Question about maintenance

(62 Posts)
vieniqua Sat 16-Mar-13 18:08:21

I have a question about when maintenance is paid until?

Is it when the kids are 18? Or is it until they have finished university, even if this is well into their 20's?

Also what does the law say, and what is the tendency (ie. to keep paying even if they don't legally have to?)

I am completely clueless, so any answers are gratefully received!

fuzzywuzzy Sat 16-Mar-13 18:12:16

If its the CSA they'll deduct money till child is under 20 & in full time education or up till the age of 16.

On a personal level, I would imagine people make arrangements according to how civil their relationships are with their ex's & on their relationship with their child(ren).

mumandboys123 Sat 16-Mar-13 18:31:31

it is up to the age of 20 if the child is in further education. If at any point they leave school or college after 16, then maintenance should stop. It is not paid when the child goes to university unless there is a court order in place which previously agreed this. A child is able to take a parent to court for financial support to get them through university - they would be ordered to pay if it is deemed they can afford it.

It is worth remembering that a child doesn't stop to cost a parent if living at home just because they age a year and some form of maintenance may well be appropriate for longer than an NRP would like to pay. I have heard of parents paying the child direct then the PWC coming to an arrangement over board and lodging with the child - this gets round the feeling that you're paying for an adult. However, the CSA will enforce now to the age of 20.

Petal02 Sat 16-Mar-13 19:54:21

Just to be clear about the definition of "further education" - this means education up to A level (or equivalent) standard. It does not mean university, as this is higher education.

So in practice, even though maintenance is payable up to age 20 if in further education, not 19/20 year olds fall into this category, unless they stay on an extra year at sixth form to re-take A levels etc.

We're just about to stop paying maintenance for DSS18 - he will finish his A levels in June, and we won't have to pay the ex another penny after that. However we plan to support DSS through university, so we're not washing our hands of him financially (just the ex).

nenevomito Sat 16-Mar-13 19:56:57

Generally up until they finish A levels, but DH has given DSD ££ to see her through uni as well. The only change was who it went to and how much was given.

Petal02 Sat 16-Mar-13 20:02:13

PS - Mumandboys, just re-read your comment that a child could take a parent to court to get them to fund them through Uni, once they've stopped paying maintenance. This is not correct. Otherwise you'd have a bizarre situation whereby divorced/separated fathers could be sued for Uni support, whereas a man in a together family wouldn't. And that would be ridiculous.

We are choosing to fund DSS through Uni because we want to, and can afford to. But he'd have no legal redress if we felt differently.

vieniqua Sat 16-Mar-13 20:53:29

Thanks for all the replies.

Dh and I have very different views about this, so I was wondering what other people did.

I like the idea of paying the "child" directly, to help with uni. That makes complete sense.

Thanks again!

Petal02 Sat 16-Mar-13 21:05:34

The whole thing feels very different when you're paying the "child" through choice instead of the ex due to a court order.

Bonsoir Sat 16-Mar-13 21:22:05

Once a child is at university the logical step is to fund that child directly, rather than funding its other parent.

Petal02 Sat 16-Mar-13 21:26:26

I should add though, that if DSS were planning to seek work, rather than go to Uni, we would still cease payments to the ex in June. It would then be up to DSS to pay his mum board and lodge out of his earnings. DH can't be expected to maintain him forever!

purpleroses Sun 17-Mar-13 15:42:19

Until end of A levels - and I imagine most people would consider it morally reasonable to pay over the summer between A levels and Uni as there's no other means of support until they start Uni.

At Uni, it would seem quite ridiculous to keep paying anything to the resident parent - most would pay any support direct to their child/student at that stage.

Though should be noted that the financial support that's available to students from the government is assessed on the basis of their "household" income - ie their resident parent and any partner of hers/his and not on their other parent's income. In other words the state is not assuming that non-resident parents contribute beyond A levels - though is (rather oddly) assuming that step parents do contribute confused

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 16:20:09

Petal - I disagree. I believe it is possible for a child to 'sue' a parent for financial support whilst at university. How often it happens, I have no idea. Largely I imagine because most parents support as best they are able. The truly absent parents probably can't be found and I suspect most 'children' wouldn't want their support anyway. But it is possible - and until the 1st April this year, it would be possible to get legal aid to support an application (likely to change after that).

