New DWP rules could see parents refusing to pay child maintenance lose their home or driving licence
12.02.2024 - 13:03
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that enforcement times against parents not paying child maintenance will be slashed from six months to as little as six weeks. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride MP said the reforms will mean parents who dodge the financial responsibilities they have for their children will be “quickly held to account”.
The UK Government will publish its response to a consultation on February 12 on proposed measures to give the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) more powers to recover cash from non-paying parents faster, confirming these reforms will be accelerated. These will include allowing the CMS to use an administrative liability order to recover unpaid child maintenance instead of applying to the courts.
This could reduce enforcement time almost fourfold and ensure that further action, such as the forced sale of property or driving licence disqualification, could be used much sooner - around 10,000 parents a year who refuse to pay maintenance could be affected, the DWP said.
This change will help reduce the time it takes to obtain a liability order, from around 22 weeks to as little as six to eight weeks.
From February 26, the £20 application fee for parents seeking the CMS’s intervention when maintenance is not paid will also be scrapped.
Mr Stride said: “We know the vast majority of parents strive each and every day to give their children the best possible start in life. But those who shirk the financial responsibilities they have for their children must 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.”
DWP Minister Viscount Younger said:
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