Family Law Week judgment summary: Z (No 4) (Schedule 1 award) [2023] EWFC 25

03 April 2023

Lily Cooke summarises the judgment  in Z (No 4) (Schedule 1 award) [2023] EWFC 25 for Family Law Week about an application under section 15 and Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 concerning a child with a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder.

The mother (who lives in the UK with the child, Z) sought various forms of relief including periodical payments, secured periodical payments, lump sum, and a settlement of property.

She and the father (an "immensely wealthy" investment manager who lives in the US) never married. They separated during the pregnancy and the mother returned to England. The father has not met Z, who is the parties only child.

Solely in relation to these proceedings, 3 judgments were previously handed down for the provision of interim maintenance awards and for the mother to pay for expert legal advice and representation.

The father had honoured the financial orders made against him. But he then disengaged from proceedings at a time when he was due to pay a further £175,000 to the mother’s solicitors.

Shortly after a pre-trial review, he wrote to the mother that he no longer wished to play a role in proceedings. When going ahead with the final hearing, the judge referenced FPR 27.4(2) and confirmed that he was satisfied that the father had reasonable notice of the application and the final hearing.

The judge considered “the physical or mental disability of [Z]” and her corresponding “financial needs” were the “magnetic” factors in the matter. He held that the father’s financial resources were such that Z’s needs could be amply met.

He considered that while “standard of living” was not a statutory principle, Zoe’s lifestyle should not be “out of kilter” with that enjoyed by her father.

Read the full summary on Family Law Week.