Q&As

Are there any decided cases that deal with whether the payment of rent, where the parents are unmarried, is a 'maintenance' obligation and so can only be ordered where the top-up court jurisdiction applies as to maintenance for a child? If rent is a maintenance obligation is it permissible for a payee to seek a lump sum of capitalised rent to get around the limitations of the top-up jurisdiction?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 08/01/2018

The following Family Q&A Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are there any decided cases that deal with whether the payment of rent, where the parents are unmarried, is a 'maintenance' obligation and so can only be ordered where the top-up court jurisdiction applies as to maintenance for a child? If rent is a maintenance obligation is it permissible for a payee to seek a lump sum of capitalised rent to get around the limitations of the top-up jurisdiction?

We have presumed for the purposes of this reply that this Q&A relates to unmarried parents and child maintenance.

The Child Support Act 1991 (CSA 1991) removed from the courts the power to make orders in relation to child maintenance (save by consent, in which circumstances such order will be binding for no more than a year after which either party may apply for a Child Maintenance Service (CMS) assessment per CSA 1991, s 4(10)(aa)). For the vast majority of cases, maintenance for children is governed solely by the CMS formula.

The exception to this rule is where the gross weekly income of the paying party exceeds £3,000 (or £156,000 per annum). In such circumstances the court is provided with jurisdiction to order payment of maintenance in addition to the CMS calculated amount, known as the ‘top up’ jurisdiction see CSA 1991, s 8(6). In order for the top-up jurisdiction to be engaged, it is necessary for the CMS to have

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