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Wed 27th October 2010

Child Support Act – Accountability Between Parents

Filed under: General — MurrayBacon @ 11:45 am

The Child Support Act was ostensibly passed into legislation, to try to stem the rapid increase in the cost of the Domestic Purposes benefit (DPB), by trying to pass on this cost to the fathers of the children.

Rather than directly address the people making the decisions, that led to the DBP being drawn, the Government generalised the tax target to all Non Custodial Parents (NCP), whether in fact they were currently making reasonable financial provision for their ex-spouse and children, or not. The Child Support Act (CSA) mixed together two distinct groups, one where the Custodial Parent (CP) was drawing DPB and the other where the CP was not drawing the DPB.

In applying one formula to both groups and not separately accounting for spousal support and child support, the iniquitous situation was created, of spousal support being paid after the CP took up a job or was supported by a new partner. In several thousand cases, this Government generosity with father’s money, was extended by business minded CPs, who bore children to several well earning men and receive a full spousal support from all of them. This is a very perverse incentive, as it financially rewards women who bear children into the type of family situation that gives the highest possible hazard to the children.

Although the CSA allowed for voluntary agreements, by offering a forced transfer much higher than the actual basic costs of supporting the children (for the cases where the NCP had an above average income ie about 70% of cases) it incentivised the CP to use the CSA.

In perhaps 20% of separations, the father may have decamped, due to unwillingness to provide financially, or more commonly inability or having been driven out. In many cases the inability results from mental health problems and applying tax law to mental health problems does not protect children. On the contrary, many of these men are driven out of NZ and their children are pretty much in the situation of orphans. Orphans have a better explanation of what happened to their lost parent. The decamper’s children are left in a vacuum, sometimes filled by poisonous stories. These factors bequeath a much higher suicide rate to these unfortunate children, as a result of inappropriate Government intervention into their lives.

The same CSA that was passed for decampers, is applied to fathers who are making appropriate financial contribution for their children. The compulsory CSA transfer of far more than the basic costs of supporting children, removes accountability of the CP to the NCP. This Government Act reduces the degree of responsibility required of the CP and results in much poorer parenting of these children. When there are problems with the children, the CP often will not allow the children to live with the NCP, due to the loss of CSA payments. This perverse incentive is strongest for women with poor market incomes, the same ones who are most likely to have mental health issues and thus have difficulties with parenting skills, especially when separated.

Solo parenting requires a higher level of parental skill, than parenting while together. However, generally the parents with poorer parenting and negotiating skills, are the very parents most likely to separate, resulting in hazard for the children. Thus accountability between parents is essential for successful separated parenting.

Thus the CSA is a barrier to the children receiving the best parenting that collectively their parents can offer.

The social damage done by the reduction of accountability of CP far outweighs the small financial take for DPB recovery.

21 Responses to “Child Support Act – Accountability Between Parents”

  1. Gerry says:

    Good posting Murray – the same can be said of the stupid penalty system currently in force, creating a false impression in terms of child support debt – a sizeable majority of which is interest and which the children or custodial parent never see, and which lines IRD’s coffers. I can think of a case where a working non-custodial parent provided the child support payment which was used by the custodial parent on the DPB to take her, the children and the new partner on holiday, during which the said new partner (on the dole & with a list of past criminal convictions) sexually abused one of the children of the said non-custodial parent and was thankfully arrested for the crime.

  2. MurrayBacon - axe murderer says:

    Dear Gerry,

    thanks for your encouragement, on this sad saga….

    Impact onto Employment in NZ

    The additional impact of CS payments, calculated as a fraction of taxable income is to significantly increase the NCP’s marginal tax rate. This is a significant disincentive to working longer or harder, to earn more. This dynamic affects 100+% of NCPs, or 200,000 taxpayers, ie 10% of all taxpayers in NZ.

    If the NCP feels disenfranchised as a parent, by familycaught not considering him for custody or shatred parenting of the children, or in the wake of unilateral removal of children by prospective CP, then the NCP may feel that by paying “child [and spousal} support”, far beyond the actual costs of caring for the children, they would be incentivising the CP to unethical actions. This may be a strong incentive, to live very lean and minimise their earnings to just what is essential to exist. This dynamic probably affects 30+% of NCPs, or 60,000 taxpayers.

