Monday, 30 April 2012

Government Cracks Down on Non-Paying Parents

Intensive action against parents who fail to financially support their children has been pledged by the government. According to figures from the Department of Work and Pensions, more than 5,000 past and current child maintenance cases have arrears of £50,000 or more. The government has however sought to reassure those parents who are owed arrears that the CSA (Child Support Agency) will take “all reasonable steps to recover this money for them”.

The crack down by the Department of Work and Pensions has been announced just as new figures show that the CSA’s enforcement powers are being exercised more than ever. For example, there has been a threefold increase in the use of ‘deduction orders’, where money is taken directly from the debtor’s bank account. The CSA’s broad range of enforcement powers also include taking deductions directly from wages, taking possession of and selling property, freezing money owed to the non-paying parent and confiscating driving licences.

There can be little doubt that the CSA’s enforcement powers can help reduce existing arrears, or even prevent them from building up in the first place. If however you are able to agree with the other parent how much child maintenance should be paid, there may be no need to go to the CSA. Child maintenance can be a complex and complicated area and you should seek expert family law advice if in doubt as to your rights and responsibilities.

For more advice read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

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