Ask Questions

This is where we will try to answer your questions!

We have posted a number of articles that may help you for a start.

Article about the general changes.
Living allowance changes
Why is one child worth more than the other.

You may however, have a different question you are seeking an answer to.

The best way to get help is to join one of our fantastically supportive Facebook groups.

Childsupport NZ – Receiving Parents
Childsupport NZ – Paying Parents

Or you can ask your questions here in the comments. Due to life getting in the way I am not actively answering questions on here, but often others will give their advice.

Thankyou!

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488 Comments

  1. Hi
    About 8 yrs back I meet a women online , she is married and have 2 kids they were staying together. After we meet for couple of months then has sex and after few months she said she is pregnant and said her husband is ok with it and I dont need to do anything to be in touch with her . I dont have any legal relatioship with her or never stayed together only meet for couple of hrs . After 6 yrs she contacted with me said that I need to support for the child though she staying with he husband and kids . I am married and have a kid living seperate life . She kind of blackmailing me that she will take me to court and sue me her 3 rd kid so I am not sure what to do .Please let me know whats the rights for me?

    1. Hi Rahlmen
      You need to establish whether the child is yours or not. You should see if she will agree to DNA testing, once paternity is established, if it’s your child you have a legal responsibility to help financially maintain the child. If she applies for child support through IRD you’ll end up being made liable to pay child support.
      I suggest you see a lawyer

  2. I don’t agree with you when you say parents should be 50/50 financially responsible for their children you also need to take into account who is doing the physical care in raising children as time is money and raising children alone impacts on your ability to work….in my Case I offered my X 50% responsibility care for our 3 kids so I could begin to build a career….he has a thriving career as he built it while I cleaned and cooked for him and took care of our children one who has special needs. Since he won’t take 50% responsibility for his children this impacts on me to work full time and build a serious career as I am 100% responsible time wise for the care of 3 children one who has special needs so needs more care Don’t you think in calculating child support you should take into account paying the full time career for their Xs 50% of care that they choose not to do. I love my children but time is money and while he is out there unencumbered time wise by children he can continue to build his career and earn more $ while I have to work a low paid job and less hours that works around the care of our children….doesn’t seem fair to me. Life as a solo parent working and being Mum and dad to a child and in my case 3 is hard there are a lot of issues I could detail but won’t as I could write a short story about it.

  3. I am having trouble finding some answers on the scenario that I am currently in. My wife and I separated 3 years ago I have had the kids 3 nights and her 4 a week which is all good. She has a new partner that she hasn’t declared to WINZ for almost a year and subsequently is receiving benefit $$ she isn’t entitled to. She doesn’t work so is being supported by her new partner and WINZ benefits. Does the new partners income come into the household calculation when IRD looks into child support liabilities? Or is it just her income and mine?

    1. Hi James
      You’re right she shouldn’t be receiving a benefit if she has a new partner.
      Her new partners income isn’t taken into account in your assessment, it’s only the children’s parents incomes that are used in the assessment

  4. My partner is paying child support to IRD but he is also paying for private school, will his child support go down if he shows he pays the full private school fees?

    Also his EX has started working part time? If he tell IRD she’s working will it go down for him and his child support is really high at moment

    1. Hi Jamie
      If one parent is paying private school fees that parent can apply for an admin review to have those payments taken into account. If his ex has started work, as part of the review he can ask that her current earnings be taken into account in the current assessment.

  5. I pay child support for a 3 year old daughter (I have her 2 nights per week). The mother has just started work (30 hours at this stage and apparently increasing to 40 in the new year) and IRD have informed me that I still have to pay child support to them. I can’t seem to get any sense out of them regarding this. I want to know… if she fully supports herself (not including Working For Families assistance), surely we can have a voluntary agreement and IRD Child Support would stay out of it? Or do they stay involved and apply the formula to my liabilities even if they’re giving her a $40 accommodation allowance?

