New powers to stop parents avoiding paying child maintenance that they owe have been announced by the government.
If a parent owes child maintenance, deductions to recover that debt can currently only be made from a bank or building society account held solely by them.
This has resulted in a small minority of parents cheating their way out of supporting their children by putting their money into a joint account with a partner.
New laws will be brought in to allow deductions to be made from joint accounts in order to recover child maintenance arrears.
It is believed closing this loophole could stop a number of parents getting away with not paying their child maintenance each year – leading to more than £390,000 additional child maintenance being collected.
Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance Caroline Dinenage said:
Our priority is for children to get the support they need. Only a small minority of parents try to cheat their way out of paying towards their children and this new power will be another tool to tackle those who do.
The new powers will come into effect early next year.