Why Child Maintenance and Enforcement is Necessary
The Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission (CMEC) is a non-departmental Public Body that was established to take charge of the payment of child maintenance.
It is the Commission’s primary objective to ensure effective children maintenance arrangements are in place, which provides financial support for children who live with a lone parent or legal guardian. This financial arrangement can be provided through the statutory scheme but may also be arranged privately between the child’s parents.
Child Maintenance MeasuresA regulated financial payment, which is enforced by the Child Support Agency (CSA) can provide vital resources for many lone parent families. This child maintenance payment is paid by the non resident parent to the resident, or parent with care, after the CSA has examined information, concerning income, provided by the non resident parent’s employers.
Although many non resident parents are readily able to provide maintenance – whether privately agreed or CSA assisted – there are still some parents who evade payment of the support fund for their child. In these cases the CSA will trace the non resident parent and issue payment instructions, with arrears.
It is expected that the new enforcement measures, which will be introduced from 2009/10, will provide child support agencies with a greater means of assisting lone parent families in their quest for maintenance payments.
Key FunctionsThe Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission’s primary function is to promote parental financial responsibility. This means ensuring that non resident parents acknowledge the importance of their child maintenance contribution. CMEC also offers information and support, regarding child maintenance options and an effective enforcement service.
The Child Support Agency (CSA) however, solely provide a maintenance service where parents with care can register an application for assistance.
The Child Maintenance Options service offers support online, on the telephone or in-person. Issues such as housing, legal and financial concerns can be discussed in confidence, and can help provide additional understanding of the way child maintenance works.
Enforcing OrdersOnce the amount of maintenance payable has been worked out the CSA will inform the non resident parent of the amount due, and the dates when this payment is expected. A court order will also provide the same information. Both the court and the CSA can make the non resident parent’s employer deduct maintenance payments directly from earnings.
If the maintenance payer owns another property a Charge can be put on this, which means that maintenance arrears will be paid for with the proceeds of the sale of the property. The Charge may also allow you to request early sale of the property, by applying through the courts.
It is also possible to freeze a partner’s accounts if you suspect they are attempting to leave the country with money that can provide maintenance coverage. A court order will freeze all accounts until the courts decide how to divide the assets.
In more extreme cases a parent with care can apply to the court and request that a non resident parent be sent to prison, if refusal to pay child maintenance continues.