No, you can't be expected to maintain a child forever but many children live at home for an awful long time, particularly in the current economic climate. I personally struggle with the idea that the parent they choose to live with has to bear the financial burden of that and that there is nothing to be done legally in terms of making the other parent contribute. But it has to stop at some point and at 20 years old, I guess it's hard to call is 'child' maintenance!

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 16:55:56

Mumandboys - I know for a fact that a student cannot sue a parent for financial support through Uni, because DH's daughter tried to do this! They had not been in touch for years (long story) and whilst DH always paid maintenance for her, he was not prepared to support her through Uni when she hadn't spoken to him for so long.

However the crafty little madam sought legal advice, to try and force DH to support her, as she knows he can afford it. However the legal view is that financial support through Uni is a "gift" from parent to child, it is totally optional, and no adult is legally obliged to make a gift to another adult. And that was the end of that. And that even if DH was a millionaire (he isn't, sadly!) this would have no bearing in the situation.

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:23:47

Which may have happened in your situation. But I have seen cases in forums where it has happened - although I am not sure that it has happened successfully. Logically, a PWC's household income is taken into account when assessing for grants and loans - with an expectation that shortfalls are topped up by that household. If the NRP's income is never taken into account (which it isn't) then this is where the legal thing comes in - they can be assessed and then compelled to make a contribution. It would be interesting to see if a child has ever successfully sued 'together' parents for top up money - because I am sure it happens that no contribution is made even when it should have been.

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:32:09

I still think you're incorrect. Some students may have sought advice and been told they have no legal claim, but that's about it. Rather like I could ask my solicitor if I could sue you (for example) for £1000, but I'd be wasting my time as the law doesn't operate like that.

When DH's daughter applied for grants etc, she used her mother's household income for the paperwork, and was assessed accordingly. There was never any mention of either household 'topping things up' voluntarily or otherwise.

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:34:19

If such cases were ever successful in court, where would it end? Could a child sue a parent for a deposit on a house, could I sue my Dad for a new kitchen - if would be madness.

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:53:51

I am struggling to find 'official' documentation about it but there are various bits and pieces here and there:

Blog from a Law firm confirms what I am saying: http://www.pannone.com/blog/family-law/family-law/does-further-education-mean-further-child-maintenance

will keep looking for something more 'official'.

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:55:06

I take your point about 'where will it end?' but I think the issue with university is the expectation that the PWC's household makes a contribution towards the child's university education in all but the lowest of income households. It should therefore follow that the NRP can be compelled to also support the 'child'?

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 18:06:34

ah, the legislation is: paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 CA1989
defined as 'special circumstances' but no clearer as to what 'special' may mean!

mumandboys123 Sun 17-Mar-13 18:09:05

and again, a solicitor's firm confirming that it's possible:
http://www.edwardsduthie.com/financial-application-for-a-child-under-schedule-1.html

It's interesting. I'm sure it's very uncommon but in circumstances, for example, where an NRP is a millionaire with that in cash rather than capital, surely they should be obliged to support their child through education if the PWC is also obliged to contribute?

MirandaWest Sun 17-Mar-13 18:22:20

I do find the fact that the assessed income for a child at university is based on the RP and the person they are living with rather than their other parent a little odd. That rather suggests a step parent should be providing for their step child which seems unfair to me. But as that position is a while away for me (both in terms of there being a step parent and DC going to university) I am trying not to worry too much about it. Will be discussing it with XH before we get divorced though.

