About Us

Child support has been a big part of our lives for the last seven or so years.

Between us, we have five kids, the modern day merged family.

We have been on both sides of the equation as paying parents, and receiving.

The current child support system is, in our opinion, extremely unfair in many cases. Our aim is to highlight the inadequacies and advocate a fairer child support system.

Some of our biggest pain points are

  • Exes that don’t pay child support
  • How if our ex is on a benefit the money we pay goes to the government not our kids
  • Child support formula in general
  • How the amount we pay to support our kids, is based on income not on what kids cost
  • How there is nothing in place to ensure child support money is spent on the kids

And much much more..

If you are anything like us you have a few war stories to tell about exes, IRD and child support formulas so pull up a chair – and share your story. You are among friends!

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Rob and Patty
Rob and Patty

10 Comments

  1. I have 2 children who are in my care 100%. Their father, my ex-husband left a high paying job here in New Zealand to live in the United Kingdom (20 months ago now) . So I went from getting $1000 a month to $0 I work full-time and earn a good wage but it isn’t enough to pay the mortgage on our family home and all the other bills including braces for my daughter at $8500. I received a letter of entitlement a few weeks ago to say what he earned and how much I was going to receive, which was $936 a month. I thought yeah they have tracked him down and I might finally get some help. Then today I got a ‘reviewed’ entitlement to say actually he earns next to nothing and your entitlement is now $118 a month. I know from his Facebook page that he is doing very well for himself working many jobs most under the table and has just bought a new house! All IRD could tell me was “his circumstances have somehow changed and we can’t disclose that information under the privacy act”! He has always tried to get out of paying and I have had to put in a review every year for the past four year. I won every review…but two things…first it doesn’t guarantee he will pay…secondly it is time consuming and mentally draining. After all these years I am tired of the battle it has worn me down, the government should be battling for me.

  2. Hi there,

    I’m a modern day indentured servant. I’ve been trying to make sense of how I am in this place and can’t. I pay 12% student loan and child support for a single 14 year old.

    Because of this I’ve been manic to improve my income as the above takes all my discretionary income and I can’t save, can’t buy a house, can’t travel, can’t buy a car.

    Due to my cashing in all my annual leave and doing as much overtime as I can (and much much more for free to get that pay increase) I am now paying 1000 a month approximately for a single child.

    I’ve searched the legislation and can’t see any mention about the why. Why does my 50% of the child rearing cost 1000 a month? Everyone i know agrees that there is no way that a child costs 2000 to raise a month.

    So my money is just adding to the mother’s discretionary income.

    She has multimillionaire parents, a house, a car, a job… and went on a 3 month holiday to Europe last year. Day to day care of the child was with the grandparents during that period.

    This all seems so unjust. I’m struggling to stay sane knowing this is persisting. Every day I struggle to not quit everything. To not do something extreme. To give up.

    Why is NZ doing this to me? What did I do wrong to NZ?

    Why do women take this money knowing that this is unfair? Why don’t they give it back?

    I’m starting to hate. I know it’s not right but I can’t stop the bitterness. The powerlessness of it all.

    The last reassessment letter I got (3rd in 4 months) I broke down in tears.

    I’ve searched online to look for ways to stop this oppression. None of the methods, including this site are working.

    I’m reaching the end of my sanity I think. I don’t want to struggle as an indentured servant. I want to live.

    Where is the justice?

  3. I have been on both sides of the child support system. It is a system that has completely failed by any useful measure.
    Imagine any other tax system that was such a complete failure as child support! The legislation would be scrapped within weeks. I am in fact amazed the entire system hasn’t already collapsed under it’s own weight of failure.

    I have given this a lot of thought and realised our failed system comes from failing to comprehend the fundamental nature of parenting.

    The entire basis of the NZ child support system is fundamentally flawed.
    We need to move away from the current system – designed to re-distribute wealth – to a system that allows parents to make their own parenting decisions.

    We need to consider that most parents respond positively to being treated positively as parents.

    The current system is by any measure a complete failure. The most recent changes are yet another tinkering with the same fundamentally flawed system. We need to be realistic and have a system in place that actually works rather than one based on ideology. We need to stop trying to fit a system into some people’s idea of “fair” when the current system is plainly quite unfair to many and more importantly, is a total failure.

