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Dummy questions about children care & child support

Filed under: Child Support — Divorced_Man @ 5:07 pm Fri 8th February 2013

Hello Menz,

I have two questions in regard to children care and child support:

1. The mother is a full custodian – she has guided two of my children – a 11.5 years old girl and 7 years old boy to walk without an adult to school – about 1km from their house while they need to cross at least one main road (with lights & pedestrian crossing though). Is this legal – i.e. for an 11.5 years old girl to be responsible of a 7 years old? If not – what can be done about it? This is not a “one time” incident but the arrangement since “she needs to be early to work”.

2. IRD Child support assessed me for income LOWER than my real income – this is because last year I was unemployed. In their first letter they have asked me of my current salary and I reported it, yet probably due to a mistake – they didn’t pay notice. Should I tell them my real income or just wait for the end of the financial year and enjoy that AT LAST the mistakes are on my side? I’m aware that when my returns will be filed, I will pay arrears.

Many thanks 🙂


  1. Correspondent.

    May I suggest if you are going to be an ongoing contributor to the site that you adopt a ‘pen name’ for easy reference?

    As to 1. Children making their own way to school at almost 12 years of age is not illegal. Children at home on their own is not legal up to age 14 however!

    As to 2. Advise IRD of their error at the earliest opportunity! Even though it is their mistake they will add penalties and interest to your underpayment as soon as they notice it! DON’T get into arrears if you can avoid it! Put your advice in writing and keep a copy. That way you have some come back should they pursue you for arrears. There is n o such thing as a ‘payments holiday’ with IRD!!!! You have been warned……. Good luck.

    Comment by Non Custodial Dad — Fri 8th February 2013 @ 7:12 pm

  2. Point 1
    I went to school over a km on my own bicycle from 5 years of age. The current need to take the kids to school in mum’s 4WD is a relatively new phenomina of the helecopter parenting generation.
    Point 2
    This isn’t the place to discuss such issues. Depends on your status as IR3 taxpayer or wages. That determines which tax year your assessment is for. I suspect IRD have it right and you are seeking to impose more child tax on yourself than you should pay.
    Write to me on [email protected] to discuss details some more.
    If you do owe then I suggest an estimation of income be filed in early March to minimise any penmalties that IRD may wish to impose.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Fri 8th February 2013 @ 9:10 pm

  3. God pity the current parenting generation that kids can’t walk the streets alone.
    In my day it was normal. We walked accompanied to school from age 5. Everyone did.
    We never saw any dirty old men lurking in the bushes. To the best of my knowledge, no kids were ever abducted.
    If we dawdled hold, we got told off – even spanked (if ever found out to be causing trouble on the way).
    Nothing ever went wrong.
    I should point out, that the law doesn’t actually state you can’t leave a child under 14 at home alone. It states you must provide ‘reasonable’ supervision. What is ‘reasonable’ depends on various factors, including the children’s maturity; the locale; the presence of neighbours; the duration; and what the parents are up to (i.e. not away gambling, drinking etc).
    It is a well known irony that people interpret this law as saying you can’t leave a 12 year old at home alone – its clearly unsafe and inherently risky – but they are allowed to play out on the street, in the mall, at the pool, in the bush, and so on, unsupervised, in groups, and alone – they are apparently ‘safe’ places.

    Re number 2: as pointed out, you will get done for penalties if your actual income comes in more than 15% above estimate. However you have until 31 March to submit a revised estimate. They should play catch-up in your April CS billing, which cover the March month assessment.
    Should it come in more than 15% below estimate, that’s your tough luck. You have no chance of recovering the over-payment of CS (ie retrospectively having an estimate revised downwards). Any variance within 15% either side, IRD should do nothing about (and you don’t have to)

    Comment by Happy Larry — Sat 9th February 2013 @ 6:59 am

  4. Hi – thanks for your replies, this is most helpful.

    Just a note about parenting – I also think that it is OK for kids to walk by themselves to school, but after what I have experienced in family court / IRD, I don’t confuse my principals with any opportunity to fight back with this crazy mum. The story is that actually I wanted them to go to a school close to my place, so they could walk independently to school, and she said in court some other things,in the end she won but what she has pro-claimed is not practiced.

