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Thu 16th June 2011

Child Support – Help

Filed under: General — Vanessa @ 9:35 am

Hi can someone help? My husbands ex wife has successfully applied for an admin review which we filed a cross application. The son attends private school and about a year ago she unilaterally put him into boarding saying she would meet the costs. She lives less than 9km from the school. The review officer ignored the fact no agreement was reached and said it only needed the expectation of one parent (ie her). We now pay the maximum formula asessment plus private school fees + boarding fees. A total of $2600 per month or $29,000 per year – the review officer has said we have to restructure our earnings, sell our house etc because my husband has first obligation to maintain his son in the style (she and he has become accustomed to). She has little outgoings, is the recipient of a family trust, has over 200k in the bank. I live with my husband with my daughter from a previous relationship, she objected to my husband receiving the discount for a dependants, so that was taken off us as well, my child has special needs and as such is enrolled in a non state school. My husbands income and her income are basically the same, the difference she has more cash, and no outgoings and a big Family trust. The maximum child support (1400 per month) is actually paying for her rent etc. She also gets the son to write letters to the IRD in support of her applications. We have a review hearing tommorrow for the cross application under Ground 1: The capacity of either parent to provide financial support for the child is significantly reduced because of a duty to maintain another child or person Ground 2: The capacity of either parent to provide financial support for the child is significantly reduced because it costs extra to cover the special needs of another child or person they have a duty to maintain. Ground 8: The child support assessment does not take into account the income, earning capacity, property or financial resources of either parent or the child. The issue here is she forced boarding, make us pay for it and just wants more and more

I dont hold my breath on this one but any assistance or ideas or pointing in the right direction ie relevant cases would be appreciated

20 Responses to “Child Support – Help”

  1. GerryMen says:

    I am sorry Vanessa, your best bet regrettably will be with an application to the Family Court for a departure order. IRD are notorious for their inflexibility and base everytjing on precendent made in Family Court child support departure order cases.

    That said if you can find a Family Court departure order case that sets a precendent supporting your claim, this will assist you considerably. Give this to the Review Officer (who is a private lawyer retained by IRD in order to ensure ‘independence’ – albeit the good ones don’t really do this sort of rats and mice legal work).

    You might find also that in the very black and white way IRD works, is that having considered the other party’s case on its ‘merits’ your case will not actually be properly considered until the cross application is heard. It is not unheard of for a Review Officer to treat both applications separately, make a decision unfavourable to the other side and then give them some ‘claw back’ or reduction in the cross-application.

    Case law is the only way you will get a Review Officer to shift, so ask you lawyer for some examples or get to law library and do some research. If you don’t have time, ask for a postponement of the hearing so you can source more information.

    The Family Court at least has to apply the principles of natural justice (in theory) and what is known as the ‘reasonable person principle’ – a legal fiction of the common law representing an objective standard against which any individual’s conduct can be measured and how a reasonable person might in the same circumstances weigh the criteria or merits of the case.

    Good luck, it is very hard for women in your situation and there are many of you in my experience.- Brian for GerryMen Fathers’ Action

  2. Scott B says:

    Don’t expect fairness, common sense and justice.

  3. Scrap_The_CSA says:

    Hi Vanessa,

    1) What case law did the Review Officer quote in her decision to support the departure.

    2) what were the special circumstances decided by the review officer?

    I suggest you talk to Allan Harvey from the union of fathers.

    Regards Scrap

  4. Allan says:

    In my experience Admin Reviews need good preparation before applying for the Admin Review. Yes I could look at this case and help with a Court application for a departure order but there is about Zero chance of success with an Admin Review application after someone does their own application (or reponse) and shoots themselves in the foot with paper work submitted to IRD and then seeks help the day of the admin review meeting.
    Allan Harvey
    allan@uof.org.nz

  5. Vanessa says:

    Hi Alan

    We did engage a lawyer at the cost of $3000. The lawyer did not do any research of precedent quoted or any previous case law in support of our initial response to the review and our cross application. He then said he would charge us $750 to review the decision. The assistance given by the lawyer was no better than what I would have done. I am seeking help because a member of the legal profession let us down very badly.

  6. Allan says:

    It is not unusual to be let down by lawyers when it comes to Child Support.
    Unless they are a review officer themselves they tend to have zero or occasionally little experience in this area. I have lawyers who come to me for advice in this area and I’m sure Scrap will have had the same experience.
    The number of CS cases litigated in the Family Court each year is very small and I’m probably responsible for about 10% of them.
    If you want to e-mail me I will have a little look at the case.
    Send to my e-mail everything you have for me to see the background and situation.
    Allan@uof.org.nz

  7. Scrap_The_CSA says:

    Yes Allan, most lawyers know zip about CS admin reviews.

