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 initial free legal advice and information.

Oranga Tamariki / Ministry for Children

Phone: 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459)

This web page has information about the adoption process.

Family Court

The Family Court website includes information on the topics in this chapter.

Family Court fee waiver forms

Department of Internal Affairs

This DIA webpage has information on how to obtain original birth certificates for adopted children.

Parents can now register their baby’s birth online at:

“What happens to your children when you part?” (pamphlet)
Phone: (04) 472 7837

This New Zealand Law Society pamphlet covers guardianship, care of and contact with children, how disputes are resolved, and other child-focused issues. Access the pamphlet online or order hardcopies from the New Zealand Law Society.

Inland Revenue

Phone: 0800 221 221

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

Alternative dispute resolution – Resolution Institute is a community of mediators, arbitrators, adjudicators, restorative justice practitioners and other DR professionals. – AMINZ (Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand).

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. You can find out more at the above websites

Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Supervised Contact Services

The ANZASCS website has information about organisations that are approved as providers of supervised contact services.

“Pregnancy Rights: Your legal options before and after pregnancy” booklet

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.

Order hard copies from:
Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley
Phone: (04) 499 2928

Email: or visit to buy a copy or access free online.

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life.

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