Sunday, 4 October 2009

CSA gives out mental health tips

Mental health tips for separated and separating parents

Mental Health Week (4-10 October) is an opportunity to increase awareness of important emotional wellbeing issues parents face if their family breaks up. Mental Health Week (4-10 October) is an opportunity to increase awareness of important emotional wellbeing issues parents face if their family breaks up.

Assistant Secretary for Parent Support at the Child Support Agency, Katrina Baird, said separation was a common experience for many families. Gaining access to quality resources and support services early could make a big difference to how separated families fared in the long term.

"In many cases, seeking support early can reduce conflict and result in positive outcomes for everyone involved - parents as well as children," Ms Baird said.

"There is a wide variety of government and support services available for newly separating families and the Child Support Agency's advice and referrals can make it easier for separated families to find crucial support services as soon as possible.

"Each month the CSA directly connects about 25-30 parents who are distressed and wanting help to deal with the emotional issues arising from separation to trained counsellors at specialist parent support service, Parentline ACT.

"According to the Australian Government report*, Families in Australia: 2008, one in five families with children under the age of 18 are single or separated. While around 7 per cent of all families with children aged under 18 live in step or blended families.

"There is life after marriage breakdown. It helps to ask for help early. If you can get to a point where you can look outside your own needs, the children can and should benefit. I have always said to my children that I left the dwelling, I never left the children. It is an important message they need to know. It is because of this and being honest with them that our relationship remains strong." ­- Separated dad

The Department of Human Services recently launched a new product: My family is separating, what now? The new website simplifies the process of trawling through multiple websites looking for information on what to do when going through family separation.

For further information about the Child Support Agency support services go to and follow the links to the Community Services Directory.* Families in Australia: 2008 - published by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Mental Health tips for newly separated parents:

1. Be informed There are a range of child support options and support services for single and separated families. If you are newly separated, or thinking about separating, call the Child Support Agency on 131 272 or visit

2. Ask for support early and develop a workable relationship Parents are more likely to develop a workable relationship with their ex if they seek support early. Support services available for separated families include:

These organisations provide counselling, family mediation, anger management workshops, parenting plans, agreements, financial counselling and more.

3. Keep conflict away from your kids Discuss separation with your kids in a positive way. There are a number of resources available to help support kids through separation. Family Relationships Australia has a children's book Question and answers about separation for children which can be downloaded from

Kids can call the Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 for free confidential anonymous support.

Lifeline 13 11 14.

4. Seek additional advice if necessary Parents can find out about legal, financial and community support services in their area by visiting CSA's new website or the Community Services Directory at

Support services include:

  • LawAccess Hotline on 1300 888 529
  • Mensline on 1300 789 978
  • National Domestic Violence Line 1800 200 526
  • Centrelink Social Workers offer confidential support for individuals experiencing family violence 13 61 50

5. Try managing your child support privately. Private Collect is the most popular option for CSA customers because it is flexible and requires little CSA involvement. Separated parents can register with the CSA, use the child support assessment to determine the amount of child support to be paid but manage the actual transfer of child support themselves. CSA research has shown parents on Private Collect are more likely to have successful workable relationships with their ex, post- separation.

6. Keep your information current· Changes in your circumstances may affect your child support assessment. · Lodge tax returns on time.· Update personal information such as income and employment status. · Notify the CSA of any changes in living arrangements, care, new children or private payments (if on CSA Collect).

7. Take charge Call 131 272 between 8.30am and 4.45pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays) if you have any questions or concerns regarding child support.

Source: CSA Media release


Colin said...

Re "There is life after marriage breakdown."

In my experience the only amicable break ups are the ones where the guy bends over and takes it financially ...and some. However, not all of us are in a position to do so and some women still want more.

My ex walked away with $2.5million. I walked away having to get a loan to furnish a place for me and the kids to live in, when they are with me for six nights out of every fourteen.

All her money is tied up overseas in property, shares, managed funds and the like. Not content with $2.5 million, she lodged a claim with the CSA who sent me a bill for $1,500 the week before Xmas a few years ago. Based on the fact that visibly (from an ATO point of view) she earns little ie, < $20k/pa.

Every year now I have to submit a change of assessment to get her true worth recognised. Every year now I stare down the barrel of a $10k loss in net salary.

I will never have another relationship because I have little to offer financially to any relationship AND (more importantly) I now realise I could not afford the risk of getting another woman pregnant and the subsequent costs involved, if things went wrong again.

Still, while I can keep proving her true worth I am able to continue having a loving and complete relationship with my children. If she ever succeeds in convincing them she has burnt the $2.5million. My kids will certainly suffer a loss in the modest lifestyle we lead and possibly even their Dad.

Ain't life sweet.

bytherule Lawyers said...

The CSA is responsible for so much trauma and mental disease they should bloody well pay for the counselling as well

Anonymous said...

Look, these lunatics at CSA should try to get what they do right and not try to give health tips. How can they seek back pay from 10 years ago plus charge a penalty for providing an incorrect estimation. Isn't an estimate just that - an estimate?

Anonymous said...

Rather than giving out mental health tips, the CSA would be better advised to recognise that they are responsible for causing a considerable amount of stress they are trying to shift to their clients.

They should be proactive in addressing the cause of the stress which is the inconsistent application of CSA legislation.

The CSA constantly harrasses clients with their threats of punitive action. They do this because they do not ever believe they will be held accountable. Bias, inaccurate and incomplete records, misleading information and blatantly incorrect assessments lead to the stress.

The client is considered 'guilty' unless they are prepared to take the time and effort to prove otherwise. The CSA does not believe they have to provide evidence supporting any of their decisions. Consequently they issue assessments which fail to comply with CSA Legislation, fail the criteria of good administration set down in the ADJR Act 1977, and quite often are blatantly wrong.

I have eliminated an inaccurate $12,000 debt, dating back 12 years, attributed to me because of poor CSA process and proven CSA bias.

How many others suffer the same injustice because they do not believe they can fight the CSA?

Anonymous said...

Mental Health Week (4-10 October) is an opportunity to increase awareness of important emotional wellbeing issues parents face if their family breaks up. check it