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Proposed New Enforcement Powers for the Child Maintenance Service

December 21, 2017 Family Law

One area that can often struggle to reach agreement on is arrangements relating to the living arrangements and financial support of their children.

The Government encourages all separating parents to come to a private arrangement with regards to any child maintenance to be paid, but where this is not possible, parents can apply to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to have a payment arrangement put in place.

The Child Maintenance Service was established in 2012 to replace the old Child Support Agency (CSA). It has been criticised for not doing enough to ensure that these payment arrangements are adhered to, and so the Government has been looking at ways to strengthen the enforcement actions the CMS can take.

It recently launched a in which it is seeking views on options to give the CMS stronger compliance, collection and enforcement methods to make sure parents are meeting their responsibilities towards their children.

The put forward include:

The has already taken steps to strengthen the enforcement actions available to the CMS.

In October this year it announced that new laws would be introduced to allow deductions to be made from joint accounts in order to recover child maintenance arrears.

Currently, if a parent owes child maintenance, deductions to recover that debt can only be made from a bank or building society account held solely by them. So a small minority of parents are cheating their way out of supporting their children by putting their money into a joint account with a partner.

The Government believes that introducing new legislation to close this loophole will stop a number of parents getting away with not paying their child maintenance each year – leading to more than £390,000 additional child maintenance being collected.

The new powers will come into force early next year, and will include several safeguards to protect the other holder of the joint account, including:

For expert legal advice on issues involving children, and other areas of family law, then contact our specialist family lawyers today.

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