    Overdue for a chat. I will call.

    Regards

    Scrap

  8. GerryMen says:

    Vanessa,

    In addition to the Family Court, you may also challenge the Review Officer’s decision by applying to the High Court for a judicial review.

    Administrative decisions taken by the Commissioner of IRD under Part VIA of the Child Support Act 1991 cannot be appealed but they are fully susceptible of judicial review: Johnson v CIR [2002] 2 NZLR 816,833, O’Regan J. Judicial review is not to be assimilated to a general appeal. As Blanchard J said, in JC Pring v Wanganui District Council and AMI Holdings Ltd (02/09/99,CA 27/99) at para 7: ‘… in judicial review the Court does not substitute its own factual conclusions for that of the … authority [appealed from]. It merely determines, as a matter of law, whether the proper procedures were followed, whether all relevant, and no irrelevant, considerations were taken into account, and whether the decision was one which, upon the basis of the material available to it, a reasonable decision-maker could have made. ‘

    Unless the statute itself introduces a weighting, Blanchard J continued, issues of weight were for the decision maker, whose decision is under review. But he added ‘… there must have been some material capable of supporting the decision’; and that is to be judged with a ‘less tolerant eye’ when, as is the case here, the decision has an immediate effect on an individual: see also B v CIR [2004] 2 NZLR 86, at 96[Blue] , Paterson J.

    This test was affirmed in Discount Brands Ltd v Northcote Main Street Inc [2004] 3 NZLR 619 (CA)[Red] . There Hammond J said at 632, para 58, that in the extreme case, where facts are altogether lacking, the Court can intervene on review: ‘It is entirely one thing to weigh evidence which might go either way: or even to incorrectly evaluate evidence. But it is quite another to make entirely unsupportable findings. To find facts without evidence of this character is an abuse of power, and as such it ought to be within the scope of the judicial review. ‘
    – Brian

  9. Vman says:

    Well there is no reason for him to pay private school fees and boarding fees. He is paying max child support and this is supposed to be what this money is for. You say the mother made this decision without consultation. OK but then the father pays the bills and there has agreed to it. Don’t pay the fees. That will cut your out goings in half.

  10. Scott B says:

    yes, you need not pay anything other than child support. Simple as that. Your child support is supposed to cover things like school fees etc. Good luck though!

  11. hornet says:

    I am in exactly the same position – This entire system is totally unjust, unfair, it is discriminatory, the women lawyers hired by IRD are biased, envious of anyone who has succeeded in life and basically anything you say is a complete waste of time. As a man you dont even get a face to face interview, you get a phone call, my review person had not even read my submissions when she made contact. When I questioned this I was told talk now or never get another chance to. Really fair and impartial – NOT. Once a decision is made – usually the first one in the womens favor – YOU WILL NEVER get it overturned no matter how hard you try. Not until there is a change in the LAW as it stands. The case law is all biased and heavily weighted towards the woman – and this is more because most men cant or wont or dont prepare well for these cases – so most decision have gone against MEN and this sets the precedent for all future decisions. And then to add insult to injury, because you were successful and even though you have paid out your share in property settlements you are expected to then sell what ever assets you have left to pay maximums in child maintenance and all other expectations of the one parent – you have no rights, no say, and cant fight it. YOU are then treated like a criminal, held in this country against your will until you pay, or sell assets to pay. You dont see people on lower incomes who own there own homes being asked to sell assets to fund maximums do you? So the system discriminates and last time I looked thats an offence in this country – we signed up to the United nations articles on against discrimination – someone needs to take a collective action against the government for supporting such a discriminatory and unfair process. Why should I have to pay more money to get yet another decision in court – I have already spent many thousands just trying to get time with my daughter – the system also supports bad parental behavior by the mother – I have psychological reports from the family court identifying this, but there is NO consequence whatsoever for the harm this does to the kids, and frankly I am exhausted trying any more and am on the brink of walking away from my child and leaving this country altogether. NOT ONE THING in NINE years has gone in my favor – I have a new wife and child of nine years and even my wife is absolutely disgusted at the system, the way we are treated. We now have to look forward to visits from a kid, who is told to LIE, to SPY on our lives, so the mother can pass this on to IRD. I had to get court orders just to get a phone call once a week. I have had to fight and defend myself and my reputation against so many false accusations – attempts to get violence orders against me, protection orders, non molestation orders – ALL THROWN OUT in court – NOT ONE SINGLE ALLEGATION proven. Then to add insult to injury, IRD comes along and supports these narcissistic, alienating individuals who cause all this distress to their children,, ensure every visit I do get is unpleasant, they can lie with impunity and there is no consequence for doing so. The child maintenance time allocation formula of 60 – 40 is defended like their lives depended on it – that needs to change immediately – BOTH PARENTS should immediately get EQUAL time to see their kids. ITS TIME WE ALL JOINED TOGETHER AND MADE THIS A POLITICAL SUBJECT – INDIVIDUALLY WE ARE BEING HAMMERED and as I see here there are MANY WOMEN married to GOOD MEN who also see this as a problem with URGENT ACTION NEEDED – The lawyers in the family court circuit are also part of the problem – because if the Justice System put in place LAW which stopped the opportunity for BAD BEHAVIOUR or making FALSE allegations, with consequences for doing this to your kids THIS GREAT $$$ BUSINESS TRADING ON CHILDRENS SUFFERING WOULD END OVERNIGHT. An thats the problem currently – CONFLICT is GREAT FOR BUSINESS so why stop it. This system is enough to turn good people INSANE, ,GOOD PEOPLE BAD. Call me anytime to discuss – 021 996 715. I may be ready for just one last fight!!!!! My daughter is worth that.

