Skip to main content

Security From 30 October, we are increasing the security of our websites. If you have an old browser, you may need to update it.

He pēhea te mahi a te pūnaha turuki tamariki How child support works

Back

What is child support?

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.

Child support is often put in place when parents separate. It's also used when someone who is not a parent, like a grandparent or guardian, is caring for a child.

You can make your own arrangements or we can help set an amount and pass the money on.

Who is eligible? 

Child support can be arranged in families when one of these is true:

  • parents live apart and share care of a child
  • parents live apart and one parent looks after a child full time
  • someone who is not a parent lives with and looks after a child.

Child support applies to children who are under 18 years old or 18 years old and still at school.

Types of child support arrangements

There are three different ways to set up child support in New Zealand:

  • we decide the amount and arrange the payments - formula assessment 
  • you decide the amount and we arrange the payments - voluntary agreement 
  • you decide the amount and arrange payments without us - private agreement 

If you are on a Sole Parent Benefit or Unsupported Child's Benefit the formula assessment is the only option.

Formula assessment

Inland Revenue decides the amount
Inland Revenue collects and pays
Inland Revenue follow up missed payments

A good choice when

  • you want us to decide a fair amount
  • you want us to make sure payments happen
  • you need privacy from the other parent or carer

Voluntary Agreement

You and the other parent or carer decide the amount
Inland Revenue collects and pays
Inland Revenue follow up missed payments

A good choice when

  • you can agree on who should pay and how much
  • you want us to make sure payments happen

Private Agreement

You and the other parent or carer decide the amount
You and the other parent or carer set up a private agreement
You and the parent or carer resolve any missed payments

A good choice when

  • you can agree on who should pay and how much
  • you want to organise payments yourself
  • you can rely on the payments being made