can object to the Registrar's decision to accept or refuse to accept their child support agreement (section 80(1) item 14).

A decision to terminate a limited child support agreement

A party to a limited child support agreement can object to the Registrar's decision to terminate their agreement if the decision to terminate resulted from an election to terminate the agreement being lodged by one of the parties to the agreement (section 80(1) item 13). The election to terminate may have been made because the notional assessment (2.7.4) was varied by more than 15% or because the agreement was made 3 or more years prior to the election to terminate.

To refuse to accept an election of a new year to date income for an income estimate

A parent who makes an income estimate for part of a financial year must provide a year to date income amount when making the estimate election (CSA Act section 60(3)(b)). If the parent later becomes aware that the year to date income amount provided is inaccurate they can elect a new year to date income amount (section 63AC). The Registrar may refuse to accept the election for a new year to date income amount (section 63AD). The parent can object to the Registrar's decision to refuse the election (section 80(1) item 11A).

To determine a new year to date income for an income estimate

A parent must provide a year to date income amount when making an income election (CSA Act section 60(3)(b)). If the Registrar later becomes aware that the year to date income amount is incorrect the Registrar may determine another amount to replace the year to date income amount (section 63AE). The parent can object to the Registrar's determination of the year to date income (section 80(1) item 11B).

A decision to refuse to remit an estimate penalty in whole or part

A parent who requests the Registrar to remit their estimate penalty can object to the Registrar's decision in relation to the remission of that estimate penalty (section 80(1) item 12).

WA ex-nuptial cases

The information on this page applies to WA ex-nuptial children. See 1.4.2 for details of the date from which various provisions had effect for WA ex-nuptial cases.

Last reviewed: 8 February 2016