Child maintenance (FOI)
Child maintenance (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 07 February 2017.
Please could you let me know:
How much unpaid child maintenance is owed in Jersey?
How many parents owe outstanding child maintenance?
How many people pay child maintenance?
Percentage of single parent families that have child maintenance arrangements in place?
Number of court cases in Jersey in past three years related to unpaid child maintenance?
We do not hold information in response to questions A to D because the related information we hold is necessarily incomplete because child maintenance arrangements do not have to be registered with the court or with the tax authorities.
The records we do hold only relate to specific circumstances where particular matters are brought to court or specific circumstances where tax relief may be claimed.
A and B
We do not know how much child maintenance is unpaid or how many parents owe outstanding child maintenance, because the parent who has not received payment may not come to court, for instance because they are aware the other parent has lost their job or is self-employed so it would not be possible to get an attachment of earnings order.
C and D
We do not know how many people pay child maintenance or the percentage of single parent families that have child maintenance arrangements in place, because some parents pay maintenance without a court order by way of a maintenance arrangement. We only become aware of these arrangements if they break down and subsequently come to court.
While some people claim tax relief on child maintenance payments, these are totalled together with other non-retainable charges (e.g. bank interest). It would not be possible to retrieve the number of payments claimed from the assessment within 12.5 hours and therefore Article 16 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 applies. Including those who do not claim tax relief, this would still not provide a figure to respond to requests C or D. Currently tax relief is capped at £2,600 and is not taxable on the recipient.
We are not able to respond to this request because we do not capture statistics for the number of Petty Debts Court claims or cases which come to the Family Division of the Royal Court which relate to unpaid child maintenance.
There have been more than 8,000 actions brought to the Petty Debts Court in the last three years. To review all the cases to determine if the action related to unpaid child maintenance would not be possible within the 12.5 hour cost time limit and therefore Article 16 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 applies.
Article 16 - A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive
(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.
Regulation 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014 allows an authority to refuse a request for information where the estimated cost of dealing with the request would exceed the specified amount of the cost limit of £500. This is the estimated cost of one person spending 12.5 working hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.