IRD have announced that major changes are being made to the child support scheme, starting next year. These changes are the first major overhaul of the child support scheme in 20 years. They reflect that life has changed a lot for families during this time.
Currently child support payments are based on the paying parent’s income and living circumstances. Shared care is only recognised when a parent or carer looks after children for at least 40% of nights in a year.
Key changes at a glance
From 1 April 2015, child support will be based on the following:
- The incomes of both parents will be used.
- More account will be taken of the amount of care provided by both parents and carers. Currently most child support only takes into account whether you care for a child for 40% of the time. After 1 April 2015 this threshold will lower to 28% (103 nights or more a year, or two nights a week).
- Both parents will receive assessments, which may include allowances for any other children of their own who live with them. This allowance will be based on the children’s ages and the estimated average costs of raising children in New Zealand.
- Parents will receive assessments that may include an allowance for any of their own children living with them, but not for a new partner, or any children who aren’t their own.
This means in some cases the amount of child support parents or carers pay or receive may change.
IRD will be contacting child support customers between July and December this year to either confirm the information they already have or to ask for more information if they need it.