Child support is a legal obligation in the United Kingdom. If you are the non-resident parent of a child, you are required by law to pay a regular amount of money to support their upbringing. Failure to pay child support can result in legal action being taken against you. In this article, we will discuss whether you can go to prison in the UK for not paying child support.
Child Support Enforcement in the UK
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is responsible for enforcing child support payments in the UK. The CMS can take various actions to enforce payment, including:
- Deducting payments directly from your wages or benefits
- Seizing assets, such as property or vehicles
- Taking legal action, including court orders
- Imposing penalties and interest charges
Going to Prison for Non-Payment of Child Support
While it is possible to go to prison in the UK for non-payment of child support, it is a rare occurrence. Going to prison is considered a last resort and will only happen if all other methods of enforcement have failed.
If you have repeatedly failed to pay child support, you may receive a liability order from the CMS. This order means that the debt you owe is now legally enforceable, and the CMS can take further action to recover the debt.
If you still fail to pay, the CMS can apply to the court for a warrant of commitment. This warrant gives the CMS the power to arrest and imprison you for up to six weeks. However, before a warrant of commitment can be issued, you will be given the opportunity to attend a court hearing to explain why you have failed to pay.
It is important to note that going to prison for non-payment of child support is a serious matter and should be avoided at all costs. Not only will it impact your personal and professional life, but it can also have a negative impact on your relationship with your child.
What to Do if You Cannot Pay Child Support
If you are struggling to pay child support, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. The CMS has a range of support options available, including payment plans and debt write-offs for those in financial hardship.
You can also seek legal advice to help you negotiate with the CMS and come to an agreement on a payment plan. It is important to be honest and open about your financial situation and work with the CMS to find a solution that works for both you and your child.
In conclusion, while it is possible to go to prison in the UK for non-payment of child support, it is a rare occurrence and should be avoided at all costs. If you are struggling to pay child support, it is important to seek help and work with the CMS to find a solution that works for you and your child.