    As for the IRD CS, many thanks for clarifying this. I wanted to postpone the payment day because bascially I don’t have the money to pay it: taking my net salary minus my mortgage payments minus the CS I’m supposed to pay, I’m left with about $20/week. So I wanted to postpone this death sentence until I find a proper solution. Yet I will follow your advice and contact them before 31/3.

    Comment by Divorced_Man — Sat 9th February 2013 @ 9:49 am

  5. Happy Larry, you’re deluding yourself with rose-coloured glasses into the past.

    Comment by Wow — Sun 10th February 2013 @ 1:04 pm

  6. I have another question about CS please –

    in May I will go out from the country for 3 months (not to OZ, but to a country that does not have any IRD agreement with NZ), and will take a leave without pay, maybe for longer time, maybe I will have to resign if the boss won’t approve such a long leave.This will be after the new IRD CS assessment. What can I do to prevent paying while I don’t have income?

    Comment by Divorced_Man — Sun 10th February 2013 @ 4:22 pm

  7. Basically nothing. Whether you are unemployed, in a lower paying job, or out of the country, IRD will still expect you to pay according to the assessment for the year. Especially if you are out of the country, as that is almost certainly a lifestyle choice.
    You can try to file a revised assessment of income but IRD are not renown for accepting lower assessments. You can file for an Admin Review, but that is basically financial rape. And IRD are renown for fore-gone conclusions anyway.
    Following on from your earlier comments, you are better off to just continue paying and then consider what Estimated Income you advise IRD just prior to the end of the financial year.

    Comment by OMG! You're *&^% — Sun 10th February 2013 @ 4:37 pm

  8. Divorced Man this is not the place to discuss such issues.
    Write to me [email protected]

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Sun 10th February 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  9. @Allan from Union Of Fathers dot org dot New Zealand. I haven’t seen a press release, a mention in news, a whatever from your organisation for quite some time. With all due respect to what you might be able to offer as an individual all I am seeing is one person saying this is not the place to discuss a child support issue and talk to me privately.
    Why should men have to go into hiding to discuss their child support issues and when they have finished discussing this with you who is going to make the results public knowledge?

    Comment by Down Under — Sun 10th February 2013 @ 6:44 pm

  10. Here here! This is the place to discuss publically. Everyone comes to these site because they looked for somewhere to find answers. The IRD web site might tell you all you need to know but personal insight with other people that suffer CS issues was a blessing for me and I’m still checking this site to help any new commers.
    If not here then where?

    Comment by Too Tired — Sun 10th February 2013 @ 8:47 pm

  11. If you want advice on a specific case then this is not the place to do it. IRD monitor this site and seek to match discussion here with matters they are dealing with.
    If you want to drafty a Press Release Bevan then you are welcome.
    We are working on submissions this weekend.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Sun 10th February 2013 @ 9:14 pm

  12. On the contrary every body! All works tirelessly for men. Those who have experienced and followed his (and supporters) advice are forever grateful. UoF is Not a one man band, merely discrete!

    Comment by Gwahir — Sun 10th February 2013 @ 9:34 pm

  13. I IRD can;t count or read it seems with all the interactions I’ve had so far they seem inept and unable to think independantly about anything related to Child Support. Instead they quote bad policy and follow bad training.

    I recently sat in the IRD office in Manukau and asked some very simple questions about my issues, and the informative women I spoke to had to retract statements and avoid questions until she found the correc tthing to say to placate me. I gave up trying to show her that IRD are wrong because she did agree to complete the things I was actually there for.

    If these people didnt work for IRD they could only work at WINZ, there is a special place in my mind for these employess.

    Comment by Too Tired — Mon 11th February 2013 @ 1:02 am

  14. I have a question about CS as well, my partner, after an admin review was told he was not to pay for his step daughter and took her off his list of dependants even tho we support her. This is because his ex complained that it was not fair on her daughter. Admin review ruled for the ex. I have been offered an excellent job that would support our family, so my partner would then become the at-home-dad, which would make him unemployed.
    I would like to know, if I would be responsible to pay his CS, for my step daughter, when he is not allowed to pay for his step daughter? Conflicting if IRD states I do.

    Comment by Nickstar — Wed 13th February 2013 @ 9:45 pm

  15. #14 Nickstar. IRD can (and probably will) assess him on his “potential” income. Not only that, they will accuse him (in not so many words) of deliberately stopping work so that his Child Support liability is reduced.
    They won’t make you personally responsible but if you don’t pay it who will ? If he can’t pay, they will happily add penalties.

