tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

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Inland Revenue - It's our job to be fair?

This morning I got the dreaded letter from IRD Child Support, telling me they are increasing my payments again. This basically means they've increased my payments by $10/week over the last year. This is without my income having increased. Apparently they made a mistake some time in the past, and now I'm expected to pay for it.

I now pay $80 in Child Support a week.

First, I'm happy to contribute to the cost of my son's upbringing. I understand that there are a lot of non-custodial parents who dodge their responsibility. I'm not one of those and I have it set up so that the money is subtracted from my wages before I get them. It's simple, and means I don't miss payments.

However, I object to some government department arbitrarily deciding how much I should pay. Surely, each situation is different. This is how it works: I get a gross income of X. I'm allowed a living allowance of $12000 that the Child Support people don't count when calculating my payments. I did the maths, that adds up to $230.00/week, less tax makes it $180.00 a week for my living. OK.

Then, they take the remainder of my gross income, and take 18% of that in Child Support. Remember, this is my gross income. So, we go back to the original figure again, and Inland Revenue take their slice in tax as well. The fun part about this is that if/when my income increases, the payments increase accordingly. So, I could end up paying twice or even three times as much as I'm paying now.

So, why is this all so unfair, you ask? Well. The family that is receiving these payments has an income of $1100 a week after tax. Most of this is in tax credits and allowances provided by the government for people with large families (there are six children). Also, the father earns the same amount per year as me. On top of this, they get my $80, which is supposedly half of what is being spent to support my son. That means, there should be $160.00 a week spent on him. Dividing the total household income by the 8 people living there, it's actually $147.50. That's still a lot of money for one kid.

What do I get for my money? Well, He wears hand-me-down clothes. He doesn't go on school trips because his folks can't afford it. He had to give up karate because there wasn't enough money to pay the yearly fee of $50. I get to see him three times a year. I get told that any contact I want with my kid, I have to pay for, because they can't afford it. He's not allowed to phone me, even on $3.00 night, because it's too expensive. Meanwhile, he tells me about the new Playstation and computer Dad just bought that he's not allowed to use, the 4-wheel-drive Dad crashed because he was drunk, and how many nights a week get spent at the pub.

That's why it's not fair. The position I'm in is that I have no choice but to pay the money, but I have absolutely no say in how it gets spent. If I had a choice, I'd still pay the same amount, but $20 a week would be getting put away to help pay for his future education, and I'd be using some of it to buy him clothes, and putting some aside for school trips and activities.

My money is getting pissed up against the wall. The Child Support people don't care whether the money I pay is used for the child or not. And they get to make arbitrary decisions about how much of my income they take, without consulting me. That's why it's not fair.


How about some laws that allow non-custodial parents to have some say in how their financial contribution can actually be used to benefit their child?

Contrary to popular opinion, we are not all irresponsible payment-dodgers who don't care. But we -are- powerless to participate freely in the upbringing of our children in any real, constructive way. And that is wrong. So wrong.
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