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CSAct Impact onto Separated Parenting Relationships

Filed under: Child Support — MurrayBacon @ 6:30 pm Wed 27th October 2010

Economics versus Parenting Values

To care for children, at the lowest cost, favours larger family groups and specialising in the provision of services and earning. As separation will incur large additional housing costs, there will be increased pressure to cut other spending, especially on the children.

By contrast, good quality parenting requires that both parents make a fairly large contribution of their time and personal skills to the upbringing of their children. Although specialisation improve economic efficiency, the children benefit from the redundancy in personality and skills of their parents (and wider family too).

Thus, separation increases the conflict between economic pressure and the resources needed for the best development of the children.

The solution which best protects children’s interests, is to facilitate honest, well informed negotiation on parenting issues between the parents, on as equal basis as is reasonably possible. One aspect of this is to have a rebuttable assumption of shared parenting.

The parents may create inequality, for example by giving themselves different levels of skill, at parenting or in the working economy. While the Government may offer assistance, in the form of training, but it isn’t desirable for the Government to affect equality by forcing unjustified transfer payments between parents.

CSAct Impact Onto Relationship Between the Parents
Accountability in Marriage bringing Up Children and through Separation
Impact onto Separated Parents Ability to Impose Costs Onto Other Parent

Accountability in Marriage bringing Up Children and through Separation

When child support payments are provided voluntarily, there is a degree of accountability between the parents. Certainly, a significant minority of NCPs may refuse to make any child support payments, bit the majority would offer and provide support even without the CSAct.

By passing the CSAct, Parliament has removed the largest lever that the NCP had to insist on accountability for both the CP’s behaviour and spending of the support payments. Accountability is an effective tool for improving the quality of spending, thus improving the value obtained from it. This also impacts onto accountability of the CP parent for their behaviour and provision of information to the NCP. In many cases, this results in the CP making more short term plans and failing to make longer term investments and savings (this is also closely related to the impacts of benefit abatement rules too!!!).

By severely damaging this accountability mechanism, the Government has reduced the value obtained for the children and also reduced the quality of the parenting relationship. This reduces the ability of the parents to effectively discipline these children, leading ultimately to poorer schooling outcomes and social outcomes for these children. The CSAct is a huge dis-investment in our society.

Quality of Care Given to Children by Separated Parents

Considered Collectively Over the Two Households
Considered Differentially Between the Two Households

Considered Collectively Over the Two Households
When Child and Spousal Support payments are considered collectively over the parents’ two households, then an internal transfer payment wouldn’t appear to either create or destroy value and should have negligible impact onto the children’s welfare.

The greatest impact of separation will be the added cost of two sets of accommodation costs. This will detract from funds available for essential and discretionary expenditure.

If the DPB is being claimed, then this will bring additional income into the total family group, but be given to the CP only.

Considered Differentially Between the Two Households

By applying the SAME CS formula to broken families where the CP draws DPB and to broken families where the CP does NOT draw DPB, gives an appearance of EQUAL treatment.

This “equal” treatment creates a conflict of interest. Whereas the Government wants to extract the maximum possible payment from NCPs where the CP is drawing DPB, it also inherently then transfers [for families where the NCP is on an above average income] far more than the marginal costs of caring the children to the CP.

By treating these two different groups similarly, irrelevant issues are being mixed together, leading to inequitable treatment of at least one of the two groups.

Thus it can be seen that the Government is maltreating families where the CP is not drawing DPB, to minimise its costs of the DPB for other families.

The consequence of this malteatment, is that families having a NCP on a reasonably high income, the child support forced payment transfers far more than the marginal costs of caring for the children. This impoverishes the NCP’s household and enriches the CPs household.

This gives the children an image of the mother as being more work and financially successful than she really is and conversely for the father’s household. It also impacts onto the difficulties to build new adult relationships, for both of the parents, with the mother being advantaged and the father disadvantaged. These issues impact not just onto the freedom for each parent to spend money, but also differentially impacts onto the ability of each household to be able to show adult intimate relationships to the children.

The main problem leading to the political will to pass the CSAct, was the huge cost of DPB and that this cost was increasing at a rate which didn’t appear to show any willingness to stop increasing.

By trying to solve the DPB cost problem, not by managing it directly, but by pushing a small part of the cost onto NCPs [who weren’t themselves making the decision that the CP would draw DPB], then the Government wasn’t really trying to manage the presenting problem at all.