  12. SKeptik says:

    Hi Hornet,
    I read your all too familiar post and here are my thoughts on the subject.
    you have encapsulated what is the common experience of countless men across the western world.
    As a regular student for decades of the manosphere this is what i see –
    There is a small, but growing number of men and women who are aware of the systemic misandry. These Men’s Rights Activists are working tirelessly to right the kinds of terrible injustices you describe which are pandemic, terrorizing and now thanks to feminism multi-generational and deeply embedded within NZ culture.
    Unfortunately for the time being there are a larger number of men who are addicted to female sexuality and blinkered by a sense of denial “It won’t happen to me” attitude when they come across their male peers being institutionally shafted as you and I have. trying to talk to many of these guys is a waste of time. Some are open to hearing the horror stories fathers have to tell and adjusting their social perspectives accordingly. Others will silently judge you to be somehow at fault and therefore deserving of the pain and suffering inflicted upon you. Yet others are so mired in feminist induced self loathing they automatically will side with women and against you.
    So, my friend I urge you to choose your allies carefully and join with others who are taking the fight for justice to those who vainly feather their nests at the expense of good fathers and more importantly rob children of their birthright to be parented by their fathers in the fullest sense of the word.
    The internet abounds with organizations doing just that these days.
    It’s my duty to humanity to take up such action.
    I find comfort in knowing that having sworn myself to the cause of defeating misandry during my lifetime I can warn other guys and do what I can to save the next generation of children.
    For me this has meant moving offshore.
    I refuse to live in a country that taxes men then uses that tax to maintain institutions of misandry.
    It has also meant that I’m much more cautious about the kinds of people I mix with and that I daily search online and offline for kindred spirits.
    Welcome to the Men’s rights movement.
    Sorry that like for so many other guys, myself included, you had to go through such traumatic events to get onboard.

  13. MurrayBacon says:

    Dear Skeptic,
    your comment

    Unfortunately for the time being there are a larger number of men who are addicted to female sexuality and blinkered by a sense of denial ‘It won’t happen to me’ attitude when they come across their male peers being institutionally shafted as you and I have. trying to talk to many of these guys is a waste of time.

    is very perceptive.

    One detail, I suspect, isn’t correct. At a medical level, it seems that the majority of women enjoy sex every bit as much as the majority of men and have similar weakness to manipulation by offer of enjoyment. This is born out by a large number of experimental observations, over a large number of non-clinical subjects, from Kinsey on. (Of course espionage spy stories go much further back…)
    However, society is very harsh, maybe cruel is a more appropriate word, in the socialisation of girls enjoying their sexuality. Perhaps we are evening the playing field, by the way we must? bring up our boys, since the passing of Child [and Spousal] Support Act. Boys now face a roughly similar lifestyle vulnerability to manipulative offers of sexual enjoyment. I am not able to see that two wrongs make a right, even after meeting with familycaught!
    The major exception to women and men enjoying sex with a similar degree of enjoyment, is that people who’s first training/experience was after about 18 years, never seem to reach the same level of ability to enjoy. Of course, this is a difficult area to research objectively, partly due to chicken and egg issues.

    So I suggest that women generally hide their vulnerability to sex, behind a negotiating facade based on poker face. This isn’t much fun and some suggest it contributes to mental health difficulty?

    ScottB describes a cruel manipulation. Technically correct, but very difficult in the real world. I was in that situation for 20 years and I hate it more now, than I did at the time – now I fully understand the consequences for my children.

    A different way of saying this, is that the Child [and Spousal] Support Act almost completely destroys accountability between parents. It is that accountability which is the basis by which parents who communicate together can give their children much better outcomes, than dysfunctional parents who cannot work together. Familycaught = relationship vandals.

