If you’re tempted not to pay, you need to weigh up the consequences, which can be severe:
• Each month, the CSA issues over 5,500 new deduction from earnings orders or deduction orders (where child maintenance is forcibly taken out of a parent’s wages or bank account).
• Last year 10,000 cases were referred to bailiffs to seize assets from parents who hadn’t paid what they owed. Plus, over 1000 parents were sent to prison for evading their child maintenance responsibilities.
• Recently introduced powers also allow the CSA to ask the courts to reverse transfers of cash and the sale of property or other assets if they were made with the intention of evading maintenance debts.
We understand that things are often tough for parents living apart from their children. But it’s important to stay on top of your payments and treat them as one of your priority outgoings, for your own sake:
• Parents with Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA’s) or who are bankrupt must still pay their child maintenance debt and it can even be claimed against a deceased person’s estate. It’s classed as a priority debt because it’s not about purchases or profits but is needed to support a child.
• The CSA is only obliged to leave parents with just over half their income for themselves. So child maintenance can end up costing 40% of everything you earn for as long as it takes to clear the debt.
The best way to avoid these measures is to make sure you don’t get into child maintenance debt in the first place. Speak to the CSA and other organisations that are there to help you manage your money. Hopefully you’ll find a solution that means you and your children are both financially secure.
You can find contact details for your local office here.