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The Child Support(Northern Ireland) Order 1991

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Introductory

Title and commencement

1.—(1) This Order may be cited as the Child Support (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.

(2) This Order shall come into operation on such day or days as may be appointed by order made by the Lord Chancellor or the Head of the Department or by both of them acting jointly.

(3) An order under paragraph (2) may make such supplemental, incidental or transitional provision as appears to the person making the order to be necessary or expedient in connection with the provisions brought into operation by the order, including such adaptations or modifications of—

(a)the provisions so brought into operation;

(b)any provisions of this Order then in operation; or

(c)any provision of any other statutory provision,

as appear to him to be necessary or expedient.

(4) Different provision may be made by virtue of paragraph (3) with respect to different periods.

(5) Any provision made by virtue of paragraph (3) may, in particular, include provision for—

(a)the enforcement of a maintenance assessment (including the collection of sums payable under the assessment) as if the assessment were a court order of a prescribed kind;

(b)the registration of maintenance assessments with the appropriate court in connection with any provision of a kind mentioned in sub-paragraph (a);

(c)the variation, on application made to a court, of the provisions of a maintenance assessment relating to the method of making payments fixed by the assessment or the intervals at which such payments are to be made;

(d)a maintenance assessment, or an order of a prescribed kind relating to one or more children, to be deemed, in prescribed circumstances, to have been validly made for all purposes or for such purposes as may be prescribed.

Interpretation

2.—(1) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(1) shall apply to Article 1 and the following provisions of this Order as it applies to a Measure of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(2) In this Order—:

  • “absent parent” has the meaning given in Article 4(2);

  • “adjudication officer” has the same meaning as in the benefit Acts;

  • “assessable income” has the meaning given in paragraph 5 of Schedule 1;

  • “benefit Acts” means the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Acts 1975 to 1991;

  • “child benefit” has the same meaning as in the Child Benefit (Northern Ireland) Order 1975(2);

  • “Chief Child Support Officer” has the meaning given in Article 15;

  • “child support appeal tribunal” means a tribunal appointed under Article 23;

  • Child Support Commissioner” means a Child Support Commissioner for Northern Ireland appointed under section 23 of the Child Support Act 1991(3);

  • “child support maintenance” has the meaning given in Article 4(6);

  • “child support officer” has the meaning given in Article 15;

  • “deduction from earnings order” has the meaning given in Article 31(2);

  • “the Department” means the Department of Health and Social Services;

  • “disability living allowance” has the same meaning as in the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Act 1975(4);

  • “family credit” has the same meaning as in the benefit Acts;

  • “income support” has the same meaning as in the benefit Acts;

  • “interim maintenance assessment” has the meaning given in Article 14;

  • “liability order” has the meaning given in Article 33(2);

  • “maintenance agreement” has the meaning given in Article 11(1);

  • “maintenance assessment” means an assessment of maintenance made under this Order and, except in prescribed circumstances, includes an interim maintenance assessment;

  • “maintenance order” has the meaning given in Article 10(11);

  • “maintenance requirement” means the amount calculated in accordance with paragraph 1 of Schedule 1;

  • “parent”, in relation to any child, means any person who is in law the mother or father of the child and, in the case of an illegitimate child, includes the father;

  • “parental responsibility”, as respects a particular child, means—

    (a)

    in the case of the parents of a legitimate child, or the mother of an illegitimate child, the rights and duties which by law each parent (or the mother, as the case may be) has in relation to the child, and

    (b)

    in any other case, the rights and duties which a person has in relation to the child as his guardian or by virtue of an order of a court giving him custody of the child (including actual or legal custody within the meaning of the Domestic Proceedings (Northern Ireland) Order 1980(5);

  • “person with care” has the meaning given in Article 4(3);

  • “prescribed”, except in Article 12(5), means prescribed by regulations made by the Department;

  • “qualifying child” has the meaning given in Article 4(1);

  • “statutory provision” has the meaning assigned to it by section 1(f) of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(6).

Meaning of “child”

3.—(1) For the purposes of this Order a person is a child if—

(a)he is under the age of 16;

(b)he is under the age of 19 and receiving full-time education (which is not advanced education)—

(i)by attendance at a recognised educational establishment; or

(ii)elsewhere, if the education is recognised by the Department; or

(c)he does not fall within sub-paragraph (a)or (b) but—

(i)he is under the age of 18, and

(ii)prescribed conditions are satisfied with respect to him.

(2) A person is not a child for the purposes of this Order if he—

(a)is or has been married;

(b)has celebrated a marriage which is void; or

(c)has celebrated a marriage in respect of which a decree of nullity has been granted.

(3) In this Article—

“advanced education” means education of a prescribed description;

and “recognised educational establishment” means an establishment recognised by the Department for the purposes of this Article as being, or as comparable to, a university, college or school.

(4) Where a person has reached the age of 16, the Department may recognise education provided for him otherwise than at a recognised educational establishment only if the Department is satisfied that education was being so provided for him immediately before he reached the age of 16.

(5) The Department may provide that in prescribed circumstances education is or is not to be treated for the purposes of this Article as being full-time.

(6) In determining whether a person falls within paragraph (1)(b), no account shall be taken of such interruptions in his education as may be prescribed.

(7) The Department may by regulations provide that a person who ceases to fall within paragraph (1) shall be treated as continuing to fall within that paragraph for a prescribed period.

(8) No person shall be treated as continuing to fall within paragraph (1) by virtue of regulations made under paragraph (7) after the end of the week in which he reaches the age of 19.

Meaning of certain other terms used in this Order

4.—(1) A child is a “qualifying child” if—

(a)one of his parents is, in relation to him, an absent parent; or

(b)both of his parents are, in relation to him, absent parents.

(2) The parent of any child is an “absent parent”, in relation to him, if—

(a)that parent is not living in the same household with the child; and

(b)the child has his home with a person who is, in relation to him, a person with care.

(3) A person is a “person with care”, in relation to any child, if he is a person—

(a)with whom the child has his home;

(b)who usually provides day to day care for the child (whether exclusively or in conjunction with any other person); and

(c)who does not fall within a prescribed category of person.

(4) The Department shall not, under paragraph (3)(c), prescribe as a category—

(a)parents;

(b)guardians;

(c)persons having, as respects a child, custody (including actual or legal custody within the meaning of the Domestic Proceedings (Northern Ireland) Order 1980(7) by virtue of an order of a court.

(5) For the purposes of this Order there may be more than one person with care in relation to the same qualifying child.

(6) Periodical payments which are required to be paid in accordance with a maintenance assessment are referred to in this Order as “child support maintenance”.

(7) Expressions are defined in this Article only for the purposes of this Order.

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