Family First NZ says that the upcoming review of child support announced today should be accompanied by a review of child contact policies.
“The care of children and their best interests when their parents separate is not just a financial issue,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Children are being hard done by because the Family Court system is not starting with a presumption of shared parenting. Many parents are being alienated from their children – even when they may oppose the separation – and are then financially liable in an unfair way.”
Family First agrees with Revenue Minister Peter Dunne that any review needs to take into account factors including the cost of raising children, the degree of shared care between parents who are living apart, and the income of both parents.
“There is obviously an issue with parents going overseas and avoiding their responsibilities – and children are the ultimate losers in this. 2008 figures show that nearly 13,000 liable parents live overseas yet this group owes one third of the total debt.”
“For the sake of the children in terms of contact and material needs, and the financial pressures on sole parents, we must ensure that the system is fair to both parents and places the same obligation, responsibility, and role on each parent.”
“Shirking parenting responsibility simply shouldn’t be allowed.”
“Ultimately, this whole debate shows that there are no winners with family breakdown, and we must do more to strengthen marriages, encourage stability, and provide resources and support for families at risk or under stress,” says Mr McCoskrie.