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Being eligible for child support depends on:

  • whether your children qualify for child support
  • whether the other parent, or both parents if applying as a non-parent carer, can be made liable
  • the amount of care you provide.

If you and your child are living in Australia, you should apply for child support through Services Australia.

Child support in New Zealand and Australia

If the parent of the child you want to make liable for child support is not a NZ citizen but lives in a 2007 Child Support Convention country, you can apply to us for a child support formula assessment.

Applying for child support from a 2007 Child Support Convention Country


To qualify for child support, the child must:

  • be under 18 years of age, or 18 years of age and enrolled at and attending a registered school in New Zealand or an overseas school. If a child is 18 and still enrolled at and attending a school, then child support ends on 31 of December of the year they turn 18
  • not be married, in a de facto relationship or civil union
  • be financially dependent, that is under the age of 16 or aged 16 and not working more than 30 hours a week on average or receiving a benefit or student allowance
  • be a New Zealand citizen or ordinarily resident in New Zealand

If you're unsure whether your children are New Zealand citizens, you can check this with the New Zealand Government.

Check if you are a citizen (New Zealand Government)

If your children often travel overseas, you can see whether they are spending most of their time in New Zealand by checking their tax residency status. If they are New Zealand tax residents, they are ordinarily resident in New Zealand.

Sometimes for child support, we need to decide whether or not a person will be or will continue to be ordinarily resident. In these cases we may consider the person's intentions to live or not live in New Zealand.

Tax residency status for individuals

Liable parent

In order to be a liable parent for child support, the person must either:

  • be the birth or legally adoptive parent of the child
  • have been married to the other parent when the child was conceived or born
  • have acknowledged before a court, or in writing, that they are a parent of the child
  • have been declared a legal step-parent by the Family Court
  • have had a court made a paternity order them in respect of the child
  • be either:
    • a New Zealand citizen
    • ordinarily resident in New Zealand
    • ordinarily resident in Australia,
    • ordinarily resident in Australia, or in a 2007 Child Support Convention country, as we have agreements for child support.

Care of a child

The formula assessment for child support recognises that a parent provides for their child if they give ongoing daily care for at least 28% of the time. This is called recognised care.

A parent or non-parent carer will not receive child support unless they provide ongoing daily care for at least 35% of the time.

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