Legal action against non-paying parents

PUBLISHED: 13:00 11 August 2012

More than £80,000 of unpaid child maintenance debt was pursued at North Somerset Courthouse this month

More than £80,000 of unpaid child maintenance debt was pursued at North Somerset Courthouse this month


TOUGH legal action is being taken against parents who are not financially contributing to their children’s upkeep.

In the past month alone parents have appeared at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges with a combined child maintenance debt of more than £80,000.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has applied for liability orders against 29 parents who have not paid child maintenance costs, with the amount owed ranging from £200 to £8,000.

Across the South West the figure of maintenance debt that is owed by parents and being pursued by the DWP totalled £600,000 this month.

The Government is trying to collect as much debt as possible ahead of major reforms in the system being implemented next year.

The changes will see swifter action taken against defaulting parents, who will be required to pay towards the cost of the Government’s enforcement action and will face new penalty charges.

Work and Pensions minister, Maria Miller, said: “For too long we’ve had a child maintenance system in this country that fails children, parents and the taxpayer.

“Half of children living in separated families do not benefit from an effective child maintenance arrangement and there is little support for parents to work together and for reluctant parents to take their responsibilities seriously.”

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