As most people will be aware, payment of child maintenance is considered to be an absolute obligation on non-resident parents, regardless of the respective finances of the 2 parents. Payment would still be enforced even when, for example, this would mean an unemployed parent paying their multi-millionaire ex-partner.
As a result, paying parents who feel there is a reason why they should not pay, often resort to creative methods to try and evade liability. Such tricks are rarely advisable and usually end either in the accrual of significant arrears, costs and interest and/or punitive measures such as prison sentences and confiscation of key documents such as passports to enforce payment.
One such case is reported in the Sun today, whereby a father sent his friend to take a DNA test on his behalf in order to support his claim that he should not be ordered to pay for Children which were not his. He was reportedly caught out when photographs were taken at the test (as is standard practice). The reports suggest that he narrowly escaped a jail sentence in punishment, but he will now be faced with repayment of significant arrears, which are often enforced at a rate which takes a significant proportion of the payer’s monthly income.
There are ways to challenge Maintenance assessments, but this can only be done strictly in accordance with the CSA’s own process and procedures and within very strict deadlines. Self-help measures as tried in the case reported today only general make the payers situation far worse in the long run, and are always best avoided.
By Family Law Solicitor Cara Nuttall.