    1. Hi Ant
      The Child Support Act states both parents are required to provide financial support for their children according to their capacity to do so. Regardless of what your ex is earning you will still be assessed according to your earning capacity.
      You can only have a private agreement if the receiving carer chooses to cancel the child support assessment through IRD. An accommodation supplement is paid by Winz not IRD.

  6. Is a father legally required to cover half of our childrens costs? We have been apart for 5years and I have covered my children’s costs 100%, he did not pay child support until I contacted IRD and now he stopped working and does not cover any of our childrens costs. What can I do about this as a mother struggling to cover my childrens most basic needs including food.

    1. Hi Alicia
      The Child Support Act states parents are required to provide financial support for their children according to their capacity to do so.
      If you ex has deliberately stopped work you can apply for an admin review and ask that he be assessed on his earning capacity not what he’s choosing to earn.

  7. Hi I am separating from my husband of 3 years, and I have two children to a previous marriage. I have been supporting us the last few years while studying and now working full time. He has barely worked. I receive working for families, and now he is going for a WINZ benefit and he believes that he will be entitled to money from WINZ concerning the children. As he is not on the birth certificate, but I have said he can have the kids one night a week and he is taking the kids to school and picking them up will he be entitled to anything (He will not have them daily through the school holidays)? And will this effect my WFF? I’m also assuming he will not have to pay child support (as I receive this from my ex).

    1. Hi Beka
      The children aren’t your husband’s biological children, he has no right to claim them as dependents when he applies for a benefit. Given you’ve said he can have them 1 night a week that still makes you the primary caregiver. Your WFF is based on your income not his so you should receive a full entitlement. No he won’t pay child support he’s not the children’s father

  8. My partner has 50/50 custody and his child is coming up to school age. Unfortunately him and his ex cannot agree on a school as they both live in different locations, ex is out if town whilst we live in the city. My partner does pay child support and works full time whereas she doesnt work. Due to the location of his work and hours he is required to work and the fact we have a baby of our own it isn’t possible for either of us to drop the child off or pick him up at the school she is suggesting to enrol him in and as she does not work and we pay child support we feel it makes more sense for the school to be in an area that makes it possible for us to drop him off and pick him up from (the drop offs and pick ups are split evenly between the 2 parents) her argument is that she does not have the gas money to drop him off or pick him up on her days if the schooling was closer to us or even in the middle. Would the child support payments cover this?

    1. Hi,
      Child support payments are supposed to be applied to the financial support of the child. If getting the child to and from school requires the mother to use petrol she should ensure the child gets to school. The decision on where the child attends school is a guardianship issue
      Her capacity to earn is something you should be looking at, is she capable of earning, and if so, why isn’t she working? The Child Support Act requires both parents to provide financial support for the child according to their means so if the mother isn’t working when she could be you could apply to have that taken into account by way of admin review

  9. Hello and thanks for any help. I pay a very small amount of child support to my ex (small because he earns so much more than I do as I earn just above min. wage) for care of our child who lives with him and his partner full time. She is 16 has finished school and works part-time (less then 30 hours per week) pays them board, also pays some of her living costs such as phone plan, some food. She visits sometimes and I feed her, sometimes I transport her, which I’m finding really hard as I struggle to make ends meet. I have two questions:
    1. Can I claim anything back for all of the meals I give her and transporting?
    2. If she’s paying board then would that affect child support? Kind of feels like double dipping on their part to me.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Lily
      If the child is 16, working part-time and paying her father board and some of her own living costs you could apply for an admin review stating the father is receiving income that isn’t included in his child support income amount.
      However you need to be aware that there’s a minimum amount of child support that must be paid, it’s currently around $79pm. If you’re paying the minimum even if you were successful in a review your payments wouldn’t reduce any lower than the minimum

  10. Hi my partner pays child support for two kids but the kids still asked him for money and to buy them stuff. Does he have too since he’s paying for child support?

