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When should the court put property to one side specifically for the benefit of children?

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 gives the court the power to put part of a couple’s relationship property to one side for the benefit of their children.

The courts generally only make orders putting aside property for children in extreme cases. In some cases, a partner had committed serious crimes. In another case, a partner went to a psychiatric hospital with no prospect of recovery.

It is rare for partners to apply for these orders to benefit their children. Although partners might agree that they should provide for their children, they might be reluctant to give up part of their property.

We want to know when you think the court should use its power to put property aside for children’s specific needs. For example, should the court put property aside to pay for high medical costs or dental costs, costs arising due to special needs, or education?

Some people think that setting aside property in these scenarios is inconsistent with the law’s focus on dividing property between the partners. The law meets children’s needs in other ways, for example through child support. Others may say that these orders could help some children, for example where one parent is paying the minimum child support but the child has expensive needs that cannot be met in another way. Some parents may favour these orders as a way to ring-fence property to benefit their children rather than giving extra property to the partner with primary care.

What do you think?

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