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Child Maintenance Written Answer, 31/03/14 [E/NI/S/W]

Written Answer given in the House of Commons on 31 March 2014 in response to Ian Austin's (Lab) question asking the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what powers the Child Support Agency has to investigate the weekly expenses of parents who are paying child maintenance; and what his Department’s policy is on whether receiving parents should be responsible for estimating the weekly expenses of the paying parent in the calculation of child maintenance entitlement.

The Minister for Pensions, Steve Webb, replied that Section 14 of the Child Support Act 1991 and the Child Support Information Regulations 2008 provide the Child Support Agency and Child Maintenance Service with wide powers to obtain information from parents and third parties for the purpose of making decisions relating to child maintenance, including those decisions which relate to establishing the child maintenance of a Paying Parent.

The Receiving Parent is not responsible for estimating the weekly expenses of a Paying Parent. The Child
Maintenance Service,which administers the 2012 Scheme, is built to make best use of taxable income information that is regularly and reliably available from HMRC.

However, in the 1993 and 2003 schemes, administered by the Child Support Agency, the Receiving Parent can sometimes be asked to provide evidence of expenditure in order to support an application for a variation on the grounds of “lifestyle inconsistent with declared income”.

For the full answer to this and other questions see the House of Commons Hansard 31 March 2014 which is available from the UK Parliament website.

Further Information

House of Commons Hansard 31 March 2014