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Fine for failure to pay maintenance
Penalties will be imposed on parents who fail to agree child maintenance payments
Parents who fail to make their child maintenance payments are to be hit with fines running into hundreds of pounds.
Under Government plans, a £300 penalty will be imposed when a liability order has to be obtained from the courts.
A £200 surcharge will apply when money has to be taken directly from bank accounts using a deduction order.
The proposed penalties are part of a new child maintenance system designed by ministers to encourage separated parents to come to their own payment arrangements after the abolition of the much-criticised Child Support Agency (CSA).
Parents who cannot reach agreement will be able to apply to the new Child Maintenance Service but will have to pay an initial £20 collection fee plus collection fees thereafter.
The paying parent will be charged 20% on top of each assessed payment; a further 7% will be deducted from the amount the receiving parent is given.
Alongside the financial incentives for parents to come to their own arrangements, the Government is to spend £20 million on support services, including mediation, counselling and online advice.
Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller said the new system would be fairer than the existing £500 million-a-year arrangement which had failed children, parents and the taxpayer.
"The new system will place a greater emphasis on supporting parents to make their own arrangements which are in the best interests of the children," she said. "We are investing in extra support services - including mediation and counselling - to make this happen.
"The statutory scheme will still be heavily subsidised for those who are unable to come to their own arrangements, but the changes we are proposing will offer greater fairness to the taxpayer and a financial incentive for parents to work together."
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