    Comment by golfa — Thu 14th February 2013 @ 8:55 am

  16. The IRD can talk about potential income but that is not what the legislation in NZ says. They can say he quit his job to avoid paying but it is irrelvant why he did it. he did it. His income is less. That’s the facts. CS in NZ is an income tax and if he has no income he pays the minimum.

    Comment by Vman — Thu 21st February 2013 @ 8:01 pm

  17. To Divorced
    Seroiusly .Why do you think you should not financially support your children?What is really sad is that there is a Government agency set up to enforce people to support their offspring.An agency funded by all tax payers whether they like it or not.They are the only victims here.You have children, you then pay for them unless you are completely disabled.If you dont you are a low form of life.Simple as that.Stop the moaning,stop the nastiness,stop the ‘being a victim’.Stop spending so much time and energy saying its not fair and avoiding your responsiblities.No wonder your relationship did not work out with your attitude.Grow up.

    Comment by Tracey — Sun 24th February 2013 @ 4:01 am

  18. Hey Tracey,

    I agree that the agency set up to force us to pay child support is a total waste of tax payers money, I personally always pay my child support. But I would any way if they didn’t steal it form me. People should have the choice to be low life scum. The agency was set up to combat the cost of the DPB and reclaim some of that tax payers money. I don’t think anyone thinks of this senario while in a relationship (paying Child Support) but my EX-Wife did look into the DPB before she decided to cheat on me.

    Not all situations are balck and white. It’s UNFAIR to tar everyone witht he same brush. I’d rather have my kids full time but believe it’s unfair to take them off there mum. I would gladly pay half of all their costs, eg: school/sports/medical etc: but my choices are limited to 1/3 of my wages. So even after being income raped my ex still gets to plead poor and ask for more?

    None of the current situation works, IRD and GOVT has it wrong.
    Let people decide.

    Comment by Too Tired — Sun 24th February 2013 @ 4:14 am

  19. The simple truth is you are messing with people’s income and they will fight tooth ‘n’ nail to find a way to avoid losing money. Doing the same job for a third less income is intollerable. I understand that people think dads who dont want to pay are dead beat dads, I get the concept but I also see why they wouldn’t want to pay. The relationship ended but being a dad didn’t so if you are in thier lives (allowed to be) then you will support them of your own free will. If you are not allowed to see your kids ( ex-tells you to stay away and go to court) then you don’t want to pay till you have access. Most just hate thier ex so much that supporting thier life styles and bad decisions is too hard to bear. Why pay a women who will gamble or drink the money away and the kids see no benefit. No healthy packed lunches etc: While waiting for court, your kids are suffering and you are paying. Then you have to afford a lawyer and time off work to have a court tell you your future. It’s not all dead beat dads vs horrible scorned mums. Soem of us get along after the break up. But we are all told to tow the line the same way.
    I give up!

    Comment by Too Tired — Sun 24th February 2013 @ 4:28 am

  20. Hey Tracey you obviously haven’t been paying attention to the complaints in here. The system is not fair, the IRD are the worst possible agency to administer it and most of the posters would happily support their children in an equitable environment.
    A fair sytem for example would adjust child support payments at the end of the year to reflect the payer’s real income, and any overpayment would be recovered from the receiver. With penalties and threats. Bet you would complain about that, and I bet you would change your tune about avoiding responsibilities and being a victim.

    Comment by Doug — Sat 2nd March 2013 @ 3:27 pm

  21. Tracey: maybe change your greed and immature attitude with some battle which would be useful for society?? If you have been tracking my case, my rent payments + CS payments leave me with exactly $45.53/months to buy food and cloths AND to take care of my kids when they are here, and re: your comment about “relationship success” – what a wonder – I’m happily married again. So before you judge people I would suggest you not only grow up & learn some things about life, but also that in the future stick your attitude into someone else back door, I think IRD admin officers may enjoy it.

    Comment by Divorced Man — Tue 12th March 2013 @ 5:14 pm

  22. guys Tracey is a troll… in the article about changes to Child support she was after money for “dancing lessons” for the kid while possibly compromising her ex just cos he got on with his life..

