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Family Law

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Court of Protection Practice and Procedure Conference 2016

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01 FEB 2007


(Principal Registry; District Judge Million; May 2006)

The mother and the father had never been married, but the child had been conceived during their brief engagement. The child was now 4 years old. The father had parental responsibility for the child, but did not see him. The mother applied under Children Act 1989, Sch 1 for an increase in periodical payments, from £57,800 to £160,000 to include the rental of a suitable property, plus school fees. There had been no financial disclosure by the father, who had acknowledged that he could pay any order. The father had two children by a former wife, and another child by his current wife, who was expecting their second child. The mother had modelled in the past, but was not now working. A male friend of the mothers had been providing her with a rent-free property in London; the same male friend had also provided her with considerable financial help over the previous 18 months.

There was no clear evidence that the mother would continue to receive financial help from her friend. Although in some wealthy Sch 1 cases rental would be more appropriate than a settlement, this was not true in this case. A purchase under a trust offered the better use of money in investment and tax terms. The mother bore the entire responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child herself and was entitled to some free. This ought to be in the form of paid help from a live in au pair as it was difficult to justify full-time help when the mother was not working. A capital fund of £2 million would be needed, to cover all the costs of a suitable property, of appropriate size in central London. Although in such cases a second home abroad or in the country might be justified, in this case it was not. The mother was to receive £72,500 pa in periodical payments, plus school fees. There was nothing in Sch 1 which required all money paid annually under the order to be spent in a single year and it would almost always be unhelpful and counter productive to encourage a father to ask that a mother keep accounts of her expenditure. A lump sum of £30,000 was sufficient to allow the mother to buy a car; a further sum of £8,815 had been agreed between the parties.

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