The family allowance funds (Caf) will now systematically act as intermediaries between divorced parents for the payment of alimony. This device, intended to prevent unpaid bills, is generalized for all divorces pronounced from this Tuesday, March 1.
This “public maintenance service”, which ex-spouses had until now to ask for, will apply automatically unless both parents agree to ask to be exempted. It is a question of “reversing the load of the request” in order to generalize a system making it possible not only to “pacify” conflictual situations, but also to “prevent” possible unpaid bills to come, explained Nicolas Grivel, managing director the National Family Allowance Fund (Cnaf).
Protect “the most vulnerable”
The reform will be extended on January 1, 2023 to all other separations involving minor children (divorce by mutual consent, or enforceable title issued by the Caf): “no longer need to have a divorce judgment, even unmarried couples can have recourse”, underlines the Cnaf. It is a question of protecting “the most fragile” against “the first of intra-family violence”, that of the financial precariousness caused by unpaid bills, argues the Minister of Solidarity, Olivier Véran.
54% of over-indebtedness cases concern single women with children, who are the first victims of these situations where the father does not honor his debt. Pensions constitute on average 20% of the income of these “solo parents”, hence significant difficulties in the event of default. More than 200,000 couples with children separate each year in France, and 380,000 minor children are affected, 40% of whom are under 5 years old at the time of separation.
How does the device work?
Concretely, with the intermediation system, the debtor parent pays his due to the Caf, which then pays it to the other parent. If the debtor does not pay, the Caf takes steps to recover the debt, and in the meantime pays the other parent a minimum allowance of 116 euros per month and per child. Some 122 million euros have been budgeted this year for this purpose, an amount which should reach 179 million in 2025.
Since October 2020, 73,000 families have asked themselves to benefit from this intermediation, of which 61,000 had experienced problems with unpaid bills. But by making the system automatic, we can “intervene before any difficulty”, argues the entourage of Olivier Véran. On the justice side, 200 additional clerk positions have been created to allow the transmission of the necessary information to the Cafs, indicated the cabinet of the Keeper of the Seals Eric Dupond-Moretti.