Child Maintenance is an arrangement made between one person and the other parent of their child. These arrangements usually come into play when parents are separated, and one parent takes care of the child concerned on a primary basis. As a result, the person with the main day-to-day care of the child should receive maintenance payments from the parent who does not have main caring responsibilities.
The paying parent is required to provide an agreed sum of money regularly to ensure their child is supported.
However, it is, unfortunately, the case some parents dodge their payment responsibilities, creating an additional financial burden for the parent with primary care.
This was the case for two single mothers who were left out of pocket after the fathers of their children refused to pay.
For 11 and 10 years respectively, the fathers concerned denied four children Child Maintenance support.
Eventually, forced sale orders were placed on the fathers’ houses to rectify the issue.
As a result, each single mother received a payment of £40,000 – a staggering sum which is likely to provide significant help to each family.
In many cases, families will be able to sort out financial support for their children themselves.
When this happens, the CMS will step back to allow each parent’s wishes to be expressed for the care of their child.
However, when matters arise concerning parents avoiding responsibilities, the service can step in to provide the support necessary.
The CMS can even enact enforcement charges which should prompt the paying parent to meet their responsibilities.
These charges can range from £50 for a deduction from earnings request or order, to £300 in a liability order.
If the paying parent makes an arrangement for payment through the CMS, then action can be taken immediately on the issue.
Alternatively, though, if the parent pays the other person concerned directly, then the receiving parent will need to request the service take action.
Baroness Stedman-Scott, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, commented on the matter.
She said: “Every child deserves the best possible start in life.
“Parents cannot get away with failing in their most basic duty, to support their children.
“If you refuse repeatedly to do the right thing we will take action and make sure the money gets to the children who need it.”