The Court of Appeal has confirmed that when determining financial settlements on the break-up of a family, it is the needs of the children which are paramount, not those of the parents.
The Court was hearing a case in which a mother was appealing against a lower court ruling that the sum of £800,000 should be provided by her former husband to buy a house for her and their daughter to live in until the daughter reached adulthood. The woman had previously given evidence that suitable houses in their neighbourhood cost between £1.2m and £2m. The provision of a house valued at £800,000 would therefore have made it necessary for her to move to another area.
The Court of Appeal confirmed that the judge was in error and had concentrated too much on the needs of the father when deciding the terms of the settlement. The prime objective should have been to consider the needs of the daughter. Moving to a new area would pose a risk to her welfare as she would lose the security of her home and school.