The breakdown of a relationship can be a difficult financial adjustment in itself but when there are children involved, this can make the position all the more worrying and uncertain.

The Child Maintenance Service is the first port of call for assessing and enforcing child maintenance payments against your ex-partner (if the child is living with you). You can use the following link to work out what your ex-partner should be paying you here

In addition to child maintenance in some circumstances it can also be appropriate to make additional financial claims for the benefit of any children of the relationship. This can be done by making a claim under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.

What is Schedule 1?

Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 was introduced with the intention of making limited financial provision for the minor children of unmarried parents.
Schedule 1 allows parents and children of cohabiting relationships that have broken down to make certain limited financial claims.

I already receive child maintenance payments from my ex – why would I make a Schedule 1 claim?

Those of you who already receive maintenance from your ex-partner through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) may be asking this question. Whilst it is the case that the CMS is the primary and first port of call for parents seeking financial support for their children, the claims that can be made under Schedule 1 are more wide-reaching.

If an application under Schedule 1 is made the court can make orders for the benefit of a child as follows:

– to cover educational expenses

– to cover costs attributable to a disability

– where there is a child maintenance calculation, if the non-resident parent's income is in excess of £156,000 gross per year then the court can order top up child maintenance payments

– a lump sum payment for the child; and- a transfer and settlement of property for the benefit of the child

The CMS cannot provide this additional financial provision.

So why doesn't' everyone apply under Schedule 1?

Making a claim under Schedule 1 is not always appropriate and the court will not automatically make an order. If an application is made the court will take into account:

– The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which any parent of the child has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.

– The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which any parent of the child has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.

– The financial needs of the child- The income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources of the child

– Any physical or mental disability of the child

– The way the child is or was expected to be educated or trained.

It is important to emphasise that claims made under Schedule 1 are always for the benefit of the child only. Nevertheless, it's easy to see how a parent would benefit from an order made under Schedule 1. For example, if it was ordered that the child could remain living in their current home (owned by the non-resident parent) until they reached 18 years of age, then the resident parent would also have a secure home up until their child's 18th birthday. This would allow them some time to secure their own financial position.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.