Schedule 1 Children Act 1989

Under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989, it is possible to obtain financial support for your children, even if you are unmarried, including claims for maintenance, lump sum and transfers of property, on the basis that such orders are only made “for the benefit” of the child or children.  

Most unmarried parents will seek provision for children under the Child Maintenance Service (“CMS”), which has jurisdiction for all maintenance cases where the non-resident parent resides in this country. If that parent earns more than £156,000 the parent with care can apply to Court for increased maintenance. 

Cases under Schedule 1 can also involve applications for school fees, lump sum orders (including for liabilities that have been incurred in looking after the child), and the purchase of a property for the parents with care which will be returned to the other parent when the child reaches the age of 18 or finishes full time secondary education. 

The application can be made by a parent, guardian, or any person who is named on a child arrangements order (as a person with whom the child is to live). Prior to making the application, the applicant must attend a MIAM appointment (Mediation Information and Assessment meeting) and then complete the Form A1.

Once received, the Court will issue the application and order both parties to complete a Form E1 (containing all the pertinent financial information). The first hearing (First Appointment) will be listed by the court, and all parties must attend. Prior to that hearing, both parties must exchange Forms E1, along with Chronology, Statement of Issue and Questionnaires. 

At the First Appointment, the Court will review the parties’ Form E1 and make directions for the future running of the case, including:

  1. Setting a date for filing of Replies to Questionnaire;
  2. Dealing with valuation of assets or businesses, if relevant;
  3. Listing the matter for a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing (“FDR”). 

At the FDR hearing, the parties will be encouraged to negotiate a settlement. If no agreement can be reached, the Court will list the matter for a final hearing at which both parties will have to give evidence. 

When dealing with an application under Schedule 1, the Court will consider all the circumstances of the case in particular:

  1. The income, earning capacity and financial resources each person has or likely to have in the future. 
  2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities each person has or likely to have in the future. 
  3. The financial needs of the child.
  4. The income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the child.
  5. Any physical or mental disability of the child; and
  6. The manner in which the child was being or is expected to be educated or trained. 

A Lump sum order under Schedule 1 can include, for example, the purchase of a vehicle for a child, furnishing a property for a child’s needs, or the requirement for medical or dental fees. 

A settlement of property under Schedule 1 can be ordered to meet the housing needs of the child or children. The property to be transferred, or purchased, will be returned to the owner when the child reaches the age of 18 or ceases full time secondary education. 

Periodical payments or “top up” maintenance under Schedule 1 are ordered to meet the costs of a child or children’s needs. General maintenance can only be made for the children via the Child Maintenance Service. In order to apply to Court, the non resident parent’s income must be in excess of £156000.

There is a risk of costs orders being made in such applications as the general costs rule of “no order as to costs” does not apply under Schedule 1. This means that one party, if unsuccessful, could be ordered to pay the other’s costs at the conclusion of the case.   

 

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