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.


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  1. Hi there
    The father of my child has stopped paying Child Support on time due to his unemployment, but he partially paid back child support payment before last Christmas. I assume he got cash under table.

    I am just wondering why IRD cannot deduct Child support payment (outstanding amount) directly from his bank account? Nothing happened so far;does it mean there is no money to take in the father’s declared bank account?

    Also, once he gets employed again, does IRD know that he started to work straight away and deduct from his wage?

    It is very frustrating because I just found out he is having another child on its way while he does not even pay for my child and owes me quite a bit of personal debt too.
    These questions might have been already discussed but it would be much appreciated if you could give me answers again.

    Thank you.

  2. Hi – this May have been asked before sorry. What I’m wanting to know is if partner puts his child support payments through IRD does it take into account my income and also the cost of my children (his step kids)?
    He pays a ridiculous amount of $$ and she calls all the shots of when he can see his children.

    1. Hi Wen,
      The formula assessment takes into account the income of the two parents, not the parents new partners.

      Each parent is an equal guardian of their children and one parent can’t “call the shots”. If there’s a Parenting Order in place they both have to abide by it’s conditions but otherwise she doesn’t get to make all the rules.

  3. Hi there I have a son who is 18 I was denied access to him his whole life he made contact with me this year wants me to sign his birth certificate if I do this am I liable to back pay maintenance for the last 18 years

    1. Hi Mike,

      Be careful about this, if his mother ever lodged a child support application with IRD but couldn’t prove paternity, the application would have held in their system until such time as proof of paternity could be provided. If this is the case, the mother could cancel the application being held, only, if she was never in receipt of a benefit.

      Your dilemma is that you have no way of knowing if IRD hold an application, and they can’t tell you because it would have been lodged unaccepted into the mother’s account waiting on proof of paternity.

      If you got your son to ask his mother, would she tell the truth?

  4. Hi, I am the wife of the paying parent. In this case, the receiving parent has been able to reduce her income by showing a negligible net rental income. Is there somebody in the group who can explain to me why our GROSS income is assessed but only her NET rental income? This surely means that people can reduce their taxable income by claiming rental losses while the full-time 9-to-fivers who don’t have spare cash to buy rental properties, have no option to reduce taxable income? It seems odd that our large Auckland mortgage is disregarded and her rental property mortgage is factored in. She has chosen to be a rental investor and we have no choice but to work full-time.

    1. Hi Cindy,
      This situation can be explored using the adminstrative review process under Ground 8. If a parent is filing tax returns and able to offset expenses against income a review officer can adjust that parents child support income amount to provide a more equitable result.
      If you want information on admin reviews you can download an IR175 booklet from IRD’s website

  5. I read a stuff article that seemed to indicate that the government might look at all forms of income including money in trusts etc as liable income for child support in the coming years. Do you think this will include interest earned from money in savings account’s?

    1. Hi Elle,
      The administrative review process gives a review officer the ability to consider financial resources such as interest earned now.
      If you want information on admin reviews you can download an IR175 booklet from IRD’s website

  6. Hi there

    I have an three year old daughter and I finally got hold of her father to tell him he has a child. He was stocked! We are going to do a declaration of peturinty (sorry cant spell) im on the benifit. Will he have to backdate the child support or will it start the day we sign the form? Thanks!

    1. Hi Emma,
      Normally an application for child support can only be accepted from the date IRD receive it.
      However, when an application is received and can’t be activated because of lack of paternity, the application is held until paternity is established.
      So unless you’ve previously lodged an application and couldn’t provide proof of paternity, any application you make now can only be accepted from the date they receive it.

  7. Hello there,
    I have tried to search the answer, but could not really get it. So am asking here now.
    (Sorry if it is a repetitive question.)
    The father of my daughter delayed the payment for July of child support, and finally paid just before the next due (this for August) . (This is according to him, but I still cannot see it on MyIR)

    Question 1: When will I get paid Child support for July? As soon as IRD receives the money from the father or is it to be released on the 7th of next month?

    Question 2: I am sure he will miss to pay for August on time. Then again, all the payment that I receive will be backdated? But still my income including Child Support will be assessed as I am receiving on time?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Miz,
      Any child support received in arrears is paid out as soon as it’s processed into your account, IRD has weekly supplementary pay runs to do this.