  11. We have 50/50 shared care and have an agreement to pay half of: school fees, school related costs and extra curricular activities. Would this change our payments to IRD at all if we did a review?

    1. The only thing admin review does is consider the fees for private schooling, this doesn’t include ‘normal’ schooling expenses just the attendance fees, everything else is considered to be covered by the initial formula assessment.

  12. Me and my sons mum separated around 2 years ago. Since then i have been paying all of our sons $180 per week day care fees plus $60 per week to help her to live in a house that she can not afford. This amounts to $960 per month. We both work full time and our son stays with me 3 nights per week and her 4 nights per week. She recently said that i am not paying her enough money which was very upsetting to me as i think i have been going over and above what i should have been. This said i contacted the IRD and put in an official form with them for child support payments which amounts to around $400 per month. Once she finds out this amount she will be very unhappy and i know full well she will not contribute to day care costs or at least ask me to pay half. If i pay half i am still paying out around $800 per month which i just can not afford.
    Is there a legal route which i can take which states that she has to come to the table in financial support of her child?
    I am willing to up the IRD assessed amount to $500 per month, so in essence i am still paying more than the assessed amount.
    Is it possible to get a lawyer involved or even some sort of court order as this whole matter is causing me a lot of stress as me and my partner are expecting a child in February.

    Thank you.

    1. There is no ability to force someone to negotiate changing child support if there’s an assessment through IRD in place, you will have to pay the assessed amount.

      Legally that’s all you have to pay but this isn’t going to help you when it comes to day care fees when your son is in your care. Daycare is not included in the administrative review process so you’d have to negotiate those fees privately.

      Once your new child is born make sure you advise IRD in writing withint 28 days of the event so the child can be included in your assessment from date of birth. If you notify them afer 28 days the change can’t be backdated. You can send a secure email through your myIR account to make the notification.

  13. Hi, I’m on the benifit, my ex and I are on good terms though. He helps with alot. He’s on the birth certificate, but I refused to sign a piece of paper at winz about child support, told them I didn’t want him paying it.. Will he still be charged for it? Have to pay? babys 14 months now and neither of us have heard a thing but I don’t want him slapped with a huge 18 year bill he doesn’t deserve..

    1. If you haven’t completed a child support application in the main your ex can’t be made liable to pay child support and a child support liability can’t be backdated if a liability is ever established.

      You should be aware that under some circumstances IRD could force register a child support liability

    2. To all of you that have a huge debt it won’t get written off !!!!
      Looking over my statements I see an assessment change it seems on a monthly basis and I couldn’t keep up with the new amounts.
      I’m 56 and the commissioner has me paying off the debt which is around the age of 68 and tell me they will take it from my pension too.
      Good old NZ
      Every time I challenge them I get rubbish, no one will sit down and audit it.
      Has anyone had luck with debt write off?
      Roy 0275744734

  14. Hey there. My friends been deducted for 6 years with one kid and 2 with another due to not naming a father on her birth certificate. What is the best and fastest way to get financially refunded for this ? Thanks in advance

  15. Hi there,

    My partner is paying child support at the moment to his ex.
    He recently tried to get 5 days a fortnight which I think she will agree to
    My concern is, she doesnt want to get a job (the child is 4) she says her new partner supports them both. I find this unfair as that means he has to pay more in child support. I have an 11 year old from a previous relationship.
    My partner and I have just bought a house and expecting our first child in November. Why is it ok that she doesnt work? Why isnt she made to get a job as it takes a lot of money out of our income to support her not working?

