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Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008

Section 31: Power to treat liability as satisfied

325.This section inserts a new section 41C into the Child Support Act 1991 which provides the Secretary of State with regulation-making powers enabling the Commission to offset liabilities to pay child support maintenance (including arrears) in prescribed circumstances.

326.Subsection (1)(a) of section 41C enables the Commission to offset liabilities to pay child support maintenance. It is envisaged that offsetting will occur mainly where a child moves from the care of one parent to the other, and therefore the non-resident parent becomes the parent with care and vice versa. If the non-resident parent who becomes the parent with care has built up arrears, some or all of the maintenance liability of the new non-resident parent may be offset against those arrears.

327.Offsetting may also apply where liability switches from one parent to the other for other reasons, for example, where each parent is caring for one or more children and there is a change in income. Where both parents have arrears these may also be offset against each other.

328.Subsection (1)(b) enables the Commission, in certain circumstances, to accept payments made by the non-resident parent to prescribed third parties as payments against ongoing liability or arrears.

329.Subsection (2) confirms that offsetting maintenance payments and third party payments as described in subsection (1) will result in the liability of a non-resident parent being met to the extent that it has been set off.

330.Subsection (3) applies the offsetting rules only to those cases where the Commission is authorised to make arrangements for the collection of the child support maintenance.

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