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Failure to pay child support will damage credit rating

If a parent fails to pay child maintenance it will adversely affect their credit rating, the government has announced.

Starting in March 2015, information about people’s payment records will be shared with credit agencies by the Child Support Agency (CSA) and Child Maintenance Service (CMS). This will happen when a ‘liability order’ is made against someone. Such orders occur when one parent takes the other to court for not paying the required amount of child maintenance. According to the government, 12,410 of such orders were made between April 2013 and March 2014.

Parents who do not make their required payments will feel the same impact as people who do not pay other debts. As a result, they may end up having loans, mortgages, phone contracts and other forms of credit refused as a consequence of the new scheme.

The government hopes this will act as a deterrent against parents who may otherwise attempt to get out of paying maintenance for their children.

Steve Webb, the Child Maintenance Minister, said that “a minority of absent parents” have gone unpunished for evading their responsibilities and leaving their families without financial support.

He added that the new initiative was designed to address such “irresponsible behaviour”, although he hoped “that we see this power used very little”.

Webb claimed the idea was in line with the government’s ‘family test’ for all new policies, which “has put the interests of family relationships at the heart of the policy making process”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    If I was a credit manager and had an applicant who had a good payment record except for his child maintenance history I would take the view that he was good for commercial debt and that his private life was not important to me – and give him credit accordingly. I doubt whether this will be of more than marginal effect.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Steve Webb’s claim that it is only a minority of fathers who take issue with the CSA is a bit like the divorce industry’s claim that it is only a minority of divorcing couples who litigate over children.

    A big lie! (Or just plain ignorance.)

    It’s time that the bureaucrats realize that the public demands change to child maintenance legislation, and stop fighting a tsunami of dissatisfaction. Treating parents unequally and unfairly is wrong, and it is gender discrimination.

    Politicians these days seem to lack the imagination to respond to public complaints with anything more than more violence, threats, criminalization, force and oppression. As if the public can be beaten into submission.

    The neanderthals would call us barbarians!

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