Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Horsey [2019] NZFC 2925

Published 03 August 2020

Child support — departure order — arrears of over $140,000 — Child Support Act 1991, ss 9, 11, 35, 48, 50, 77, 82, 84, 190, 191, 195A, 215 — Child Support (Reciprocal Agreement with Australia) Order 2000, arts 1.2, 5.3. The applicant father sought a suspension and departure order in regard to a debt of over $140,000 owing to Inland Revenue for child support arrears and penalties. He had made no payments to reduce that amount since it was assessed. He asked the court to reduce his liability as much as possible. The Commissioner of Inland Revenue had made multiple attempts to contact the applicant about his legal rights and following up payments. The applicant submitted that he and the mother of his children had "contracted" out of child support by way of a deed. This was rejected by the court as the Child Support Act sets out the requirements for contracting out and the deed did not meet them. To allow individuals to simply contract out of child support arrears and penalties however they like could result in people usurping debts owed to the Crown (ie the IRD). The applicant provided no financial information and appeared to be hiding his assets, by putting his shares and companies under the name of his 19 year old daughter. The court found there were no exceptional circumstances to justify either suspension or a departure order. The application was declined. Judgment Date: 3 May 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *