- Parliament has approved new powers to stop child maintenance economic abuse
- New law will allow Child Maintenance Service to intervene in payments
- More financial protection for children in separated families
The new law will allow the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to intervene on behalf of parents where abuse is evident, using its powers to collect and make payments.
This set-up, called Collect and Pay, is already used by 37% of parents using the CMS. It provides extra protections for parents who have experienced domestic abuse by avoiding the need for contact and preventing perpetrators from inflicting financial abuse and control.
“Domestic abuse and coercive control are abhorrent crimes. This positive change will enhance our existing support for domestic abuse victims and ensure they can make a child maintenance claim without the fear of having to deal with an abusive ex-partner.”
The Child Support Collection (Domestic Abuse) Bill will gain Royal Assent in the coming weeks after successfully passing both Houses of Parliament. It will build on the CMS’s existing procedures to protect both paying and receiving parents who are vulnerable to domestic abuse, ensuring more children in separated families are supported. The Private Members’ Bill was taken through Parliament by Sally-Ann Hart MP and Lord Farmer, with support from the Government.
The change comes following recommendations by a leading expert on domestic abuse, Dr Samantha Callan, who led an independent review into the CMS’s support for victims.
“I am heartened that the Government have so quickly legislated to strengthen support for parents experiencing domestic abuse following my Review. This extra layer of protection for both parents and children was an important one of my recommendations to build on the CMS’s substantial reform in this area.”
The government-backed Child Support (Enforcement) Bill will simplify the court process of recouping child maintenance arrears, while continuing to protect paying parents’ appeal rights. This change is to make it easier and quicker for the CMS to take enforcement action and recoup money owed to families.
Collecting payments through payroll
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has the powers to issue an Deduction of Earnings Order across the United Kingdom.
Deduction from earnings orders (DEOs) are a way of collecting child maintenance directly from a paying parent’s earnings or pension.
Their employer must deduct the amount of child maintenance stated on the DEO from the employee’s net earnings or their pension and pay it to the Child Maintenance Service.