One year after its promulgating law went into effect, Chile’s child and spousal support debtor registry is now operative. The law and registry aim to promote and guarantee payment to those who are owed at least three consecutive months or five discontinuous months of past-due support. The main consequences are economic: retention of payments and suspension of the renewal of documents.
Drawn up under former President Sebastián Piñera’s administration, Chile’s child support debtor registry was created by Law 21.389 promulgated in November 2021. The legislation aims to coordinate various legal measures to guarantee compliance with the payment of child and spousal support and promote parental co-responsibility.
How does the support debtor registry work?
The electronic payroll, run by the government’s Civil Registration and Identification Service (Civil Registry), collects the names of parents and former spouses who owe support for at least three consecutive months or five discontinuous months, when a judicial resolution requests it. The registry is remotely accessible, free, and immediate for anyone. Consultations are open to the debtor, the claimant or their legal representative, the courts with jurisdiction in family matters, and the persons or entities obliged to consult the registry. Every month, the family court will order the Civil Registry to log updates to the support debtor registry and then interested parties will be notified electronically and have three days within which to object.
What information will the registry contain?
The support debtor registry will include the full name of the debtor, together with the debtor’s identity card number or corresponding identification document. In addition, the number of those concerned will appear, an updated amount of the debt, and the number of installments owed. The court that set or approved the amount will also be indicated, as well as the account details to make the payment.
As soon as a debtor has made full payment, or the court approves an alternative for the debtor, the debtor will be deleted from the registry.
Sanctions for those who are on the registry
The law establishes a mechanism for withholding funds and sanctions for registered debtors. In the case of the sale of real estate or motorized vehicles, the Real Estate Registrar or the Civil Registry, respectively, may register the transfer only to the extent that it is proven that, with the proceeds of the sale, the support due will be paid.
Persons liable for past-due support will also likely see the General Treasury of the Republic withhold any tax refund due, and renewal of their driver’s licenses and passports suspended. With respect to the document suspensions, support debtors might, in some cases, be able to prove to the court the indispensable need for such documents.
If a debtor is engaged in one of the three branches of government (legislative, executive, or judicial), a percentage of the debtor’s salary will be withheld to pay the support debt.
People submitting an adoption application must also verify that they are not on the support debtor registry.
Carmen Critelli is an intern at Chile Today. She has recently completed her bachelor’s degree in European Studies from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. During her studies and journalistic experience, she specialised in migration/immigration issues, poverty and sustainability.