    In particular we need to create incentives for parents to share the care of their children, wherever possible. And where not, to at least empower them to have some influence on their children’s lives.
    Removing or diminishing parents power to influence their children’s lives results in poor outcomes for most children. Worse than that it promotes a negative spiral for future generations.

    First we need to accept that in reality there are 2 parts to supporting a child.

    Part A.
    First there is the very basic necessities that are not already provided by the state.
    This first part needs to be split between parents. For example, one of the biggest costs is housing. Even if the child is only with one parent a few weeks out of the year, this housing has to be provided for the child in both households. Whereas in that situation the food bill is obviously going to be worn mostly by one parent. In other cases the care and hence basic costs are shared more or less evenly regardless of other circumstances in the household.

    This first part should be the compulsory part. This is the costs of very basic needs of the child. This basic cost should be split by some variable percentage depending on how the care is divided between the two households.

    This compulsory part, is not intended to be a lot of money. It is not intended to refund the state for whatever policies the government of the day has implemented. It is not intended to be some “fair” redistribution of wealth. It is simply there as a backstop to ensure the child gets the basics not already provided by the state.

    Part B.
    The second part is a voluntary part.
    In this part we have to acknowledge that parents make parenting decisions, every minute of every day. Sometimes they make parenting decisions that are not ideal for the child. Often these decisions are entirely debatable. They certainly need flexibility to deal with everyone’s ever changing life situations. The child is affected by both good and poor parenting decisions. That is the very definition of parenting.

    The state has proven throughout history to be the worst parent of all. We have to dump this idea that the state can make a parenting rule for all and then expect good outcomes for most. It simply doesn’t happen. All we can expect from the state is a backstop to prevent the worst of outcomes. We are kidding ourselves if we think the state’s intervention can do more than that.

    Hence the amount paid in the voluntary part – part B maybe a suggested amount based on some formula. However it must be entirely voluntary to allow each parent to make their own parenting decisions. Good or bad.

    It must also be noted that the overwhelming evidence is that the more both parents are actively involved in raising the child and making parenting decisions, the more likely they are to pay for all those extras for the child. Hence if we really want to share the costs of child raising then we need to give parents every incentive to share the day to day care of children.

    There will be some parents who object to this voluntary part. They may genuinely have a case that one parent only pays the compulsory part for the basics and also has no interest in being involved with the child. This is unfortunate for the child. However we need to acknowledge that it is not the state’s job to resolve people’s relationship issues, poor lifestyle choices, or less than ideal parenting decisions. The state certainly can’t resolve these issues by attempting to transfer wealth for everyone. That simply creates more problems than it attempts to resolve.

    The state does not prescribe how much a married couple must pay for their children. We would agree that was absurd. Likewise the state has no business and is not able to prescribe how much a separated couple must pay for their children – expect to define the absolute minimum. We have to accept this or we will never have a system that actually works.

    The law is not there to make sure your domestic life is absolutely “fair”. The state simply can’t do that. The state can only provide for the children receiving the basics. Anything else is a parenting decision.

    You have to choose wisely if you want the other parent to always make good parenting decisions. If you choose poorly or the other person changes, that is unfortunate but it is not something the state has the power to resolve for you.

    The good news is that most parents are willing to provide for their children. The more they are involved in the child’s’ life, the more likely they will provide well for their children. Forcing them to make a wealth distribution works against their ability to exercise parenting decisions and is counter productive to most children.

    The state can suggest a figure for the voluntary part B of child support but it is up to the paying parent how or even if they make that payment.

    For some totally unexplained, irrational reason we think the state can write a formula or a book on the ideal way to fund parenting for all separated couples. Nothing could be further from the reality. The only model that has ever worked is for individual adults to make individual parenting decisions for the particular needs of their individual children within the context of everybody’s constantly changing situation.

    The solution is to have Part A – compulsory only the very basics divided by carers and Part B – voluntary to highlight the fact that children have other needs, desires and interests that need to be determined and funded as a voluntary parenting choice.

    If we had such an approach at least we would have a working system and we are far more likely to have positive outcomes for children in the long run.

