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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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New provisions in relation to statutory child support
Date:12 DEC 2018

With effect from 14 December of this year, new powers will come into force allowing the Secretary of State to make an application to disqualify a non-resident parent with outstanding child maintenance arrears under the statutory child support scheme from holding or obtaining a travel authorisation. Previous enforcement steps must have been taken and the court must be satisfied that there has been wilful refusal or culpable neglect as to the payment of the arrears. In addition, changes are made, inter alia, to the calculation of child maintenance liabilities and to address historic arrears under the 1993 and 2003 Child Support Agency (CSA) schemes.

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What are the key changes?
With effect from 14 December 2018, the Secretary of State may apply to a court to disqualify a non-resident parent with child maintenance arrears under the statutory scheme from holding or obtaining a travel authorisation where:

  1. the Secretary of State has previously sought to recover an amount from the person by means of taking enforcement action by virtue of sections 35 or 38 of the Child Support Act 1991 (CSA 1991), or by means of a third party debt order, or by a charging order by virtue of CSA 1991, s 36

  2. the whole or any part of the amount remains unpaid, and

  3. the Secretary of State is of the opinion that there has been wilful refusal or culpable neglect on the part of the person

In relation to an application for a changing order, it is sufficient for steps to have been taken to recover an amount by means of a charging order where an interim charging order has been made, whether or not any further steps have been taken to recover the amount.

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