    Employers find that NCPs are unable to say when they are available for work, or not available, due to capricious changes in the times that their children might be available for access. This impacts negatively on these people being able to compete for promotions, as well as these people being somewhat traumatised by the separation and loss of access to their own children. This impact probably affects about 40% of all NCPs. This is probably the largest restriction on the NZ workforce’s productivity, so it has significant effect on NZ’s international competitiveness. These issues also affect willingness or ability of workers to relocate, to obtain promotions. The broken families are largely located to suit the conveniences of the non-working NCP, despite any incentives that an employer might try to offer.

    Effectively, NZ’s poorest families can be located to suit the convenience of the mother, a freedom that is only enjoyed by the very richest individual taxpayer supported families. This seems a curious outcome from the DPB/CSA policies, as these are the very families who should be encouraged to compete harder in the marketplace, to better their social conditions?

    Some NCPs may feel so disenfranchised as parents, that they decide to leave NZ and abandon their children. This usually id decided partly by CSAct issues and also by DVAct malpractices too.

    The net result is the taxpayer is left with the financial costs and the children left with the loss of one parent. This generally increase their social difficulties, including risk of suicide of the children. These children are often further damaged by the CP providing dishonest information to the children about why their father has left NZ. Departures may be through emigration (about 5,000 fathers per year), or at their own hand, through Saint Peter’s pearly gates (estimated at 25 fathers per year), in more desperate cases.

    Once a father has made this departure decision, then CSAct penalties accumulate at similar interest rates as charged by loan sharks and drug dealers. The social effect of this unethical Government penalty regime, is to quickly make it financially impossible for the father to return to NZ. The Government’s holding out for usurous penalties, which are so high that only a criminal could afford to pay them, then make an insurmountable barrier to these children ever seeing their father again. Thus the social costs for the children are maximised atrociously.

    These issues are even more poignant, when the penalties are accruing on an assessment of income, made by an IRD-CS review officer, not based on any evidence. An imaginary income, with real CS payments based on the imaginary income and further real penalties, destroys the children’s access to their father. There are about 100 fathers in this situation each year, so it can be estimated that over a 20 year period, there would be about 2 children’s suicides per year, due to loss of access and CP PAS.

    Although there is a system, by which these fathers can appeal to familycaught for review of the IRD-CS assessment of income, the cost of lawyers and the relatively low probability of a fair hearing or successful outcome, put this process out of reach of almost all Nzers. When a father has been maltreated through DVAct, they usually have little respect for or trust in the familycaught, so why would they take further risks dealing with familycaught ever again?

  3. James says:

    Hello, I occasionally find myself reading accounts of the unreasonable financial wranglings of NCP (generally Fathers) and the powers that be.

    I feel for the men who are clearly passionate about their children and are being denied a decent share of parenting or drained financially.

    What I don’t understand is how these compelling accounts clash with my experience from the other side. I am a step parent of two lovely children and have two more children with their mum. Her previous husband left when the children were 2 and 6 months. I have been parenting them for 6 years.

    During this time I have done my best to ensure these two beautiful kids were cared for to the best of my ability and have tried to provide as much materially as is good for them. During this time their Dad with whom we have achieved a reasonable rapport (he has the kids often and is not a bad bloke in general) has paid the legal minimum contribution, currently $800 a year. That is 400 per child or under $8 per child per week.

    It might be argued that I have taken responsibility for them when I married their Mum, which is indeed what I have done. I have an expectation, though, that their Father also took responsibility for them when he fathered them.

    I asked their Dad a couple of years ago what he thought his responsibility was he said he would get back to me. He continues to be on a benefit or low paid part time jobs, in spite of being a Uni graduate etc. He has another child with his current partner and another on the way.

    I feel frustrated that all our children will have to do without things or I will have to work extra hard to subsidise his lifestyle choices. He pays the minimum of his resources available to his children while we devote the maximum we can manage.

    Anyway, when determining our access to any benefits or WFF our family income is used yet for determining his payments only the his income is used.

    It seems strange that the minimum payment is the same even for multiple children.

    We have made agreements in the past where they have agreed to pay for things like school fees or sporting equipment but they do not keep them. Although we voice our disappointment we have no obvious recourse, we will not consider involving the kids in any way.

    I find it frustrating and it is hard not to feel resentment when I see him involved in things I can not devote time to.

    Anyway, good luck in achieving an equitable way of sorting out family finances, I hope that it will also be fair for good people on the other side of the fence.

