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The cost of being a NON-custodial parent

Filed under: General — nzleagle @ 11:53 pm Sun 2nd August 2015

So today I was helping a friend of mine work out their entitlements though Winz and IRD, my friend is a Single Parent with a child under 5.

For them renting a 2 bedroom unit in South Auckland for $300 a week, and working 20 hours a week at min wage, their total take home weekly income will be $724 a week, including child support from the Non Custodial Parent who has care of the child 2 nights a week.

So after they have paid for their rent, that leaves them with $424 a week for all other expenses.

So now if you look at the non-custodial parent, they still require a place to live, a place large enough to ideally have a separate room for the child to stay in while in their care, bedroom furniture, clothing, toys, activities, food, etc Say that that non-custodial parent also only earns min wage for 40 hours a week and also has a 2 bedroom unit in south Auckland at $300 a week.

Once you take into account the Accommodation from WINZ, and Child Support Paid. The Non-custodial parent has a take home income of $489 a week. Leaving the Non-Custodial Parent with $189 a week for all other expenses after accommodation.

This works out to the non-custodial parent earning $235 less than the custodial parents income. While undertaking 20 hours more paid work.

So does it actually cost 65% more to have a child 5 nights vs 2 nights?

Rent per week is the same, power will be roughly the same, phone/internet bills wouldn’t be expected to be any different. Can probably expect to pay 50% more for a food bill, both parents still need to provide clothes, toys etc

Maybe the Government needs to look at these costs, and realize that it costs to have children in your care. and start working out their rates of Working for Families, and Accommodation on a nightly basis rather than having to meet a certain threshold….. It wouldn’t be overly hard to work out entitlements, the hardest part would be proving the actual time you have…

If you got assistance based on the days you have children, with the above situation, it would change from the non-custodial parent having a take home income of $489 to $548 a week. With the Custodial parent going from $724, down to $600….


  1. try when i was on benefit and had share care of 2 girls, because there mother was on dpb i was classed as single had pay child support due her being on dpb she was working claiming 1/2 income was expenses.
    she was getting $420 a week on dpb and ird money $73 plus work, i was getting $225 from winz and $73 ird and had pay $17 a week for child support, my mortgage was $180 a week.
    we went for a food grant and was told no due not on dpb and not had fullcare of kids , yet ex got many food grants.
    no working and kids not in my care and her trying stop contact with my girls, after paying child support i have live on $724 a forenight mortgage is now $180 fortnight as changed my length time to lower payment costs, yet she still on dpb and get all ird money plus

    Comment by Aaron — Mon 3rd August 2015 @ 8:59 am

  2. Fortunately my years of being non-custodial parent spanned 1979 to 1991 thus avoiding the draconian situation with IRD and WINZ that prevails today, however, in saying that WINZ were as bad in the 80s as they are today and their ‘we are here to help you’ corporate theme is total BS. Their primary task (as imposed by John Key and his corrupt government) is to make life as difficult as possible for anyone who asks for support from public funds whilst his Cabinet colleagues squander taxpayers’ money left, right and center.

    Comment by JONO — Mon 3rd August 2015 @ 11:49 am

  3. the Govt doesn’t want to and wont look at child support again for next twenty years, they did their part this year and they think it is the best result ever!. I worked out my ex’s take home and almost quit my job. She hasn’t worked in Six years and wont until the absolute last possible day when someone cuts the benefits out. I’m still living like a 20 year old student to survive. I can’t afford the three bedroom rental I would need to house my children during my time with them. And buying a house hahahaha the banks laugh when they hear my adjusted income. So twenty years i’ll waste.

    Comment by too tired — Mon 3rd August 2015 @ 11:54 am

  4. you have to remember it is only about providing for the child
    and the cost of that. the child is dependent and both parents responsibility.
    it should be based on that cost alone and not about
    looking at what the other parent has left over.

    note in your example the custodial parent is only working 20 hours whilst the contact parent is working full time. in your example the custodial parent is losing 724 a week in income. that should really be included in your calculation

    also the custodial parent has other costs such as sacrifice of time, energy, social inter
    action, career , social stigma and social ostracisation. the contact parent does not have those.

    Comment by matt — Sat 6th June 2020 @ 8:31 pm

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