74 DAYS TO FC-DAY – THE NEW FAMILY COURT … thoughts on child maintence

An issue arises today – see  http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussionID=5837148225760436225&gid=2862119&commentID=5837494848025821184&trk=view_disc&fromEmail=&ut=0hfmvvZLHNYm41 – over child periodical paymentsa and consent orders.

An aim of this blog is to be constructive – where possible – about the new family court. Here it is the law which governs the form of the order (eg MCA 1973 s 23; Children Act 1989 Sch 1 para 1). It is DJ (normally) discretion or child support calcualtion or the parties agreement (with a court order where possible) which fixes the amount. The period for continuance of provision is what is in issue on the Linkedin site above (see eg MCA 1973 s 29). Draft – yes DRAFT – precedents for all these points are on their way.

But, is an aside on the lamented unified family court (UFC) permitted? The fact is that if Finer had had his way (child mintenance comes up in his report) then in a truly UFC, with joined up family law legislation, the child support Kafkaesque debacle would never have taken place. The law would have been – as it still is, except it’s never used – under Social Security Admin Act s 106 (liable relative payments: who remembers the ‘liable relatives formula of the 1980s?); and a UFC would have had jurisdiction over it all.

This particular unification isssue won’t be sorted in 74 days (nor will anyone expect it to be). One day, when the brave new family court is active – who knows?…


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