      If you are referring to your WFF entitlement as long as you receive the outstanding payments during the financial year they will be included as income for your WFF payments

  8. Hi there,

    My Ex is trying to claim for ongoing and backdated childsupport from the date of our separation for food, clothing, entertainment, music lessons, other hobbies and baby sitter costs. Can she claim this? also if I put shares for my family into a family trust for the kids, does this affect my payments?

    thank you

    1. IRD can only put a liability in place from the date they receive an application and a formula assessment is put in place. Once a formula assessment exists the receiving parent is able to apply for an administrative review to try and have extra expenses considered but very little of what you’ve named above would be successful.
      If you have a private arrangement outside IRD there’s not a lot she can do unless she applies to the Family Court for an Order that you pay the expenses she’s asking for.
      You haven’t provided enough information relating to shares for me to comment.

  9. Hi, I’ve searched the IRD & Ministry of Justice websites and there is nowhere I can find what Child Support should be covering. Is there a definition of what Child Support should cover? Obviously food, but does it include clothing, school fees, sporting activities etc? I look forward to receiving a response.

    1. Hi Dave,

      There doesn’t appear to be anything official written about what child support is supposed to cover. (Note: I haven’t checked Hansard to see if there’s any commentary there.)
      The Child Support Act only affirms that the responsibility for the financial support of children rests with their parents according to their ability to pay.

      If you have expenses for the children that are out of the ordinary and the other parent won’t contribute towards them, you can apply for an administrative review for a decision that those expenses be shared.

  10. Hello

    I am trying to decide whether or not to name the father on the birth certificate of my soon to be born child. I am currently on a benefit, and probably will be for quite some time (I have severe health issues that make work not an option for the foreseeable future). I will care for baby full time. Baby’s dad and I are separated but still in communication. I don’t want him to have to pay through IRD. He does not want this either. We are both happy for him not to pay at all. We can’t even have a private agreement because I receive a benefit. Neither of us agree with the current system. He wants to open an account for Baby that neither of us can touch – so that when he can afford to pay he does, and when he can’t he doesn’t have to.

    I am wondering if there is a way he doesn’t have to pay but can still be on the certificate?

    I am also wondering if it is true that my sole parent benefit will be less if I don’t name him?

    The system is flawed and confusing.

    I understand parents should be held accountable for their responsibility as parents, including financially. I rely on the government to financially support me and will also for my child (much to my dismay but it is the way it is right now). But I don’t agree that he should pay if it goes straight to them? Shouldn’t it go to baby? Unless my benefit is less by a certain amount every month and then he pays to get it topped back up? But then he would still have to pay so much more? I’m just so confused. I don’t want to hurt baby or baby’s future by not naming him but I don’t want to be tied up in an agreement through a third party if all it will do is breed resentment and conflict I’m so confused >_<

    1. Hi Shak,

      The funds you are receiving by way of benefit are from the taxes paid by all New Zealanders. Both parents are responsible for the support of their children, not the tax payers of New Zealand, why would you consider it appropriate that neither of you should support your child.

      The Child Support Act states that the primary responsibility for the financial support of children rests with their parents. The Act also requires that a beneficiary must apply for child support from the other parent. This is the law of New Zealand and not agreeing with the system doesn’t mean you can break the law.

      In effect you are being paid your child support in advance by way of benefit because it’s important that you have funds to care for your child. Child support is then collected from the other parent according to his capacity to pay and those payments are used to offset the benefit you’ve already received. If he is assessed to pay more than the monthly benefit you’ve already received you will be paid the extra child support once it’s been paid by the father.

      If you fail to name the father on the birth certificate your benefit can be reduced or stopped, this is at the discretion of the Dept of Social Security.

      1. Except that if the father earns well then he will pay much more child support than the mother will receive in the benefit and his surplus will top up other dead beats. I suggest you talk to the father (if you can) and come to an informal arrangement where he helps out with caring for the children. That way he is not shafted by the tax man and you get help and support for your children.

        IRD is incredibly unfair and “one size fits all” if you can avoid it then do so.

  11. Hi there,
    I have a court order in place where I pay for my child to fly to another city once every school holidays to visit the other parent, as this parent decided that after 7 years of no contact they would like to start seeing their child.

    The paying parent has not paid child support for a number of months. Legally do I still have to send the child at my expense?

    It is becoming a real struggle financially and is mind blowing that a parent can feel they shouldn’t contribute in anyway to their child.

    1. Hi Marley,

      Legally there is no connection between access and child support.

      The Parenting Order in place stands unless you apply to have it varied.

      Is it possible for you contact IRD and have them take more collection action on your behalf, it’s not appropriate for the other parent to not be contributing towards the financial support of the child

  12. Hi there, my friend is a paying parent for child support. He lives in the UK and is in a lot of child support arrears. What happens once his child turns 18? Will he still have to keep paying the arrears?