  14. Darryl X says:

    @MB – I like your analysis. I only offer a distinction between healthy and unhealthy expression of sexuality. When sexuality is pursued with a sense of responsibility and intention of it is for mutual pleasure, then that’s great. But when one or both pursue their sexuality in the context of addiction where the high of the sexual experience can be used to manipulate others and give one or both a false sense of control and power, then it is pathological. I think it is the case that women are much more vulnerable than men to abuse of their sexuality. Maybe you already said this.

  15. hornet says:

    yes its an all too common story as I read all these posts – but nothing is changing. Not a club I would have willingly joined ……….

    Couple of points I forgot to mention.

    Apparently both parents are supposed to be GUARDIANS, equally responsible and required to participate in important decisions for the child. What a crock…..while lawyers happily tell you about these rights = there is no one enforcing it, and ensuring you actually get them……

    IRD = they only seek out ONE parents expectations when determining child support payments = Ie schooling is a classic example….. when payment is required – completely overruling and extinguishing your rights under the guardianship act.

    I have come to understand ( im obviously a slow learner or had higher expectations of our legal system ) = I have no input into my daughters life, no say on anything which is important, and unless I want to make her life more distressing and fight these issues again in court at my expense – im better off walking away.

    Skeptic = where is the best place to run away to?? I like you am opposed to paying a TAX which is not helping my child, but is in fact supporting the very things the recent psychological assessment states are causing her harm……

    Lastly – I dont think this is about sex – sex probably got us all into this sad situation, without it I would not have produced a great kid, but its not the cause of our problems here…..its about State support of child abuse, at a psychological level, by NOT dealing with BAD behaviour and by not accepting that BOTH parents should have equal time with their child….There needs to be penalties to everyone who uses children to extort money – lawyers, ex partners, the state or who allows this to happen, .that seems to be the issue which needs to be taken to a political level and demand some law changes…….the legal profession is currently not willing to change this great business they have……….

    Numbers are required to take action, so when will that happen, how many more men must take this beating and not retaliate ?? I beleive there are more people than you think who would be supportive of change – include in this all the wives of men, who have stood by us watching this horror story unfold and who are equally disgusted in what is happening to the kids and to us…………

  16. Toni says:

    Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble, I sense an uprising among the natives.
    Whose going to lead this revolt?
    Peter Dunne said he would try and bring his proposed changes to the child support legislation to Parliament before the election, and I assumed that he meant 2011?
    Why hasn’t someone got hold of the media and nagged the hell out of them until they can write/report and make the general public aware of what is going on?
    My husbands ex has poisoned the daughters mind about him, to the extent that now she won’t return his calls, won’t answer his texts and holy crap has blocked him from Facebook (15 years). Lo and behold she is becoming her mother, stop the child support payments I’ve had enough!

  17. Eddie says:

    My heart goes out to you. I have just had my 2nd admin review done on me. I feel totally powerless against a horrific system, in where the applicant seems to get away with blatant lies and fraudlent claims. The only way I can manage to get through these reviews is to remember that there are people like Lindy Chamberlain, etc that actually spend a great amount of time in prison for something they haven’t done. At least I have my freedom.
    I have just been told to put my young children in after school care so I can work longer so I can pay more child support to my ex. And believe it or not, this was a FAR better outcome than last years decision.
    I’m afraid , that from my experience, all you can do is roll over and get royally screwed.
    There will be no fairness, justice, or equitability for so many of us.

  18. John Dutchie says:

    ‘My heart goes out to you’….Likewise, If every intelligent young single n.z man would read what could happen to him here in N.Z if his marriage failed and he had children….seriously He would think… ‘why should I marry and become a Father and then get raped by the system if the marriage fails’

    Kind regards… John Dutchie ….free at long last

  19. keysh 77 says:

    Iam a woman and totally agree with all the points made by u men.when I divorced I told 50% of house profit and nothing more .i earn min wage and was told by lawyer to take him for 70% plus as I was married young and didn’t get education as a result .lawyers point of few was I would be better off if I hadn’t put education in hold to marry and have kids.my pint of view ..i chose to marry and have kids I chose to divorce and ex worked to support us while married so who am I do punish him because we yes we could keep marriage together.I think these women who screw over men forget it takes two to make a child and make a relationship / marriage .to many woman wanna stick it to the man when it ends.my nee partner has 3 kids and would love to give her what for but for his sake I keep my mouth shut.

  20. Man X Norton says:

    Thanks for your wisdoms keysh 77. There are a lot of people like you who value fairness, but the lawyers encourage unfairness and greed and the law is written and implemented to support this. I have known many women who allowed their good conscience to guide their decisions after separation, often rejecting nasty advice from their lawyer. However, the law gives women huge power to exploit and damage men and many women unfortunately use it. And it seems rare for those women later to experience remorse or awareness that they did wrong.

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