  4. Hi we are a blended family and have been dealing with the Inland Revenue’s so called fair child support system on and off (between us) for the last 17 years !!! We have been on both sides of liable and receiving parents as well as the ludicrous shared (50/50) care formula. We have even been to Family Court and taken on IRD (the commissioner) and the other party in appealing a wrongful decision following approxiamately our 10th administrative review ! Which for the record we won 🙂

    Even after all of the history and unfair inequitable descisions that we have borne the brunt of from the department, our current fight has simply blown us away !!!

    Recently my husbands teenage daughter who was in a 50/50 shared care situation of which my husband was still required to pay ridiculous sums of money to his ex for , simply because of her personal lifestyle choices (2 further biological children in her new marriage and a choice to work part time only [15 years so far ] ) we have no criticism of these lifestyle choices, just criticism that my husband ends up paying a higher net liability to the ex because of her lifestyle choices!

    So back to our latest drama.. My step daughter has decided to live with us full time. This occurred over a month ago and as per the instructions on the website, we filed online a change of circumstances notifying the change in living arrangements fully expecting to see the immediate change in the relevant child support assessments. Boy were we wrong, we waited and after several unanswered emails we telephoned (frustrating phone system) the department. We were essentially given the run around with no straight answers as to what was going on. We eventually received a letter that made no sense other than it stated that my husband was still required to pay child support to his ex for his daughter who is living in his full time care ????? With no explanation as to why. On a further phone call and complaint to the department my husband was eventually told that his ex wife had told the child support officers that the full time arrangement was only “temporary” and that if we were not happy , we could fill in an objection notice (IR119) to the descision and provide proof that the child is living with us full time . We apparently could provide this with such things as a letter from her school ( how the school is meant to know a child’s living arrangements is beyond me?) letters from friends, family etc supporting the child’s living arrangements! We have an email from the child’s mother agreeing to her living full time in her fathers care, she clearly forgot….. to mention this during her conversation with the department !
    She has actually agreed in principle that a change in the living arrangements has occurred , only got clever with saying it is “temporary” ! Well isn’t the point of a ‘change of circumstances form’ for this very situation when living arrangements change, be they long term , short term, temporary or permanent ?????? Essentially this whole situation stinks of a Dad once again being seriously shat on by the (make our own rules as we see fit) child support department ! And obviously HER word was more beleavable over the phone as opposed to his ! On a further phone call to the department a couple of days ago on behalf of my husband I was told that evidence such as a variation to the parenting order via the Family Court would suffice as proof that the change is permanent !!!! I pointed out that if the mother had a problem with the change of living situation she would have applied to the Family Court for a breach of the old order which she hasn’t because she has agreed to it ! So why did they not tell her to do that if she thought it was only temporary or simply why not tell her to fill in another change of circumstances if the child returned to live with her??? When asking the department how long do they consider something is temporary ? The response was it could be 3 months but essentially it was up to the discretion of the officers overseeing the case!!!! So I then said how ridiculous the whole temporary ( made up ) crap was as any separated parent being assessed as a liable parent for child support could just say over the phone, oh it’s only temporary! Really ?!?!?!?

    We have objected and sent in copies of the emails from my step daughters mother, however this still may not be enough and the child support department can still decline the objection which would then leave us having to appeal in the Family Court, all the while being told to continue making child support payments to the ex for a child who is in our full time care !

    We are enraged to say the least and can not believe this latest situation, it is absolutely disgusting and the child support departments current stance on our case has no basis or legislation from within the Child Support Act ! This ‘discretion’ of the individual officer to make up their own rules, and the reliance they have placed on a mother lying to them and saying something is “temporary” with no evidence and infact the opposite her agreement that a change in living circumstances has taken place but is only temporary, has to stop ! where in the Child Support Act does it cover “temporary” arrangements?????? Also where and when was the disclosure regarding the ex’s statement to the department that the change is “temporary” ever going to be passed on in a timely manner to my husband to defend it , ever going to occur??? It sure was not in print in the descision letter sent to my husband !

    We now have to wait anywhere up to another 6 weeks for a decision regarding this case, by which time if we paid (which we have stated we will not be) we would have paid out in excess of $700 to the toxic ex for a child not living with her, instead of receiving payments from the ex, which would actually leave her in a dreadful financial situation of owing the $700 + back plus what ever she is assessed to pay for the previous couple of months as she will be behind in her payments by then !

