Reprint as at 14 April 2014

Child Support Act 1991

Public Act1991 No 142
Date of assent18 December 1991
Commencementsee section 1(3), (4)

Note

Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Inland Revenue Department.


Contents

Title

1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

3 Act to bind the Crown

3A Transitional and savings provisions relating to amendments to this Act

4 Objects

Part 1
Liability to pay child support under formula assessment

General principles concerning liability to pay child support

5 Children who qualify for child support

6 Parents by whom child support payable

7 Meaning of parent

7A Commissioner may disregard document from overseas jurisdiction if not satisfied that document is valid and authentic

Persons who may apply for formula assessment of child support

8 Custodian may apply for formula assessment

9 Custodian in receipt of social security benefit must apply for formula assessment

10 Non-custodial parent of child may apply for formula assessment

Persons who are principal providers of care or who share care substantially equally

11 Person who is principal provider of care for child

12 Position where no agreement as to who is principal provider of care

13 Substantially equal sharing of care of child

Procedure on application for formula assessment

14 Application requirements

15 Dual applications

16 Deemed application by beneficiary where child support ceases to be payable under voluntary agreement

17 Decision on application

Commencement of liability to pay child support

18 Liability arises on acceptance of application

19 Commencement of liability of person declared to be parent after application made

20 Suspension of voluntary agreements

Procedure after acceptance or refusal of application for formula assessment

21 Duty to give notice of decision to unsuccessful applicant

22 Duty to give notice of decision to custodian

23 Duty to give notice to person from whom child support sought

24 Duty to make assessment

Termination of liability to pay child support under formula assessment

25 When child support ceases to be payable

26 Miscellaneous provisions relating to death of custodian

Election to end formula assessment

27 Election by eligible custodian to end formula assessment

Part 2
Amount of child support payable under formula assessment made by Commissioner

28 This Part sets out rates of child support

29 Basic amount of child support payable

30 Meaning of term living allowance

31 Changes of circumstances that determine amount of living allowance

Modifications to basic formula in certain circumstances

32 Position where parent liable to 2 custodians in respect of 1 child

33 Position where parent liable to 2 or more custodians in respect of 2 or more children

34 Position where custody of 2 or more children is split between 2 liable parents

35 Position where liable parent shares custody of child

36 Position where parent is liable under both formula assessment and voluntary agreement in respect of different children

Provisions relating to taxable income

37 Nil assessment of taxable income [Repealed]

38 Application of assessments under Income Tax Act 1976 or Tax Administration Act 1994

38A Position where taxable income from withholding income not available for full tax year

39 Position where taxable income not readily ascertainable

39A Commissioner may take overseas taxable income into account

Election that child support income be based on estimated taxable income for current year

40 Election where taxable income for child support purposes is estimated to have fallen at least 15%

41 Effect of election

42 Revocation of election

43 Effect of revocation

44 Reconciliation of estimated and actual taxable income after end of child support year

44A Reconciliation of estimated income where no tax return filed

Penalties for underestimation

45 Penalty where income underestimated

46 Interest to be charged on underestimations [Repealed]

Part 3
Voluntary agreements

47 Application of this Part

Qualifying voluntary agreements

48 Voluntary agreements that qualify for acceptance

49 Minimum instalment required before agreement can be accepted

50 Exception where payee is social security beneficiary

51 Exception in respect of child support voluntary agreement where formula assessment in force

52 Exception in respect of spousal voluntary agreement where court order in force

53 Dual-purpose voluntary agreements

54 Act not to affect other provisions of agreement

Procedure on application for acceptance of voluntary agreements

55 Application requirements

56 Dual applications

57 Decision on application

58 Consequences of Commissioner accepting voluntary agreement

59 Commencement of liability under voluntary agreement

Procedure after acceptance or refusal of voluntary agreements

60 Duty to give notice of decision

61 Duty to make assessment

Termination of liability to make payments under voluntary agreements

62 When payments under voluntary agreement cease to be payable

Variation of voluntary agreements

63 Voluntary agreement may be varied

Miscellaneous provisions

64 Election to terminate liability under voluntary agreement

65 Child support voluntary agreement no bar to application for formula assessment

66 Voluntary agreement no bar to application for maintenance order under Family Proceedings Act 1980

66A Commissioner to give effect to orders made under Property (Relationships) Act 1976

