Pratt v Horne [2019] NZFC 4550

Published 18 September 2019

Child support — application for departure from formula assessment — special circumstances — financial support — Child Support Act 1991, ss 104, 105 & 106 — Wilcox v CIR [1994] NZFLR 639 — CIR v Cutbrush [1994] 12 FRNZ 168 — Waugh v Gall [1994] 11 FRNZ 309. The applicant sought departure from formula assessment for child support payments, on the basis that by virtue of special circumstances his capacity to provide financial support for his daughter was reduced due to the need to support himself. He also submitted that the cost of maintaining his daughter was significantly affected by the financial costs he incurred in having contact with her. The Judge found there were special circumstances that impacted the applicant's ability to meet child support payments. Upon separation, the parties had no relationship property other than a $60,000 debt. The applicant undertook to meet the debt fully, even though he was entitled to have the first respondent pay half. This was a special circumstance that would impact the applicant for a number of years. Further, the applicant was incurring extra costs to see his daughter by traveling all the way to get her and return her to her mother, instead of meeting the mother halfway. The application for a departure from formula assessment was granted and the applicant's child support payments were reduced by half, to account for the debt he had undertaken and by the extra travel costs. Judgment Date: 20 June 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *