If you have separated from your partner and there is a child involved, the person whom the child does not live with should pay child maintenance arranged by the Child Support Agency (CSA) or the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). If this is not paid then they can take action against you to make you pay.
The Child Support Agency (CSA) or the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can try to recover arrears of maintenance in the following ways:
- Take money from your earnings.
- Take money from your benefits.
- Take money from your bank or building society account.
- Apply to court for a liability order. If a liability order is granted, they can refer the case to the bailiffs who could come and take your property away to be sold to cover arrears and costs
- Apply to court for a charging order to force you to sell property and use the money to pay off child maintenance arrears.
Orders preventing avoidance
The CSA or CMS have the power to apply to the High Court to prevent you from getting rid of property or transferring property if they believe you’re doing this to avoid paying child maintenance.
If you’ve disposed of property to avoid paying maintenance, the CSA or CMS can apply for an order to cancel the sale or transfer.
Debt collection agencies
The CSA or CMS can use a debt collection agency to find the parent who should be paying maintenance and collect long-standing arrears. If the CSA or CMS uses a debt collection agency, the debt collection agency will have a contract with the CSA or the CMS, and must follow agreed guidelines.
It is always a difficult and emotional time when relationships end and there are children involved. The Family department at Jacksons deal with separation and contact issues daily so if you would like any further information please contact Louisa Bestford on 0191 2069617 or Emma Canham on 0191 2069621.