Part 4
Court maintenance orders made after 1 July 1992

67 Application of this Part

68 Effect of certain court orders

69 Duty to make assessment

70 Election that Commissioner is not to enforce order

71 Period for which money payable under this Act

Part 5
Assessment of child support and domestic maintenance

Minimum rate of child support or domestic maintenance

72 Minimum rate of child support or domestic maintenance

Exemption in certain circumstances for prisoners and hospital patients

[Repealed]

73 Application for exemption by prisoner or hospital patient [Repealed]

74 Effect of election [Repealed]

75 End of exemption [Repealed]

76 Prisoner or hospital patient to advise Commissioner if exemption ends [Repealed]

Provisions relating to making of assessments

77 Assessment on basis of information supplied to Commissioner

78 Assessment to relate to all children for whom child support payable

79 Assessment to relate to whole or part of single child support year

80 Assessments for part of child support year

81 Notification requirements of liable parent

82 Liable parent to advise Commissioner of certain changes in living circumstances

83 Evidence relating to assessments

84 Validity of assessments

85 Assumptions as to future events

86 Commissioner to give effect to changed circumstances

87 Amendment of assessments

88 Notice of assessment to be given to liable person

89 Notice to be given to payee

Part 5A
Exemptions

Subpart 1Outline and definitions

89A Outline

89B Definitions for this Part

Subpart 2Exemptions for hospital patients, prisoners, and persons under 16 years

Exemption for hospital patients

89C Exemption for long-term hospital patients

Exemption for prisoners

89D Exemption for long-term prisoners

Exemption for persons under 16 years

89E Exemption for persons under 16 years

Restrictions on application of exemptions

89F Exemption does not apply at any time during child support year if income criteria not met at any time during relevant period

89G Other restrictions on application of exemptions

Application and grant of exemptions under this subpart

89H Applications for exemptions under this subpart

89I Grant of exemption under this subpart

89J Exempted person not entitled to refund

Subpart 3Determinations in relation to exemptions for hospital patients, prisoners, and persons under 16 years

89K Commissioner may make determinations in relation to exemptions

89L Application for determination

89M Determination that exemption does not apply or ceases to apply or determination confirming exemption

89N Determination that provisions of Act relating to formula assessment of child support will be departed from

89O Reasons for determination

89P Commissioner may refuse to make determination because issues too complex

89Q Application disclosing no grounds for making determination: how dealt with

89R Other party to be notified

89S Procedure for dealing with application

89T Circumstances in which representation or assistance at hearing may be approved

89U Subsequent applications

89V Effect of pending applications

89W Commencement of determinations

89X Restriction on publication of reports of proceedings

Subpart 4Exemption for victims of sex offences

89Y Application for exemption on grounds relating to sex offence

89Z Grant of exemption to victim of sex offence

89ZA Exemption is void if conviction quashed or finding is reversed or set aside

Subpart 5Miscellaneous provisions concerning exemptions

89ZB Commissioner must give effect to exemption and may take changes into account

89ZC Exempted person must advise Commissioner of certain matters

89ZD Liable person liable for payment of financial support for parts of child support year to which exemption does not apply

89ZE Applications by agents

Part 6
Objections

90 Objections to appealable decisions

91 Objections to assessments

92 Requirements in relation to objections

93 Notice of result of objection

94 Determination of objection not to affect other assessments or decisions

95 Obligation to pay financial support where objection made

96 Objections to which this Part does not apply

Part 6A
Departure from formula assessment of child support initiated by liable parent or qualifying custodian

96A Commissioner may make determination

96B Application for determination

96C Matters as to which Commissioner must be satisfied before making determination

96D Determinations that may be made

96E Requirements for application

96F Commissioner may refuse to make determination because issues too complex

96G Application disclosing no grounds, etc, for making determination—how dealt with

96H Other party to be notified

96I Procedure for dealing with application

96J Circumstances in which representation or assistance at hearing may be approved

96K Child support agreements entered into before determination made

96L Subsequent applications

96M Effect of pending applications

96N Suspension of liabilities

96O Commencement of determinations

96P Restriction on publication of reports of proceedings

Part 6B
Departure from formula assessment of child support initiated by Commissioner