    We will be formally making a complaint about this situation and if we end up in Family Court we will be going the department costs as well as emotional harm payments!!!

    This case needs to be used as what I would describe as one of the worst cases of how fundamentally flawed and emotionally draining and stressful the child support system is! I could write a book on our last 17 years of fighting this dreadful system, a system that rewards the toxic ex’s that unfortunately exist out there and use and abuse this seriously flawed child support system for their own personal financial gain, abusing and pawning the children caught at the centre of it !!!!!!

    Something MUST be done about what is occurring to us currently ! It is outrageous !!!

    1. Kelly that is totally ridiculous! I can only hope this gets sorted out. What the hell is wrong with these people???? Keep us posted OK.

      1. Hi Rob, yes outrageous is all I can think of and given there is no legislative ground to what they are doing it is unbelievable !! We will keep you posted

      2. UPDATE
        So it is now some 55+ days since the change in circumstances form was submitted to IRD re change from 50/50 to full time care of my husbands daughter, and yes you guessed it, IRD are STILL investigating the whole “temporary” statement from the receiving parent (mother of child) via our objection we were forced to do because of IRD not adjusting the child support assessment for my husband to one of now being the receiving parent as opposed to the liable parent.
        We have refused to pay the latest months child support payment to the child’s mother for a child who is in our full time care , and within one day of missing the payment IRD has slapped a $37 late payment penalty on it (only took them 1 day to do that!!! )
        We have submitted them a statement regarding the non payment being based on the legislation, as it states this;

        CHILD SUPPORT ACT 1971

        SECTION 25 : When liability to pay child support ceases

        (3) A liable parent ceases to be liable to pay child support in respect of a particular receiving carer of a qualifying child under formula assessment on the earliest of the following:

        (b) the day before the date on which the receiving carer ceases to provide at least 35% of ongoing daily care to the child:

        Pretty black and white what should be happening ……

        We sit and wait powerless to do anything while the child support officers using THEIR OWN “guidelines” investigate something that is in total breach of the legislation the New Zealand Government put in place within the Child Support Act !

        This is outrageous & needs to be addressed at a higher level !!!!!!!

        1. It certainly sounds like it should be pretty straightforward, not sure what the hold up is? I hope when it does get sorted out, that it gets back dated as well.

          Good on you for not paying, you would be breaking the law if you did by the sounds of it!

          Let us know how it goes…

  5. Hi.

    I am a father of 3 beautiful children and left my wife a year ago. We have 50/50 care for 2 of our children and she currently has 72% care for the third.

    I pay about $880 a month in Child support.

    I agreed to pay the full costs of school fees, clothing and medical expenses for the first year of the separation to allow her time to get on her feet with a steady job and income.

    Now… she is directing the kids to ask me for anything they want because ‘Dad is rich’ and is asking me to pay half the costs of the school fees, clothing and medical. I also see that the IRD is counting my income as 100% of the combined income for the formula meaning she either is not working and/or not declaring her income. (The kids say she is working – but not much)

    I’ve searched high and low and can’t seem to find anything on my obligations for the extra expenses. And more importantly – how my child support is being used to enable her not to get a job!?

    I want to provide for my kids – but also know this is a combined responsibility.

    Any advice??

    1. Hey Rob I was in a similar situation myself, paying full child support plus paying for everything else on top. In the end I went for an admin review as thought surely I would get a break on the CS I was paying, seeing as I was still paying for 100% of all the school fees, clothes, activities, doctors etc. The admin review officer did convince the other party that they couldn’t expect me to pay for everything and now I still pay the 100% of school fees and pay half each of all the activities, clothes, medical, dental etc etc. There is nothing in the policy which dictates how the CS money is spent unfortunately. In the end in my own mind I just know I am giving my kids everything they need, and I just have to suck it up – it was my choice at the end of the day and I would be prepared to fully support my kids 100% if I had them all the time. I know this might not help much, but keep your head up – your not alone and good on you for doing everything you can to take care of your kids! If you want to talk more let me know I could give you a call if you like. Hang in there. Cheers Rob

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