New Legislation Set to Tighten Child Maintenance Enforcement


Government reforms aimed at boosting the enforcement of child maintenance payments are being accelerated, following consultation.

Last October, the government consulted on measures to give the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) greater powers to recover money more quickly, in a bid to address the issue of parents who repeatedly fail to take financial responsibility for their children.

The government is proposing to bring into force powers that allow the CMS to make an administrative liability order against a person who has failed to pay child maintenance and is in arrears.

Before escalating to an administrative liability order, which allows for tougher enforcement action such as bailiff action and disqualification from holding a driving licence, the CMS has other options including collecting earnings directly from parents’ employers or different bank accounts.

Protections for paying parents will include a right of appeal to a court against an administrative liability order.

The new law will apply to Great Britain and, according to the Department for Work and Pensions, legislation designed to implement the changes to liability orders will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.

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