Sunday 4 December 2016

State to crack down on child-support dodgers

Edel Kennedy

Published 21/06/2010 | 05:00

THOUSANDS of parents who are failing to financially support their children are to be targeted under new legislation.

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Under the new laws, parents who are currently avoiding paying their child-maintenance obligations will face tough sanctions.

The Government will fast-track the legislation governing maintenance payments because thousands of parents are refusing to pay to support their children.

Their refusal is costing the state tens of millions each year.

The Department of Justice and the Attorney General are currently working on the new proposals, which will be introduced in the coming months through the Civil Law Bill.

When enforced, it will cut down on the Government's social-welfare bill as the State currently pays €1bn annually in lone-parent payments and rent allowance to single parents. The majority of single parents are women.

Thousands of "liable parents" are refusing to pay maintenance costs for their children arising from recent court rulings.

Difficulties

The government's maintenance recovery unit is expecting to have to deal with 16,000 cases of this nature this year, with the majority involving fathers who are not making the required payment. Difficulties have also arisen as a result of a landmark case before the High Court last year, which further restricted the State's ability to legally enforce maintenance costs.

Under the State's liability to Maintain a Family Scheme, the government is mandated to pursue absent parents for some or all of the State's welfare payments for the child's care.

The payments include one-parent family allowance, lone-parent's allowance, deserted-wives' payment and supplementary allowance.

Irish Independent

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