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24 FEB 2006

FINANCIAL PROVISION: F v M (Child: Financial Provision) [2006] FLR (forthcoming)

(Family Division; Mr Peter Hughes QC sitting as a deputy High Court judge; 24 February, 2006)

The mother sought financial provision for the child from the wealthy father of the child under Sch 1 of the Children Act 1989. The mother already had another child by a different man who had already made provision for that child under Sch 1. The mother had entered into a written agreement with the father, negotiated through very experienced family lawyers on both sides, before Re P (Financial Provision) [2003] EWCA Civ 837, [2003] 2 FLR 865 had been decided, but there was no court order based on the agreement. The mother was now seeking a property settlement order, a lump sum order to cover her debts, incurred, she argued, as a result of trying to house and to care for the child, plus increased periodical payments.

Although the court could and should take account of the agreement reached between the parties, the court would not give primacy to the agreement over the interests of the child. In the agreement, insufficient thought had been given to the link between the child's reasonable housing requirements and the father's lifestyle. The court approved of the approach to child care costs taken in F v G (Child: Financial Provision) [2004] EWHC 1848 (Fam), [2005] 1 FLR 261 whereby the mother was awarded an allowance as primary carer, which she could then use to pay for childcare if she wished to do so. The mother was awarded a total of £700,000 housing provision, £60,000 pa, index-linked, plus a school fees order, plus a lump sum of £100,000 to clear mother's housing related debts, plus £25,000 for a car. The mother had been required to disclose her budget claims in the proceedings against the other man, as these were relevant to her budget claims in these proceedings.

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