96Q Commissioner may make determination under this Part

96R Matters that Commissioner must be satisfied of before making determination

96S Commissioner may make preliminary enquiries

96T Notice to liable parent giving chance to respond

96U Written response by liable parent

96V Decision by Commissioner to start proceedings under this Part

96W Commissioner to notify liable parent

96X Commissioner to notify qualifying custodian

96Y Election by qualifying custodian to become party or discontinue proceedings

96Z Written representations by liable parent or qualifying custodian

96ZA Procedure for making determination

96ZB Determinations that may be made

96ZC Commissioner may refuse to make determination because issues too complex

96ZD Effect of pending proceedings under this Part

96ZE Commencement of determinations

96ZF Restriction on publication of reports of proceedings

96ZG Application of certain provisions in Part 6A to proceedings under this Part

Part 7
Jurisdiction of courts in relation to child support and domestic maintenance

General provisions relating to jurisdiction

97 Jurisdiction of courts

98 Minimum liability in respect of child support

99 Declarations in respect of step-parents

Appeals from decisions of Commissioner in respect of objections under Part 6

100 Appeal by person from whom formula assessment of child support sought

101 Appeal by unsuccessful applicant for formula assessment

102 Appeals against other administrative decisions of Commissioner

103 Appeals against assessments

Appeals in relation to determinations

103A Appeal in relation to determination or decision under subpart 3 of Part 5A

103B Appeal by respondent from determination under Part 6A

103C Appeal from determination under Part 6B

103D Powers of Family Court on appeal

103E Implementation of orders

Orders for departure from formula assessment in special circumstances

104 Application for departure from formula assessment in special circumstances

105 Matters as to which court must be satisfied before making order

106 Orders that may be made

107 Implementation of orders

Orders for provision of child support in form of lump sum

108 Application for order for provision of child support in form of lump sum

109 Orders for provision of child support in form of lump sum

110 Relationship between lump sum orders and assessed child support

111 Effect of lump sum orders on formula assessment of child support

Discharge, suspension, revival, and variation of orders

112 Discharge, suspension, revival, and variation of orders

Orders to set aside voluntary agreements

113 Power to set aside agreements

114 Implementation of decision

Effect of pending appeals

115 Pending appeal or application not to affect assessment

Urgent maintenance orders and suspension orders

116 Urgent maintenance orders

117 Suspension orders

Provisions relating to court orders

118 General powers of court

119 Cessation of orders under Act

Miscellaneous provisions

120 Appeal from decisions of courts

121 Evidence on hearing of appeal against disallowance

122 Social security beneficiary to be compellable witness against liable parent

123 Conduct of proceedings

124 Publication of reports of proceedings

125 Intervention in proceedings

126 Copies of orders to be forwarded to Commissioner

127 Orders by consent

Part 8
Collection of financial support

Financial support is debt due to the Crown

128 Debt due to the Crown

Method in which financial support to be collected

129 Right to choose payment method

130 Defaulters to pay child support by automatic deduction

131 Social security beneficiaries to pay financial support by automatic deduction

Due dates for payment of financial support

132 Due date for payment of financial support

133 Alteration to first due date where notice of assessment issued

134 Penalty for late payment of financial support debts

Interpretation provision relating to relief from penalties

135 Interpretation for purposes of sections 135A to 135O

Discretionary relief in respect of penalties

135A Application of sections 135B to 135G

135B Discretionary relief if reasonable cause

135C Discretionary relief if failure of another person to make deduction

135D Discretionary relief if honest oversight by liable person with no history of default

135E Discretionary relief if error made by Department

135F Discretionary relief if debt uplifted

135G Discretionary relief for residual incremental penalty debt

Mandatory relief in respect of initial late payment penalty

135H Relief from initial late payment penalty if payment arrangement

135I Relief from initial late payment penalty if minimum amount

Mandatory relief in respect of incremental penalties

135J Relief from incremental penalties unpaid before agreement entered into

135K Relief from incremental penalties in relation to arrangements entered into or made before commencement

