AB v CD [2022] EWFC 1975 January 2022

Published: 28/07/2023 22:11


HHJ Shelton. Cross applications to vary a global periodical payment order for a child aged 19 who is severely disabled and a spousal maintenance. The global order at the time of this judgment was £1,250pcm (£1,249 child and £1pm spousal).

The Husband (H) sought to dismiss the joint lives spousal maintenance, vary the child periodical payments to £400pcm and limit the term to retirement at age 60 (H was then 50). He argued decreased income due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He was remarried with 2 children and had outgoings that exceeded his monthly net income.

The Wife (W) sought to maintain the global periodical payments order pending a review in December 2022 when it would be known whether the child would be attending further education near to W’s home or some 200 miles away. Her income consisted solely of benefits, and her medical conditions affected her ability to earn on top of her significant caring responsibilities for the child.

An important factor of this case was the uncertainty around W and the child’s ongoing benefits entitlements. There was an SJE report from the local city council’s Welfare Rights Unit.

The law regarding child periodical payments is set out at [33]–[39] and summarised here:

  • The court maintains the power to order child periodical payments when a child reaches age 19 and there are special circumstances justifying making an order: section 29(3)(b) MCA 1973.
  • Special circumstances include the disability of a child: C v F (Disabled Child: Maintenance Orders) [1998] 2 FLR 1.
  • The court must consider the section 25(3) MCA 1973 factors, and in relation to the parties the relevant factors in section 25(2) MCA 1973.
  • The court is not bound by any figure the CMS would calculate as being due.

The law regarding spousal maintenance is set out at [40]–[42].

The court assessed the resources of the child and both parties. Its findings are set out at [71]–[83]. Ultimately it ordered H should pay interim global maintenance of £1,050pcm (£1,049pcm child and £1pcm spousal on joint lives basis) with the matter being relisted to determine whether the interim or should continue, the quantum and term.

The parties later agreed to an earlier review of the interim global maintenance order after a further report from the Welfare Rights Unit, which increased the order to £1,150pcm.

Editor’s note: This is one of three published judgments in this case and we will be summarising them all so check back here for the cross-links. There will also be an article by Polly Morgan about legal blogging this case in a forthcoming issue of this journal.

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