Search Legislation

The Child Support(Northern Ireland) Order 1991


This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Applications by those receiving benefit

9.—(1) Where income support, family credit of any other benefit of a prescribed kind is claimed by or in respect of, or paid to or in respect of the parent of a qualifying child that parent shall, if—

(a)that parent is a person with care of the child; and

(b)that parent is required to do so by the Department,

authorise the Department to take action under this Order to recover child support maintenance from the absent parent.

(2) The Department shall not require a person (“the parent”) to give it the authorisation mentioned in paragraph (1) if it considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that—

(a)if the parent were to be required to give that authorisation; or

(b)if that parent were to give it,

there would be a risk of that parent, or of any child living with that parent, suffering harm or undue distress as a result.

(3) Paragraph (2) shall not apply if the parent requests the Department to disregard it.

(4) The authorisation mentioned in paragraph (1) shall extend to all children of the absent parent in relation to whom the parent first mentioned in paragraph (1) is a person with care.

(5) That authorisation shall be given, without unreasonable delay, by completing and returning to the Department an application—

(a)for the making of a maintenance assessment with respect to the qualifying child or qualifying children; and

(b)for the Department to take action under this Order to recover, on that parent’s behalf, the amount of child support maintenance so assessed.

(6) Such an application shall be made on a form (“a maintenance application form”) provided by the Department.

(7) A maintenance application form shall indicate in general terms the effect of completing and returning it.

(8) Paragraph (1) has effect regardless of whether any of the benefits mentioned there is payable with respect to any qualifying child.

(9) A person who is under the duty imposed by paragraph (1) shall, so far as that person reasonably can, comply with such regulations as may be made by the Department with a view to the Department or the child support officer being provided with the information which is required to enable—

(a)the absent parent to be traced;

(b)the amount of child support maintenance payable by the absent parent to be assessed; and

(c)that amount to be recovered from the absent parent.

(10) The obligation to provide information which is imposed by paragraph (9)—

(a)shall not apply in such circumstances as may be prescribed; and

(b)may, in such circumstances as may be prescribed, be waived by the Department.

(11) A person with care who has authorised the Department under paragraph (1) but who subsequently ceases to fall within that paragraph may request the Department to cease acting under this Article.

(12) It shall be the duty of the Department to comply with any request made under paragraph (11) (but subject to any regulations made under paragraph (13)).

(13) The Department may by regulations make such incidental or transitional provision as it thinks appropriate with respect to cases in which it is requested under paragraph (11) to cease to act under this Article.

(14) The fact that a maintenance assessment is in force with respect to a person with care shall not prevent the making of a new maintenance assessment with respect to that person in response to an application under this Article.

Back to top


Print Options


Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made): The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.


Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources