The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have therefore asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested.
Letter from Stephen Geraghty:
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner. The Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission may take when it has good reason to believe that a parent with liability to pay child maintenance plans to leave the country. 
The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has no powers to impede or to take any action simply on the basis of a current liability to pay child maintenance should a non-resident parent plan to leave the country. If a non-resident parent does not owe arrears of child maintenance payments through the Child Support Agency, then the Commission, quite rightly, has no power to prevent parents from moving abroad.
In cases where a non-resident parent has fallen into arrears, the Commission’s current enforcement powers may in some cases make it more difficult for a non-resident parent to realise any assets and leave the country without settling outstanding child maintenance arrears. Whilst a non-resident parent both resides overseas and either has no assets in the UK or does not work for an employer based in the UK, there is no mechanism by which either the Commission or the parent with care may enforce the collection of Child Support Agency debt that accrued whilst the non-resident parent resided in the UK.
New enforcement powers provided by the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008, which are yet to be commenced, will allow the Commission to apply to a court to seek an order disqualifying non-resident parents who have wilfully refused or culpably neglected to pay child maintenance from holding or obtaining a travel document (such as a passport).
If a non-resident parent has left the Commission’s jurisdiction, the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee is the authority in England and Wales responsible for the enforcement of maintenance orders overseas. The UK has reciprocal arrangements with more than 100 countries, which enable maintenance obligations to be established or recognised and enforced if the non-resident parent resides in one of those countries. The parent with care may apply to a magistrate’s court for a maintenance order to be enforced overseas and procedures also exist to enable the parent with care to ask the foreign authorities to create an order for maintenance on their behalf. This route cannot be used to enforce Child Support Agency debt that was incurred prior to the non-resident parent’s move abroad.
Further information on the reciprocal enforcement of maintenance orders can be found at:
I hope you find this answer helpful.