Family Law Schedule 1
What financial claims can I make for my children after a relationship breakdown?
The breakdown of a relationship is always difficult particularly where you have children with your ex-partner. Whilst you may be focusing on whom the children are going to live with and how often they are going to spend time with the other parent, you may also wish to consider whether there are any financial claims that you can make for the benefit of your children
If the children live with you either as a sole carer or under a shared care arrangement, then you may be entitled to financial provision from your ex-partner for the benefit of the children.
The first one to consider is Child Maintenance. If you are the main carer of the children then you may be entitled to child maintenance from your ex-partner. If you can not agree a sum to be paid to you monthly then either of you can apply to the Child Maintenance Service for an assessment. The Child Maintenance Service can either provide you with an assessment on the basis that you and your ex-partner will arrange payment yourselves (Direct Pay), or they can assist with the collection and payment of Child maintenance for a small percentage fee (Collect and Pay Service - 4% deducted from the child maintenance amount for the receiving parent and 20% added to the child maintenance amount for the paying parent). If your ex-partner refuses to pay then the Child Maintenance Service can also take various enforcement options to enable payment to be made which can include deductions from the Paying Parent’s bank accounts, through the Paying Parent’s employment etc.
If the Paying Parent’s income exceeds £156,000 gross per annum then the Child Maintenance Service will only be able to make a maximum calculation based on the Paying Parent’s income up to £156,000 gross per annum. You may however be entitled to a higher rate of maintenance and you can apply to the Court for a top-up of maintenance to cover the income earned by the Paying Parent over £156,000 gross per annum.
In limited circumstances, the Court can also order your ex-partner to pay maintenance to you to meet a child’s special needs attributable to a disability or for the payment of certain education or training costs.
There may be other financial claims available as well. If you are married or in a Civil Partnership then financial arrangements in respect of the children can be take care into account within the divorce or dissolution of the Civil Partnership.
If you and your ex-partner were not married then you may need to consider whether you can make a claim under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. Under this Act, you may be able to apply for the following:
- Lump sum payment for liabilities or expenses in maintaining the child i.e. purchase of a family car, payment of private school fees etc;
- A Property to be transferred or held in trust for the benefit of a child until they reach 18 or complete their full-time education (whether secondary or university). The Property would then be transferred back or sold with the proceeds of sale being given back to your ex-partner upon your child reaching the appropriate trigger point.
The court will take into account various factors before deciding what order to make such as:
- the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources that each of the parents has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
- the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities that each parent has or is likely to have in the future
- the financial needs of the child
- the income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources of the child
- any physical or mental disability of the child, and
- the manner in which the child was being, or is expected to be, educated or trained
The Court does have a wide discretion and these cases are not always simple and can be costly. If you believe that you may be entitled to a financial claim for the benefit of your children then we do recommend that you seek specialist legal advice from one of our Family Law Solicitors.