  4. mits says:

    Good on you James and great to hear the other side of the story.

    I have a few questions raised by your posting and I dont want to seem that Im denigrating your position at all, only trying to gain a clearer understanding of child support from a differing perspective.
    For example
    When as you say “he has the kids often” do you feel that you, or specifically your wife should pay some sort of support to him?
    I dont mean what the current child tax scheme says, which is nothing, but rather do you feel that morally your wife should support the children financially when they are in their fathers care?
    That put aside for a minute Im totally perplexed that your frustrated at subsidising his lifestyle while he pays you money in what ever amount. I would see it that your wife his ex wife has made the lifestyle choice of having four children and now has not one but two men working to subsidse that lifestyle choice.
    Im not saying that to be arguementative but the he and we gets blurred when He should pay more so we can get by and there seems to be no responsibility put on she who is having the kids.
    I hope that makes sense.

    Who elses income do you think should be included when establishing the child tax he pays? Are you suggesting that his wife or partner who should also subsidise your family to bring up the children even though she has her own?

    Truely no offense meant but I dont understand whats so frustrating about having someone pay monies into your family to raise children and also take the children at no cost to you as well. It seems you’re not adverse to the idea of him supporting your lifestyle but would want him to change his lifestyle so he could support yours better.
    All I can say is you got the kids dont you realise how precious and fleeting that time is and there is more to it than dollars.
    Mits

  5. James says:

    For Sure Mits, no offence taken, let me clarify.

    When I say he has the kids often I mean we have gone out of our way to facilitate him having the kids, providing clothes, transport both ways on occasion and for too long tolerated changes without notice when it has been inconvenient for him.

    We have done this because we believe it is in the best interests of the kids to have their Dad in their life. We try engage as little as possible in financial (or any other kind) rancor. The kids happiness is paramount, if I have to suck it up a bit OK, I will rant a little anonymously on the internet to get over it. 😉

    I do not think that me or my wife should pay monies to him when the children are with him, it is generally for a few days a fortnight (we would be open to more if he wanted and would then think it was appropriate to address any payments). There is a difference in costs with his very part time care, we maintain a larger car and a larger house etc as a function of our larger full time family.

    Morally, I believe that if you have children you should do as much as you reasonably can to promote their well-being, a component of that is financial.

    If he had the kids more than us, or had more costs then it would be fair for us to make a payment to him. As it is I think it would be fair to take into account the time they spend with him when his payments are calculated.

    Remember we are in no way limiting his access, rather the opposite. Our life would be easier if he never had them in many respects, as for things like sports we have to make special arrangements to get them there when he has them.

    My wife had a contract with her ex and he broke it. They agreed to get married and have kids, after kid two he left to follow another dream (being an artist).

    My wife has stoically maintained her temper and her dignity and done a great job taking the responsibility of raising the children, (even when he moved far away and didn’t make contact for six months). She worked to reconnect the kids with him.

    “there seems to be no responsibility put on she” Ummmn I really don’t get this, she has the responsibility of raising the kids and works to make money to that end. I have some responsibility too and work to that end as well.

    I believe that he also has financial responsibility and believe that it is more than $8 dollars a week per child.

    In terms of whose income is relevant in calculating transfer payments, (from him to her or from the state to us) I am easy, they are welcome to count mine and his partners or neither of us. His partner chose to get together with someone with children, like I did, and their are implications for that, I believe.

    “I dont understand whats so frustrating about having someone pay monies into your family to raise children and also take the children at no cost to you as well. It seems you’re not adverse to the idea of him supporting your lifestyle but would want him to change his lifestyle so he could support yours better.”

    We are already subsidising his lifestyle, we are paying the lions share of raising the children he fathered. Because we do this he can relax knowing we have it covered. We strive so that we can get one of the kids a decent tennis racket, he gets to play tennis with her without helping get the racket.

    I note that you were not puzzled by him agreeing to pay for items and then not doing so, this is what I find most puzzling. If I had kids that I did not live with I would be ashamed if I did not do my best to support them in every way.

    I am sure all of this would feel different, and be different, if he wanted half care of the kids and we were denying it or limiting his access or she had left him or a myriad of other possible scenarios.

    “All I can say is you got the kids dont you realise how precious and fleeting that time is and there is more to it than dollars.” it would be easy to take offence to that comment Mits, I have taken you at you word that was not intended, fair enough.

    I realise how precious our beautiful kids are and make their well being a focus of my life. It is a joy. But It is sad when they are unable to do all some things that would be of benefit for them because we don’t have the money.

    Mits, how would you organise things for our situation?

    Cheers James

  6. MurrayBacon - axe murderer says:

    Dear James,
    thank you for sharing your experiences. The challenge is to find a “system” that will be tolerably “fair” to all parties.

    When one person, a party to an agreement, decides to break their side of the promise, then the situation can easily degenerate into rancour, frustration and anger.

    In some cases, outside circumstances may have lead to the breach, in others it is really a person deciding to change their course, perhaps without any agreement from those that they impact. This decision may be taken quite callously.

    In many cases, there is a mental health issue, possibly not visible. The person may not have taken such a conscious decision, but their mental health limitations may have forced their hand, but not visible to others?

    It is very important that we understand all of these positions and try to share the opportunities that life does offer. To often people change their course, with little or no care for those they have impacted onto. Trust breached leaves the other person cautious about taking any future risks, based on trust.

    Thanks again, MurrayBacon.

  7. James says:

    Well, you are quite welcome Murray. 😀

    It is bloody sad reading the testimonials of men being financially ruined and denied access to their kids. The anger is palpable, anger seems to be the tip of an iceberg of hurt.

    I def take it on board that life is complicated and that we can not know what another persons truth is. As far as it goes, I think that we all manage the blended family thing pretty well together.

    As I have said I don’t think the guy is a bad bloke, not even a bad Dad. I can imagine in other circumstances being friends. I do think that, all things being equal mental health wise, paying out more on your daily smoking habit than on your kids per week is poor form.

    I have read a bit about proposed reforms and I hope that they go some way to reducing the apparent inequity for (mainly) fathers in the current set up.

    The couple, perhaps in the grand scheme of things minor, things I would like to see changed would be an change to minimum capping, $800 a child seems not much at all let alone over several. I would like incomes judged as families or not judged as families for the purposes of payments for custodial and non custodial families.

    Considering the way it seems anyone can find themselves a single parent or a NCP or even a step parent I wonder if there could be an ACC type set up. Everyone pays in then gets paid out if they find themselves parenting alone they get paid out DPB styles. A real child tax, I am only riffing on that. There is probably loads against it but hey….

  8. Ross says:

    Gentlemen,

    I am one of those NCPs that will not pay a cent more than required by IRD!
    In fact, I have even chosen to reduce my hours (and therefore income, and therefore CS liability) as a direct result of the unfair way in which CS is dealt with in this country.
    In my case I had a private child support arrangement but, when (a year after separation) I met someone new, my ex throw her toys and went to the IRD to get more money out of me.
    At the same time she began her campaign of “bad mouthing” me. She has successfully turned my eldest child against me and manages to ensure that, on the few weekends that she allows me access, there is always a more attractive option at her place than mine. Thus, I must compete with her in order to have my children want to come and stay. This is no way to parent and a while ago I stopped playing this game. Consequently, I very rarely see my kids.
    My ex has managed a take my kids on a trip to Australia’s theme parks (a week after the start of my eldest child’s first term at high school) and she spends money on things that I would not, as a parent, give priority to. She obviously has enough money to get by.
    I am prepared to pay for children that I have access to and am involved with, but even if I drag them through the nightmare that is the family court I will not get that access.
    If the IRD were to butt out of it all then the denigration of the father’s role would not occur. The Mum would want the Dad involved so that he felt more like contributing to the children’s upbringing.
    Until the system changes I will continue to work reduced hours. So who’s the loser here? Me, my kids, the tax payer.
    Peter Dunne has a chance to fix this, but he isn’t going to. The unintended consequences of his changes will result in a shambles with families (and therefore children) being, once again, the losers.

    rant…. rant… rant…

    James, I love kids and would love it if my new partner already had some. Enjoy being a step-Dad. The time you have with them is gold.

  9. mits says:

    How would I organise it?

    To be honest for $8oo a year I would probably drop the whole thing and just concentrate on raising the kids.