135L Writing-off of incremental penalties if non-compliance with arrangement

135M Relief from ongoing incremental penalties if payment agreement in force

135N Relief from ongoing incremental penalties if deduction notice in force

Miscellaneous

135O Refunds paid out of Crown Bank Account without further appropriation

136 Amounts payable per month and per day

Application of payments collected

137 Order in which payments to be applied by Commissioner

138 Apportionment of payment between payees

Part 9
Payment of financial support

Establishment and operation of Child Support Trust Bank Account

139 Establishment of Child Support Trust Bank Account

140 Payments into, and out of, Child Support Trust Bank Account

Payments by Commissioner

141 Payment to custodians who are not social welfare beneficiaries

142 Payment of formula assessment child support to custodians who are social security beneficiaries

143 Payment of voluntary agreement child support to custodians who are social security beneficiaries

144 Payment of lump sum and other child support

145 Payment to spouses or other partners

146 Time at which payments are to be made

147 Unremitted deductions made by employers or PAYE intermediaries

148 Method in which payments to be made

149 Unexplained remittances

150 Time at which unexplained remittances deemed to be received

151 Overpayments to payees

151A Relief where child support overpaid before estimation

152 Relief in cases of serious hardship

152A Relief in case of exemption granted to liable person

Part 10
Automatic deductions

153 Interpretation

Automatic deductions

154 Deduction notice

155 Money from which deductions to be made

156 Copy of deduction notice to be given to liable person

157 Priority of deductions under this Act

158 Life of deduction notices

159 Duty of payer to make deductions from money payable

160 Periodic deductions from money other than source deduction payments

161 No opting out

162 Authority to make deductions

163 Payment of deductions to Commissioner

164 Discharge of liable person's liability to Commissioner and payer's liability to liable person

165 Protected net earnings rate

166 Position where liable person has 2 or more employers

167 Deductions to be held on trust

168 Payer failing to make financial support deductions

169 Unpaid financial support to constitute charge on payer's property

170 Payers not to disclose information

Offences and penalties

171 Offence to prejudice employees because of financial support liability

172 Other offences in relation to this Part

173 Penalty for late deductions [Repealed]

174 Write-off of late deduction penalty [Repealed]

Miscellaneous provisions

175 Application of other provisions to amounts payable under this Part

176 Application of amounts paid or credited where 2 or more debts due

177 Records to be kept by payer

Part 11
Enforcement provisions

178 Mode of recovery of unpaid financial support

179 Payee has no right to take action to recover financial support payments

180 Payee may uplift financial support debt

181 Application of tax overpayments

182 Bankruptcy

183 Warrant to seize property

Charging orders

184 Charging orders

185 Charging orders on life insurance policies

186 Extent to which charging orders bind the Crown

Receiving orders

187 Receiving orders

188 Powers and duties of receiver

Provisions as to enforcement of financial support liability

189 Order for enforcement of arrears

190 Power to issue summons to appear in court

191 Evidence of default

192 Power to summons witnesses

193 Execution of warrants

194 Conduct of examination

195 Orders by court

196 Contempt procedures

197 Application of Legal Services Act 2000

198 Liable person doing community work to be discharged on payment

199 Arrest of liable person

Miscellaneous provisions

200 Dispositions may be restrained

201 Dispositions may be set aside

202 Procedure in High Court where defendant absent from New Zealand

203 No limitation of action to recover financial support

204 Crown Proceedings Act 1950 not affected

205 Recovery of financial support paid by one person on behalf of another

206 Direct payment to payee

207 Amounts paid where no liability to pay exists, etc

Part 12
Offences and penalties

208 Offences

208A Offences by payers

209 Officers and employees of corporate bodies [Repealed]

210 Penalties for offences

211 Proceedings must be commenced by Commissioner

212 Charging document may charge several offences

213 Charging document may be filed within 10 years

Part 13
Reciprocal agreements

214 Interpretation

215 Adoption of reciprocal agreement with other countries

Part 14
General provisions

Refunds of financial support

216 Refund of excess financial support

216A Method of application for refund of excess financial support paid

216B Transfer of refund

216C Form of request for transfer of refund

216D Commissioner must transfer refund

217 Appropriation of refunds

Miscellaneous provisions

218 Meaning of ordinarily resident in New Zealand

219 Power of Commissioner in respect of small amounts

219A Power of Commissioner where small debit results from exchange rate fluctuations

