If a paying parent is a prisoner, hospital patient or under 16 years of age, and meets certain other criteria, they can apply for an exemption from paying child support. If an exemption is granted the paying parent's child support liability is reduced to zero for the period covered by the exemption. If a custodian considers that this exemption doesn't take into account the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the paying parent, they can apply for an exemption review.
An exemption review is a free service managed by Child Support that looks at a child support assessment to see if it can be altered to fit a particular situation.
Only custodians can apply to Child Support for an exemption review.
Child Support organises the review process, but the actual review is done by an independent person contracted to Inland Revenue. This person is called the review officer. Review officers are experienced in law and follow precedents set by past court cases.
In deciding whether to overturn, confirm, or change an assessment, the review officer must consider:
- whether a change would be fair to both parties and the children
- if a change would be otherwise appropriate.
When a custodian applies for an exemption review, they will be asked to provide details of their financial situation. If the paying parent wants to take part in the review:
- they are allowed to have a copy of the custodians application and any supporting information, including the financial details
- the custodian is allowed to have a copy of their response and supporting information.
This swapping of information is done:
- so both people know all the information the review officer will be considering, and
- so each can respond to the other's details.
You can find more information on exemption reviews in our booklet Helping you to understand child support reviews (IR175).
Date published: 26 Sep 2006