This is case study number 113
This is Erica’s Story:
Erica – Tell us about what is going on with your situation?
I was in the beginning of 2014 a working solo Mum.
The father of my child is not a Kiwi or an Aussie and is living in another country and will never and has never given me any assistance towards the costs of raising my/our child. He is not in her life in any way and I doubt ever will be.
I was made to apply for child support when I was on my own with my child and was of course refused as there is nobody to collect child support from.
I have a 3 year old, I work 31 hrs a week, I was fortunate to meet someone who moved in with us half way through 2014.
He has two children under 10 who live with their mum and her new partner and they come and stay with us all every 2nd weekend and 2-3 weeks of the school holidays.
Therefore not enough of a percentage for them to be considered in the calculations used in the new system.
They do not live in the same town as us so there are additional costs in that aspect of visitation and these are likely to increase.
When my partner moved in we informed IRD immediately, my accommodation benefit was no longer available, my working for families tax credits were no longer available, my childcare assistance (daycare costs) were no longer available.
All because my partners income put us just over all thresholds, not hugely over either just enough to mean it was all unavailable.
However, fair enough my partner did get a reduction in his child support costs as he was supporting us as we are a family unit and we benefited from his financial input to our household. (We are not interested in ripping off the system)
My 3 year old is now not recognised under the new system therefore we still have all the expenses but we have no additional support for the cost involved in raising my child, just increased costs for raising my partners children that don’t live with us.
The increase is the equivalent of our grocery bill monthly (if we scrimp) be as frugal as I can manage.
In the near future my partners ex will be finishing work to have a baby to the new partner so it will be great fun to see how that is going to affect the child support payments as she will have no income even though the father of that child whom she lives with has it seems a much higher income than myself and my partner combined.
We contacted the IRD several times, on one occasion we were advised that my partner should adopt my child to have her recognised.
This is ridiculous – why should someone adopt my child to have the child considered a dependent – we are dependent on my partners income. This is the most obvious and frustrating part of this entire system change.
We do not want to avoid supporting my partners children but somewhere someone needs to recognize the child I have also “costs money to raise”.
How much did you pay on the old formula?
On the NEW formula what will that amount be per month?
Are you happy with the new formula?
What are your main reasons for being not happy with it?
The system is not taking into account the fact my child is not supported – in fact she is now supported by myself solely on $28,000 a year before tax.
All calculations for assistance are based on myself and my partner being considered for income thresholds but it seems myself/my support of my child is not considered anywhere anymore.
All calculations for assistance are calculated on our combined pre-tax incomes, I work 2 jobs, I pay secondary tax in one so my take home is almost enough for the mortgage and rates power etc., maybe some groceries but certainly not all costs.
We applied for an administrative review, very recently, it does not sound like it made any difference however we are waiting on the “result”.
One statement was “why should my partners children suffer because I have a child”.
The review officer did not have information about several things that IRD know, like that I had applied for child support, that my child’s father is overseas and never going to pay.
I was not part of the review only my financial circumstances because I am not receiving any support – perhaps we did the review process all wrong but all we know is that we have to try something…..
If child support was a set amount per child split between both parents for the basic necessities, what do you think is a fair amount per month per child?
What else would you like to say?
If I could get a portion of the $400-$600 a month for my child some how we would not be having this discussion. However my child is now “lost” in the system.
I need to consider the outcome but it seems we, as a family unit which is what we consider we are, might be better off if I stop working – how is that the right “kiwi” thing to do?
Are there others in this situation?
Has anyone “won” their case in a review for this new system? ie., what does it take to get someone to recognise a dependent somewhere…..
Erica – Thanks for sharing with us.
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