This week produced details of the ‘unusual’ and ‘unprecedented’ case of FS v RS and JS, where a 41 year old Solicitor with mental health issues sued his parents for lifetime child support.
He had been supported by his parents for 20 years, and he lived in their London flat, but in the preceding years the relationship between him and his parents soured, and the financial support had become less and less.
His parents were wealthy and lived in Dubai, and in the words of the man’s Counsel, could ‘comfortably afford and pay any award that a Court might reasonably order’. They had, as put by Counsel, ‘nurtured his dependency upon them’.
There were three applications, one under the Inherent Jurisdiction, and the other two under the Children Act and Matrimonial Causes Act, notwithstanding that at all material times his parents were married and the Applicant fell short of the definition of a child under the Children Act. Whilst the Matrimonial Causes Act does have provision for a child to be maintained beyond the age of 18, this is where the child is undergoing training or education or there are special circumstances such as a severe disability.
Having gained a First in Modern History and studied to be a Solicitor, the man was taking a Masters Degree in taxation. He had mental health issues, but the Judge ruled that none of these applied in this case and that there were no grounds for the applications and consequently they were dismissed.
Sadly, it is not over for the parents, as their son is now raising a claim under the Trusts of Land and Trustees Act to establish a proprietary right over his parents’ London flat. Whether he succeeds in his claim remains to be seen but the moral of the tale is, Bank of Mum and Dad beware the ongoing expectations of your offspring.
Richard Middlehurst – Associate Family Law Solicitor.