Child support


If two parents separate, one may have to pay child support to the other, as financial support for the costs of raising the children. Whether child support will have to be paid, and how much, will depend on how much each parent earns and how much time the children live with each parent.

There are three ways of making child support arrangements:

  • You can make a private agreement with your ex-partner, where you both agree on the amount one parent pays to the other. You organise payments and resolve issues between yourselves. You don’t need to have a formal document for this agreement, and it’s not registered with Inland Revenue.
  • You can make a formal voluntary agreement with your ex-partner, which is a child support agreement that’s written and registered with Inland Revenue. You and your ex-partner decide on the amount, but Inland Revenue takes care of collecting and paying the money, as well as following up on missed payments.
  • Inland Revenue can make a formula assessment if you and your ex-partner can’t agree on the arrangements. Inland Revenue calculates the amount to be paid. If the child support isn’t paid, Inland Revenue can ask the Family Court to enforce payments. The child support scheme is governed by the Child Support Act 1991 and is managed by Inland Revenue.
Next Section | Voluntary agreements

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Parents, guardians and caregivers

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online:

Access the free “Pregnancy Rights: Your legal options before and after pregnancy” booklet, here. This booklet contains practical answers to questions about pregnancy and the law, and includes information on sexual health and consent, options after a positive pregnancy test, healthcare, education, housing and more.
Email for a hard copy:
Phone: Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley – 04 499 2928

Family Court

The Family Court website covers many topics discussed in this chapter, including how the family court works, care of children, adoption and paternity.


New Zealand Law Society

The Law Society has helpful information on what happens with children when parents separate.


Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue’s Child Support webpage has a wide range of forms and guides for parents and caregivers.

Phone: 0800 221 221

Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Supervised Contact Services (ANZASCS)

The ANZASCS website has information about supervised contact and lists contact details for approved providers of supervised contact services.


Alternative Dispute Resolution

There are many kinds of “alternative dispute resolution” that, depending on your personal situation, may be cheaper and more successful than going to the Family Court. These include counselling, mediation and negotiation. The following list is not exhaustive:

Resolution Institute:
Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand Inc (AMINZ):
Family Works:

Oranga Tamariki/Ministry for Children

Oranga Tamariki’s website has information about the adoption process.

Phone: 0508 326 459

Department of Internal Affairs

The DIA website has information on how to obtain original birth certificates for adopted children.


Registering your child’s birth

The Smartstart website allows you to register your baby’s birth online.


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