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Child maintenance: cases when someone lives overseas (England & Wales)

Published Wednesday, January 31, 2018

This House of Commons Library briefing paper considers child maintenance cases where a non-resident parent or person with care lives overseas. A link to the full report in pdf format can be found at the bottom of this page.

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The statutory child maintenance schemes administered by the Child Support Agency (CSA) and the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can only accept an application, make a maintenance calculation and request payment from the non-resident parent if the parties to it are all “habitually resident” in the United Kingdom (unless an exception applies).

Where a non-resident parent lives abroad, it can be possible to seek the payment of child maintenance through a reciprocal enforcement of maintenance order (REMO). A REMO can also be used in respect of the overseas income of a non-resident parent who is habitually resident in the UK.  This note sets out the application process for a REMO; the UK has REMO arrangements with over a 100 countries although if no REMO arrangement is in place it may still be possible to enforce a decision in the country in which the non-resident parent lives.

The REMO process, however, does not allow for the recovery of arrears owed to a person with care, although the CSA/CMS can take collection action and use its enforcement powers (such as deducting money from a bank account) in respect of any assets retained in the UK.

A list of other Commons Library briefing papers on child maintenance can be found on the final page of this note.

This note relates to England and Wales only.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7775

Author: Tim Jarrett

Topics: Child support, Children and families

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