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Can adults make a claim for maintenance from their parents?

04 November 2021

Sharon McKie

Child with book

Under the Children Act 1989 it states that an adult child, under certain circumstances, can make a claim against separated parents. However, a recent case has seen a 41 year old man making a claim against his enormously wealthy parents on the basis that this discriminated against children of married parents and was a violation of human rights.

 

The 41 year old man had been receiving maintenance from his parents for over 20 years and they let him live rent free in a £1million flat in London.  However, the relationship deteriorated and the support reduced significantly.  The man in question had a degree from Oxford and worked at a top firm of Solicitors and also at an Accountants. Despite this, his parents were still supporting him financially.

 

When the maintenance was reduced to £400 each week, he made an application to sue his parents and this was the first case of its kind in the UK. He stated that he was a vulnerable adult due to health issues.  However, the Court of Appeal has thrown the case out, reiterating the Children Act in that married parents “have no legal duty to support their adult children”.

 

Lord Justice Underhill said

“It is the considered policy of parliament that parents may only be ordered to provide support to their adult children in the context of relationship breakdown and that there should be no general power to require the provision of such support outside that context”

Whilst it is possible for an adult to make an application therefore against separated parents, these applications are rare and it seems unlikely that it will be possible in the foreseeable future to make such an application against married parents.

 

If you require more information about this or any other family matter,  then please contact our family legal team on 01302 341414.