Ian Austin – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Ian Austin on 2014-03-24.

To ask 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.

Steve Webb

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”.