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Child support is money paid by parents who do not live with their children, or who share care with someone else. The money is to help with the cost of raising a child.

It's often set up when parents separate or when someone who is not a parent, such as a grandparent or other family member, is caring for a child.

If a carer receives a sole parent rate of benefit from Work and Income, they'll need to complete a child support application as part of the benefit application process. Once we do the formula assessment, we'll collect any child support payable. Parents and carers who do not receive a benefit can make their own arrangements for child support. We don't need to be involved.

We do not decide parenting arrangements, who is a parent or who has the day-to-day care of children. For help with these matters, you can contact your lawyer, community law centre, local Family Court coordinator or Citizens Advice Bureau.

Types of child support

There are 3 different ways to set up child support in New Zealand.

Formula assessment

You apply and we decide the amount and manage the payments. If you're on a sole parent rate of benefit or Unsupported Child's Benefit, you'll need to apply for a formula assessment.

Voluntary agreement

You decide the amount, register the agreement with us and we manage the payments.

Private agreement

You decide the amount and manage payments without us.

What you need to do to set up your child support will depend on the option you choose.

Choosing a type of child support

Other support

We may also be able to help you with other financial support, such as Working for Families Tax Credits. These are payments for families with dependent children aged 18 and under. The payments are to help with the cost of raising a family. Entitlements are based on your yearly family income and family circumstances.

Working for Families

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