220 Evidentiary certificates by Commissioner

221 Commissioner may appear in legal proceedings by employee of the Crown

222 Proceedings not affected by vacancy or change in office of Commissioner

223 Service on protected person

224 Proceedings where respondent is absent from New Zealand or cannot be found

225 Proceedings by or against minors

226 Appointment of lawyer to represent child in proceedings

226A Appointment of lawyer to assist court

226B Fees and expenses of lawyer appointed under section 226 or 226A

226C Order requiring reimbursement of costs payments

226D Enforcement of orders made under section 226C

227 Vexatious proceedings

228 Evidence [Repealed]

229 Power of Family Court or District Court to call witnesses

230 Proof of certain matters

231 Standard of proof

232 Costs

233 Court fees

234 Rules of procedure

235 Regulations

236 Changes in published statistics to be disregarded

237 Rounding of amounts

238 Applications by agents

239 Notification requirements

240 Secrecy

Part 15
Amendments to other Acts

Amendment to Accident Compensation Act 1982

241 Compensation not assignable

Amendment to Administration Act 1969

242 Protection of administrator against certain claims

Amendment to Adoption Act 1955

243 Effect of adoption order

Amendment to Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989

244 Recovery of cost of maintenance of children and young persons in care

Amendment to Companies Act 1955

245 Preferential payments

Amendment to District Courts Act 1947

246 Effect of attachment orders

Amendment to Family Courts Act 1980

247 Jurisdiction of Family Courts

Amendments to Income Tax Act 1976

248 Incomes wholly exempt from tax

249 Interpretation of term pay-period taxpayer

Amendment to Inland Revenue Department Act 1974

250 Interpretation

Amendments to Insolvency Act 1967

251 Priorities

252 Debts from which discharge releases bankrupt

Part 16
Transitional and savings provisions

253 No liability to pay financial support under this Act until 1 July 1992

Enforcement of maintenance liabilities after Royal assent

254 Changes to ways in which maintenance liabilities may be enforced

255 Evidence of default

Enforcement of liable parent contributions payable before 1 July 1992

256 Savings in respect of outstanding liable parent contributions

257 Saving in respect of assignment of accident compensation

258 Saving in respect of jurisdiction of Family Courts

Enforcement of maintenance liabilities payable before 1 July 1992

259 Savings in respect of outstanding maintenance liabilities

260 Savings in respect of assignment of accident compensation

Conversion of liable parent contributions

261 Automatic applications for formula assessment in respect of existing liable parent contributors

Child maintenance liabilities after 1 July 1992 under existing court orders and registered agreements

262 Expiry of certain suspended child maintenance orders and agreements

263 Continuation of certain other child maintenance orders and agreements

264 Enforcement of Department of Social Welfare administered child maintenance orders and agreements

265 Enforcement of other child maintenance orders and agreements

266 Deferral of commencement of formula assessment in certain cases

Continuation of existing maintenance orders after 1 July 1992

267 Enforcement of Department of Social Welfare administered maintenance orders and agreements

268 Enforcement of other maintenance orders and agreements

Child Support Amendment Act (No 3) 2013

268A Transitional provision for proceedings commenced before commencement of Child Support Amendment Act (No 3) 2013 but not completed

Miscellaneous provisions

269 Transfer of information during transitional period

270 Beneficiaries to apply for child support from 16 March 1992

271 Assessment activity under Social Security Act 1964 to cease from 16 March 1992

272 Transitional date for calculating living allowance

273 Transitional date for departure order and lump sum order applications

275 Application of repealed provisions of Tax Administration Act 1994

276 Transitional and savings provisions relating to amendments to Act

Schedule 1
Transitional and savings provisions relating to amendments to Act made on or after 1 April 2015

Child Support Amendment Act 1992

Child Support Amendment Act 1993

Child Support Amendment Act 1994

Child Support Amendment Act 1996

Child Support Amendment Act 1998

Child Support Amendment Act 1999

Child Support Amendment Act 2001

District Courts Amendment Act 2002

Child Support Amendment Act 2003

Child Support Amendment Act (No 2) 2005

Child Support Amendment Act 2006

Reprint notes


An Act—

  • (a) to assess the minimum level of financial support payable by certain parents in respect of their children; and

  • (b) to provide for the collection and payment of child support and spousal maintenance payments; and

  • (c) to make transitional arrangements relating to maintenance liabilities under the Social Security Act 1964 and the Family Proceedings Act 1980