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Child support

Voluntary agreements

How does a voluntary agreement work?

Child Support Act 1991, ss 48, 49

Instead of one parent applying to Inland Revenue for a formula assessment of child support, the two parents can agree to make their own child support agreement – a “voluntary agreement”. The agreement must be in writing, and it will need to be registered with Inland Revenue (IRD). IRD will collect and enforce payment.

The agreement has to be for regular payments, either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The amount to be paid under the agreement must be at least $520 for the year ($10 a week).

Can there be a voluntary agreement if the parent receiving child support is on a benefit?

Child Support Act 1991, s 50

If the receiving carer is on a benefit, Inland Revenue can accept a voluntary agreement between the parents only if the amount to be paid under the agreement is at least as much as under the formula assessment.

The amount must be paid to Inland Revenue, who will pay the beneficiary parent any child support that’s more than the amount of the benefit.

What needs to be covered in a voluntary agreement?

The voluntary agreement should state:

  • that the liable parent accepts he or she is responsible for paying child support
  • how much will be paid
  • how often the payments will be made
  • any extra payments the liable parent will make – for example, paying for school fees.
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