Appeal concerning the date on which a child maintenance assessment either ceases automatically or should actively be cancelled.
- M and F had two children together. M secured an interim child maintenance assessment against F in January 1995, which was governed by the 1993 Scheme. F did not pay.
- In September 1999, the parties’ eldest child turned 19. In January 2007, the parties’ youngest child turned 19.
- In June 2007, F (for the first time) informed CMEC that he had moved to the Republic of Ireland in 1997.
- CMEC then cancelled the assessment with retroactive effect from August 1997, thereby reducing the arrears substantially. M appealed the decision successfully and the arrears were reinstated up to January 2007 (the youngest child’s 19th birthday). F appealed on the ground that there was no jurisdiction to make an assessment after 1997, which is when he asserted he lost habitual residence in this jurisdiction.
- F’s appeal was dismissed. Absent a decision as to his habitual residence, it was correct in law that the assessment ran up to the youngest child’s 19th birthday, at which point it ceased automatically.
- If an intervening event inevitably causes a maintenance assessment to cease to have effect (e.g. the otherwise qualifying child attaining the age of 19), then a formal decision to that effect is not required.
- If adjudication is required to determine whether an intervening event has occurred which results in the assessment being cancelled (e.g. a potential loss of habitual residence), then the current assessment remains in place pending adjudication.
- Upon cessation or cancellation of an assessment, the court might regain jurisdiction to determine a claim for child maintenance.