What is Child Support?

Child support is financial support paid by parents who don't live with their children, or those who share care with another person. This usually occurs when:

  • a couple who have children split up, or
  • two people have children and aren't living together.
  • a child doesn't live with either parent

How Does Child Support Work?

As of April 1, 2015 the Government introduced some changes as to how child support is calculated. Find out more and how these changes may affect you

Child support can be arranged in two ways:

  1. Through the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). IRD uses a standard formula to calculate how much child support must be paid. IRD Child Support collects payments from the paying parent (which could be both) and passes them on to the custodian to assist with care of the child, or the government, if the custodian is receiving the sole parent benefit, or
  2. The parents can come to a voluntary agreement regarding child support and register this agreement with the IRD.

Applying for Child Support through the IRD

To apply for child support, your child or children need to be in your care for at least 35% of the time. It is voluntary to apply for child support, unless you receive a benefit from Work and Income. If you don't apply when receiving a benefit from Work and Income it may be reduced.

The first step in applying for child support is to complete a child support formula assessment application (IR101)and send it to your nearest IRD office.

For more information on child support please see

Academic research

Please find useful academic research on families led by one person.