Her abusive ex owed her $40,000 in child support, so why did the tax department force her to pay him?

December 10, 2021

Survivors of domestic violence are being forced to chase their abusers for child support payments, and it’s putting them and their kids at risk. Michelle Duff reports.

Single mum Maria* was doing pretty well when the tax department called her. She had a job. Her son was happy. Her violent ex-partner owed her around $40,000 in child support, but she was almost at the point where she had given up expecting it. She barely checked her MyIR online portal anymore. It was too soul-destroying.

Then, the phone call. “It was the IRD, and they said ‘Why haven’t you been paying your child support?,’ and I said ‘No sorry, you’ve got the wrong person, he’s meant to be paying it’,” Maria says.