    I cant comment on your wifes ex except to say that in the space of two posts he went from
    he has the kids often and is not a bad bloke in general
    to
    I mean we have gone out of our way to facilitate him having the kids, providing clothes, transport both ways on occasion and for too long tolerated changes without notice when it has been inconvenient for him.
    And we only get to hear one side of the equation.
    which is all good, as even though I dont agree with what you are saying it is good to get an idea of the mind set of recipients of Child tax.

    Why dont you take the initiative here and tell him that you want to forgo IRD and come to a private agreement. He can open an account in the Kids name and deposit what ever he decides ishes able into that account.

    My main question is what level do you see as being acceptable for child tax?
    If you claim WFF and all the other benefits you are entitled to for having his children with you on top of what ever amount he is forced by IRD to pay and that with your wife and yourself working isnt enough to support 4 children. And you now feel that his new partner should be taxed as well to support kids that have never lived with her.

    We obviously have different ideas as to what it is to “have children”

    I agree that people who sit around on benefits when they should or could be working is a vexatious issue and Ive some strong ideas on that. But surely in New Zealand is still his perogative. While you might want him to work longer harder smarter so that you can receive more financial assistance to raise your family I dont think that this should be legislated for. To me it smacks of slavery or serfdom.

    I guess what Im trying to say is think of it from a father who hasnt got his kids with him point of view.
    We all agree that the best money is money spent on our kids.

    But if your wife went off with your two kids and then some bloke, top bloke great fella, started on at you that you could do a bit more as he felt you had responsibilities to these children you get to see at best every other weekend would you say, “sure no problem buddy” whip out you cheque book and ask how much you need? Or if there is no other bloke and the Govt just wants you to top up her DPB money none of it goes to the child just offsets her benefit would you still be insisting that they should take more?

    phew rant over I will buy a comma or two next time

  10. MurrayBacon - axe murderer says:

    Dear Ross,

    thanks for sharing your experiences and motivations. I assume that you are in the first couple or so years of separation. The psychiatric issues usually settle, over a few years, about 20 in my personal experience, but a lot less for most guys.

    I know some of the pain, of having denigrations presented to children as facts. I became slowly aware of funny vibrations. At first I didn’t believe it, but as time went on there were too many different signs that things were being said behind my back. I didn’t try to fight it, I just figured that if her family believed these sorts of stories, then I could do without them. My kids believed some of these stories, for a while.

    I did get to hear some of the stories from my children, mostly by accident. If they realised a story was manipulative, they usually wouldn’t repeat it to me. In some cases, the children couldn’t hide the issue and in some way it would be mentioned.

    I told my children that maybe there were untrue stories floating around. If they wanted to know my version, they were welcome to ask me, I wouldn’t yell at them in anger. Some cases, I discussed the issue, leading them through to work it out, rather than just trying to tell them my version. I would tell them if they wanted.

    After 2 or 3 years, the problems for the children seemed to die down, when they realised what was being done to them. In the longer run, lies just backfire. They cause quite a bit of distrust and hurt, until the true picture becomes clear.

    I hope that I have persuaded you to be very patient and not to give up in the face of hurt.

    It is really good to talk these experiences out, eg at Men’s Centre or with friends.

    Best regards, MurrayBacon.

  11. James says:

    mits, it is hard to read you responses and not feel that you are being argumentative rather than investigating someone else’s experience.

    There is no contradiction between:
    he has the kids often and is not a bad bloke in general
    to
    I mean we have gone out of our way to facilitate him having the kids, providing clothes, transport both ways on occasion and for too long tolerated changes without notice when it has been inconvenient for him.

    He is not a bad bloke in general (but WE have had to work hard at getting regular contact organised), I included the information to more completely answer your question about my wife paying him when he has the kids.

    As I say later in a different post I can imagine being friends with him in different circumstances. He is not a bad bloke at all IMHO, just slack and poorly organised.

    “Why dont you take the initiative here and tell him that you want to forgo IRD and come to a private agreement. He can open an account in the Kids name and deposit what ever he decides ishes able into that account.”

    We have made agreements in the past for him to pay for things and he has not done so. He agreed to buy tennis balls last season for one girl, he never did and after a few weeks we ended up getting them. We did talk about this once I think but his partner vetoed it, I think they find IRD taking their bucks a week is handy for budgeting’
    “My main question is what level do you see as being acceptable for child tax?”

    I have answered what I think the minimum payment of $800 anually should be annual per child rather than $800 split by as many kids as the NCP has in a family.

    “And you now feel that his new partner should be taxed as well to support kids that have never lived with her.”

    No, I have not said that, I have said that either both new partners earnings should be taken in to account or neither of them should be when calculating transfer payments.

    “We obviously have different ideas as to what it is to “have children””

    Really, please explain. I have taken some trouble to explain that we don’t let this become a problem and that, yes the children are precious and the most important thing.

    Where I imagine we differ is about financial responsibility. I will clarify my position. I think if you are the biological parent for a child who has good access to your children (by good I mean in our circumstances basically all the time he wants, in a very flexible and chilled arrangement)then you should make a contribution towards their financial needs. That contribution should be at a minimum level of $800 a year per child.

    I find talk of serfdom or slavery hyperbole in this context. At minimum wage $800 a year is about 1.2 hours a week. At the average male wage it is about half an hour a week. Source from here

    I have said I feel genuine compassion for men who are not being given justice under the current system. Do you think that it is possible that there are instances where there is any unfairness (although I have stated this is relatively minor by comparison to not seeing your kids)in the other direction?

    “We all agree that the best money is money spent on our kids.”

    Actually, it seems that this fella chooses to spend it on smokes.

    But if your wife went off with your two kids

    This guy left his wife, toddler and baby. He went to another town and partied like a rock star.

    These children you get to see at best every other weekend

    Ummn if the kids Dad wants to see them more that is fine with us. We have regular meetings together and keep a google calendar which we all put our commitments on so that we can get things as smooth as possible, if he wants the kids more he needs to ask the kids and block out the time on the calendar.

    No one is going on at anyone in our relationships. I have asked about three questions. “What do you think your financial responsibility is” “How do you want to do that” I explained instead of letting this become a big thing I am having a little rant on the interwebs.

    If my wife and I split up and had the kind of cordial relationship that we have with her ex, I would think it fair to pay half the cost of raising the kids. I would hope to do this privately, I have seen this done and I would hope to do the same in that unfortunate and unlikely event.

    If he didn’t want to have some financial responsibility for his children he should not have had them, he has had them and he has some responsibility. If I was not between contracts I would not have the time to write this, it is galling when he gets to cherry pick the fun time with the girls without covering any expenses. I wish I had more time to play tennis with the kids or take them on bike or blading, however I am often busy earning the money to pay for these items.

    I am not livid or furious about him paying $8 a week towards his kids financial needs while he sits on his arse wasting money, I am getting on withmy life, but I am a bit pissed off with it on occasion, and justifiably so.

    Cheers James

  12. mits says:

    Hi James

    Sorry if I seem argumentative. I would say that we are poles apart on our views of child tax and will have to agree to disagree.
    What set up you and the missus have with the father is your business and I dont want to get into it.
    I do note that your view of Child tax is from a strictly receiving point of view which is understandable given your situation.
    Im sure the govt would love to hear of people being in favour of raising the minimum levels that should be paid if you look at how much extra this would give them to offset the DPB. Money that doesnt go to the child at all. And then there are the parents with the children that look on chid tax as their own money some sort of punative levy that should be laid upon predominanly the father for any slight or percieved slight that may or maynot have occurred during their realationship and subsequent break up. Once again there is no garantee that the child will see any benefit of this money.
    I know my view on child tax is a simplistic one that will not fit every scenario. But it is my view that if you can not afford to have children then you shouldnt have them. That includes after the break up as well as before.
    In my case I was able to financially support my children after the break up not by some lotto win or inheritance but by sheer hard work and determination. The State allowed my ex to have the children even though she couldnt afford them. And then to add insult to injury deemed that I should pay the state for allowing her that priveledge. Then when she shacked up with another bloke I stopped paying the state for her decisions and started to pay her directly. This wasnt my choice but still state legislated as she couldnt afford the children. On top of that I still had to pay extras to have my children with me, things they needed, bigger car so we could all fit clothes expenses etc on and on
    Dont worry James I pay alot more than your $800 a year. I wasnt going to say how much but for transparency I will let you know its just over $10,000. How much of it goes to my children is negligible.
    We have both now got new partners and I have had children with mine. Who should get the best out of this deal? I would say the children from my first marriage as they effectively have three adults supporting them. Where as from the second they only have 1.5 as my income is effectively knobbled.
    I overcome this by working long hours and upskilling myself out of work for promotions and pay rises. Effectively Im a wage slave to keep up with my philosophy that If you cant afford children you shouldnt have them.
    And thats where we have to agree to disagree. You married a woman with two children. The decision to have two more children was yours and your wifes to make. You made it so therefore you have a family of 4 to raise not two. I feel that as you seem a reasonable guy you will see that, as my ideal of “if you cant afford them dont have them” is too simplistic and will not fit every scenario.
    Then yours of “people should be responsible for their own children and we should set the minimum amount higher”, is guilty of the same over simplification.

    Mits

  13. Cl says:

    I have equal share of my son, week about in other words. And yet I have to pay $490 a month in child support and only receive 67.50 back , dos anyone know of any way of lowering my payments with out a private agreement as the ex wont go for that as she wants “her money”. Any advice would be helpful to avoid me paying this amount for the next 16 years

  14. Ross says:

    You could emigrate to a third world country.
    You could fake your own death.
    You could arrange for aliens to come down from space and abduct your ex.
    But, even if you did one (or all) of these things, the IRD would still track you down and, with the encouragement of your ex, suck the life out of you via your pay packet.
    May I suggest you calculate your marginal tax rate and figure out whether it’s really worth working overtime or even working a full week. Have a look at the IRD website and see how it’s all calculated. You’ll see that you don’t have to pay so much if you move in with a new “partner” and you pay even less if you have a child with that new partner. Incentive to go out and make the same mistake all over again!
    Good luck.

  15. Skeptik says:

    Suggestions – You could get a group of guys together who suffer similar anti father / anti men injustice (misandry) and publicly burn some wallets outside an Inland Revenue Department office.
    Be sure first though to telephone some media organizations (radio and newspapers) to tell them that at such and such time a dramatic demonstration will be taking place at such and such a place.
    Be sure to take some photos of your own and upload them to this site. It is read by readers worldwide and the authorities will hate the publicity generated.

  16. Phoenix says:

    Interesting how your ex considers the money is hers, and not for the children. Unfortunately this attitude seems pretty typical.

    Here are a few ideas that you might want to consider.

    Form your own home business, run at at a loss, or even better set it up so you can defer payng you tax. Eg reinvest all profits into further development. This will reduce you taxable income. Check with a tax accountant as to how you can do this.

    Make sure that any future partners already have kids. Their children will act as a shield between the tax department and your pay packet and if the relationship goes south you won’t be stuck with more child support. However, make sure you change partner before the two year time period is up if you are living with them to make sure that they cannot lay claim to half your property, unless of course they are richer than you are.

    In addition when it comes to new partners do not, under any circumstances believe a woman when she tells you she is taking care of contraception. Women regularly lie about this and as you have already discovered there is a huge price to pay for children. According to a British survey of 5000 women 40% admitted they would lie about contraception if they wanted a child and would get pregnant irrespective of their partner’s wishes. This 40% is only the women who ADMITTED they would do this, the percentage that would still do it but not admit to it is of course unknown. The last thing you need if you want to reduce child support is more kids.

    University studies will provide you with a time in which you move forward while at the same time reducing your child support, so this may be another option for you, but this will only last for 3 to 4 years and life as a student is not easy. Another option is simply refusing to work a full time job, you may very well find that if you run the numbers it is simply not worthwhile being full time in the workforce anymore.

    Other more drastic measures you could take would include simply refusing to pay or leaving the country, but if you leave it would mean you would most likely not see your children again and if you return to New Zealand you may find yourself in severe trouble. At present the government is not imprisoning people for not paying child support, but it is only a question of when they start to do this based on the example of countries overseas such as the USA.

    Last but certainly not least, let every man you know who is looking at entering a relationship and having children know what you have had to go through. Men need to be warned about the dangers of modern relationships and how they will be taken to the cleaners by the child support and family court systems.

  17. Cl says:

    I have looked into what effect would be if I had another kid, $17 less is what the ird worked it out at.

  18. Ross says:

    ??
    Not sure how your financial situation works but that doesn’t seem right to me. Have a quick look at the IRD calculator. If you earn about $47k (and live alone with no kids) and you pay CS for one child, then you need to pay about $490/month (which is what you said you are paying).
    Now if you move in with someone else you only have to pay $415/month, and if they have a child you only pay $290/month ($250/month if they have 2 kids). But whatever you do your marginal tax rate stays really high (ie your highest tax rate + 18% (for one CS child)).
    The way to win out of all this is to come back as a woman and have children to more than one partner. That way they each have to pay you a minimum of 18% of their gross pay (assuming of course they don’t move in with someone else and have more children – so best have them have the snip before you go your separate ways!).

