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Do you think that Inland Revenue should have some discretion in applying the law when dealing with exceptional or unusual circumstances?

Comments

Michelle Veisaku

Yes - they should for both the paying and receiving parents.

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2 months ago
Paying parent

IR should be more open to take into consideration all facts and circumstances of the parties. Often, IR do not want to listen and purely want to follow the black letter of the law. But in real life things are often not that clear and a holistic approach is required to ensure fairness to all parties.

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  • agree9
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2 months ago
Paul Geden

Oh absolutely!!!!

In many instances the paying parent is unjustly treated because they are not the primary carer. (comment edited by moderator)

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  • agree14
  • disagree1
2 months ago
Jane

Yes. Particularly in regard to blended families where one child is worth literally 20x those left behind in the family. Why are my two children worth $15 per week under my ex's child support and 1 child worth over $100 per week with my husbands child support. We are all strugglingbecause of your system, my kids get to watch the other one with ipads, x box's and brand clothes while we struggle to buy milk at the end of the week.

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  • agree16
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2 months ago
JT

100%! There are so many blended families struggling to provide for the children in their care when there is a paying parent. Even when going through the awful admin review process and proving you can't afford groceries and have a new baby it is not considered. The paying parent and the children from the new relationship are punished for being in a new family.

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  • agree3
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1 month ago
Gina mitchell

U have to look at the formula, should be based on a 50 hour week income only not overtime. Step families need to be included. We have my boys 100% and I receive $75 s mth we have my husbands boys 40% we pay $600 a mth and she claims a full benefit even tho both kids at school. It's not a fair system

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  • agree12
  • disagree1
2 months ago
Gordon Burnett

Yes 40 hr week or salary for salary/wage earners. Living allowance needs addressing, especially for blended families, system assumes parties will remain single and penalises those that move on.

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  • agree7
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2 months ago
Craig

Absolutely, and the current Admin Review system is fundamentally flawed. I am a liable parent of 2 teenage children, and do not have any recognised care - so 100% liable for child support payments based on my income. I now live with a new partner, who herself has 3 children and was receiving support through MSD to keep her household living. We have declared our relationship to MSD and IRD and as a result my partners support through MSD has been completely cut, under the MSD rules that my income is above the thresholds. Yet I am still expected to pay child support based on my full taxable income. At no stage does either system take account for each other, so I am responsible for both households fully and no compensation is available. ie msd do not account for the child support I have to pay before determining the household income I am in; and nor does IRD take into account the support I provide into this household when calculating child support. So I am left liable for both households. At the end of it our budget is about $200 per month in the red, and all IRD said was - figure it out. Hence I now have to take on a second job and no longer get to see my own children due to my inability to travel between cities (they live 550km away now).

Essentially, because of me MSD are no longer having to support my new partner and her family; yet I get no allowance for that financial commitment from IRD. The Admin review outcome I underwent said that MSD policies are not considered and as such there is nothing I could do.

So clearly there needs to be a balancing between the income assessments for MSD and IRD. They need to take into account blended family living situation as the current situation clearly disadvantages the liable parent, more so for trying to forge a new life and take on the social responsibilities in a new relationship. In the end its my children that miss out - My ex wife gets the money and they do not get to see me. I'd be better off living in a 1 bedroom flat on my own earning half of what I could (although the admin review would probably say I wasn't doing what is in the best interests of the children - yes thats a thing) and remaining single - eg not getting on with living a new and happier, fuller life.

Quite simply - a new set of policies need to be developed to include blended family situations, as child support, working for families, accommodation allowances are all related beyond the one family.

Ideally I would be able to earn $200,000 and support everyone without social intervention, but in most cases in NZ - that is unrealistic.

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  • agree16
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2 months ago
Sam

Yes, it needs to be for both paying and receiving parents. Child support should be a flat rate, not dependant on income, why should one child be worth more than the other? Blended families is a big issue. Usually one parent is paying a huge amount, while recieving parent gets minimum. I receive $25 a month while my partner pays a lot more than that. Yet he's paying for my child too, because I get less than minimum. With us both working it puts our tax bracket up, so he has to pay more in child support which means he brings less than a benefit. Child support needs to be capped. There needs to be a payment card so that the other parent spends the money on the child's needs, not on other things. I dont think its fair if the other parent has a new baby that the paying parent has to pay more! Child support should be based off both parents income, including receiving parent-if they're in a relationship/married etc. So many people are at opposite ends of the spectrum with receiving nothing or minimal to those who pay $300+ a week or $1600 a month. The sad thing is if you loose your job your still liable to pay . could you not bring in a grace period?

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  • agree14
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2 months ago
annemarie mordecai

Yes please. Everyones circumstances are very different. Black and white rules are not fair when dealing with families.
A flat rate needs to apply with variances below and above that rate that are at the discretion of BOTH parents and a third party (IRD).
At present most recieving parents either get a pathetic amount which covers milk and bread only and their children are majorly missing out, OR 2 to 3 times more that they actually need to support the child in their care...more often than not this amounts ends up maintaining the X spouses life style as well, especially when the recieving parent has moved on and remarried or living with another person and works full time . This creates anger and animosity which in turn effects the children involved and their relationship with the NC parent.

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  • agree12
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2 months ago
Tracey

100% should there be more discretion applied to each case.
Families these days do NOT got this one size fits all system. There needs to be more allowances for each cases situation to allow for the common situations and now struggles paying families are facing. These should include things such as,
- ALL payer household dependants included.
- Relationships to be viewed the same in all government departments.
- Income after separation or any bonuses NOT to be included in assessment and if there was no live in relationship (ie. The receiving parent was never financially dependant on the payer) there should be a set minimum payment and no more.
- Assessments should be based on income after tax. We paid nearly $10k in tax last year, we don't get that money to live on at all, therefore it should NOT be included as income.
There are so so many more variables that could come into play, including basic living costs being different for each person and the living allowance, another "one size fits all" doesn't cover rent annually let alone anything else.
Base rate + and/or - variables for both paying and recieving households determined by all parties and a CO so there is full transparency on all parts and even more importantly fair and inclusive for the paying parents.

