Unmarried Couples

Financial Support for Children

Mother & Child looking out to sea

It is essential for both parents to provide financial support for their children after separation. 

This support ensures that the children have a suitable living environment and have their needs met as they grow. 

Financial support for children is a fundamental aspect of parental responsibility, irrespective of the parents’ marital status. We recognise that unmarried couples face unique challenges when it comes to establishing and enforcing financial obligations, and we are committed to helping you protect the best interests of your children. 

We will support you by conducting a thorough analysis of your financial circumstances and work closely with you to gather all the necessary information. By taking into account factors such as income, assets, and the needs of your children, we will help you assess the appropriate level of financial support required. 

Financial support for Children: Child support and school fees

If one parent has primary custody of the children, the other parent typically bears the responsibility of providing child support maintenance. 

Child support maintenance can either be agreed between the parents or, failing that, the parent with whom the children live can ask the Child Maintenance Service (‘CMS’) to make a child maintenance assessment, based upon a statutory formula. The CMS can also collect the maintenance from the paying parent, if required. 

We can advise you upon how much child support maintenance should be paid and, if necessary, help you through the process of making an application to the CMS. 

Child support maintenance does not cover school fees. Accordingly, if your children are privately educated, you will need to come to an agreement as to who pays the school fees. If it is not possible to reach an agreement then the parent with whom the children live can apply to the court for an order for financial provision for the children, including the payment of school fees. 

Such an application will be made under Schedule 1 of the Children act 1989, and is therefore commonly known as a ‘Schedule 1 claim’. 

Financial Support for Children and Schedule 1 Claims

Schedule 1 claims allow a parent with whom the child primarily resides to seek additional financial provision from the other parent for the benefit of the child. 

The court has discretion to consider a broad range of financial needs for children including child maintenance (for example where the CMS does not have jurisdiction, or the amount of child support maintenance under the formula is to be ‘topped up’), housing costs, education expenses, medical care, and other requirements that contribute to the child’s well-being and upbringing. 

The court can make various orders, including child maintenance orders, orders for the payment of a lump sum, and orders relating to property. 

A common property order may require the parent with whom the children do not reside to provide a home for them until they reach adulthood. 

When considering whether to issue a Schedule 1 order and determining its specifics, the court will consider factors such as the parents’ income, earning potential, property, and other financial assets, as well as the child’s financial requirements, any physical or mental impairments, and the child’s expected education or training. 

In short, a Schedule 1 claim can ensure that parental separation causes as little material disruption as possible to a child’s upbringing. 

How We Can Help

Our solicitors will provide clear, concise guidance, explaining your rights, options, and potential outcomes. We are committed to helping you make informed decisions that protect your child’s financial security. 

At Walker Family Law, we prioritise finding amicable resolutions whenever possible. Our lawyers are highly skilled negotiators who will work with you and the other parent to find common ground, facilitating productive discussions and fostering mutually beneficial agreements. Through mediation and negotiation, we strive to achieve fair and sustainable financial arrangements that meet your child’s needs. 

When an out-of-court solution is not feasible, our lawyers are expertly equipped to represent you in court. We know that your child’s financial security is your top priority, and it is ours too. We will pursue any necessary measures to safeguard their entitlements. 

If you want to prevent potential conflicts following a relationship, you can enter into a cohabitation agreement, also known as a living together agreement. This legal document outlines the financial support your children should receive in case the relationship breaks down. Our team can assist you in drafting a cohabitation agreement. For more details, please refer to this page

Contact our team today to schedule a consultation. 

Unmarried couples services

Separating as an unmarried couple presents its own set of intricate and individual challenges. Our team are here to help you whatever your situation.

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