There is a general principle in management, that the party making a decision should usually carry the costs that result from that decision. (This is often colloquially called the “user pays principle”.) This process allows people to manage their own costs and results in generally the most efficient quality of spending. When freedom to make decisionsis separated from carrying the cost (responsibility), the payer ends up with little ability to manage the ultimate cost. This risks the costs running away, out of control, which is exactly what is occurring with the DPB cost.

User pays principle could be applied to DPB/CA by enquiring of the parents, if either could take care of the children, without needing to draw on DPB? If only one could, then they could be encouraged to do so. As the parents with better mental health is usually the one with better income prospects, then this tends to be the more effective parent — thus better protecting the children’s interests.

Impact onto Separated Parents Ability to Impose Costs Onto Other Parent

The reduced accountability of CP to NCP also opens the possibility for the CP to impose costs onto the NCP. Examples of this are:

relocating far away from the NCP, thus increasing access costs
failing to make children available for access as previously agreed, thus wasting transport costs and possibly also for example theatre tickets etc.

The CSAct does provide a facility for transferring some of such costs back to the CP, by reducing the CS payments required to be made. For example, a father NCP with 1 child, when faced with increased access costs of say $5,000, might be able to get a reduction of CSAct payments of 18% of $5,000 ie about $900, if he could get an IRD CS Review Officer to support his application. The review officer might even increase the CSAct payments ordered to be made!

This Review mechanism thus fails to require CParents to respect the NCP and this adds to the feeling of being totally uninvolved in the children’s upbringing.

Prior to the CSAct, there was a dynamic which more quickly led to responsible equilibrium between the parents. The non-accountability imposed by the CSAct has led to a dynamic which is generally more damaging to the parents developing a respectful and constructive parenting relationship. Thus the CSAct generally harms the upbringing of children affected by it.

The Care of Children Act clause ???? allows “judges” to consider only issues that affect the children. This is taken by most “judges” to exclude issues between the parents, where the children were not in sight. Actually, in the real world, for example a mother denying the children access, such that a booked holiday was wasted, does impact onto the children — directly and indirectly.

It may well be that the decision to deny access resulted from psychiatric problems, but even so — the impact may be much the same as if it was made in cold malice. present and future impacts.

CSAct- partial redress, if anything at all. Men can take care of themselves, but the issue is using the children as pawns in the mothers psychiatric assaults on the father. Sure he can protect himself, but then the children are the losers too.

Protecting Children from Malevolent Adults

Impact onto parents considering unilaterally abducting children out of NZ
CS gives fairly strong financial incentive to mothers to abduct children within or out of NZ
(this incentive is only given to mothers and not fathers by most IRD-CS staff?)

In the United States, the Federal Government has advised Sates Governments that it is unconscionable to continue to extract CS payments from a left behind parent and forward these payments to an international or interstate abductor.

In NZ, IRD-CS does not see or publicly acknowledge that doing this is to encourage, support and make possible child abduction. It is seen that CPs=mothers “have a right to take their children, even in breach of Hague Convention and local access rights of the other parent and of the children to know and have access with both of their parents”.

Protecting Boys from Prospective Mother Paedofiles

Although the Crimes Act makes it a crime to support another person to commit a crime, IRD CS don’t apply this legislation when they assess CSA payments.

When an adult woman uses an underage boy to supply her with sticky sperm, to gain a pregnancy the criminal aspect of this is financially rewarded by assessing CSA payments onto the boy, until the child of the rape reaches 18 years. Effectively, IRD CS see it as appropriate to give quite large financial incentives to women, to rape underage boys. I understand that the issue is not black and white, but in my opinion the Crimes Act approach to facilitating crime is appropriate and constructive. IRD CS should be prosecuted for their role in these statutory rapes.

Although this situation is laughed off as a curiosity by many members of the public, the number of boys in this situation is now several hundred and presumably continuing to grow.

The Proceeds of Crime Act could, in theory be used to return the funds to these unfortunate children, or better still the CSA assessment should not be made when the initial impregnation was so obviously illegal.

These adult women should be prosecuted, under the Crimes Act, as applying accountability for their actions.

1 Comment »

  1. Three great resources for you: The Law and Economics of Child Support Payments by William S Comanor, Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers and Children by Stephen Baskerville, and Save the Males by Richard Doyle available on-line at

    Comment by Darryl X — Tue 12th April 2011 @ 10:21 am

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