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Child support
Turuki Tamariki

What is domestic maintenance?

Domestic maintenance is either a:

  • court order, or
  • voluntary agreement

and is paid by one person to another when they divorce or separate.

Inland Revenue child support can administer domestic maintenance for New Zealand citizens or residents.

How domestic maintenance is administered

Court-ordered domestic maintenance

The Family Court decides if a domestic maintenance order should be made, and if so, how much a person should pay their former partner. You can apply for domestic maintenance even if you weren't married to the other person, for example if you were in a de facto relationship.

If the Family Court sends a copy of the court order straight to us, we'll automatically register it.

If the Family Court doesn't send us a copy and you want us to enforce the order, you need to register it with us.

You can do this by completing our Registering of voluntary agreement or court order for child support (IR102) form.

The form needs to be:

  • signed by at least one of the parties
  • accompanied by a copy of the court order.

The form and the court order can then be posted or delivered to your nearest Inland Revenue office.

Voluntary agreement

If both parties agree how much domestic maintenance should be paid, they can make a voluntary agreement.

For Inland Revenue child support to administer this agreement it needs to be:

  • in writing and signed by both parties
  • for at least $520 a year
  • for a sum that can be worked out and paid on a regular basis.

For example, if you agree to payments of $20 per week then the agreement needs to be for $1,040 a year.

You don't have to have been married to the other person to register a voluntary agreement, but we can only administer your agreement if you're the parents of a child.

To register a voluntary agreement you'll need to complete our Registering of voluntary agreement or court order for child support (IR102) form.

The form needs to be:

  • signed by at least one of the parties
  • accompanied by a copy of your signed voluntary agreement.

Next steps

Once we register your court order or agreement, we'll:

  • let you know how much needs to be paid on a monthly basis
  • advise each of you how much you need to pay, or what you are entitled to receive.

We'll work out payments from whichever is the latest:

  • the day we received your completed form
  • the day you stated as the start date in your agreement
  • the day stated in the court order.

If you don't want your court order enforced

If you're the person entitled to receive the payments set out in the court order, you can ask us not to enforce the order. You'll need to complete our Election not to enforce court order or election to withdraw from a voluntary agreement (IR112) form.

When does domestic maintenance stop?

Domestic maintenance stops when:

  • the agreement or order expires, or
  • the person receiving the payments asks us to stop collecting them.
If we're collecting domestic maintenance under a court order, payments will also stop if the person receiving the payments remarries (unless the order specifies otherwise).

For more help

If you'd like to talk with a child support officer call us on 0800 221 221 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you'd like a copy of any of the forms mentioned you can download them from "Forms and guides", or by calling us on 0800 257 773.


Date published: 13 Dec 2012

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