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"Hi, This is my periodic email to check in with IRD about what is… - Tactical Ninja

Aug. 28th, 2013

11:32 am

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"Hi,

This is my periodic email to check in with IRD about what is happening with the complete lack of Child Support I am currently receiving from my son's father. As far as I remember - I can't check because your site is experiencing difficulties - the last payment I received was in April of last year. Since then the father has been assessed first to pay the minimum amount, and then to pay half the minimum amount. I assume this is because he also has a daughter for whom he is now liable.

This of course says to me that he is no longer with the daughter's mother, which suggests that the joint bank account he had, which was preventing IRD from directly accessing his money, is no longer in existence. However I don't know where he is or what he is doing for work. I do expect that IRD is still taking action on my behalf in this matter, yes?

The last time I checked in, in March this year, I received a reply that contained this line: "At this stage we do not have a plan in place to collect the child support owed to you but I can also confirm that Inland Revenue will continue to collect the child support until it has been paid."

And I laughed a hollow laugh - because "We don't have a plan but we'll keep doing what we're doing" sounds like a whole lot of nothing to me.

The debt now totals somewhere around $9000 (not sure - again, can't check because of your website issues), and some of it is approaching 5 years old. In just under a year my son will be 19 and no longer be eligible for Child Support. The time when I needed this money is coming to an end, and IRD had failed almost completely in its task of collecting this on my behalf. The changes in law that seem to allow the writing off of debt really bothers me. Will this affect me? That money is owed to me, not IRD, and I have no wish to write off the debt. Please let me know what is being done to collect my money. How old/how much does a debt have to be before property can be uplifted?

This has gone well beyond a joke. I am trying to keep laughing, but it's really not funny, eh?"

Because God loves a tryer, right?

Comments:

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From:anna_en_route
Date:August 28th, 2013 12:18 am (UTC)
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*fingers crossed on your behalf*
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2013 12:21 am (UTC)
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Thanks! ;-)

I know there are a bunch of reasons why this is a particularly difficult case, but I also know that there comes a point when someone's just taking the piss, and he passed that point long ago.
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From:didotwite
Date:August 28th, 2013 12:36 am (UTC)
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wow. i think NZ is way ahead of the US on this, but anyway, sorry to you and your son that dad is being a failure as a human too.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
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Luckily for me and the YoT, we are self-supporting and don't desperately need the money. Other people are way worse off than us in this respect, and I really feel for them.

What does bother me is, as you say, the YoT has had a hard lesson in exactly how much of a dropkick his father is over this time, and it hurts to see that happen to him.
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From:richaarde
Date:August 28th, 2013 12:42 am (UTC)
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Might want to copy some of your government representatives on that letter, if possible. I don't know if it'll do any good, but it's worth a shot.

That really stinks, by the way. They should really have a better handle on this kind of stuff.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2013 12:57 am (UTC)
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I've done that before, so far nobody's been all that interested. It's not a rare thing in NZ and compared to some of the other cases I've heard of, it's a small amount of money and only a few years.

However, if he gets to 19 and still nothing, I probably will.
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From:tieke
Date:August 28th, 2013 01:08 am (UTC)
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So, do IRD have no capacity to call in Baycorp in these situations?
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2013 01:13 am (UTC)
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I don't know. They play their cards pretty close to their chest regarding what they do to retrieve money. But you'd think they could, eh?
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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:August 28th, 2013 05:21 am (UTC)
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Sheesh, that sucks.

I was thoroughly surprised to learn that in Germany, if the father does not come across with the money, the IRD(child care service?) pays the money to the mother/child and then proceeds to get it back from the father - with interest. That keeps the mother/child going and at the same time puts a heavy lever behind the claims because it's the sate suing, not a busy, and emotionally engaged little family that does not have the money for an attorney.

I guess that's not a model that's done everywhere (and you can still count me as surprised that the German government got something right for once) but seeing this it makes a lot of sense.

I hope you get your money (or your son gets it - he might need that). Fingers crossed.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2013 09:06 pm (UTC)
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In NZ, the government still puts penalties on the debt and makes threats, but they don't pay out the custodial parent until the money is received. Theres something like $6 billion owed in Child Support in this country and it's obvious it's not working.

They are talking about forgiving penalty debts in order to encourage people to come forward and pay - but in the case of the YoT's father, I think that would just make him think he got away with it. ;-/
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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:August 29th, 2013 12:11 pm (UTC)
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That's just shitty. Also, the fact that they didn't pull from the joint account. WTF? Create your own account or deal with the wrath of your current partner.

