Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Winfield [2019] NZFC 10162

Published 13 July 2020

Application for imposition of community work — failure to pay outstanding child support — Child Support Act 1991, ss 190, 195 & 196. The Commissioner of Inland Revenue made an application for a period of community work to be imposed on the respondent for failing to pay outstanding child support. Under s 196 of the Child Support Act (the Act) the Court can impose a period of community work if it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the liable person has or had sufficient monies to pay any money owed under the Act but refused or failed to do so. The Court can impose community work for any amount of hours deemed appropriate between the minimum of 40 hours and the maximum of 400 hours. While owing money under the Act for his two children the respondent had paid off other large debts. He managed to find $2500 to pay for his phones after they were cut off, as well as making payments to gambling websites and into an ATM at a pub. It was clear that the respondent had, at times, the ability to pay back money owed under the Act, but had prioritised other payments instead. It was also clear that the respondent now had no funds to make any further payments and his finances were in a downward spiral. The Judge imposed 40 hours' community work (the minimum imposition possible under the Act) and the respondent's arrears were wiped. The respondent was still obligated to make child support payments for his youngest child, although this would only be for a matter of months. Judgment Date: 4 December 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *