Q&As

In a claim against an estate for monies owed under a child maintenance order representing unpaid maintenance payments going back more than six years, do the usual limitation periods apply or does the CSA or child maintenance service have any regulations relevant to this scenario?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 25/10/2017

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • In a claim against an estate for monies owed under a child maintenance order representing unpaid maintenance payments going back more than six years, do the usual limitation periods apply or does the CSA or child maintenance service have any regulations relevant to this scenario?

In a claim against an estate for monies owed under a child maintenance order representing unpaid maintenance payments going back more than six years, do the usual limitation periods apply or does the CSA or child maintenance service have any regulations relevant to this scenario?

This Q&A considers whether there is a limitation period that applies for the collection and enforcement of arrears of child maintenance. It specifically looks at arrears accrued under an arrangement with the child support agency (CSA) or child maintenance service (CMS), but also touches on arrears pursuant to an order under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973).

There are two means of enforcement under the Child Support Act 1991 (CSA 1991), either administrative orders such as deduction from earnings orders or lump sum deduction orders, or enforcement following a liability order. CSA 1991, s 33 provides for ‘liability orders’ which are granted by the CMS if a person falls into arrears in making their payments and a deduction from earnings order is inappropriate or has been made but has proved ineffective. This is the pre-requisite step for enforcement.

In Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission v Mitchell the Court of Appeal considered whether the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980) applied to a claim for enforcement of child maintenance arrears. In 2002, a liability order had been obtained against the father (the absent

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