Does he work at all? Over here if the person doesn't pay up, they simply get in touch with the employer and take the money before he even sees it. The point where the non-custodial doesn't work is where the system here gets wacky, too. Because if they are on support rations as well, where do you take the extra money from? I'm not sure how that's handled then.

6 billion owned means quite a lot of people are getting away with just ignoring their dept. That stinks.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 29th, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
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That's where it gets complicated - he is generally self employed. If he were working for wages they could do that, and if he were on the unemployment benefit they would extract the minimum payment for me before paying him. But because he's self-employed, they can never catch up with the people who are paying him quickly enough before he moves on to the next job, he does a lot of work 'under the table', and with creative accounting the self-employed can make it look like they don't make any profit, so he can't be charged.

Top that with him being something of a dropkick that gets evicted and moves around a lot chasing the Next Big Thing, and it's probably one of the more difficult cases. Dude owns a house (or he used to), but while his wife and other family were living in it they won't touch that. Now, I don't know.
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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:August 30th, 2013 10:21 am (UTC)
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Ah, yes, I have a workmate who has a child-father like that. He runs a bar and "creative accounting" just begins to explain it. For the taxes he's constantly in the negative. She pressures him personally whenever she knows he's got money to spend, so he owns up irregularly but at least he owns up. A small town is a bitch if you want to run a business and people perceive you as "the one who cheats on his child" ;-P

Yours sounds like a veritable scallywag. Sheesh. I guess you can be glad he only gave the good genes to his son. Some people are really better to be rid of.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 29th, 2013 08:12 pm (UTC)
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I should add, his wife is now in a similar situation in that he's not paying anything for their daughter either. ;-/
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From:downwardlashes
Date:August 28th, 2013 05:23 am (UTC)
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My mom received a hundred something dollars in in the mail randomly several years ago, for child support from my sisters' father. My sisters were both in their early thirties. It was too bizarre. And considering that he owed her SO MUCH for nearly their whole childhood, the weirdness was just too much.
I hope you have a better outcome!
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2013 09:06 pm (UTC)
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Hehe yeah, I'm kind of expecting that when they do catch up with him, I'll get like $20 a week for the next 10 years or something.
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From:spotsofcolour
Date:August 28th, 2013 10:04 am (UTC)
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Ugh, government bodies like this are ridiculous - we had similar (although less urgent and less longstanding) issues with housing and council tax benefit. We applied and were eligible - and I called and checked several times to confirm this! - and then all of a sudden they decided that actually no we weren't elible and had to pay all 6+ months of benefits we'd received back. Because they'd suddenly realised they'd not counted my boyfriend's income when they first assessed us. Which they shouldn't have done, because he was a student and thereby exempt from both benefits and having to pay taxes, but we were told we had to put it on the form as a record.

Eventually they dismissed it, after we got very stroppy and appealed, on the basis that we "Wouldn't have known we were being paid the wrong amount". Well no we wouldn't, not when we were assured like 6 times that we were definitely definitely being paid the correct amount, and the reason we suddenly weren't was because they were breaking their own freaking policies by taking J into account.

/rant

I'm still angry about that.


Is there any legal recourse you can take aside from this?
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
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Wow. That sounds like a whole mess of fail on their part. Glad you got it dismissed in the end though. That business of legit paying people then deciding it was a mistake and expecting it to be paid back is horrible.
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From:meri_sielu
Date:August 28th, 2013 11:29 am (UTC)
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Crossing my fingers for you because this just sounds like you've been through hell with it all :(
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2013 09:12 pm (UTC)
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I'm kind of philosophical about it now. I went through a stage of getting really angry about it but then I realised I was just letting things I already knew about the YoT's Dad affect me, 16 years after I left him.

Fact is, we're lucky enough not to desperately need the money (although it would be nice to have), and letting go of emotional attachment to getting paid has caused me to realise that we're set up so that he has no real influence in either of our lives.

The worst part is the things it's made the YoT realise about his father. Watching him go through that was no fun. If we ever do get paid, the money's going straight to him - it's supposed to be to help look after him after all.
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From:goddessofchaos
Date:August 28th, 2013 02:46 pm (UTC)
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Good luck! Sometimes it feels the chances of human eyes falling on an email to a big bureaucracy is slim, and the chances of that human actually proceeding to do anything useful even slimmer, but you never know unless you keep trying. Hopefully you'll hear something more useful than "We do not have a plan in place", which seems to be the written equivalent of a hopeless shrug.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, that part just made my eyes pop out. I can understand why it's difficult for them, but I'm pretty sure the only time they actually try anything new is when I harrass them about it. So I keep emailing, twice a year, to give them a poke.
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From:sophiawestern
Date:August 29th, 2013 06:29 pm (UTC)
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Wow, that's a government fail. Maybe it will work out eventually. :(
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