Schedule 1 Application Solicitors
Petts Wood, Blackheath & Bexleyheath
When a relationship breaks down and the parties are married the courts have wide powers to deal with the assets of the marriage to ensure that the children are properly housed and adequately provided for financially.When the parties are not married the situation is very different, in that a parent can only seek financial provision under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 and through the Child Support Agency/Child Maintenance Service.
Under the Act the court has the power to make orders for:-
- Periodical payments (maintenance)
- Lump-sum payments
- Transfer/settlement of property
There are currently two systems being used to assess new applications for statutory maintenance, the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance Service (please see our child maintenance page for further information). The Child Support Agency can only assess net income up to £2,000 a week and the Child Maintenance Service can only assess income up to £3,000 a week (this is known as a maximum assessment). If the income of the non-caring parent exceeds the maximum assessment then an application to court may be made for ‘top-up’ maintenance under Schedule 1 of the Children Act.
The Court can order payments to be made towards a child’s educational needs, school fees or towards the expenses connected with a disability, such as a cost of obtaining a larger house, respite care, car expenses etc.
The court can make a lump sum order if it is for the benefit of a child. Unlike the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the court is not limited to making one lump sum order, it can make many lump sum orders.
If appropriate, a lump sum order can be made for the purchase of a car, if it is needed for the child, and for furnishing for the home, beds etc.
Transfer/settlement of property
Concerning a home for the child, the court can make a settlement or transfer of property order, this is where the non-caring parent either purchases or contributes towards the purchase of a home. The contribution will normally have to be re-paid to the paying party once the child finishes full time or tertiary education.
Who can apply?
The application can be made by a parent of the child, a Guardian or anyone with a residence order in respect of the child.
In certain circumstances, a child over the age of 18 can bring an application under Schedule 1 for periodical payments or lump sum orders from his/her parents if he/she has special circumstances or educational needs.
In exceptional cases, the parent with care of the child/children may be entitled to a carer’s allowance. This is where a non-caring parent pays a monthly allowance to the caring parent who is financially disadvantaged as a result of raising a child/children. The majority of the case law in this regard involves very high net worth individuals.
Many of the applications brought under Schedule 1 involve cases where one party has considerably more assets and income than the other party. As a consequence, much of the case law which guides how the law should be applied in practice relates to high net worth cases. This means that there is little guidance about how the law should be applied in low-value cases and care should therefore be taken to ensure that there are merits in bringing an application, before embarking on costly litigation. You should also bear in mind that although in matrimonial proceedings the court does not usually make costs orders unless one party has failed to co-operate with the proceedings, the same rules do not apply in Schedule 1 applications. Whilst this can be beneficial where a case is meritorious it could have terrible financial consequences if it is not.