Proposals to Give Child Maintenance Service More Powers

21 December 2017 Written by Family Law Caithness Category: Family Law News

The UK Government has launched a consultation exercise over proposals to give the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) stronger compliance, collection and enforcement methods to make sure separated parents are meeting their responsibilities towards their children. 

The Child Maintenance Service, which was established in 2012, is the replacement service for the Child Support Agency (CSA). Steps have already been taken to strengthen the action taken against parents who don’t pay the child maintenance they owe, including consulting on seizing unpaid maintenance from joint bank accounts.

The proposals set out in the consultation include:

  • removing passports – parents who persistently do not pay the child maintenance they owe could face being banned from holding or obtaining a UK passport for up to two years
  • improved calculations – income from capital, foreign income, notional income from assets and unearned income could all be taken into account when the CMS works out how much maintenance a parent owes
  • deductions from business accounts – the CMS could seize funds from sole trader and partnership accounts to pay off a parent’s unpaid maintenance bill.

“Our priority is to make sure parents meet their responsibilities to their children so we have been replacing the old CSA – which failed children over the decades – with a new system that is already working better for families,” commented Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance Caroline Dinenage. “But we need to go further to ensure children get the support they need. That’s why we are consulting on a range of options, including tougher powers against parents who do not pay the child maintenance they owe.”

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