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 18:26:38

But the PWC is not legally obliged to contribute to Uni! The Dsd's mum was not willing to contribute or top up the grants, which is why DSD tried to sue her father. But even if web sites hint at success, in reality the law states that an adult is not legally obliged to make a gift to another adult.

allnewtaketwo Sun 17-Mar-13 20:15:05

The fact that the PWC household income is taken into account for funding already can really benefit the student in that one full parents income is ignored. So the funding may be quite a lot higher on that basis. Although clearly if the PWC lives with a new partner, then funding is reduced where the new partner earns more than the NRP (but then I would argue that the PWC household has benefitted quite a lot from maintenance payments towards household expenses when the PWC has a high earning partner contributing significantly to household expenses already as they should really be paying at least 50% of household fixed expense in any case)

In either case however, there is no obligation for any of the adults involved to pay anything at all

Petal02 Sun 17-Mar-13 20:24:17

Good point Allnew. DSS18 is applying for grants etc using his morher's household for details of income etc. they are a low income household, so DSS should get full grant. I doubt the ex has got the money or the inclination to top this up, but DH and I will pay for his Uni accommodation.

MarshmallowCupcake Tue 19-Mar-13 21:08:15

Has anyone known of a parent stop paying the ex maintenance when a child leaves school but to give the portion of maintenance direct to the child who is then going to college. Is it legal? As posters have said, it's supporting the child not the ex!

theredhen Tue 19-Mar-13 21:21:51

If the pwc wants to get funny, they could certainly go to the CSA if the maintenance wasn't paid directly to them. If they're already going through CSA, they would be chased as normal by the CSA.

I also think its worth remembering that a 16 yr old at college will still be living at home and will still be eating/using heating/phone/tv etc so I do think its fair the pwc gets the money.

Most fair pwc would spend their maintenance in the kids and the kids home and transport.

When they go to Uni and are no longer living at home, then I think that's a very different issue.

mumandboys123 Tue 19-Mar-13 22:02:27

you can do it if the PWC is in agreement. Otherwise, they can just go to the CSA and you will have to pay that way.

allnewtaketwo Wed 20-Mar-13 06:11:46

A fairly likely outcome is that, say you pay £250 per month direct to the student at college when previously you have paid via CSA, PWC could go to CSA and you could be issued with demand for repayment to PWC. CSA wouldn't care if you'd already paid the child direct

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 09:03:19

Petal02's advice is incorrect. It is possible for a child to successfully sue the NRP for financial support through uni. I'm a lawyer.

However, the merit of such a claim is highly fact-specific and in case like that of your DP, where there had been no contact for years and your DP is not wealthy, it's perhaps unsurprising that the claim was not successful (though I am shock at your 'crafty little madam' comment).

In a case where the NRP was very wealthy and had other children being educated privately/at university, the Court would be more likely to take the view that the child should enjoy the same standards.

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 09:13:45

Mendi, I disagree with your comments. When we found out the DSD was taking legal advice, we sought advice of our own. And were told that under British law such a claim would never be successful (regardless of DH’s bank balance) because no parent is ever legally obliged to make gifts to their adult children. There’s a slight caveat if a child is severely ill or disabled, but other than that, the advice was quite clear – no adult has a legal entitlement to a gift from another adult.

And as for the “crafty madam” comment – DSD practically disowned her father years ago, and then decides to attempt to sue him for support through University. I think “crafty madam” is quite a mild comment. It’s certainly far milder than the expression DH used. Which would get moderated if I posted it here.

DSS starts Uni in September, we’re happy to support him financially.

pinkbraces Wed 20-Mar-13 11:24:28

My DD started Uni last year - her Dad (my exH) supports her directly, which is, I think how most people do it. I support her as well.

Petal are you saying that your DSS is using his mothers income to claim for extra grants etc, as its a low income family but your DH is able to support him?

Surely thats just wrong - if you can afford to support him why is he claiming for extra support through the loan/grant system. My understanding is the extra help is for students whose parents are unable to support them.

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 11:35:59

Pinkbraces – I see what you’re saying; because DSS lives at his mother’s address, which is a low income household, when he puts in his grant application, he will state the household income, which will entitle him to full grant.

DH and I decided that once we stop paying maintenance to the ex, we’ll redirect the money (and top it up a bit) to DSS, to pay towards his Uni expenses. We’re not trying to do anything fraudulent. I suppose it’s rather like a child in a ‘together’, low income, household being given additional support from a friend/relative/sponsor. You give the details of house in which you live and surely anything extra that comes your way is a bonus?

