Can I stop my child support payments?
You may qualify to stop paying child support if you're in prison for at least 13 weeks, and:
- you receive no income while you're in prison, or
- your income is only from investments and is less than $17 a week on average.
If you're paying child support under a voluntary agreement or a Court order, your income from investments should not be more than $10 a week on average.
What if I'm receiving a prison allowance?
If you qualify for an allowance under the penal regulations, you can still apply to stop your child support payments.
What if I'm being paid on a "release-to-work" programme?
If you're being paid under a release-to-work programme, you can't apply to stop your payments. If you've already stopped paying, you'll need to start paying child support again if you go on the release-to-work programme. If you stop being paid under a release-to-work programme you may be eligible for an exemption for the years you're not working.
How do I apply to stop my payments?
To apply to have your payments stopped, you need to:
- complete our Application for exemption from child support payments (IR105) form, and
- ask your unit manager to sign and stamp the form - they'll then send it to us.
What if I don't qualify?
If you don't qualify to have your payments stopped, we may still be able to reduce your payments.
How do I qualify to have my payments reduced?
If your income for the current year ending 31 March is less than the income we used to work out your child support payments, you may be able to reduce your payments. Your income needs to be at least 15% less to qualify.
For example, if we originally used an income of $30,000 per year to work out your payments, and the income you expect to get for the whole year has fallen by at least $4,500 (15%), we can reduce your payments.
How do I apply to reduce my payments?
To apply to reduce your payments, you need to:
- either complete:
- an Estimation of income for child support online, or
- an Estimate of income for child support assessment (IR104) form for the relevant year, or
- write us a letter
- state how much you expect to earn for the current year, including what you earned before you went into prison
- provide evidence of your estimation - such as payslips, a letter from Work and Income or, if you were self-employed, a letter from your accountant.
We'll work out your new payments and tell you the new rate.
What if I already owe child support?
You're still liable for any child support you owe before your payments are stopped or reduced.
What happens to penalties on my account while I'm in prison?
This depends on individual circumstances. We can talk to you about penalties while you're in prison and you can call us free on 0800 387 782.
What do I need to do when I'm released from prison?
You need to contact us as soon as possible after you leave prison. We need to know:
- when you were released
- your new address and living arrangements
- if you're receiving a benefit, or your employer's name.
We'll then make sure you pay the right amount of child support.
Date published: 19 Feb 2014
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