Child Support

Child Support Amendment Bill 2011

The Bill reported back to Parliament after the Review (below) amends the child support scheme which was introduced in 1992 and which helps to provide financial support for over 210,000 children, by making provision for:
 a new child support calculation formula;
 secondary changes to update the child support scheme more generally;
 amendments to the payment, penalty, and debt rules for child support.

A number of recommendations made by Family First in its submission have been adopted, including taking the income of both parents into account rather that just the paying parent’s income; recognising shared care of a child at lower levels than the current 40% of nights test; and automatic deduction of child support payments from wages

FAMILY FIRST SUPPORTS THE NEW RULES CONTAINED IN THE BILL

READ Family First’s Submission to the Social Services Committee
READ more information about the Bill and the new rules

emailPlease make a Submission
* online (at bottom of page) http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/MakeSub/b/c/2/50SCSS_SCF_00DBHOH_BILL11136_1-Child-Support-Amendment-Bill.htm
* posting two copies of Submission to
Committee Secretariat
Social Services
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

Submissions are due by 20 June 2012

Child Support Bill More Equitable and Fair
Family First Media Release 7 May 2012
Family First NZ is welcoming the new rules surrounding child support, although they would like to see equal focus and investment in strengthening marriages and supporting families at risk or under pressure before the relationship breakdown occurs. They also prefer stronger consequences placed on parents who are primarily at fault in the breakdown of the relationship. The Child Support Amendment Bill has its first reading in Parliament tomorrow.

“A number of recommendations made by Family First in its submission have been adopted, including taking the income of both parents into account rather that just the paying parent’s income; recognising shared care of a child at lower levels than the current 40% of nights test; and automatic deduction of child support payments from wages,” saysBob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ

“For the sake of the children in terms of contact and material needs, and the financial pressures on sole parents, we must ensure that the system is fair to both parents and places the same obligation, responsibility, and role on each parent. Many parents are being alienated from their children – even when they may oppose the separation – and are then financially liable in an unfair way.”

“Child Support should be strongly targeted at parents who abandon their responsibility or who are proved to be unsuitable to care for the children e.g. domestic violence, sexual, physical and psychological abuse – not at those who wish to maintain their responsibilities related to raising their own children. The current regime has been too inflexible and has lead to unjust results. The latest proposals will go some way to addressing that unfairness.”

“There is obviously an issue with parents going overseas and avoiding their responsibilities – and children are the ultimate losers in this. 2008 figures show that nearly 13,000 liable parents live overseas yet this group owes one third of the total debt.”

“Ultimately, this whole debate shows that there are no winners with family breakdown, and we must do more to strengthen marriages, encourage stability, and provide resources and support for families at risk or under stress,” says Mr McCoskrie.
ENDS

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child support courtSupporting Children Project 2011

The Government is seeking feedback on options to update the child support scheme, including possible changes to the formula used to determine the amount of child support that is payable and to the child support payment, penalty and debt rules.The state-run child support scheme helps to provide financial support for over 210,000 children, and is a back-up for parents who are living apart and are unable or unwilling to make satisfactory private arrangements for the financial support of their children. It is the first major review for 18 years.

Family First NZ SUPPORTS the general direction of this review.

We are making the following recommendations:
* Child support is awarded without reference to fault – or lack of it. This must be addressed. Child support effectively designates an active present parent as “absent”. It indirectly creates an economic incentive to separate. Forced expropriations under the name of ‘child support’ must be debated. The precise purpose of child support has never been made clear of publicly debated. Most people assume it is for parents who have abandoned their children or at least agreed voluntarily to live apart from them. It was certainly never intended to subsidise the removal of children from living, innocent parents who want the family to stay intact.
* Child support should be targeted at parents who abandon their responsibility or who are proved to be unsuitable to care for the children e.g. domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse – not at those who wish to maintain their responsibilities relating to raising their own children.
* Child Support should be initiated around a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting.
This involves two key components:
1. Reasonable limits on ‘no-fault’ divorce when children are involved. Divorce by mutual consent (which was the original application of child support) is valid, but unilateral and involuntary divorces should result in a level of accountability for the offending party
2. Shared parenting presumed for children of divorce or separation. Shared parenting reduces conflict by mitigating the winner-takes-all mentality that results in children being used as weapons. It’s replaced with a guarantee that both parents will maintain a role in raising the children.
* child support should take into account the income of both parents in determining levels of child support payments
* As part of a review of child support, the issue of paternity testing should be considered.

Details of the review are here http://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/news/2010-09-02-supporting-children
The Discussion document is here http://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/publications/2010-dd-supporting-children/overview

READ Family First’s Submission

UPDATE:

Child Support Should Be Matched By Family Support
Family First Media Release August 21, 2011
Family First NZ is welcoming the new rules surrounding child support, although they would like to see equal focus and investment in strengthening marriages and supporting families at risk or under pressure before the relationship breakdown occurs. They also prefer stronger consequences placed on parents who are primarily at fault in the breakdown of the relationship.

“A number of recommendations made by Family First in its submission have been adopted by the proposals made by Peter Dunne, including taking the income of both parents into account rather that just the paying parent’s income; recognising shared care of a child at lower levels than the current 40% of nights test; and automatic deduction of child support payments from wages,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ

“There is obviously an issue with parents going overseas and avoiding their responsibilities – and children are the ultimate losers in this. 2008 figures show that nearly 13,000 liable parents live overseas yet this group owes one third of the total debt.”

“Child Support should be strongly targeted at parents who abandon their responsibility or who are proved to be unsuitable to care for the children e.g. domestic violence, sexual, physical and psychological abuse – not at those who wish to maintain their responsibilities related to raising their own children. The current regime has been too inflexible and has lead to unjust results. The latest proposals will go someway to addressing that unfairness.”

“But the system needs flexibility and we would like to see more recognition of ‘fault’. Many parents are being alienated from their children – even when they may oppose the separation – and are then financially liable in an unfair way.”

“For the sake of the children in terms of contact and material needs, and the financial pressures on sole parents, we must ensure that the system is fair to both parents and places the same obligation, responsibility, and role on each parent.”

“Ultimately, this whole debate shows that there are no winners with family breakdown, and we must do more to strengthen marriages, encourage stability, and provide resources and support for families at risk or under stress,” says Mr McCoskrie.
ENDS

 

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