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Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008

Child Maintenance

Debt Management Powers
Current position

44.Since its inception in 1993, the CSA has collected over £5 billion in child support maintenance. At the same time, however, around £3.5 billion of debt has accumulated. The CSA has no statutory powers to write off debt.

45.Since August 2006 the CSA has held contracts with private sector debt collection agencies to pursue debt on its behalf.

Proposed changes

46.The Act introduces new powers to enable the Commission to collect and manage debt:

  • The ability to negotiate settlements where a lesser amount of money offered by a non-resident parent can be accepted as full and final settlement of the debt.

  • The ability to write off debt of a description specified in regulations, where it appears to the Commission that it would be unfair or otherwise inappropriate to enforce it. It is intended that the type of debt specified in regulations for these purposes will include:

    • debt which is owed to a person with care who is deceased, or by a non-resident parent who is deceased, where the debt can not be recovered from the estate; and

    • debt which is owed by a non-resident parent who is for example reconciled with a parent with care who has asked for the recovery action to be stopped.

  • The ability to write off debt which has arisen from fees and interest charged under regulations that were abolished in 2001.

  • The ability to apply for arrears of child support maintenance to be recovered from the estate of a deceased non-resident parent.

  • The ability to sell debt to a third party in specified circumstances.

  • The ability, in prescribed circumstances, to offset a maintenance liability and in some cases arrears where, for example, a child moves from the care of one parent to the other. Also, the ability, in prescribed circumstances, to offset money paid by a non-resident parent to a third party against the maintenance they are liable to pay. The ability to use existing and new enforcement measures to collect child support maintenance arrears that accrued or became due before 12 July 2000.

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