  13. Hi there, I am asking a question about the change of level of assessment for Child support between 2018 and 2019. For two children in my situation in 2018 it was $546/mth, the assessment for 2019 is $ 818/mth. That’s a 49% increase. Isn’t inflation at 4%? My wages have not changed and my ex wife is earning more than the previous year. I asked for a review and IRD wouldn’t even talk to my ex wife about her increased income (I don’t know the amount but the kids tell me). They discharged the review due to lack of information. Can you help please.

    1. Hi Ian,
      If you’re working for salary or wages your assessment each year is based on your income from the previous year from 1 January to 31 December. So your 2018 assessment would be based on your income from 01.01.17-31.12.17, and your 2019 assessment on your income from 01.01.18-31.12.18.
      If you file tax returns you are assessed on your income for the financial year 2 years previously eg 2018 on 01.04.15-31.03.16 and 2019 on 01.04.16-31.03.17.
      It sounds like you need to apply for another admin review and make sure you meet the criteria to have it accepted and the tests to have your ex wife’s reconsidered.

  14. Hi there.
    Recently the Agency sent me a notice of reassessment of my income…. for 2008/09/10!!
    Ive completely and fully paid my child support off, but now with this on the cards I’d like to know
    1. Can they really go back that far, (seems ridiculous, am I to be hunted and harrased until I finally find peace in my grave)
    2. On what grounds am I able to challenge this assesment? Incorrect information and figures, (I keep my records for seven years by law, how on earth can I challange this without proof).

    Awaiting your reply

    1. Hi Craig,

      IRD will generally only retrospectively reassess if the initial assessment was based on incorrect information. Your new notices of assessment for those years will tell you why the reassessments took place. You have the option of applying for an administrative review if you are unhappy with the assessments.

  15. If the parent has run away to his hime country and not working and not willing to pay child support does the governmnt takes over and pays me for child support if the 2 children are in my care 100%

    1. Hi Eesha,

      If the father is not paying, nothing can be paid to you as child support from the Govt. You may qualify for a sole parent’s benefit.

  16. Hi,
    I have a dear friend who has now received a Judge’s decision stating her 3 year old is now a ward of the state. There are many issues we are currently facing, but we can’t seem to find any information in regards to her child support payments, which she has been paying since her child was uplifted at 5 days old. As the child is now a ward of the state, is she legally liable to continue paying child support?

  17. I have raised my child since he was 2 years old (he will be 16 next month)and never received any child support from my ex, until i applied last year after she tried to claim child support for him when he was living with family members yet i financially supported him as he was going through the teenage phase i have court documents as his full time carer. Now she is trying to claim child support again through IRD just to get money and stop paying child support can i apply to claim for backdate of child support since he was 2yrs old? As she paid nothing from all those years towards any of his needs? It seems like every time she contacts IRD just because shes the mother she automatically is entitled to payments so i continue to have to prove by court documents, enrolment in school etc to keep stopping her from receiving any payments

  18. Hi there
    I dont know if anyone can answer this I am a paying parent for almost 10 years i have 16 and 13 and 8 yr olds and I only just found out that we were allowed to pay directly to Ird instead of going through our employee I have been charged over the years of penalty fees and arrears I’ve had to pay back I did not ask or remembered if i even ask to do it through my employer but I did not have a full understanding of it. I have been paying child support over 1000 a fortnight for years and I’ve only been told that I only had to pay monthly is this right??? I am not happy about the way ird has done this right I have struggle for so long and to find this out is insane! I dont mone paying according to what is paid but to overpay this much for so long and get godsmacked with penalties and arrears is insane! Any thorts out there?

  19. Hey there my aunty has a baby that is now in custody of cyfs and she had this question she wanted to ask it may sound stupid but it’s a question to be answered. She wanted to know since her first child is in the custody of cyfs what if she was to get pregnant again. Would they take her other baby too?

    1. Hi Sharlene,

      This is an issue that would not be dealt with under Child Support legislation.
      Each circumstance is different so there’s no one fits all solution and the decision would be made by CYFS and the Courts

  20. Hi all, I am on the sole parent support benefit. My child’s father disguises his income by putting it through his company so it looks like he has no income on paper. Because of this he has been assessed to pay the minimum possible amount (about $75 per month). I applied for an admin review as I feel he should be paying his fair share (instead of the tax payer). I would have thought IRD would want him to be paying more to offset my sole parent support but they told me not to bother with an admin review as it will never be successful while I’m on a benefit. Does anyone know the rationale behind this?? Seems backwards to me, if he was on PAYE he would be paying his fair share.

