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Can I make a financial claim for childcare expenses?

The family courts will always try to ensure that children are properly accommodated and properly maintained where financial circumstances allow.

In a divorce, the courts will make sure that children are properly provided for in the subsequent financial order. Different rules apply to unmarried parents, however.

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If you pooled your funds to buy property, for example, the court can address the division of those funds when an unmarried relationship breaks down. If this happens, you may be able to reach agreement yourselves. If you can’t agree, a claim can be made to court to protect and determine your property rights.

If there are children of the relationship, however, it may also be appropriate for the parent with care of the children to make a claim against the other parent for certain needs, costs and expenses.

This may include a lump sum to cover particular costs or for a property to be settled into a trust so that the child (and by extension the child’s main carer) has secure housing.

The property will only be used by the resident parent during the child’s minority or while they continue in full time education. At this point, the capital in the trust reverts back to the non-resident parent.

The Child Maintenance Service may deal with maintenance for the child. If, however, the income of the non-resident parent is more than £156,000 net per annum, then it may be appropriate to ask the court to assist, both by ordering additional maintenance and, where applicable, school fees as well.

In certain cases, the court may feel it appropriate to make provision for a ‘carer’s allowance’ to allow the parent with care of the child either to cover the costs of employing external childcare, or to provide a small amount in lieu of an earned income if the parent prefers to stay at home with the child.

How can our family lawyers assist you?

Our expert family law team has considerable experience acting both for the resident parent of the child and the parent against whom an application is made. It’s often necessary in these cases for detailed trust documents to be drawn up governing precisely the terms under which any property is held, so that the interests of both parents and the child are properly balanced and protected.

Tax considerations mean that careful planning is also needed to ensure any arrangement is as tax efficient as possible. In these situations, we’re able to call on our real estate team and Wills, trusts and tax teams for specialist advice and opinion. We also have close contacts with other professionals for tax advice on more complex arrangements.

Get in touch

If you need legal advice relating to a financial claim for a child, our specialist family law solicitors can assist. Our team are highly experienced in handling complex financial claims for children and will aim to ensure your interests and those of your children are protected. Please get in touch today by completing our enquiry form below.

Key Contacts

Simon Magner Mawdsley

Simon Magner Mawdsley

Family Law Partner


Simon acts for clients in all aspects of relationship breakdowns including divorce, resolution of financial matters, civil partnerships, cohabitation disputes, pre- and post-marital agreements, injunctions, and children matters.

Lorraine Saunders

Lorraine Saunders

Family Law Partner

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Neil Hobden

Neil Hobden

Family Law Partner

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Richard Barge

Richard Barge

Partner | Head of Family Law

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