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Children: Maintenance

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many consent orders for child maintenance have passed through the courts in each of the last 10 years; (241941)

(2) what estimate he has made of the likely change in the number of consent orders that will go through the courts for child maintenance, following repeal of section 6 of the Child Support Act 1991.

Information on the number of consent orders for child maintenance made by the courts is not held centrally. Statistics on disposal of applications for ancillary relief are published annually in Chapter 5 of Judicial and Court Statistics, copies of which are available in the House of Commons Library.

Analysis from the Families and Children Study 2004 showed that for 4 per cent. of parents who are eligible to receive child maintenance, the child maintenance arrangement was through a Consent Order at court. It was also possible for parents to make maintenance arrangements via the Child Support Agency or via private settlement, or to have no formal arrangements at all.

It has been estimated that an additional 7,500 to 9,500 cases may come to the courts each year to agree child maintenance, as a result of repeal of section 6 of the Child Support Act 1991.