    Comment by kiranjiharr — Tue 12th March 2013 @ 6:20 pm

  23. Can you get her IP number? I’m interested to know if she is from IRD. btw If IRD monitor this site it is nice to publish what they are doing during work hours, spending tax payers money, while we live in a free country and supposedly have free speech – IRD job is not to spy after NZ citizens and nail them down – this is illegal and immoral.

    Comment by Internet Wizrad — Wed 13th March 2013 @ 10:56 am

  24. I am not from IRD or a Troll.I am an ex solo parent and a business owner.How insulting.
    I actually love to read what people have to say about Menz issues and have learnt alot.I want to appreciate and understand others views.
    What I was saying was that people should calculate the cost of their existing responsibilities and obligations before deliberately taking on more.That is a mature approach.People having additional children with a liable parent should also accept the current obligations.Very reasonable I would say.What alarms me is this:People complain about Child Support and say they have no money and are hard up.Well guess what so are most people with children that are still together.Why would you expect it to be different when you are seperated?What I dislike is all the bitchiness that happens; women to women and man to women around supporting children.Its plain ugly.It so brings out the worst in people.I just cant take their angle on who get the most etc.. seriously.

    Comment by Tracey — Wed 13th March 2013 @ 12:12 pm

  25. Tracey, whilst i am sure you are well meaning, i think that your sermonising serves little purpose.
    The stark reality is that the system punishes liable parents above and beyond. We have no say in the spending habits of (oftentimes) vindictive ex partners, and object to
    1. The disparity in contributions-we are supposed to assist in support-not meet all costs.
    2.The receiving parent’s (what a misnomer-i think it is i that is “receiving”) income is not taken into account in reality.
    3. The admin review process and its lack of even handedness (or indeed adhereance to law)
    4. The financial obstacles put in our way to object to assessments.
    5. The stigma placed upon us by media, politicans et al.

    We are for the most part, caring decent people who have (for whatever reason) failed relationships and are tired of the constant financial, emotional and judgemental kickings that we get.
    Try a month in my life financially and in terms of contact with my children, and then try a month in my ex’s and then perhaps report back to me as to whether you hold the same views you have now.

    Comment by shafted — Wed 13th March 2013 @ 1:05 pm

  26. people should calculate the cost of their existing responsibilities and obligations before deliberately taking on more.

    Just like they do in an intact family, eh, Tracey?

    Comment by Ted — Wed 13th March 2013 @ 1:59 pm

  27. Ted
    Yes just like people should do in an in tact family.Well done! You are getting the picture.
    Dont worry I am very aware of hardship on the other side.As I said I was a solo mum (14 years.The liable parent in my case did not cover even 1/4 of the costs of raising 3 children.And even that amount disappeared on whim.

    Comment by Tracey — Wed 13th March 2013 @ 4:01 pm

  28. just like people should do in an in tact family.

    So, let’s see Tracey, if the parents in an intact family decide to have a second child, say, they will keep spending the same amount on the first child? The poor second child would lose out a bit. Let’s hope it gets enough to eat.

    Or what?

    Comment by Ted — Wed 13th March 2013 @ 4:31 pm

  29. Tracey,
    There are hardships on both sides. However one side can receive help and assistance from many agencies. The other side will only receive demands that cripple them from agencies that are not able to be argued. This is usually the side the chaps are on. My latest CS demand leaves me $88 to feed my family. They wish me to give my ex $420 per week and increase of $120 per week. My wages haved changed, just their demand of what they now want. Understand we payees have no choices anymore. I can’t even get a secondary job because with earning more, cs will take more and IRD will tax me more. All that will result is less time with the kids and more time working. Once CS have you they will never let you go. PS It is nice to see you contributing

    Comment by roo — Wed 13th March 2013 @ 4:39 pm

  30. guys..See Tracey comment 26.. you will know what she is really after…

    Comment by kiranjiharr — Wed 13th March 2013 @ 7:26 pm

  31. Fair Consideration?That is the question.Someone is in a relationship and they decide to have children (or more often that not plan not to avoid them)The relationship fails.It coud be one or the other or both at fault.Whatever”¦whoever?Should the children forgo what they have become accustomed to?Music lessons,dance lessons and so forth?Is that a fair consideration?

    The way Tracey seems to want to run it, the first child shouldn’t forgo anything; that means that there’s nothing left over for the second child. The third one has to starve, I guess. I’m sure she could call on that nice Mr Dunne to enforce these things.

    Comment by Ted — Wed 13th March 2013 @ 8:59 pm

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