Cleveland v Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2020] NZFC 6950

Published 22 January 2021

Appeal — departure order — child support formula assessment — frivolous or vexatious application — Child Support Act 1991, s 102 — Family Court Rules 2002, r 194. This was an appeal under the Child Support Act against a child support assessment for a child, on the basis that the applicant contended he was not the child's biological father. The applicant made no appearance at the hearing despite reasonable attempts by the Court to contact him. Counsel for the Commissioner sought a dismissal of the appeal pursuant to Family Court Rules, r 194 as a frivolous or vexatious attempt to delay or avoid his child support obligations. The applicant had previously given evidence that the signature on an acknowledgment of paternity form was not his signature. The Judge compared that signature against the one on the applicant's driver's licence and various other documents and noted that they were remarkably similar, but that no formal evidence had been given on this issue. Of note too was the DNA test undertaken by the applicant which showed that it was extremely likely that the applicant was the biological father of the child. The Judge concluded therefore that there was no reasonable basis to continue the proceedings, and noted too that the application by the applicant was a vexatious attempt to avoid his child support obligations. The file was closed. Judgment Date: 13 August 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *