The Aims of Child Support
Inland Revenue Department Child Support Department administers the Child Support Scheme, which is designed to collect money from parents not living with their children to help financially support them when:
- a couple who have children split up, or
- two people have children and aren't living together.
The Child Support Scheme operates under the Child Support Act 1991. This legislation aims to ensure that:
- parents take financial responsibility for their children when marriages and relationships end
- financial contributions from paying parents help to offset the cost of benefits, like the Domestic Purposes Benefit, which support custodians and children.
How does Child Support work?
- The person caring for the child generally applies for Child
call this person the custodian. Custodians can sometimes be people
other than parents - like grandparents or a member of the whanau, or
Child Youth and Family if they have the care of the child. In these
cases both parents may pay Child Support.
- IRD use a standard formula to calculate how much Child Support must be
paid by the paying parent. A paying parent is the parent who does
not care for the child on an ongoing basis.
- The standard formula uses a process which works out the paying
parent's taxable income, takes away a set living allowance (the amount
of which depends on their living arrangements - such as if they have a
partner and how many children live with them), and multiplies the result
by a percentage based on the number of children the paying parent pays
Child Support for.
- IRD then divide the annual amount into monthly amounts. IRD let
- the paying parent know how much they need to pay, and
- the custodian know how much they will receive.
- IRD collects payments from the paying parent
and passes them on to:
- the custodian to assist with care of the child, or
- the government, if the custodian is receiving a sole parent benefit like the DPB.
To qualify for Child Support, the child must be:
- under 19 years of age
- a New Zealand citizen or "ordinary resident" in New Zealand
- not married or in a de facto relationship
- financially dependent, that is, not working more than 30 hours a week on average, or receiving a benefit or student allowance.
The paying parent must pay until their child turns 19. It will stop before this if the child starts:
- living with them full time
- work full time (30 hours a week or more)
- receiving a benefit or student allowance
- living in a de facto relationship or marries.
What are not matters for Child Support?
Child Support does not:
- decide on custody of children, on access to children, nor who is a legal parent.
- deal directly with children. Payments are made to the custodians.
Also, Child Support is not Working for Families Tax Credits.