In 2019, there were approximately 16,700 overseas-based parents with child support obligations to New Zealand children. Although the vast majority, about 12,500, lived in Australia where New Zealand has had good reciprocal arrangements for collecting these payments for almost 20 years, there were over 4000 overseas-based parents with child support obligations to New Zealand children whose compliance with their child support obligations was voluntary. In 2019, approximately $7.7 million in child support was outstanding from the parents who did not live either in New Zealand or Australia.
In response to these concerns, on 1 November 2021, New Zealand joined the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance (Convention). The Convention allows for the recognition of administratively assessed child support collection between countries which are members to the Convention.
This means that Inland Revenue will be able to request collection and enforcement of child support and domestic maintenance from liable parents residing in one of the Convention member countries. Before 1 November 2021, payments could only be enforced via a court order in those countries. The changes mean that parents no longer need to seek court intervention when the liable parent lives in a Convention country.
More information on international child support agreements, including a table of member countries and how to apply for child support from a Convention country, is available on the IRD website.