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Prisoner's rights

Family matters

Child support

What is child support?

Child Support is money paid by a parent not living with their child, to help support them financially.

For more information, see “Child Support” in the “Parents, guardians and caregivers” chapter of the Community Law Manual

Can I stop paying child support while I’m in prison?

Child Support Act 1991, ss 89B, 89D

Most people going into prison (for 13 weeks or more) can have their payments stopped or reduced. You have to apply to IRD.

You can apply to get your payments stopped if you earn no income while in prison (If you have income from investments, you may have to pay child support depending on how much you earn from the investments).

If you wish to stop paying child support you should apply through IRD and get your unit manager to sign and stamp the form.

If you don’t qualify to stop child support payments, you may still be able to have your payments reduced. If your income has dropped by at least 15% (for the current year ending 31 March), then you might qualify for a reduction. Again you should apply for this through IRD.

Is my child eligible for child support?

Child Support Act 1991, s 5

Any child is able to receive child support (from a parent not living with them) until they are 19 years old unless:

  • the child marries or is in a de facto relationship
  • they start living with someone else full time
  • they become financially independent
  • you start living with the person who pays child support.

I used to get child support before I came to prison. How do I get child support for my child now?

The person looking after your child can apply for child support through IRD. Tell them to contact IRD on 0800 227 774.

If you will have your child with you in a Mothers with Babies Unit, you may be able to continue receiving child support payments. If you haven’t been receiving payments, you may be eligible to receive them.

For more information, see “Pregnancy and childcare in prison

Next Section | Sole Parent Support

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Family matters

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide initial free legal advice and information.

Also available as a book

Lag Law: Prisoner's Rights

Lag Law answers heaps of common questions you might have if you’re going to prison, you’re in prison, or you’re getting out of prison. It talks about your rights in prison, and sets out the laws and rules that affect you when you’re put in prison . 1 free copy for people in prison and the whānau of someone in prison. If that’s you, email laglaw@wclc.org.nz for your free copy

Buy Lag Law: Prisoner's Rights

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