Not sure how else you would do it?

allnewtaketwo Wed 20-Mar-13 11:58:24

"Petal are you saying that your DSS is using his mothers income to claim for extra grants etc, as its a low income family but your DH is able to support him?

Surely thats just wrong - if you can afford to support him why is he claiming for extra support through the loan/grant system. My understanding is the extra help is for students whose parents are unable to support them"

But doesn't that logic apply to other sorts of benefits/grants available to people? So for example benefits and tax credits disregard child maintenance received by a pwc. Applying your argument, these pwc's should pay some of this back to the government.

pinkbraces Wed 20-Mar-13 13:52:26

"But doesn't that logic apply to other sorts of benefits/grants available to people? So for example benefits and tax credits disregard child maintenance received by a pwc. Applying your argument, these pwc's should pay some of this back to the government. "

No of course not, the current loan system relies on parents supporting their children (if they are able to) through Uni, I dont agree with it, but thats how it is. When my DD filled out her student loan form she took based it upon the income of my ex husband and I, although her main home is with me.

It has no similarities to a sponsor or friend helping out - Petals husband is the father, not a friend or sponsor, and his support shouldnt be a bonus.

I suppose its not fraudulent, just seems very wrong.

purpleroses Wed 20-Mar-13 13:57:50

pinkbraces - from my understanding of the system - what your DD did was (though possibly well-intentioned) actually fraudulent. Student loan system asks about the student's household, not their parent they don't live with. Some people (like me) will have a DP who earns a lot more than the DC's actual father - so if we could pick and choose my DCs would be much better off if they could have student loans based on incomes of me and their dad, rather than me and my DP. But they can't.

The system may be wrong, but the only correct way to apply for student support is to give the information they ask for, not the information you think that it should morally be based on.

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 14:08:06

The system may be wrong but the only correct way to apply for student support is to give the information they ask for, not the information you think that it should be morally based on

I can’t argue with that. DSS is asked to provide the household income of the house he lives in. Not that of any houses where he doesn’t. Also, whilst we’re happy to support him at Uni, we can’t afford to pay all his expenses (heaven forbid!), so we’ll pay his accommodation, and help with out with ad hoc costs, then he’ll have to rely on this grant, and get a part time job, to make ends meet. I think this is the case with most students.

So ironically if he were to apply for a grant using our household income, he wouldn’t get anything, even though we can’t afford to bank-roll his studies completely.

So it seems to be working out in DSS’s best interests.

allnewtaketwo Wed 20-Mar-13 14:11:59

""But doesn't that logic apply to other sorts of benefits/grants available to people? So for example benefits and tax credits disregard child maintenance received by a pwc. Applying your argument, these pwc's should pay some of this back to the government. "

No of course not"

Why of course not? The system has to assume that the maintenance isn't being received. So actually the pwc in receipt of maintenance is receiving more benefits than they would be entitled to if the system was working equitably (i.e. everyone receiving cm who is due, and thus those payments being taken into account for benefits purposes). The pwc in this example, in receipt of cm and benefitting from the disregard. Just as the student in this example is "benefitting" from the grant rules being the way they are.

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 14:14:30

You're right Allnew

ladydeedy Wed 20-Mar-13 14:37:39

We are in the situation that DH signed a court order and agreed to pay maintenance for his children until they finish "fulltime education" potentially up until age 23 according to the order!

(Clearly I was not with DH at the time otherwise would have advised against such madness although he was pressurised and stressed out at the time...). And the money is to be paid to ex, not to the children. She would never ever agree for it to be paid direct to the child.

Since the divorce and court order, one child has moved to live with us so the agreement with respect to him is no longer valid, although exw is trying to get him to move back with her so that she can claim the money when he goes to uni as he will be "based" with her although living at uni).

My DH earns an average wage, whereas I am the higher earner and therefore when the DSS who lives with us goes on to uni, it is my salary (along with DH's) that will be taken into account when it comes to calculating grants etc.

