The Liability To Maintain And The Child Support Act
by Peter Snow LLB (Hons)
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16 Conclusion

The discussion in this paper is intended to provide necessary background to an accompanying short paper which deals with specific questions arising in regard to a particular appeal. The concepts of "maintenance", "maintain" and "liability to maintain" have been given a great deal of attention. Deliberate transmutation of the meanings of these terms - in particular, following the introduction of the "child of the family" stepchild maintenance-order provisions, in the case of Roberts v. Roberts in 1962 with its judicial grammatical conjuring trick designed to justify ordering two men to pay for the same child (followed in Snow v. Snow in 1971: see paragraphs 6.4 and 7.0 above), has required exhaustive repetition of previous statutory usages of these terms in order to demonstrate beyond doubt what they really mean and their legal significance. While the introduction of the "child of the family" provisions must have been the initial reason for what the writer has referred to as deliberate "legal dis-education" in this regard, the entire ethos of the "remedy-based" "family-law", without reference to either liability to maintain or matrimonial fault, which we have had since 1971, may well be called into serious question also. When the "child of the family" provisions were introduced into Parliament in 1958 and 1960, Parliament was not informed about the significance of departing from the "liability to maintain": or the implications of State fraud against nonliable step-parents whose maintenance-order payments would abate national assistance or supplementary benefit entitlement. Similarly, when the child Support Bill was waved at an equally gullible Parliament complete with a complicated formula which concealed a major change in the law which required one parent to pay for the other parent for the first time ever in English law, the significance of this departure from the liability to maintain was likewise kept very quiet. It is hoped that this paper might do something to help to return to the rule of law in this regard in the future.

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