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  • agree8
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2 months ago
Partner of a paying parent

Yes please look at a system that will include more fairness to bleneed families, 50/50 care and in our case, situations with children under three.

I worked full time before my partner and I had kids together. We now had two kids under three. (And FYI We did not enter the IRD CS system till 32 weeks pregnant with our second child when an assessment arrived out of the blue so it wasn't a matter of choosing to have more kids into this unfair system).
Due to the cost of daycare for 2 kids in this age range (around $30,000 per year) I cannot afford to go back to work till both kids qualify for the subsidy that kicks in at 3 years of age. In the meantime I am completely ignored and under valued by this system. While at home and financially unviable for me to work, our children and I are 100% dependent on my husband's income yet my partner and kids get a total living allowance of $25,000 and somehow the 4 of us are supposed to live off this? (Also of note is the fact that our children are valued at less than the child he pays child support for).

Numerous times my husband has tried to talk to IRD about our financial hardship and he just keeps getting told that I should be working to contribute. Completely ignoring the fact that I can't afford to as daycare costs are prohibitive and cost more than our entire families living allowance.

Also of note is that the recieving parent in our case is also a stay at home mother and their children is at college. She has no other dependents and no childcare barriers to working like we face. Yet IRD don't say she should work to contribute but because of her choice not to work my husband pays almost 90% of that child's cost too.
Because the mother doesn't work the child doesn't even see a dime of it as the mother is a beneficiary.

So all the $ we pay that puts us into such financial hardship doesn't even benefit the child he pays it for.

Meanwhile we have had to go through a budgeting service who now engage our creditors on our behalf, to try to survive financially and they are advising insolvency as we actually just can't afford to pay our bills.

When the children are under three families face so much extra financial costs. Statistics prove families with children in this age group are most susceptible to facing poverty issues yet it's completely ignored in CS calculations.

I feel strongly that you either need to include dependent partners in the calculation if you have children in this age group or raise the dependent child allowance to reflect childcare costs or you are dooming families to suffer hardship.

A flexible system that reflects true life situations is desperately needed.

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  • agree10
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2 months ago
SP

Absolutely!! example we are both receiving and a paying parent of child support so see it from both sides. Blended family - Receiving child we have 100%, paying child we have %35 of time(stepson), we also have another child who we get nothing for and IRD will not recognize him as husbands dependent even after admin reviews though he raised him and is financially dependent on him. We have tried and tried to prove to IRD that their is protection orders through the courts against the father and if I was to apply for child support it would put said child and myself in danger. They said that its not good enough reasoning as we receive for the other child but yet they can see he is from a different Dad in a totally different situation. The receiving and paying out children are same age yet we pay out 100 more a month than we receive for other. There also needs to be fairness to paying parents homes. The whole system is alienating on paying parents, I do everything I can to make sure my receiving sons dad can afford to see him after paying child support by doing travel for him other wise he cant even afford to run car to see him. I also cant afford not to receive from him as then I cant afford my house hold and the paying part of it n which is $100 more. We struggle to have step son some time and mother thinks its awesome as more she has him more she receives making it harder and harder, plus mentally and emotionally unfair on the child. Hope this all makes sense. Stupid and unfair system all round, households and children need to be treated as equals. Dont get me started on the calculating it off gross income!

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  • agree9
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2 months ago
Ruth

Child Support should be at a set level, and each parent pays 50% of that cost, regardless of amount of time child(ren) spend with each parent. The current percentage of care is used against the non-custodial parent so that the custodial parent gets as much $$ as they can, and the current calculations leave the non-custodial parent with minimal money to support themselves.

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  • agree7
  • disagree1
2 months ago
TC

Yes. Review options are very black and white and confusing to many parents. Yet advocacy is disallowed. If a parent raises some issue which falls within the grounds for review but they don't happen to say the magic words...well of course that should be taken on board. We need a more approachable system.

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  • agree1
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2 months ago
Father

I believe the system is corrupt
I am a paying parent 100% liable for three children, I have no problem paying my child support as it is in the best interest of the children.
However in saying that there is no accountability for how the child support money is spent and time and time again I am seeing my children go without while there other parent is tripping around the country spending money,and consequently putting there hand out for more.
The other problem I have is the percentage of time I am required to have my children to make any difference to my payments, Last year I worked out if I had had the children for another 10 nights to meet the 28% of nights I am required to have them in my care to be recognized for ANY care i would have saved $10,000 that works out to be $1000 a night. I am dictated to as to when i can have my children (court hearing pending) so the time I have them is worked out to be under %28.
When the children are in my care I provide them with a home food clothing (school and otherwise,) medical costs and entertainment, and i am also having to travel in the car 2 hours a day to take them two and from school.
There definitely needs to be discretion on a case by case basis.

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1 month ago
Sophie

Reading the above comments I 100% agree. I am the receiving parent, I earn more $$pa than the paying parent and it is truly reflected in my contribution. I recieve the minimum $75 for my 15yr old and 7yr old. I am penalised for working full time, with a good salary and the paying parent doesn't declare all of his earnings.
A set amount regardless of income split accordingly would be so much fairer........
I take responsiblity for my children as I am their mother and the example I set will be the lasting one thats why I work and strive to support them. They come first, they are our priority, however that looks for our individual families - which is different for everyone.

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1 month ago
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