2018 will see new laws to recover child maintenance arrears
The Government plans to bring in new laws in 2018 to tackle child maintenance arrears. In a response to a public consultation the Government proposes that deductions can be made from joint accounts in order to stop a number of parents avoiding paying their child maintenance each year. The response sets out how deduction orders against joint accounts will work and the safeguards that will be in place to protect the other holder of the joint account.
- a deduction order only being imposed on a joint account when the paying parent does not have their own account, or there is not enough money in their own account
- only funds belonging to the paying parent being targeted, as before a deduction order is made on a joint account, data on that account will be collected and bank statements examined to establish which money in the account belongs to the paying parent
- existing safeguards already in place for deduction orders for child maintenance will apply to this new power, including the maximum deduction rate on regular orders being set at 40% of the paying parent’s weekly income
- both account holders will be given the right to make their case before a deduction is made.
Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance said: “Our priority is for children to get the support they need. Only a small minority of parents try to cheat their way out of paying towards their children and this new power will be another tool to tackle those who do.”
For anyone who is experiencing issues with child maintenance, Barker Gotelee are on hand to give advice and support.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.