We can help you with legal advice and legal representation services concerning financial provision for children. In particular, we can:
Advise you whether you are a legal parent liable for regular child maintenance
Help you settle financial arrangements for your children as part of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution process
Advise or represent you in an application to the family court for an order under Schedule 1 of the Children Act.
Legal parents (and in some cases step-parents) have a duty to provide for their children financially. Where parents do not live together, this usually means the parent who is not living with the child contributing financially to their child’s care by making a monthly maintenance payment to the other parent. However, in some cases parents are also required to provide assets or pay capital lump sums (for example to purchase a home or pay for school fees).
We can help if there is a dispute about whether you are a legal parent, and therefore financially liable. We have handled leading cases on financial liability for same-sex parents and sperm donors.
The Child Maintenance Service deals with regular payments of child maintenance. It can carry out an assessment of your income and require a sum to be paid regularly as a fixed percentage of your weekly salary (find out more).
If you are getting divorced or dissolving your civil partnership, the family court will take account of your children’s needs in deciding how your assets are divided, and can also order one parent to make regular payments to the other to provide for your children (or step-children). We frequently help parents who are getting divorced to settle provision for children as part of their overall financial divorce settlement.
The family court also has the power to make freestanding orders requiring you, as a legal parent, to provide for your children’s needs. These orders, made under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, might be for top-up maintenance or for a capital payment over and above usual monthly maintenance. Schedule 1 orders are commonly used when unmarried parents separate and cannot agree financial arrangements for their children, but may also be used at a later stage if a child’s needs are not being met by the existing arrangements.
We can advise you on what you might be entitled to or liable for financially, and help you reach a settlement or provide you with legal representation in any court process.
Whatever the specifics of your situation, we can help with legal advice. We usually arrange a meeting with you in the first instance which can be face-to-face at our offices in central London or the New Forest, or by Skype or telephone. We will discuss with you honestly what the family court is likely to do in your case, and advise you strategically on how best to move forward and how we can help you.
We provide legal representation services to manage any court process and support you through any discussions with the other party in your case. We know how much you need someone on your side during what can be an incredibly stressful and emotional process, and our role is to guide you strategically to ensure the best possible outcome, and to support you at a personal level.
Our work is charged competitively on an hourly rate basis, with regular monthly invoicing and clear costs estimates given at every stage.