Review child support payments

You should talk to Inland Revenue first if you need help with child support. If this doesn’t solve your problem, you can ask the Family Court for help.

Get help through Inland Revenue

If you’re unhappy about child support payments, you should first try to sort it out with Inland Revenue. Inland Revenue has 3 types of review:

  • administrative reviews
  • Commissioner reviews
  • exemption reviews.

Find out more about child support reviews on the Inland Revenue website (external link)

Ask the Family Court for help

If you asked Inland Revenue for an administrative review and you’re unhappy with what they decided, you can ask the Family Court for a Departure Order. You can apply for a Departure Order at any time after an administrative review.

If someone else asked for a review and Inland Revenue changed the child support you receive, you can appeal the decision in the Family Court.

You need to appeal within 2 months of the decision.

Get a Departure Order from the Family Court

A Departure Order is a written decision from the Family Court that tells Inland Revenue to assess your child support differently. You can apply for this at any time after an administrative review decision.

You can ask the Family Court for a Departure Order if Inland Revenue has:

  • made a decision about your application for an administrative review, you’re the person asking for the review (applicant) and you disagree with that decision or
  • refused to make a decision on your case because of its complexity and you’re the person asking for the review (applicant) or the person it affects (respondent).

If you’re a paying parent, you can’t apply for an assessment of less than the minimum weekly payment of child support.

Apply for a Departure Order

Appeal Inland Revenue’s decision in the Family Court

If you decide to appeal Inland Revenue’s decision, you need to do this within 2 months of the decision.

There are a number of reasons for an appeal:

  • If Inland Revenue hasn’t accepted an application for a formula assessment when you believe they should have or it has accepted an application for a formula assessment when you believe they shouldn’t have.
  • If you believe Inland Revenue acted wrongly by:
    • not accepting the estimate you’ve made of your current income
    • charging penalties resulting from that estimate
    • accepting or refusing to accept an application for a voluntary agreement, a variation of one or a change of circumstances
    • refusing to exempt you from child support payments or to refund overpayments
    • granting or refusing to grant a suspension of child support payments.
  • If you’re the paying parent and the information shown on an assessment notice about your income, child support or amount or number of days the child support is payable are wrong.
  • If the assessment doesn’t take into account a provision of the Child Support Act 1991.
  • If you’re the person who applied for an exemption review and the Commissioner has refused to accept your application.
  • If you’re a paying parent or custodian and you disagree with the Commissioner’s decision following a review.
  • If you’re the respondent in an administrative review and you disagree with the Commissioner’s decision following the review hearing.

Apply for an appeal

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