Financial Support For Children
This can be a complicated area and usually centres on the specific facts of the case. The extent of financial support for children and who is responsible for providing it can depend on whether a couple has been married and, if not, the relative financial circumstances of the parents.
As part of financial proceedings within the divorce process, the needs of any children are a paramount consideration for the court. Sometimes this, together with an agreement between the divorcing couple, can be sufficient to meet the needs of any children.
If, however, a separating couple is unable to agree the level of child maintenance (ongoing payments from one parent to another for the benefit of a child), there are two potential options that can be used.
The first is through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) – a government body that assesses one parent’s financial means and can make a mandatory requirement that he or she pays child maintenance to the other.
In some cases this can be supplemented by a claim under Schedule 1 of the Children Act. This can be used where parents have not been married, financial support is required for a child and a CMS assessment is either not possible or insufficient.
Perhaps in part due to media coverage of celebrities who have had children when not married, this is commonly thought of as being applicable only in cases involving very wealthy people. In fact, this is not the case and this option can be a useful tool to provide financial support to unmarried parents who really need it.
Schedule 1 of the Children Act enables the court to require a parent to provide a range of financial support. This can include payment of a lump sum of cash, providing a property until the child reaches a certain age, child maintenance and sometimes the funding of other costs for the benefit of the child, including school fees, the provision of a car, etc.
Hall Brown are very experienced in such applications, from a lower value level through to very high profile cases involving sports stars and celebrities.