Bailiffs want access to bank statements of those who owe child support (2)

As of 2015, a total of 8,043 parents owed a combined 14.5 million euros in child support in Estonia. (Reuters/Scanpix)
5/19/2016 1:56 PM
Category: News

In practice, many individuals owing child support process their money through other people’s bank accounts; such evasion schemes are a common reason why many such individuals are able to lead relatively affluent lifestyles despite being unable to afford child support payments according to official data.

For this reason, bailiffs are asking that a bill currently in the Riigikogu making changes to the State Family Benefits Act be amended to allow bailiffs access to the bank statements of individuals owing child support.

According to the Chamber of Bailiffs and Trustees in Bankruptcy, it is important that, following the example of Nordic countries, bailiffs in Estonia be allowed electronic access to the bank accounts of child support obligors and related third parties, as such access would help cut down on the number of cases wherein these obligors were able to continue avoiding paying child support.

Having successfully completed its first reading in the Riigikogu, amendments are currently being accepted to the State Family Benefits Act bill, which will consolidate all existing laws regarding family allowances, parental benefits and child support.

The same act will also implement the state support of up to 100 euros per month of children of those owing child support.

Bailiffs were already given additional responsibilities by previous amendments to existing law, however there are no funds available with which to pay for this additional work, as a bailiff’s fee is not dependent upon the amount of effort put into the collection of obligors’ debts.

Insofar as the state continues to encourage parents to take child support obligors to court in order to collect the support owed, despite the lack of evidence that such tactics will prove more effective in inducing obligors to pay, bailiffs finds that this will prove to increase the cost of operations.

The Chamber of Bailiffs and Trustees in Bankruptcy has proposed amending the Bailiffs Act to establish a monthly 10 euro fee for execution of child support-related enforcement proceedings.

In child support cases wherein the state pays, bailiffs have additional responsibilities (data exchange, records management, comparison of finances) compared to cases wherein child support is not paid to the claimant, and bailiffs lack alternative means through which to pay for this additional burden.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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