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 14:41:45

Maintenance up to the age of 23????? Scary stuff!!! I assume your DH can stop paying if the "child" leaves uni before age 23?

ladydeedy Wed 20-Mar-13 14:57:12

Yes if they do leave...
At the moment one has retaken (with mother's encouragement) a year of sixth form, despite being not very academic, and is about to embark on a 4 year uni course...
We are in a slightly odd place because one DSS lives with us, the other with his mother. So no money changes hands as such, as they are "equal".
What will be interesting is, once the older one leaves uni, if the mother will reciprocate by giving DH a sum of money each month whilst younger DSS completes uni... I wont hold my breath on that one!!

LtEveDallas Wed 20-Mar-13 15:51:38

Has anyone known of a parent stop paying the ex maintenance when a child leaves school but to give the portion of maintenance direct to the child who is then going to college

We stopped paying DSD Mum when DSD was 15, and paid DSD direct from then on (I was actually paying her a proportion of it direct long before that, but for my own reasons). She is now at College (will be 18 this year) and we are still paying her direct. I believe that DH will want to stop paying her at 18, but I will probably continue to fund her somewhat - her opportunities for work where she is currently living are limited and I'd rather she concentrated on her college work and hopefully get a good job out of it.

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 16:03:31

You might disagree with me Petal02 but you are still wrong (and, I suspect, you are not a lawyer?). The advice you received may have been the correct advice in your circumstances but it is well established that a child over the age of 18 can sue a parent for maintenance through university. If there was a maintenance order in place before the child reached 18, then the means by which the adult child may apply for maintenance on her own account is to issue in the old divorce proceedings between her parents. Provided both parents are still alive (as in the case of your DH), this is possible. Alternatively, the mother/NRP can issue on behalf of the adult child under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989.

I recently read a thoughtful account of the development of the law in this area, which you might find interesting: Maintenance for adult children.

If you are really interested I'd also suggest you look at the 1976 case of Downing v Downing (Downing intervening) ([1976] Fam. 288), which established that the court absolutely has jurisdiction to hear an application by an adult child for maintenance through university. This was a case where BOTH the parents of the unfortunate child refused to maintain her at university. The following excerpt from the judgment is relevant:

'It is perhaps worthy of mention that an application of this kind would not be a unique instance of a child over 18 taking proceedings against its parents for maintenance. Where a maintenance order has been made under section 23 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 for payment to children and the father falls into arrears, the mother cannot herself take out a judgment summons to enforce the arrears because she is not the payee. If the children are minors, the wife or some other approved person will issue the judgment summons on the children's behalf as next friend, but, if the children are of full age, it would appear necessary for them to bring their own enforcement proceedings. This is the opinion of the editors of Rayden on Divorce, 12th ed. (1974), vol. 1, p. 884, with which I agree. Under section 12 (2) of the Guardianship of Minors Act 1971, where a person who has ceased to be a minor but has not attained the age of 21 has while a minor been the subject of an order for the payment of maintenance, he as well as the parent may apply to the court and the child may ask for an order requiring one or both of the parents to pay maintenance to the child himself. The provisions of section 12 replace section 4 (1) and (3) of the Family Law Reform Act 1969, and by section 6 of the Act of 1969 identical provisions are made in favour of wards of court, who may also in similar circumstances apply for orders against one or both of their parents.'

Some of the statutory provisions referred to in that excerpt have since been repealed, though they are replicated in codified statute that is now in force.

Advice which may have applied to your case is not one-size-fits-all.

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 16:10:45

You can also read this other thread on the same topic: earlier MN thread re maintenance for adult child through university

Libby10 Wed 20-Mar-13 16:20:13

DP and his ex agreed a financial order. Her solicitor wanted child maintenance to continue until the SC left full-time university (which seems to be a standard request). DP successfully argued that he had and would always continue to support his children but that he would do this directly when they were at university.

purpleroses Wed 20-Mar-13 16:24:21

I think you're talking about spousal maintenance, Mendi - so it's possible if there was an order made at the time of a divorce for it to include a clause about supporting adult children through university - or even if it doesn't, if it's still open a student child could get it changed to get some support.

