When dealing with this type of case involving houses, clients tend to think only of their own property rights and can miss the fact that the Courts have power to make awards for children in relation to property.

The right is to be found in Schedule of the Children’s Act, which among other things says the Court can order a parent to pay a lump sum to the other parent for the benefit of any child or to the child direct.  In addition, the Court can require property to be made available for the benefit of children, though it usually reverts to the Provider when the children are adults.

What this means in practice is that if you are the primary carer for children seeking a share of property, in your own right, you can add to this claim by seeking something on behalf of the children.  Equally, if you have no property claim of your own, you can raise a claim separately on behalf of the children.  In many cases this increases the size of the payment or share of the property obtained.  In others, there are sufficient assets, you can obtain the use of a property until the youngest child is adult and numerous variations in between!

This is a little known addition you can make to any claim and it is a good negotiating tool to increase the amount you can claim.

It does require knowledge that flows between property rights and rights under family law.  As a firm we have a number of specialists who can combine these skills to make sure any claim can be maximised.

I have been involved in a number of claims where it has made a substantial difference in the amount recovered.  Recently I settled a case where it made the difference between the parent having care of the children being able to have a property to live in as opposed to being forced into rented accommodation, so it is always worth thinking about.

 

Mark Chanter is a consultant in the family law team at Stephens Scown in Truro. To discuss divorce or any other family issue please call 01872 265100 or email enquiries@stephens-scown.co.uk.