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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


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
  • not married, in a de facto relationship or civil union
  • not financially independent, for example, not working more than 30 hours a week on average or receiving a benefit or student allowance.
  • 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.

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, as we have an agreement 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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