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Child Support - a major reason for depression and anxiety

Community Member
I'm in the second wive's club, have been married for 8 years now, to a wonderful man who I have known for over 30 year (since before I left school). I have recently taken over management of my husbands child support arrangements because it they just destroy him and make him so depressed and since I did this I can see why! How is it possible a Government run agency is given such power to make people's lives so miserable? He has 3 kids to his first wife (nut job), all teenagers now and we have always had issues with her causing trouble, not following the parenting plan, not communicating, occillating wildly between dumping the kids on us, to withholding access. Now we have a situation where she has told the CSA that she has 100% care and our child support payments have gone beyond 30% of my husbands income and of course it is me that has to now prop up our mortgage and expenses from my income. We have them less, because they now have weekend jobs and spend time at friends places, so she doesn't actually have them more either but CSA refuses to change the assessment as we have to "provide evidence" that we have shared care. She actually owes us money that she flatly refuses to pay back after agreeing to pay 50% of costs for school laptops and won't agree to have this money owed recognised as child support contribution either. Why is CSA allowed to be so disproportionately biased against the non custodial parent? Why are step parents contributions not recognised or considered? My husband has major depression over his kids and the child support arrangements. It causes me great anxiety as well as i carry the financial burden. How have others dealt with this issue.
3 Replies 3

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi SW, welcome

I'll explain my old situation then some ideas on how to cope.

I left the family home following 11 years of emotional abuse. Our girls were 7 and 4yo. It broke my heart driving away. I worked 3 jobs including shift work so she could be at home with our kids. It wasn't appreciated and even home duties weren't done- I did them!!

I nearly took my life one week before I left. But "better a part time dad than no dad at all" I told myself, so glad I did. I started off in a small caravan in a CPark and bought a block of land and built my own home. After 12 months building it my wife wrote to CSA to tell them I had a new home and she had an old home and "I deserve more child support". She never got it. The financial pressure was so bad I didn't eat properly.

I met a lady and 2 years later I had my first big issue with what was later diagnosed with bipolar and depression. I left my job to recover. Upon applying for a reduction or temporary suspension of the repayments I was told I must continue to may them- regardless of doctors certificates. My defacto wife (who didn't accept my kids) refused to help out.

Luckily I returned to an old profession and caught up. At 12yo my youngest came to live with me. That meant no more child support, one child each. In revenge my ex brainwashed my youngest and at 13yo my youngest rang me to tell me she "didn't want to see me anymore". Ten long years before I'd see her again. In the meantime I paid $15,000 towards her dental work/jaw realignment. etc. I should have claimed that on child support but....you know what its like loving children.

How did I survive? Well, it wasn't easy. I decided that my kids being teens would soon be 18yo and adults, no more CS and no more CSA issues.

Ok. For what its worth, prop up your hubby until all this is over. Front this issue head on together. Forget about the injustice of it all. Put up boundaries after the youngest is 18yo. They can drive to your place for visits. Learn to "play the child support game" in that the more applications the better, don't be afraid to complain time and time again for justice but expect no positive outcome.

Don't spend too much on the kids. They have to learn that dad is paying for their welfare.

Some families can get together at functions and laugh and joke and get along. If you cant with his ex that's ok. It only takes one to upset that possibility. Try not to take on the guilt and help hubby by taking things in your stride.

hope that helps.

tony WK

I forgot, ran out of characters.

Here are some threads that might help. use google and read just the first post if you like

topic: Depression and toxic people- beyondblue

Topic: develop defiance, stand proud- beyondblue

Topic: fortress of survival- beyondblue

The last one is particularly apt for your hubby. Being mentally ill he needs to develop ways to shut out the injustice and keep things and people at arms length.

Your input in this is particularly important as you can help by shutting down contentious issues like his ex. And replace such conversations with happy ones. This was how my then wife and I used to act on driving to pick up my kids. We would always slide into conversation about my ex, but we had a one minute limit on it then "ok onto something else."

Feel free to comment on threads there or continue here.

Tony WK

Thanks Tony, that is indeed sound advice. You and my hubby's situation sound similar (except it was her that broke up the marriage). She left him homeless, destroyed his business, he was living in his work van after a so called friend (pastor) had him put up in a disgusting boarding house his van was preferably. He has only really got back on his feet a year or so ago (we've been together for 8 years so I've supported him and his kids 100% for all that time). He is actually very forgiving, me, I'm the one doesn't take anything sitting down and will fight to the death. His ex is the most passive/aggressive/manipulative person and has definitely used parental alienation as a weapon (but done so in a passive/aggressive way she acts the victim). I tried to call child support on friday, an hour on hold only to be told our representative form hadn't been processed yet so they couldn't talk to me (I said I'd send them a bill for my wasted time). 4 more years of this hell.