Dispute between Swedish parents ‘bristles with acrimony’

financial settlement

Continuing litigation between the Swedish parents of a two year-old girl “bristles with acrimony” a High Court Judge has declared.

The case concerned a couple who met in 2013. The mother claimed they later became engaged although the father denied this.  Their daughter, ‘L’, was born in June 2014 and the parents broke up the following year.

The mother was Swedish but lived in London, while the father was a US citizen but also had a Swedish background. His family was well-known and extremely wealthy. He lived  in Switzerland, living off large trust funds and pursuing an interest in competitive sailing.

The mother applied for financial provision from the father, under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. In the High Court, Mr Justice Hayden noted:

“In addition to the Schedule 1 proceedings there are private law proceedings in the Central Family Court. The litigation bristles with acrimony.”

Proceedings within the parents were also “plainly rancorous” he added, and the father had provided “minimal disclosure”.

Despite the animosity, L spent some time with her father in Switzerland, during holidays and at weekends. A hearing is scheduled for this summer on the issue of L’s surname and contact with her father on a long-term basis. The father hopes to be given full time care of his daughter.

In December last year the parents reached a substantial financial agreement, which included a housing fund of £2.1 million, £50,000 for a car, nursery and school fees and annual maintenance of £160,000.

But disputes over various issues continued. Mr Justice Hayden explained. These included whether or not the father had provided “sufficient assurances as to security for his maintenance obligations in the event of his death”, and whether or not the agreement would oblige the mother to continue living in England and Wales for the duration of her daughter’s childhood.

The Judge ordered that the agreement should address the issue of the mother’s residence by specifying that she may not move out of the country without the permission of the father or the court. But it should also allow for the possibility of her doing so, even more than once.

In relation to the possibility of the father’s death, the Judge noted that the lawyers which managed the father’s principal trust fund had certified that L would become the “income beneficiary” if that occurred. This assurance provided adequate protection for the mother, he concluded.

The Judge added:

“The remaining areas of dispute serve only to signal to me the extent to which the parties are mired in their own recrimination. M has both the privilege and the responsibility of being L’s primary carer. In order to discharge that responsibility she requires a budget that reflects her position and that of the father both socially and financially. M should not be burdened with financial anxiety where this is simply not necessary. Equally, it must not be lost sight of that these financial arrangements are structured to provide for L’s comfort, security and general well being, in so far as these laudable objectives can be achieved by financial provision.”

Read the full ruling here.

Image by Phillip Taylor via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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