The Government is set to announce a crackdown on parents who refuse to pay child maintenance, with enforcement times being slashed from six months to six weeks
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced plans to speed up enforcement against parents who fail to pay child maintenance.
The new measures, which will reduce enforcement times from six months to just six weeks, were unveiled by Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride. Stride said the reforms will ensure parents who dodge their financial responsibilities towards their children are “quickly held to account”.
The government will publish its response to a consultation on giving the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) more powers to recover money from non-paying parents faster on Monday. This will include allowing the CMS to use an administrative liability order to recover unpaid child maintenance, rather than having to apply to the courts.
This could cut enforcement time by almost four times and allow further action, such as forced property sales or driving licence disqualification, to be used much sooner. The DWP estimates that around 10,000 parents a year who refuse to pay maintenance could be affected by these changes.
From February 26, the £20 application fee for parents seeking the CMS’s help when maintenance is not paid will also be scrapped. Stride added: “We know the vast majority of parents strive each and every day to give their children the best possible start in life.” But he warned those who avoid their financial duties towards their children will be “quickly held to account”.
“That’s why we are fast-tracking enforcement from six months to six weeks making the system fairer for parents and above all for children.” With these changes, the CMS might also cancel small debts under £7 in cases that aren’t active anymore, so they can focus on parents who owe a lot more money.