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Child support
Turuki Tamariki

Reciprocal agreement with Australia for child support


Inland Revenue now matches information with New Zealand Customs so that we're notified when certain paying parents with outstanding child support debt are travelling in and out of New Zealand.

Child support officers will then use this information to try to contact the paying parent to make arrangements to repay the debt, or pursue other collection processes. If necessary, Inland Revenue can also take legal steps to prevent certain paying parents from subsequently leaving the country.

Paying parents who are planning to travel should contact Inland Revenue to ensure their child support obligations are up to date before travelling.

A child support reciprocal agreement between Australia and New Zealand came into force on 1 July 2000.

The agreement allows one country to use the other country to collect child support from paying parents who are living in the other country. For example, New Zealand could send a request to Australia about a paying parent who owes child support for their children in New Zealand. Australia would use their own process to collect the child support and pass it on to Child Support in New Zealand, who would then distribute it to the custodial parent.

Which country makes the child support assessment

The country in which the custodian lives has the jurisdiction to issue assessments and make Court orders. 

Taxable income if the paying parent lives in Australia

If a paying parent is earning income in Australia, this can be included in the assessment for child support payable in New Zealand. This income will be converted to New Zealand dollars and have an inflation factor added before being used to calculate the child support liability.

Note: Section 39(A) of the Child Support Act allows the Commissioner to include taxable income that is earned overseas in the New Zealand formula assessment.

Debt collection

If the paying parent lives in Australia, debt and current assessment details may be referred to that country for collection. Australia will use its child support collection and enforcement laws to collect payments. The payments will then be forwarded on to New Zealand.

Generally, where a paying parent is paying their liability, the case won't be referred to Australia for collection and the paying parent can continue to make payments directly to Child Support in New Zealand.


The reciprocal agreement extends to the following Australian Territories:

  • Norfolk Island
  • Territory of Christmas Island
  • Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

This agreement doesn't apply to the following territories associated with New Zealand:

  • Tokelau.

This agreement is between New Zealand and Australia only, and is to ensure that there is only one liability.

If the paying parent is an Australian citizen or resident

Section 6(1)(b) of the Child Support Act states that child support may be sought from anyone who:

  • is a New Zealand citizen, or
  • is ordinarily resident in New Zealand or in a country with which New Zealand has entered into a reciprocal agreement for enforcement of child support.

For example, custodians resident in New Zealand with an ex-partner resident in Australia can now apply to receive child support from that person, even if that person isn't a New Zealand citizen.

Ceasing a liability

The reciprocal agreement provides that when we receive written advice that a custodial parent with entitlement to child support in New Zealand is living in Australia, the New Zealand assessment is to be ceased. The paying parent's liability will end on the day before we receive the written advice.

The custodian will be entitled to apply for child support in Australia.

For more help

Customers living in New Zealand
phone 0800 081 516
fax 07 959 7602
Customers living in Australia
phone 1800 504 042
fax 0064 7 959 7602
Customers living overseas
(except Australia)
phone 0064 9 984 2537
fax 0064 7 959 7602

Child Support Australia


Date published: 14 Aug 2014

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