Protection for children and increased sanctions for child maintenance.
October 19, 2023
An update on the increased sanctions for non-payment of child maintenance payments
From March 2022 to 2023, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) reclaimed £1.2billion in child maintenance from non-paying parents. With the increased cost of living, it is imperative that parents make the required financial contributions to their children.
In July 2023, The Child Support (Enforcement) Act 2023 brought positive changes to the world of child maintenance.
The Act provides new powers to ensure that qualifying parents receive the correct financial support for child maintenance from the other parent.
This means that payments from parents should now progress in a more timely manner.
The changes allow the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to implement sanctions on parents who avoid paying child maintenance.
The DWP can now remove driving licences and passports or force a property sale to ensure that the other parent pays the appropriate child maintenance.
Previously the DWP would have to apply through the courts, with delays of up to 20 weeks.
Where one parent suspects fraudulent behaviour or the declaration of an incorrect (lower) income, the CMS’s Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) have powers to investigate.
These changes and the new powers should encourage separated parents to ensure that their children’s rights are protected when making applications to the CMS for payment to support the cost of the child/children.
If a person denies being a parent, the CMS can ask the person to take a DNA test or seek the court’s involvement for a decision about parentage.
Contact us for more information about eligibility and support in respect of child maintenance payments, children’s arrangements, and Family Law issues.