The Government has announced proposals to tackle parents who avoid paying child maintenance. Under the new scheme, parents who dodge making maintenance payments will suffer from either a reduced income or reduced benefits payments. Maria Miller, the minister for work and pensions, has vowed that parents who currently avoid making child maintenance payments will find it difficult to dodge the new scheme. The scheme would also save taxpayers’ money.
Absent parents receiving welfare benefits or on low incomes are currently required to contribute £5 a week in child maintenance payments. This amount was set to increase to £7 a week but could rise further following claims from Mrs. Miller that a higher rate of child maintenance payment would encourage a greater balance between parents following a split or divorce. Mrs. Miller claims that the Government desires for families to make their own arrangements but remains committed to ensuring that families unable to come to an agreement can be offered a statutory service.
Mrs. Miller said that the new scheme would result in a more accurate, efficient and transparent method of assessing child maintenance payouts. The current system relies on the honesty of parents when declaring incomes. Under the new scheme, officials will investigate absent parents' annual incomes against tax records and cases will be scheduled for an annual review. The new scheme is set to be introduced next year.
Duncan Lewis’ family law solicitors pride themselves on providing solutions to child maintenance payment disputes. The team can offer expert legal advice to parents who are unable to reach agreements over child-related financial support payments.