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Child support Turuki Tamariki

The review hearing and decision

The review hearing 

Once we've accepted your application and contacted the other party or parties to discuss if they want to be involved we'll organise a hearing. The hearing generally takes approximately 30 minutes.

You can choose to:

  • attend the review hearing in person
  • take part in the hearing by telephone, or
  • ask the review officer to decide from written information you provide.

We'll then set a date and time for the hearing and let you know the details of where and when it will be held. The hearing is informal and not at all like a court hearing. A child support officer may be there if the review officer requests this and the review officer may ask you some questions. The whole review and hearing process is free.

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Representatives and support people 

You can ask to be represented by someone else or have a support person at the hearing but this person can't be or have been:

  • enrolled as a barrister or solicitor, or
  • regularly engaged in advocacy work before other tribunals.

You may be allowed a representative to stand in and speak for you if you can't:

  • present the information yourself, or
  • get to the review hearing and a telephone hearing is not possible.

Your support person could be a relative, friend or business associate. They can help you prepare your information and attend the hearing but they don't have an automatic right to speak. How much they can participate will be up to the review officer.

If you want to have a representative or support person at the hearing you should apply to do this before the hearing date as approval is required. After looking at all the necessary factors, we'll determine whether a representative or support person can be at the hearing.

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The review officer 

Review officers can only consider information known to all parties. After the hearing the review officer considers all the information already held by us. This includes tax information we hold such as:

  • income details, including those of a new partner
  • details from company, partnership and trust returns.

In deciding whether to change an assessment the review officer looks at how the child support assessment affects:

  • the child
  • yourself, and
  • the other parties involved.

They must be satisfied that:

  • your circumstances fit one or more of the grounds for administrative reviews, and
  • a change in the assessment would be just and fair to the child, the receiving carer and the liable parent, and
  • a change in the assessment would be appropriate in other ways.

Review officers can only consider an application to review the assessed amount of child support. They can't negotiate payment of debt or consider the charging or waiving of penalties.

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The decision 

Review officers won't give a decision at the hearing. The decision is usually finalised within three weeks of the hearing and we'll send all parties a copy of the written decision.

Written decisions will include:

  • an examination of the specific grounds for review
  • the special circumstances (if any)
  • a discussion of why there will or won't be a variation to the assessment
  • a start and end date to any variation
  • the specific change to be made to the formula to achieve the variation.

Any information given to the review officer may appear in the written decision.

How long it will take

We aim to complete reviews within 10 weeks of receiving the application.

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If you disagree with the decision 

We can't amend the review decision once it has been issued to the parties involved in the review.

If you disagree with a child support review decision you have the following options:

  1. If you applied for the review you can have the same grounds that were considered at the review looked at again. To do this you should apply to the Family Court for a departure order. You can only rely on grounds that were put to the review officer in the administrative review.
  2. If you were the other party to an administrative review you can appeal the decision in the Family Court. The Court will then rehear the original case.
  3. If there's a new matter not considered by the review officer, or a change of circumstances since the last review, you can apply to us for another administrative review.

Read our guide Helping you to understand child support and the Family Court (IR174)