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Clarifications on Maintenance Record Officer project

4 April 2017

Question

Mr Leon Perera 
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) how many Maintenance Record Officers (MROs) have been appointed to date; (b) how many cases of potentially recalcitrant defaulters have they investigated to date; and (c) whether the outcome of MRO investigations have succeeded in identifying cases where maintenance payments have been extracted from defaulters who were able but unwilling to pay and, if so, what is the number of such cases to date.

Answer

The maintenance record officer (MRO) pilot project had been initiated to assist the Court in its fact-finding process by obtaining information on parties’ financial circumstances, and identifying recalcitrant defaulters who refuse to pay maintenance even though they are able to afford it. Where appropriate, the Court can then impose harsher penalties against such defaulters.

The MRO is not part of the Court process and only deployed in cases directed by the judge. To date we have appointed two MROs, and they have assisted the Court in four cases, with one pending. The respondents in these cases were assessed to be unable to keep up with their maintenance obligations due to financial difficulties, rather than being unwilling to pay maintenance. For such cases, further to providing a report on its findings to the Court, the MRO will also refer parties to the relevant organisations for assistance.

The MRO pilot is a recent initiative, having just been implemented a couple of months ago. We will continue to review its effectiveness so that the MRO is able to assist more litigants.

I would like to assure this House that we will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to improve our efforts to assist those who face maintenance-related issues.

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Published On Tue, Apr 4, 2017
Last Reviewed On Mon, Apr 17, 2017

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