    1. Hi Honey,
      There is absolutely no rationale in that view point and you should never have been told that. If you want to apply for an admin review while you are receiving a benefit you should go ahead and do so. As long as you can bring yourself under one of more of the grounds used for admin reviews you have as much right as anyone to apply.
      It stands to reason that you should establish the precedent that his child support income amount is not correct now so that when you do come off benefit he will be assessed to pay at the correct level.

      1. Thanks Karen – that was my thought too! I did an admin review in 2016 which wasn’t successful. Although he was working, he claimed to be sick long term and have bad debts that were not paid to him. The interesting thing is that the reviewer stated that there was a lack of info at the IRD about him and his company. Would that mean he hasn’t been paying his taxes also?

  21. Hi, suspected for ages but recently the mother confirmed I am not the biological father of our daughter aged 8. Have been paying child support for 5 years and now want it back! Have no other children with her, so it can’t be credited to another account. Are refunds still possible once court has confirmed? Cheers

    1. Hi CJ,

      You can either give IRD confirmation by DNA testing or have a Court order issued.
      If you have DNA testing done make sure it’s an IRD recognised tester like DNA Diagnostics, just send the results to IRD and they’ll end your liability and refund anything you’ve paid.
      If you want to have a Court ordered Declaration of Non Paternity issued go to the Ministry of Justice website where you’ll find information on the process

  22. Just wondering about private arrangements. If it can be set up. And how. Or I’m pregnant now. I definitely know who the father is. Am I entitled to anything now? He refuses to help pay for any baby stuff.

    1. Hi Rawinia
      You can arrange financial support from the father privately if you want to, that is if he is prepared to pay.
      If he doesn’t want to contribute voluntarily you’d have to apply for child support through IRD by completing an IR101 Child support Application form. You’d need to be able to prove paternity by either having the father named on the birth certificate, him completing an Acknowledgement of Paternity or having him named as the father in Court.

  23. What does it remaining entitlment me as a receving parent? It say i am in credit. Does that i will recieve that money?

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I’m not sure what you’re asking here.
      If you are a receiving parent and IRD has collected child support for you, you are entitled to receive those funds.
      If you are receiving a benefit in effect the Govt is paying you your child support in advance by way of benefit because it’s important you have the funds if you’re caring for children. The Govt then collects child support from the paying parent and uses the money to offset the benefit already paid to you.

      If the paying parent is assessed to pay more than your monthly benefit payments you will be given any excess that he pays.

    1. Hi Tilo
      If you’re an NZ citizen or resident in NZ and have a child support assessment in place, even if your child has been taken to live in another country you will still be liable to contribute towards the child’s financial support.
      If the child is living in Australia your NZ liability will end on the day the child leaves NZ and the person caring for the child will need to apply to the Australian Child Support Agency if they still want to receive child support from you.

  24. Hi, I am paying for two children and I recently found out the youngest is not mine. I have been paying for 5 years. If I have my paternity disproven by court, will my ex be held accountable for robbing me? Will she be required to make repayments? She has always withheld this child from me, not wanting us to bond, just wanting the money.
    My other question is, my oldest (12) asked to stay more at mine, and said she wants to live with me as her home conditions are causing her depression (mum said no and has full custody, we have always sorted out our own informal arrangements). My daughter is very unhappy, doesn’t she have any voice in where she gets to live now she’s a bit older?
    Appreciate some advice.

    1. Hi Maree,
      If it’s confirmed that you are not the biological father of one of your children and the Court holds that you have no involvement with the child your liability for that child will be removed from the date it started. If you have overpaid your child support any credit will be held and applied to future liability for your other child. This change came in with the new amendments starting 01.04.2016. Previously you could ask for the credit to be refunded.

      Your oldest child is of an age that her views would be given a fair bit of weight by the Court. If you can’t get your ex to agree to trial your daughter living with you for awhile, you’re probably going to have to have the order amended. Lawyer for Child can be appointed by the Court and your daughter would be able to tell L4C what she’d like to happen. Parenting Orders expire when the child turns 16 so you
      have a few years to go where the order stands.

    1. Hi Wynta
      You are entitled to receive child support. In effect the Govt is paying you your child support in advance by way of benefit because it’s important you have the funds if you’re caring for children. The Govt then collects child support from the paying parent and uses the money to offset the benefit already paid to you.

      If the paying parent is assessed to pay more than your monthly benefit payments you will be given any excess that he pays.

      If you were not receiving a benefit and working a minimum of 20 hours per week you would be entitled to receive: your wages, any child support being paid by the paying parent, WFF, an In Work Tax Credit of $75pw or more, and any accommodation supplement you qualified for through Winz. You’d need to do your calculations and see which way you are better off.

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