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09 February 2024

Schedule 1 Children Act 1989: The underutilised remedy - by Fletcher Kipps & Robert von Rettig

Many unmarried parents believe that upon separation they will not have a claim for any form of financial relief. However, this is not the case. Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 is there to assist, giving parents a route to claim financial support for their child or children if needed.

Schedule 1 gives the court the power to make an order for financial provision for the benefit of the child (or children). If you live with your child but are unable to meet their financial needs and the other parent has the resources to assist, you may have a claim.

The court has wide discretion in Schedule 1 cases when it comes to remedies, the options available to meet the needs of the child include lump sum payments, the transfer or settlement of property while the child is under 18 and, where the non-resident parent is a high earner, additional maintenance above the child maintenance service’s calculation, to include meeting school fees.

The court also recognises that for the financially weaker party legal costs may be an issue. Therefore, in Schedule 1 claims it is not uncommon for the financially stronger party to be ordered to assist in funding any litigation, if necessary.

It is a common misconception that Schedule 1 only assists where the other parent is very wealthy. Schedule 1 is a provision available to all parents in need of financial support to meet the needs of their children. However, the number of Schedule 1 cases remains low, in part due to its relatively unknown nature outside of the family law world. With more children being born to unmarried parents than to married parents, we would anticipate the number of Schedule 1 claims to increase.

If you have any questions about seeking support for your child, Sinclair Gibson’s family team will be able to discuss this with you in detail and advise you if such an application could be beneficial to you and your children. Alternatively, if your partner has made an application, we will also be able to help you navigate your way through the process.

You can contact our team by calling us on 020 7242 9700 or send an email to mail@sinclairgibson.com or direct to one of our solicitors. You can read more about our experienced team of Family Law solicitors here: https://sinclairgibson.com/practice-areas/team/family.

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