But if there's a clean break divorce, or the parents were never married, then the only compulsory contribution from the NRP is child support (paid to the RP, and which stops when they finish A levels) and thereafter is voluntary, just as it is from the RP. Right?

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 16:33:42

No, not right. It's nothing to do with spousal maintenance: it is for the child, and hence if the child pursues the claim it will be paid to the child (not the PWC). It's simply that, from a procedural point of view, if the parents were married and there was a maintenance order made in the divorce proceedings, then the means by which the child can sue in her own right is to issue in the old divorce proceedings - re-open them, if you like, but for her own purposes rather than her mother's.

If the parents were not married then the PWC/mother can apply under Sch.1.

For a recent case about maintenance through university where the parents were never married, have a look at [[ http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed33456 Re N]]

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 16:42:44

Mendi, no I’m not a lawyer. But when DSD sought legal advice (from a lawyer) she was told that she had no case so there was no point in trying; and when we also sought legal advice (also from a lawyer) the advice was quite clear: DH had nothing to worry about as a child can’t sue a parent for Uni support.

I don’t doubt that theoretical comments to the contrary exist, as per the links you’ve included, but in practice it doesn’t work. If it were possible, surely everyone would be trying it? And it’s starting to sound like a parent in a ‘together’ family couldn’t be sued for Uni support, yet in a separated family a NRP suddenly has a legal obligation to pay?

I’m just curious to know why DSD was told she had no case, when DH had the means to pay, but not the inclination. Please don’t think I’m being obtuse, if you’re a lawyer then you obviously know your stuff, but what you’re saying does appear to be at odds with our experience.

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 16:50:11

Petal02, I don't know the facts of your case so can only repeat that this sort of claim is very fact-specific and what applied in your case is not going to apply to all.

You should be very wary of dispensing quasi-legal advice on a forum such as this where people who may have meritorious claims may be dissuaded by your views, which are, however well-intentioned, only views germane to your own case.

As to your lawyer saying that it is never possible for such a claim to succeed, I'm sorry to say that there are bad lawyers out there. The line of authority that I've cited above makes it clear as day that adult children can claim financial provision from parents at university and indeed the same principle is repeated in paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 Children Act 1989.

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 16:52:02

Paragraph 2 Schedule 1:

Orders for financial relief for persons over eighteen
2

(1) If, on an application by a person who has reached the age of eighteen, it appears to the court—

(a) that the applicant is, will be or (if an order were made under this paragraph) would be receiving instruction at an educational establishment or undergoing training for a trade, profession or vocation, whether or not while in gainful employment; or

(b) that there are special circumstances which justify the making of an order under this paragraph,

the court may make one or both of the orders mentioned in sub-paragraph (2).

(2) The orders are—

(a) an order requiring either or both of the applicant's parents to pay to the applicant such periodical payments, for such term, as may be specified in the order;

(b) an order requiring either or both of the applicant's parents to pay to the applicant such lump sum as may be so specified.

(3) An application may not be made under this paragraph by any person if, immediately before he reached the age of sixteen, a periodical payments order was in force with respect to him.

(4) No order shall be made under this paragraph at a time when the parents of the applicant are living with each other in the same household.

(5) An order under sub-paragraph (2)(a) may be varied or discharged by a subsequent order made on the application of any person by or to whom payments were required to be made under the previous order.

(6) In sub-paragraph (3) “periodical payments order” means an order made under—

(a) this Schedule;

(b) . . .

(c) section 23 or 27 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973;

(d) Part I of the Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates' Courts Act 1978;

[(e) Part 1 or 9 of Schedule 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (financial relief in the High Court or a county court etc);

(f) Schedule 6 to the 2004 Act (financial relief in the magistrates' courts etc),]

for the making or securing of periodical payments.

(7) The powers conferred by this paragraph shall be exercisable at any time.

(8) Where the court makes an order under this paragraph it may from time to time while that order remains in force make a further such order.

