Judge dismisses mother’s bid to quadruple child maintenance

Family Law|February 6th 2016

The mother of a son by a Middle Eastern royal has failed in a bid to increase the child maintenance she receives from £200,000 to £800,000 per year.

She had applied for the huge increase because she believed her son ’C’, now aged seven, should lead a life in keeping with his father’s wealth. She repeatedly cited various luxuries, includes a box at the Emirates football stadium, membership of Ascot, first class flights and household staff.

The unnamed woman made the application under section 1 of the Children Act 1989, which governs the ‘welfare of the child’. In her 30s, she is also from a Middle Eastern but lives in London with her son.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Bodey noted that the boy’s father had had played no role in his upbringing beyond paying the mother child maintenance.

“The parties never lived together. The father has never seen C, nor expressed any interest in him. The mother, therefore, bears the entire responsibility of caring for him and bringing him up. She wishes to do so in a lifestyle commensurate with that of the son of a member of a hugely wealthy Royal Family.”

While he acknowledged that the father was “among the super-rich” and lived in a “world of opulence”, the Judge was unconvinced by the mother’s application, saying the amount she currently received was “suitable and appropriate”.

He said:

“Unhappily the mother has a fervent belief that C and therefore she herself, by way of a carer’s allowance, should be allowed a vast income provision to enable C’s lifestyle to replicate that of the father; but almost without regard to the fact that he is a seven-year old growing up in London.”

GN v MA is here.

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  1. Andrew says:

    I fear this lady is the last to get the message. I took the trouble to look up the judgment in the Court of Appeal on BAILII and I am left with the impression that she is just not grasping that she must make do with the very generous settlement she has got and cut her coat according to her cloth. The suggestion that a seven-year-old needs to be a member at Ascot is beyond preposterous!
    I am depressed, but not surprised, to see that one of her problems is a debt for her own costs. I would have to guess that the solicitors concerned have taken a punt on the assumption that eventually a judge would buy the line about the impact on the child if his mother has to pay her own costs and make the father pay. If they have got their fingers burnt it’s their problem, not his.
    Finally we are yet again seeing the problems caused when people go through religious marriage ceremonies in England or Wales and want them to be treated as if they were real marriages. Much blame rests on the clerics concerned who do not explain that the ceremony is meaningless unless it is followed or (preferably) preceded by a proper civil marriage. Carrying out such ceremonies should be made a criminal offence and prosecuted. If they happen on religious premises those premises should lose their charitable status for rating purposes. Extraordinarily there are still cases where CAFCASS officers and social workers refer to a cultural marriage without even putting the word marriage in quotation marks. The correct form should be: The parties went through a cultural “marriage” in [month and year] in Blanktown but they are not married.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Andrew
      I am troubled by the approach of the Courts to this case. I think the mother should be receiving a substantially increased sum which befits the son of a billionaire who is also a senior Royal. I’m writing a blog post of my own, knowing what you write, you should have a field day with it.

      • Jo Archer says:

        I, too, am concerned about this judgement. It isn’t relevant to Schedule 1 of the Childrens Act 1989 that the couple were never in a relationship nor that the father has taken no interest in his child. The law intends the child to be brought up in a similar lifestyle to that which the father enjoys. That doesn’t mean the child must have a box at Ascot, at the age of seven, but that the mother should have control of an income to spend as she sees fit – without leaving anything over by way of investments or a pension for herself! Why shouldn’t this child go to Eton if his father can afford it? Why can’t the family take regular holidays in luxury resorts? The child should not be treated any differently in law because of the relationship (or lack of relationship) between his parents. No, I am afraid this is yet another case where the mother didn’t ‘present’ well. Where the judge’s preconceptions/prejudices have coloured his view of the child’s entitlements.

        • Marilyn Stowe says:

          Dear Jo
          Glad you agree with me. My own post should be up on Monday. It is disturbing, but not because one Judge is wrong. This case has been before many courts and had the same treatment. That is what particularly disturbs me about this case.

          • spinner says:

            She’s a gold digger. By involving the court and some how formalising this type of business arrangement it demeans women generally.

  2. Andy says:

    In this case the back ground to the situation is very different from us mere mortals who are in reality not in dream word…
    So even though this billion air or so is bombarded by child maintenance increase by his ex…
    Who ever it is and what ever happens just shows the impact of a parent with care seems to demand further funds for her life style and what input did she have only to try and get her legal costs paid…
    This theme runs throughout all divorce cases who and what status you have…rich or poor.

    For once the father came out the winner…

  3. Andrew says:

    My pen is dipped in vitriol and I’m rarin’ to go!

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Andrew
      So am I but vitriol isn’t appropriate for a family lawyer just the facts and an assessment of current interpretation of the law…

      • Andrew says:

        I know, I know . . . I have washed my pen and dipped it in sugared water. I’m an soft old slushpot in real life away from the keyboard. You should see me with my little great-niece

  4. Andy says:

    I await the comments supported by Andrew on the subject…It will be a good read.

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