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(Family Division, Keehan J, 21 August 2013)
The father had little involvement with the 2-year-old child but prior to proceedings to determine the mother's application under Sch 1 of the Children Act 1989 for financial provision for the child, the father agreed to pay £1,600 per month for the maintenance of the child.
After the agreement was signed by the mother, she gave an interview to a popular magazine, making reference to the father and his lack of involvement with the child. In response, the father sought to withdraw his consent to the financial agreement on the ground that the interview was in breach of undertakings the parties had agreed to.
The judge held that it was not possible to find there had been a concluded agreement of different terms to those included in the order. It would need to be established whether there were circumstances which vitiated the agreement and substantial grounds that there would be an injustice caused if the mother and father were held to the agreement.
The mother had been aware of the terms of the undertaking and the fact that they had been compromised in giving the interview, the agreement had not been signed by the father or approved by the court and therefore there had been no formal breach. There were no circumstances which would lead to the father suffering injustice if he were held to the agreement given that the substance of the agreement was as to financial provision which had been made with the benefit of legal advice. The father had no grounds to renege on the agreement.
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