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Ngā pūtake mō ngā arotake turuki tamariki Grounds for child support reviews

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When you apply for administrative review you must be able to show you have one or more of 12 special circumstances. 

You may choose more than one ground but you will have to provide the right proof for each ground in your application for administrative review.

The information you send with your application will be shared with any other parties in the review.

This ground applies if the ability of either parent to support their children is significantly reduced by obligations to another child or person.

To apply under this ground you should have a duty to maintain another person or child. This usually means you have a legal or moral duty that makes you responsible for their financial support, such as a child from a previous relationship or a court order requiring payment.

You will need all of these things to apply:

  • a copy of any agreement or court order
  • proof of child support or maintenance paid, and
  • your financial details.

This ground applies when the ability of either parent to support their children is significantly reduced by obligations to care for another child or person with special needs.

To apply under this ground you should have a duty to maintain another person or child with special needs. In most cases this means you have a legal or moral duty that makes you responsible for their financial support, such as high medical costs or special care because of a disability.

You will need all of these things to apply:

  • a copy of any agreement or court order
  • medical certificate or evidence showing the person or child's condition and specific treatment and costs
  • a list of costs showing extra expenses after deducting any benefit or allowance paid, or medical insurance refunds
  • your financial details.

This ground applies when the ability of either parent to support their children is significantly reduced by commitments that are necessary for that parent to support themselves.

You can apply under this ground if you are paying off loans or have high medical costs.

You will need all of these things to apply:

  • a list of the costs necessary for your support (you should explain why the expenses are necessary and give details of any steps you've taken to reduce them)
  • confirmation of your current earnings if you earn a salary or wages
  • if you're in business, details of your interest in the business, your latest profit and loss statement and balance sheet
  • if you have loan commitments, the loan start date, term and purpose, minimum liability and actual repayments
  • your financial details.

This ground applies if the ability of either parent to support their children is significantly reduced by necessary commitments to support another child or person they have a duty to maintain.

To apply under this ground you should have a legal or moral duty that makes you responsible for their financial support with necessary expenses to support them.

You will need all of these things to apply:

  • a copy of any agreement or court order
  • a list of the costs necessary to support the other child or person
  • reasons why the expenses are necessary with details of any steps you’ve taken to reduce them
  • confirmation of your current earnings if you earn a salary or wage
  • if you’re in business, details of your interest in the business, your latest profit and loss statement and balance sheet
  • if you have loan commitments, the loan start date, term and purpose, minimum liability and actual repayments
  • your financial details.

This ground applies when the high costs of contact significantly affect either parent’s ability to maintain the children. Contact costs can include travel, reasonable or necessary accommodation and toll calls.

Contact costs do not include food, clothing and entertainment.

To apply under this ground the costs of maintaining contact with the child must be over 5% of your adjusted income for the year.

To apply you will need all of these:

  • a completed Application for an administrative review form (IR470)
  • a completed Ground 5 - high cost of contact worksheet (IR470A)
  • confirmation of the contact arrangements such as a court order, agreement or a letter from a solicitor
  • a list of costs such as travel fares, accommodation, toll calls, or legal fees for maintaining contact with the child
  • an estimate of future costs with confirmation from a travel agent (if applicable)
  • your financial details. 

Working out your cost of travel

If you use a private motor vehicle to travel to and from contact visits with your child, the cost of this travel is calculated using the kilometre rates below:

  • 2013 to present 33 cents per km
  • 2011 and 2012 32 cents per km
  • 2010 and earlier 28 cents per km

The kilometre rate is reviewed periodically.

Application for an administrative review IR470 (PDF 111KB) Download form Ground 5 - High cost of contact worksheet IR470a (PDF 127KB) Download form

This ground applies if both of these apply:

  • a child’s needs are unusual and require funding beyond the normal costs of bringing up a child
  • the extra costs significantly affect either parent’s ability to maintain the child.

To apply under this ground your child must have current issues that need special medical treatment or care.

You can not claim the usual and regular costs of food, clothing, medical and day care.

To apply you will need all of these:

  • a medical certificate or evidence showing the child’s condition, specific treatment and costs
  • a list of costs, showing extra expenses after deducting any benefit or allowance paid, or medical insurance refunds
  • an estimate of future costs
  • your financial details.

This ground applies if the extra costs to care for, educate or train the child significantly affect the parent’s ability to maintain the child.

To apply under this ground the costs must have been expected by both parents and be reasonable in relation to the family circumstances.

Costs include private schooling or additional costs for sports, music or other activities related to the particular talent of an especially gifted child.