    1. If the mother has the capacity to earn, based on her qualifications/work experience, you should apply for an administrative review and ask that her ability to earn be taken into account

      1. My partner has been paying child support since the separation based on one parent earning. She has been working for the last 3 years and we have been phoning and emailing child support about this and all we get is: fill in the form! On the form is says we need proof of her income and so on, there is NO way she will surrender that to him, obviously, because then she will be liable, where can he go or who can he talk to PLEASE to get this resolved…… How does he proof she is working???? They dont even speak!! Please, he pays 533nz a fortnight for 2 kids…

  16. Asking a question for my friend.
    My friend has been unemployed for the last year. Now he has a well payed job . IRD seems to calculate child support as from the start of the financial year based on his new situation . This means he has a dept now for a period of 5 months with IRD as from the start of the financial year while he did not have a job during this period .Can they do this ? IThanks Euz

    1. If you friend is receiving wages his assessment will be based in his calendar year income from last year eg the 2020 assessment (01.04.19 to 31.03.20) is based on his income from 01.01.18 to 31.12.18. His new income won’t taken into account until the 2021 assessment year when it will be based on his income from 01.01.19 to 31.12.19.

  17. I am a full time solo mother. The father refuses to pay half of anything more than his $58 per child per week. I am studying full time to get a good job so I can give my children the things I struggle to give them now. However once I am working he will pay less child support and I will end up no better off. How is this fair? And why does NZ not state that the child support like other countries is just for food shelter and clothing. And extra costs is shared. Why does NZ make it so easy for a parent to walk away and have a new life and not make them step up for the children they chose to have in a marriage? Nothing about this system is fair on the children. It seems like it’s been set up for the parent who walked aways benefit of having a new life with no responsibilities. This needs to change. How can we make some noise. Im happy to stand outside parliament

  18. Hi
    I have shared custody for my daughter 4yr old. I keep her 3 nights and her mom keeps her 4 nights.
    I am paying half of everything extra curricular, medical insurance and her kindergarten, as thats what we greed initially.
    Then my x applied in IRD to get child supoirt payments, which is a big amount.
    I have not been able to find the answer to if i m suppose to continue half the payments as agreed in the agreement or is child support enough?
    I applied for admin review but IRD payments did not decrease.
    Please suggest.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Legally all you are required to pay is assessed child support, if you’re paying a high amount of child support you are not obligated to pay anything else

  19. If I receive childcare support from my ex via a private arrangement (no IRD involvement) to help with child expenses is this counted as income for calculations for things like working for families?

    1. Hi there, my ex has moved to Australia with our son who has just turnt 5. I live in New Zealand,
      Is his new girlfriend allowed to claim child support? And if so how does this work

    2. Hi Diane

      Yes any private child support payments you receive should be declared to IRD to have your WFF entitlement calculated

  20. Hi I have payed child support for over 22 years for two girls I have outstanding arrears of 10 thousand dollars but no more child support payments my daughter has just done a DNA test with me and it turns out I’m not her farther the mother had an affair that she confessed to …am I still liable to pay the outstanding dept

    1. Hi Peter
      If DNA testing has resulting in a decison that you are not the father you are entitled to be refunded any child support you’ve paid for that child.

      IRD will only accept DNA results from certain providers or a Court Order that you are not the father. DNA Diagnostics is one firm IRD will accept results from if you don’t want to go down the route of a Court order, IRD will be able to tell you of the other firms they’ll accept results from

  21. Hi Karen,

    theoretical scenario: Father A has a one off sexual relationship with Mother B. Mother B is now pregnant, they are in contact and B wants to have the baby and raise it on her own. She deems that her independent decision and advises that she will not go to request any child support now or in the future and will not put A on birth certificate. B is willing to sign any document that would manifest this agreement. A would want to agree to that, however: Is an agreement like that legally possible?

    Thanks for your response.

    1. Hi Mark
      Regardless of any agreement to the contrary, the mother could at any time in the future apply to the Family Court to have the father named as a parent by order.

      You can’t contract out of New Zealand legislation, and the Child Support Act 1991 states that child support can be applied for at any time, so any agreement made is not going to help.

  22. My daughter is seven in November, her birth father isn’t on her BC (birth certificate) – never has been. I’m wondering how I go about by putting him on? Or asking for support? I am in contact with his parents.

