Government gets tough on errant fathers

New statistics published by the Child Support Agency (CSA) reveal that an astonishing £45m is owed to children in Manchester alone by 14,300 parents who are avoiding maintenance payments. The CSA have also revealed that some of the (inventive) excuses given for avoiding payment include buying a season ticket for Manchester United.

In light of the above, it is not surprising that the CSA enforcement team have initiated a major crackdown on non-paying parents.

In June 2007 the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill was published. The Bill intends to replace the Child Support Agency with the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission which, if implemented will dramatically increase enforcement powers including:

Sharing with Credit Reference Agencies information on parents who do not pay child maintenance – potentially affecting future credit ratings;

The surrender of a non-resident parent’s passport or imposing a curfew on them if they fail to pay maintenance;

The use of gross weekly income, rather than net as a basis for calculating maintenance liability, meaning that less reliance is placed on the non-resident’s parent’s co-operation.

For separating parents, the wise approach, encouraged by the Bill is to reach a private agreement for maintenance, without involving the CSA.

Article supplied by George Davies and Co.

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