To apply you will need all of these:

  • confirmation of school fees, additional tuition fees or costs of the child’s additional activities
  • other information showing expectation of the special training or education (such as family history, situation before separation, formal agreement)
  • your financial details.

This ground applies if you feel the child support assessment is unfair because it doesn’t reflect the true income, financial position, assets or earning capacity of either parent or the child.

To apply you will need: 

  • confirmation of your changed income, such as a letter from your employer or a copy of the latest profit and loss account and balance sheet
  • your financial details.

If the situation relates to the other party or children you will need:

  • details of their income, assets and financial position
  • your financial details.

This ground applies if the child support assessment is unfair because a paying parent or recipient has previously made financial provisions to the child, other parent or any other person, specifically for the benefit of the child.

The aim of this ground is to avoid unfair doubling up of support payments possibly as a result of an agreement, property settlements or court orders.

The payments, transfers or settlements need to have been made before the child support assessment was made and should be genuinely for the benefit of the child.

If applying for a year prior to 2016 note that only paying parents can apply under this ground.

To apply you will need:

  • confirmation or evidence of the payments, transfers or settlements made
  • your financial details.

This ground applies if the child support assessment is unfair because the paying parent or recipient is legally entitled to live in a property you have a financial interest in.

This ground recognises that a considerable amount of a person's capital may be tied up in the home over a period of time while the receiving carer and children or the liable parent continue to live there.

If you are applying for a year prior to 2016 note that only paying parents can apply under this ground.

To apply you will need all of these:

  • a copy of any agreement or court order
  • confirmation that the other person is residing in the property and how long they’re allowed to do this
  • confirmation of your financial interest in the property
  • your financial details.

This ground applies if all of the following are met:

  • you are the parent of a qualifying child
  • you have separated from the child's other parent
  • you have earned extra income from additional work within the first three years after separation
  • the extra income is included in the child support assessment being reviewed
  • some or all of that income has been used, or will be used, on actual and reasonable costs to re-establish yourself and any child or other person you have a duty to maintain.

A non-parent carer of a child can also apply for a review under this ground to have the re-establishment costs of the child's parent taken into account. They will still need to get the relevant details and supporting information from the parent.

You can apply under this ground for the child support year 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 or later child support years.

To apply you will need all of these:

  • a completed Application for an administrative review form (IR470)
  • a completed Ground 11 Re-establishment costs form (IR470B)
  • evidence showing the additional work started after separation, eg a secondary employment contract
  • evidence of income earned from additional work, eg payslip(s) showing overtime, letter from employer showing details of the work not one before separation
  • evidence showing extra income has been or will be used for reasonable re-establishment costs eg receipts, quotes, hire purchase agreements,
  • dates of any reconciliation(s) after the original separation date
  • your financial details. 

Additional work

The work must be additional in quantity and/or nature to the work done before separation - such as taking on a second job, working over time or taking on extra contracts after separation.

Maximum extra income that can be excluded

There's a maximum amount of income from additional work that can be excluded from the assessment. 

The maximum is either:

  • the amount that has been or will be used for re-establishment costs
  • extra income earned from additional work, or
  • 30% of the parent's adjusted taxable income for the relevant child support year.

Reconciliations and the first three years after separation

The three-year period begins on the day the child's parents stop living together in a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship.

If the parents reconcile for three months or less, the reconciliation period(s) may be ignored.

If the parents reconcile for more than three months, the three-year period stops the day before they reconcile. A new three-year period restarts if the parents separate again.

Reasonable re-establishment costs

Re-establishment costs can include buying a house, furniture, white-ware, household appliances, paying a rental property bond and removal costs. These costs need to be actual and reasonable given the circumstances of your case.

Application for an administrative review IR470 (PDF 111KB) Download form Ground 11 - Re-establishment costs IR470b (PDF 105KB) Download form

This ground applies if a parent of a child wants the child support they owe to the other parent offset or reduced by the child support the other parent already owes them. This includes child support that is not yet due.

To apply under this ground:

  • both parents must have child support (that is still to be paid) assessed using our formula assessment process - other agreements or assessments do not count
  • the child support must be assessed at more than the minimum amount.

To apply you will need:

  • details of how much of your entitlement or liability you want considered for offsetting under this ground
  • your financial details. 

When liability cannot be offset 

A parent's liability cannot be offset for:

  • child support owed to the Crown to recover the cost of a benefit
  • a liability that has already been offset, whether or not the offsetting has cleared the entire amount of child support owed
  • a liability already assessed at the minimum amount
  • any penalty portion of a debt.