    1. Hi Erin
      You can find the requirements for adding a parent to a birth certificate i the following link.

      Once a parent is named on the child’s birth cert or by Court Order you supply a copy of the document with a child support application to IRD and have an assessment put in place.

      1. Hi there I have a private agreement with my ex regarding child support. And she has money coming from working families too. But she keeps asking me for money to pay half of everything. Plus the kids are at mine 2nights during the week after school till 9.30pm as she is working. We signed an agreement for this with the house seperation. But it’s not working out and the kids hate it as they go to school the next day and prefer to be settled at one place. Also I have them an extra night now a week contrary to our agreement cause she wants to spend time with her boyfriend. It’s very one sided to suit her needs. Can I go through ird and change things?

  23. Hi, I have 50/50 care of my 3 children and I am the Liable parent.
    My ex barely works part time, while I hold down a full time job and manage the children week about whilst doing so. (single father)
    I have to pay her a decent amount due to the difference in income. Unfair I’m penalised for working when she has the same opportunities as me.

    After paying child support and looking after the kids whilst they are with me, What other costs am I obliged to pay for. I am being asked for half of this expense and that etc… What else should I pay?

    1. Hi Byron
      All you are legally requried to pay is assessed child support.

      If your ex has the capacity to earn more by working full time, her qualifications and/or work experience could be considered under Ground 8 in an administrative review

  24. Hello. We have a private arrangement paying child support for 2 children. One is to turn 18 end of October. They will be attending polytechnic training after that. Are we still eligible to pay Child Support? (Father is paying the support)
    We would also like to be able to calculate the figure that is legally required to be paid,
    but have no idea of the sole parent (mothers) income? Are we able to find this out without changing from the private arrangement, and committing through IRD? Thank you.

    1. Hi Lynne
      If the child is not attending a secondary school on turning 18, s/he is no longer an eligible child for child support purposes and your liability for that child would cease.

      There’s no way you can find out what the other parent is earning unless you have a formula assesment in place through IRD. Your best bet is to find out the average earnings for the job the other parent does and use that amount in IRD’s calculators.

    1. Hi Daniel
      Becoming a guardian of your niece and nephew won’t affect your child support assessment, they can’t be included as dependents in your assessment.

  25. Hi,
    I have 50/50 care of my 3 children and pay a substantial amount of child support through IRD (Liable parent) to my ex.
    Am I required to pay for anything else such as dental fees, even school fees, uniform etc (I am already anyway)
    Ex is demanding half for this and that etc… what am I legally required to pay?
    Thanks for you help.

    1. Hi Byron
      Legally you are only required to pay assessed child support under a formula assessment.
      If your child/ren go to a private school you could be required to contribute to the school fees if your ex applied for an adminnistrative review, but not things like uniforms and extra curricular activities. Medically required orthodontic work can be coverd by admin review but it can be solely for cosmetic reasons

  26. I pay child supert every week and my ex has just asked me to help play child care over school hoildays do u think I should do this or so her partner see been with for like 6 years help her

  27. Hi, if you have shared 50:50 care but the IRD have granted one parent to pay the other child support based on the difference in income ( both working) and one child is in preschool shouldn’t the fees for preschool be shared based on the fact that on your days with the kids it’s your choice to put them in daycare? Or is it legal that one parent can say no to paying childcare fees ?

    1. Hi Niamh,
      Legally the parent paying child support is not required to pay anything other than assessed child support.

      Child care and preschool fees are not included in the admin review grounds (only private school fees are covered) so unless both parents agree to contribute to preschool fees, the person receiving child support may have to meet those costs.

      1. Hi Karen, I have a question regarding daycare fees. There is a condition in our parenting order specifically stating that both parents are to share daycare fees equally. My ex partner refuses saying he already pays child support. I believe it to be a breach of the parenting order, otherwise, why would it have been stipulated as a condition within the order? I am wanting to reclaim $1,800 through the small claims court, that I believe is owed to me as a result of him not paying his contribution . What is your opinion on this? Many thanks, V

  28. I have a private arrangement with my ex and pay her weekly. I have my 2 kids 5 days a fortnight (35% approx) and she has them 9 days (65% approx). My ex is asking me to contribute towards school fees, bags, uniforms etc. Can anyone tell me what obligations I have to contribute towards things like school costs, music lessons, after school programmes, camps, etc?

