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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11544
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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HiI am moving abroad to China (Shanghai) in January to

Resolved Question:

Dear Sir/Madame,

I am moving abroad to China (Shanghai) in January to start a new teaching post, for at least 2 years, as a promotion. I want to stop paying CSA and transfer what I would be paying into two bank accounts for my children each month. I need to know if the CSA can:

(a) take money out of my bank account if I cancel their direct debit;

(b) apply for a court order;

(c) charge me arrears if I ever return to the UK;

(d) have my passport stopped.

Also, if I do this, will it be illegal?

My children do not see any of the money that I have paid for the last five years and I want them to receive 100% of what I will be paying (£600/month in total) as a lump sum when they turn 18.

Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
The answers to your specific questions are all no, but the situation isn't quite as straightforward as that, I'm afraid.
When you move to China, the CSA ceases to have jurisdiction over you unless you are working for the government, armed forces, diplomatic service or for a company where you are on a UK payroll or if you are on secondment from a UK local authority. If any of these apply the existing arrangements you have should continue.
If that is not the case the CSA cease to have jurisdiction. However, that is not the end of the story. The resident parent (not the CSA) can apply to the UK court for a maintenance order. In some foreign countries this can be registered in their courts for enforcement against the absent parent in that country. There has to be a reciprocal enforcement treaty between the UK and the foreign country. It is the case that China has no such treaty with the UK and won't recognise a UK court order for child maintenance.
The effect of this, however, is that arrears would accrue under the court order obtained by the resident parent and could be enforced against you as and when you return to the UK.
Because of this, in the absence of the agreement with the resident parent, it will be very difficult for you to ring fence the money to give to the children directly when they reach 18.
I hope this helps. Happy to discuss further.
Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks for your excellent advice, and for supplying it so quickly. Just some further clarifications:

1. I currently pay £426/month to the CSA in total. WIll the arrears accrue by this amount each month, or will further charges be added?

2. If I was still living in China when the children turned 18, could the CSA still take the lump sums, if I gave them directly to my children?

3. Would any maintenance order issued in the UK be ceased if my ex-wife is deceased when my children turn 18? I do not wish to sound callous at all here. However, she is not in good heallth and this is something that I do need to consider.

4. Just a double check that I cannot be arrested if I ever come back to the UK to visit family.

Your help is very much appreciated.

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
1. The CSA ceases to have jurisdiction. Any arrears which accrue would be for whatever amount might accrue under any court order your wife obtains.
2. Again the money you give to your children would not be treated as child maintenance, but the CSA has no relevance of you are abroad. It's dependent on whether your ex wife obtains and enforces a court order.
3. Yes.
4. This isn't a criminal matter so you can't be arrested.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi

I am just about to close this and give you an 'Excellent' rating and would like to specifically use you again for any legal queries I have in the future - this has been first class.

My last question - if my wife is deceased when I plan to give my children this money, could her new husband apply to have this money under the order - or would it go directly to my children, as I intend?

Many thanks.

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thanks, appreciated.
Unless the stepfather applies to the court for parental rights on his wife's death he would have no locus to apply for child maintenance. You can give it directly to the children.
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