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9 May 2017

Judge condemns laws as millionaire pays £7 a week in child support

New child support rules can lead to rich parents paying "pitiful" sums or nothing and should be reconsidered by ministers, a High Court judge has said, reports Business Reporter.

Mr Justice Mostyn said recent amendments to legislation have created an "extraordinary state of affairs" which is an "indictment" of the child support system.

The judge, based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, raised concerns in a ruling on the latest round of a money dispute between the separated parents of a teenager.

He said family court judges used to be allowed to order a low-earning non-resident parent to pay more child support if they had assets.

But he said the assets ground has been removed from the latest legislative regime.

Mr Justice Mostyn said in the case he had overseen, the father was a millionaire but was required to pay the “pitiful minimum sum of £7 a week” in child support because he had reached the age where he received a state pension.

“For reasons which I cannot fathom, the ‘assets’ ground of variation has been removed from (the) latest regime,” said the judge.

“Therefore, it is possible, as in this case, for a father to live on his capital, which may be very substantial indeed, and to pay no child support at all.

“The father was only required to pay the pitiful minimum sum of £7 a week from the early part of this year because it was then that he received his state pension.

“In my opinion the Government needs to consider urgently the reinstatement of the ‘assets’ ground of variation.”