Parliament is introducing a new law around child support payments to sole parents.

Currently, if a sole parent is receiving the sole parent benefit, they have to apply for child support separately.

In applying for this benefit sole parents have to complete a formula assessment, whereby the IRD decides how much child support needs to be paid by the other parent of the child.

The IRD then collects the child support payments directly and passes it on to Work and Income, who then pass it to the sole parent subject to deductions.

Around 1/3 of the child support payment is retained by the Government, with approximately 2/3 of the payment making its way to the sole parent. This deduction is made to cover the cost of the sole parent benefit.

This meant that sole parents were not receiving the full amount of child support that is being collected for them.

The new laws will ensure that the full amount of these child support payments will be passed on to the sole parent, providing $23 more per week on average than under the current scheme. It will mean that sole parents receive the same benefit as other family types, rather than the current reduced amount. In essence, the sole parent’s ordinary full benefit will not be reduced by child support payments.

This new scheme will come into force on the 1st of July 2023.

If there is confusion around child support entitlements, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


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