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Child Support is Changing!

August 8, 2013

My last couple of blogs have been about Child Support and that won’t change with this blog. The reason? From 1 April next year, the most significant changes to child support in over 20 years will come into effect.

During those 20 years, there have been social and legal changes – families don’t look like they used to – and the Child Support changes are designed to take those into account. The changes also aim to provide a fairer and more transparent way to calculate child support, taking into account the different circumstances that families find themselves in. A new payment and penalties systems aims to encourage parents to pay their child support.

So what are the key changes?

As of 1 April next year:

  •  A new formula for calculating child support will be based on:  The costs of raising children. In particular, the increased costs of teenagers will be taken into account; The care a parent provides to their child. This will take effect when a parent cares for their child 28% or more, rather than the present 40%;  New allowances for parents to take into account their living costs and other dependents they have;  Both parents’ incomes. Currently, only the paying parent’s income is taken into account.
  •  There will be different rules for the way child support is calculated for a child who is being cared for by someone other than a parent.
  • Both parents will be able to estimate their income for the purpose of a Child Support assessment if their income has reduced by 15% or more.

As of 1 April 2015:

Child support

  •  The definition of “income” will be varied to take into account a broader range of income types.
  • Child support payments will cease when a child reaches 18 years old unless he or she is still at school. Currently the age is 19.
  • Payments (other than child support) made for the benefit of children might be taken into account.
  • Paying parents will be required to have their child support deducted from the income they earn from their employment.
  • Changes to the penalties system.

A review can be sought of child support to consider the costs of one parent re-establishing themselves after separation.

If you have a private agreement with your child’s other parent about child support then these changes won’t affect you unless one of you applies to IRD for a formula assessment or the child’s carer starts to receive a sole parent benefit from WINZ.

The IRD website has a calculator that allows you to work out the child support you may receive or have to pay from next April
. The website also sets out some different examples of how the changes may impact upon you.

If you are concerned about the changes or have questions about how they may effect you, give the team at Family Law Results a call: www.familylawresults.co.nz

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