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 16:54:24

So are only NRPs vulnerable to legal claims? What about parents in intact families? I never said I was a lawyer, we all talk about our own experiences on this forum, none of us claim to be experts. I still wonder though, that if it were really possible, why more people aren't being sued?

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 17:00:38

I am speculating here Petal02 but it is possible that the reason the DSD in your case could not succeed was that:

1. her parents were never married, so

2. there would have been no divorce proceedings for her to issue in, and the only option for her would be a claim under Sch. 1 Children Act 1989 AND

3.there was a maintenance order in respect of her in force immediately before her 16th birthday, which would bring her within sub-paragraph (3) above meaning that she fell into the legislative gap discussed in the article I linked to above.

That's just my conjecture, mind.

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 17:03:03

Yes Petal02, parents still together cannot be sued because it is assumed that most parents will want to support their children.

The difficulty tends to come when NRPs decide they don't feel like supporting the child any more because their relationship with the PWC (and sometimes the child) has ended. That's why there is law to force such parents to provide financially. Unfortunately some children of unmarried parents will fall within the gap described above - very unfair on those children IMO.

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 18:07:53

Mendi, I don't understand the legal jargon you keep quoting, but DSD's parents were married (until they got divorced when DSD was 13/14). A consent order, expiring at age 18, was arranged at the time of the divorce.

I'm still puzzled though, if its legally possible to sue a divorced father then why doesn't it seem to be happening in practice? Surely DH and his daughter were a fairly text book case of relationship between parent/child breaking down, resulting in no support through Uni.

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 18:41:44

petal02 it does happen in practice. The cases I've cited are examples of just that and they date back to the seventies.

I'll go out on a limb and say I think you and your SD were badly advised. The terms of Sch 1 are quite clear in that a child over 18 absolutely can claim for support through tertiary education,

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 18:56:28

I could understand if one party had been badly advised, but for both parties to be given identical advice about the same set of circumstances, in the space of a fortnight, seems strange.

But as I said, if you're a lawyer then you obviously know your stuff, but can't understand why two independent legal firms got it wrong?

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 19:12:39

It does happen petal. Alternatively there is something in the facts of your case that you haven't mentioned.

Either way the wording of Sch 1 quoted above is unambivalent on the point. An adult child can claim.

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 19:14:32

Am still not convinced, but don't want to spend all evening going round in circles.

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 19:30:13

In your case petal, things have worked out well for you as the crafty little madam has gone unprovided for by her father. For anyone else: do look at the unambiguous wording of Para. 2(3) of Sch. 1 Children Act 1989, which provides the basis for a claim for financial provision while at university (or in 'special circumstances').

Petal02 Wed 20-Mar-13 19:36:46

Crafty little madam disowned her father a number of years ago, I was not involved and don't really know her. She made nasty allegations to the police and social services, caused DH and his family all sorts of trauma. She then decides she wants money but didn't get any. Justice was done. The money we saved will benefit DSS.

allnewtaketwo Wed 20-Mar-13 20:04:53

"Unprovided for by her father" hmm who she disowned hmm. Wonder how much her mother provided for her [her]

I'd call her a lot worse than "crafty little madam". This is an adult were talking about, and she sounds like a nasty conniving grabbing little bitch to be honest

Mendi Wed 20-Mar-13 20:12:55

I must have misunderstood. In my mind, if the SD had 'disowned' her father many years before her request for funding for uni, then unless she was applying to uni as a mature student she must have done this 'disowning' as a child/early teen. Ergo, not really the same as an adult casting off all ties and then asking for money.

I have no idea of what went on between the SD's parents but it's not uncommon for the PWC to poison the child against the NRP and perhaps that night account for a child or young adult 'disowning' the NRP. Though, if I were the NRP in that scenario, I would always want my child to know I was there for him/her so I wouldn't be so happy about not supporting him/her financially.

Of course, it may be that this particular girl is a proper little bitch, but IME such creatures are rarely cast in stone before they reach adulthood. And a child cutting ties with a parent may be under emotional pressure he/she can't deal with as a child/young adult that perhaps they would deal with differently as an adult.

Just my general musings. As I say, she may just be evil in which case, disregard!

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