Financial provision for children

Financial provision for children

As the number of children being born to unmarried couple rises, family lawyers have seen an increase in enquiries from parents concerned about how they will meet the needs of their child on relationship breakdown.  If child maintenance is not sufficient to meet the needs of the child, legal advice should be sought as to whether you can pursue a claim for additional financial support from the wealthier parent for the benefit of the child under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.

The main priority for all parents will be to ensure that their child is suitably housed. Under Schedule 1, the Court can make an order for one parent to purchase or transfer a property to the resident parent which will revert back to the non-resident parent when the child turns 18 or finishes University.  It is worth noting that claims under Schedule 1 are not just reserved for families with considerable assets but can also benefit families with more modest assets. For example, the court can order one parent to provide a housing fund with the resident parent making up any shortfall by raising a mortgage or using their own funds.

Is your former partner a high earner? If they earn more than £156,000 gross per annum or £3,000 per week gross and a maximum assessment has been carried out by the Child Maintenance Service, the resident parent can apply for top up maintenance under Schedule 1. The Court can make an order for periodical payments to be paid on a monthly basis to cover ongoing expenses such as school fees, nanny costs, or costs associated with a child’s disability.

Lump sum orders  can be ordered for one off expenses such as the cost of a car to transport the child, furniture for the home or even a lump sum to pay off the resident parent’s debt. It is also possible for an adult child over 18 to bring a claim under Schedule 1 for periodical payments or lump sum orders if they are still in education or training or in special circumstances.

How does the Court decide what financial provision to make? The Court has a wide discretion in these cases and will consider factors such as the income and financial resources of both parents, the financial needs of the child, any physical or mental disability of the child and the manner in which the child was or was expected to be educated and the standard of living of the wealthier parent.

It is important to take legal advice on the merits of bringing  a claim under Schedule 1 and to have a clear picture of your former partner’s financial position before embarking on an application. If you are separated from your partner and are concerned about how you will meet the needs of your child please contact a member of our family team.

To discuss this, or any other Family Law related matter, please contact Dimple on 01483 887766, email or start a live chat today.

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Dimple Patel

Senior Associate, Family Law

Dimple is a Senior Associate Solicitor in the family law department. She qualified as a solicitor in 2007 after reading law at City University and...


Senior Associate, Family Law

Dimple Patel

Dimple is a Senior Associate Solicitor in the family law department. She qualified as a solicitor in 2007 after reading law at City University and has worked as a family solicitor in both Surrey and London. She joined Hart Brown in 2022.

Her practice involves advising on all aspects of family law and in particular the financial aspects of divorce and dissolution of civil partnership. She has extensive experience in negotiating financial settlements and advises clients with substantial assets including family businesses, pensions, trusts, foreign assets and inherited wealth as well as clients with more modest income and assets. She also deals with the variation and enforcement of existing financial orders.

Dimple assists clients to protect assets and family wealth through prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. She also assists cohabiting couples with cohabitation agreements, financial and property disputes as well as financial claims for children of unmarried parents under Schedule 1 Children Act.

Dimple has considerable experience advising on arrangements for children following divorce and separation including relocation of children both within England and Wales and abroad. She also assists clients where there are concerns around domestic abuse through personal protection injunctions such as Non-Molestation and Occupations Orders.

Dimple is a member of Resolution, a national organisation of family lawyers and other professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. She aims to provide practical, tailored advice to enable her clients to make informed choices with a focus on early settlement.

Dimple often receives wonderful feedback from her clients, here are just a few testimonials.

“Dimple is very professional and reliable. I was able to always count on her excellent advice, quick responses to my queries and sympathetic balanced communications with all parties. I would whole heartedly recommend her to anyone dealing with family legal issues”

“Dimple quickly understood the challenges I was facing and we spoke a lot on the phone which I found helpful and calming. She is very bright, professional and warm and just the person one needs when dealing with difficult and unfamiliar issues. Dimple is committed, has good judgment and eye for detail. She is a highly competent solicitor and I highly recommend her.”

“Thank you so much for your help, support and advice through this difficult process. I appreciate all you’ve done and look forward to a brighter future, thanks to your help”

“Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. You were so easy to work with at every stage of the game and I really appreciated having you to turn to. I still can’t believe how smoothly everything went! And the good news is, I’m genuinely finding happiness again in my life.”

“Thank you for your assistance and support over the last few years in relation to my difficult and challenging divorce proceedings and help to conclude the child matters with the best result I could have hoped for. I appreciate all your efforts on my case. I am so happy that I am spending quality time with my son and that he is getting to know his extended paternal family. Thank you for helping to make this happen.”