Obtaining financial provision for children outside of divorce

In most cases a parent with whom a dependent child is living can seek maintenance for the child from the other parent, either by agreement or through the Child Maintenance Service (‘CMS’).

But sometimes the CMS isn’t available (for example where the other parent lives abroad), and in any event, proper financial provision for a child can involve much more than just maintenance. In particular, the child will need to be provided with a suitable home, until they grow up.

If you have children to look after and were married to the other parent then you can obtain such financial provision for them from that parent within any divorce proceedings. But what if you weren’t married to the other parent? Can you still get financial provision from them?

The answer is that you can.

Irrespective of whether or not you were married to the parent from whom you are seeking it, you can apply to a court for an order for financial provision for a child. Such applications may be made by a parent, a guardian of a child, or by any person in whose favour a residence order is in force with respect to a child.

There are essentially three types of financial provision orders that the court can make:

1. A maintenance order – As mentioned above, such orders can be made where the CMS isn’t available. They can also be made in other circumstances, such as to ‘top-up’ a CMS payment, where the other parent is earning more than the upper limit dealt with by the CMS (currently £3,000 per week), to cover expenses related to any disability the child may have, or to cover school fees.

2. A lump sum order – Where a lump sum of money is required for the benefit of the child.

3.  A property settlement order – Whereby the other parent must provide a home for the child (the property will normally revert to the ownership of the other parent, once the child has grown up).

In considering whether to make a financial provision order the court will take into account: the income, property and financial resources of both parties; the financial needs of the parties and 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 was expected to be, educated or trained.

If you would like to apply for financial provision for a child you should seek the advice of an expert family lawyer. We can find you an expert that works with you on our digital platform. For more information, call us on 020 3904 0506, or click here, and fill in the form.

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