    I’ve always looked at it like I am responsible for paying for my children’s needs 5 days a fortnight while I have them. So I feel I need to pay for a portion (say 35% of school costs). I have offered to pay half though.

    Can anyone tell me what the legal standing is for this? Am I required to contribute towards these costs?

    1. Hi Anthony,
      If you have a private arrangement in place there are no rules, you each pay as you agree. Your offer to pay half of school costs and activities is very reasonable, she surely can’t argue with that offer.

      If you had an assessment through IRD the assessed child support would be all you legally had to pay. The receiving carer could however apply to have certain costs added to the assessment by way of administrative review.

    1. Hi Jamie,

      Legally all you have to pay is the child support assessed by IRD.
      Some parents choose to contribute towards some expenses, that’s entirely a decision for you.

  29. Hi,

    My child lives primarily with his mother.
    I pay child support via a private agreement – no IRD.
    That is all fine, and I am happy with that.

    BUT, just checking, that when my child turns 18 (which is soon) I can cease the CS payments? As a friend seemed to think it was until they turn 19…
    But the IRD site clearly states ‘under 18’.

    Just seeking clarity.

    1. Hi Mark,
      By the Child Support Act 1991 if a child is still at school when they turn 18 and not financially independent, child support payments will continue until the 31st of December in that year as long as the child stays at school for the whole academic year.
      This of course wouldn’t apply to a private arrangement

  30. Hi there,

    What rights does a man have when a women is claiming a pregnancy/baby is his? First of all they barely knew each other so it may not even be his… or if it is she said she was on the pill but it appears shes either lied or gotten very unlucky?
    Who is it that has to prove paternity. She is the one who is claiming hes the father so will she have to prove it? And then saying she will put his name on a birth certificate… can she even do that if he dosent believe it could be his?

    1. Generally a man is considered a child’s father if:
      -the child was born while he was married to the child’s mother, or up until 10 months after they divorced (this presumption of fatherhood can be disputed in court)
      -he’s named on the birth certificate (this presumption of fatherhood can be disputed in court)
      -he and the mother signed a Deed of Acknowledgement of Paternity in front of a solicitor
      -the court says he is.

      Normally both parents are required to complete the birth registration together.
      However the mother can register a person as a child’s father if she has evidence eg a DNA test, Court order or statutory declarations from family members that he is the father.

      Obtaining a Court order would be done by way of application to Court with a supporting affidavit. Normal procedure is for the application to be served on the stated father so he has the opportunity to respond to the information supplied.

  31. Hi. I pay child support for 2 children. My wife and I are expecting a child soon. Will this have an effect on what I currently pay?

    1. Hi James
      When your new baby is born you need to advise IRD in writing, (by secure email through your myIR account is considered to be ‘in writing’). If you want the change added from dob you need to make sure you advise them within 28 days of the event.
      IRD can’t backdate a change of circumstances after 28 days has elapsed so if you advise them after 28 days the change will take effect from the date of notification.

      The child will then be added to your assessment as a dependent child which will reduce your assessment, but not by a huge amount.

  32. What is childcare payments suppose to cover? Am I allowed to ask extra payments for school fees, extra curricular activities?

    1. Hi Antonette,
      Section 4(d) of the Child Support Act 1991 states that under the formula assessment parents are to: “to provide that the level of financial support …(which is)… determined according to their relative capacity to provide financial support and their relative levels of provision of care”
      The child support formula is based on the incomes of both parents and care provided and legally what the parent is assessed to pay is all they’re required to pay.
      You can apply for an administrative review and ask that the assessment amount be increased if you can bring yourself under any of the 12 grounds available.

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