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Children: Maintenance

Volume 493: debated on Thursday 4 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many times the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has (a) deducted maintenance payments or arrears from bank accounts without going through a court, (b) issued a liability order under section 32M of the Child Support Act 1991, (c) applied to a court for (i) a disqualification from holding or obtaining a passport and (ii) a curfew and (d) recovered arrears from a deceased person’s estate. (277682)

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, how many times the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has (a) deducted maintenance payments or arrears from bank accounts without going through a court, (b) issued a Liability Order under section 32M of the Child Support Act 1991, (c) applied to a court for (i) a disqualification from holding or obtaining a passport and (ii) a curfew and (d) recovered arrears from a deceased person’s estate. [277682]

The new enforcement powers required to allow the Commission to take the actions noted in your question are provided by the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 and are yet to be commenced. It is therefore not possible to provide the requested information at this time.

The Commission plans to commence the deduction order powers later this year to administratively remove funds from bank accounts, either periodically or in a lump sum, without going to court. A Deduction Order can be used in cases where a Deduction from Earnings Order cannot, for example, where the non-resident parent is self-employed.

No dates have yet been set to for implementation of Administrative Liability Orders, application to court for passport disqualification / curfew, or recovery of maintenance arrears from a deceased person’s estate.

I am sorry on this occasion I can not be more helpful.