Parents that pay or receive child support have now been delivered their assessments for the 2015-2016 year.
Unfortunately, for many of those opening their envelopes from the IRD, the recent changes to the child support formula have resulted in unpleasant and unwanted surprises.
It is now clear that the new changes were not well explained, and those that have been on the receiving end of substantial variations were not forewarned.
Every day we are hearing new stories from embattled parents via our Facebook page.
This article shares some of the pain and talks about the main changes that have been made to the formula.
Both Parties Incomes Now Factored Into The Equation
I have just received my 2015-2016 assessment for a paying parent. My income rose by $1965.00 this financial year. Now that the mother of my child has her income factored into the calculation I am now paying $3600.00 more a year. An increase of approximately $70.00 per week. Struggling to see how this is a fairer way. So I have gone from paying $729.00 a month to $997.00.
This is going to have a huge impact on my day to day living costs and to be honest it has now created a whole lot of stress for me.
This is astounding… now that the mother’s income is being factored into the calculation, the monthly amount has jumped up $260 per month!
But that’s not how IRD portrayed it. This is what they say on their website:
The trap here we believe comes down to the care factor. If you don’t have your kids for at least 28% of the time, then it is going to hurt.
Unfortunately – and particularly in cases where the kids have moved away with one of the partners, it is simply not practical to have them a couple of nights per week, no matter how much the liable parent may want to.
Dependent Child Allowance
To cap it off, after paying child support for 4 years and declaring my dependents, all of a sudden THEY provide an assessment for 2015/16 advising that there is no record of any dependants – incompetent.
Even though IRD already knew about the dependants that had been registered, with the new formula implementation some of these “fell off” the radar.
That is not what you would expect after all the years and no doubt dollars that have been spent in preparation of this new formula.
My husband pays 10 times what I received for my daughter and my daughter is not classified as a dependent as she is his step daughter. My husbands ex wife remarried a man who is very wealthy and they are good at making it look likes she earns very little. They have just put an offer on a $2 million house. The child support changes now see us $2800 worse of a year than we were last year. It is financially crippling and ends my making my husband wonder y he bothers to work at all. It is depressing and demoralising.
Each parent is provided a living allowance, however unlike previous years, whether or not you have a new partner is now irrelevant.
The living allowance is $17,687.00 across the board, doesn’t matter if you are supporting a new partner and their kids, if you live on Stewart Island, or downtown Auckland.
Everyone gets the same living allowance unless you are receiving supported living payments, in which case you get $20,449.00.
It is strange how this amount is not income related, yet the amount you have to pay towards your kids is income related. So if you earn more money your kids apparently cost more to support, yet you yourself get no more.
Nights per week Formula
Just when things couldn’t get any more confusing, now separated parents have to agree on exactly how many nights each has the kids. This can make a reasonable difference to the amount assessed.
Previously, if you were the liable parent, you needed to have the kids for at least 40% of the time in order for it to make any difference to the amount you were paying. This has now dropped to 28%.
When we asked IRD what would happen if the two parties disagreed on the amount of nights each was to have the kids, they advised us it would come down to marking it on a calendar and providing evidence to prove the case.
Hi I have share care with my x and my child support has gone up 115% I have my boy about 45% now I have less to spend on my kid all my money goes to the government because my ex is on the benefit it seems to me the government comes first and kids a distance 2nd I have 3 and a half days and still pay for him in that time I have him I don’t understand why it’s gone up so much it’s my kid not the government kid I want my money to go to my boy
Child Age Expenditure
As part of the new formula kids cost different amounts depending on their age.
This is income dependant however, so the more you earn, the more you pay. If your child is 13 or over, you pay more than if they are under 13.
You can check out all the details on this here – Child Expenditure Tables
Where To From Here With The New Child Support Formula?
The new child support formula is a mess. It was intended to make things fairer but in many cases it has actually made things worse.
- Although the counting the nights idea is good in theory (if the kids live close by), in reality the majority of the power is in the hands of the custodial parents
- They can make life very difficult for the non custodial parent and, based on our own and other’s experiences, that is exactly what they do
- The new living allowance calculation is ridiculous. How can it not be income related, yet the amount the children (according to IRD) require in terms of child support is income related
The hardest hit, from what we have seen so far, are those that don’t get to spend much time with their kids, often through no fault of their own.
Stories like this one are everywhere:
Its an outrage. My partners has gone through the roof yet his wages havent. The living allowance is a joke… 17k. From a small payrise and wee bonus my partner got recently his payments will nearly double yet his wages havent. He pays for 1 girl who is nearly 15 and his ex earns more. To make it worse his ex wont allow him any contact for no other reason apart from they are not together so hes not allowed to c his girl. I know csupport is not about access but what is frustrating is that his ex doesnt mind taking the money. Is it true partners not able to be listed anymore? Its seriously flawed and has screwed so many people over i seriously hope this is looked at. On the old calculations my partners would of gone up 90 bucks but now nearly doubled.
We don’t have all the answers, and recognize that this is a tricky and emotionally fueled matter.
However in saying that, there must be a better way – and preferably a way that is simpler to understand without having to require a degree in advanced mathematics.
Right now there are thousands of parents out there, looking at their new payments and trying to understand what the hell just happened!
As a split family ourselves we can fully relate to the issues at hand. In order to highlight the impact this new formula is having on New Zealand families please share this article and spread the word.
Links And Resources
IRD’s Child Support Is Changing Video
Feature Image Credit
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