Non-resident mother fails in bid for maintenance order
The former partner of a successful musician has failed in her bid for maintenance after their daughter moved to live with her father.
In N v C, the girl, now 12, had been living with her mother but went to live with her father after her relationship with her mother ran into difficulties. The former couple then agreed that she would continue living her father for the foreseeable future but the mother would also see the girl regularly.
The mother then applied for a maintenance order under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. She sought a lump sum payment of £200,000 for complete refurbishment of the home she was living in – a property owned by the musician, as well as monthly maintenance payments of £2,200. She was also wanted the father to pay all educational expenses and to put the property in trust until the daughter turned 18 or completed university education.
The father refused, offering only £10,000 and saying she could continue living in the home for another six months only. He insisted that the mother was capable of earning a reasonable salary and argued that the court had no jurisdiction to order maintenance in the circumstances.
The court agreed. Sitting in the Family Division of the High Court, Judge Hayward Smith QC said the mother was capable of supporting himself and had turned down a number of reasonable financial proposals by the father before the court hearing. These included a much higher offer of £75,000 and permission to remain the home until the child reached 18, something she now sought as part of her court demands.
The Children Act 1989 did not allow ‘non-resident’ parents (those not living with the child) to claim maintenance, the judge declared. The mother had clearly been seeking money for herself and not their daughter, he added.
The father was only obligated to provide for his daughter and was not required to support the mother separately when she lived elsewhere and was capable of supporting herself. Her claim was dismissed.
Image by Chris Potter via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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