    Like I said, good luck.

    When I separated from my ex-wife (4 years ago) I found that the best bit of advice I got was to buy some Vaseline. You’re going to get shafted whether you like it or not!

    Check out the IRD calculator here.

  19. GH says:

    If you find out then let me know too.
    I’ve paid the best part of $30,000 over the last few years and not a cent has reached my kids. Does anyone know whether this is a law or just an IRD interpretation? Has it been challenged in court? Surely there’s a case worthy of a class action – I could really use that money at the moment!
    My feeling is that with the government tax take shrinking they will cling on to every last cent and justice be damned. The current review will be a sham, as always.

  20. Gerry the Men says:

    Hi James, you make a fair and reasonable point. Remember though if either parent feels the child support struture is unfair they can apply for an adminsitrative review from Child Support. This system provides some lawyers who don’t have enough paying clients with a good income stream by being retained on a roster as ‘independent’ review officers for the Child Support Agency. Personally as they are paid by IRD to do the so called ‘independent’ reviews and are reliant on IRD for their next review appointment, one could argue that a review officer who returned too many decisions unfavourable to IRD might find their appointments suddenly limited.

    Non-custodial parents usually get their butts kicked in any request for a review and we personally wouldn’t recommend them as IRD will not shift from the formula assessemnt unless there is Family Court or higher legal precedent to do so. This is basically why a lot of non-custodial parents dislike the review system because the administrative review system (while sounding fair) is actually loaded against them because IRD does not want to degrade the ‘ingtegrity’ (and we use that word loosely) of the formula assessement. They fight tooth and nail to ensure it is not ‘undermined’ by too many departures from it. One of our members spent over $30,000 in travel and access costs to see his kids and IRD declined his application for an adjustment because this was not considered ‘special enough’ grounds. So go figure.

    HOWEVER, as the custodial parents here you are in the box seat. According to figures our group has obtained from IRD, only something like 5 per cent of custodial parents repeatively apply for administrative reviews, but that 5 per cent makes up something like 52 percent of all total applications. So what does that tell you?

    Discuss carefully first with someone well informed which of the 10 grounds you may wish to apply under. For example Ground 8 relates to a parent’s ‘capacity’ to earn.

    The current Minister of Revenue appears to accept finally that the system isn’t fair and is outdated. It is sad that in this country the Government can introduce legislation overnight in order to screw actors and kiss the arse of a major Hollywood fim company to ensure New Zealand remains the Mexcio of the US film industry, and yet taken so long to address updating child support laws to make the assessment formula fairer (this is not to say that whatever Mr Dunne has planned will in fact be fair – he’s a politican afterall).

    Hopefully, James you made a submission to the proposed Child Support changes and ensured your word was heard by IRD, which has asked for it. You might find the proposed changes and the initiative to income spilt (likey to be passed middle of next year) help improve your situation.

    Yours, if we might say, is a better situation than some for at least there appears a willingness for dialogue on both sides and you are being decent about access and not disparaging the father to his children. Hopefully you can find a way to encourage better equity – if you apply for a review be aware however this might erode the relationship you have with your step-children’s father. There is sadly, no easy answer. Good luck – Gerry the Men (not the Man).

  21. Ram says:

    HelloYou are correct in your unntesrandidg that your ex will have child support reduced dramatically if he moves in with a solo mother and her children. He will be seen as supporting his new partner and children and this has to be taken into account. If however, the partner is working to support the household or her ex is paying child support, then this can also be taken into account but only by applying for an administrative review through the IRD. The review can be applied for and completed over the telephone and they will take into account all incomes involved and work out a more appropriate child support payment.As for moving that is a complex issue. It depends on many factors, including the ages of your children and what you have agreed so far. It seems that you and your ex will have to decide on the best course of action here and this is where you will need to mediate and think of the children first. Just hold on to the thought that your ex can not stop you moving anywhere. He can only, under some circumstances, delay your children moving. This depends on the age of your children. I rarely recommend the Parenting with the Ex Factor book in replies but as your situation will requires many decisions then it seems an amicable way forward would be for both of you to read the book and make joint parenting decisions. I hope this helps.

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