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Financial Support for the Children of Unmarried parents

What it is, who and how we can help

Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 gives the court the power to make orders for financial provision for children.  This provision is most commonly used to provide financial support for a child where the parents have not been married.

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Schedule 1 claims can be brought by a parent, guardian (or special guardian) or by any person that a child is living with under a child arrangements order.  Schedule 1 is designed to provide financial relief for the benefit of a child and the terms of an order usually endure until the child turns 18 or completes tertiary education.

The courts primary concern is the best interests of the child.  The court will require both parties to provide full disclosure although in certain circumstances it may be possible for the payer to raise the “Millionaires Defence”, arguing that there is no need for disclosure as they have sufficient wealth to meet any award that the court might make.

When deciding whether to make an order the court will consider:-

1. The financial needs of any children;

2. The financial circumstances of each parent both now and in the future;

3. The income, earning capacity, property and any other financial resources of the child;

4. Any physical or mental disability the child may have;

5. The manner in which the child was being or was expected to be educated or trained.

The court can make orders for periodical payments, lump sum orders and transfer and settlement of property orders.  For example, the court might provide for a monthly amount of maintenance, a lump sum to cover the cost of a child’s laptop and books for school and the provision of a property for the primary carer and the child to live in.  Note that the provision of such properties is usually on a reversionary basis and when the child turns 18 or completes their tertiary education the property will revert to the other parent.

This is a highly discretionary area of law and we are able to guide you on the merits and likely outcome of making such a claim.


Usually no. Schedule 1 is designed to meet the needs of the child when they are a minor. When they turn 18 or complete tertiary education depending on the terms of the order the property will revert.

Yes it is possible to make an application if the parents were married if the circumstances merit it.

Yes. It is possible to use other Non-Court Based Dispute Resolution, such as arbitration.

Yes an application can include a request for an order for the other parent to pay all of or to contribute towards school fees.

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