Millionaire Father's Manoeuvring Brought to Nought by High Court

Fathers sadly often try to conceal their true resources from mothers of their children – but family judges are well able to spot such manoeuvring and ensure that justice is done. In one striking case, the High Court described as absurd a multi-millionaire father’s claim to be down to his last £3,500.

Despite the relatively modest sums involved, the proceedings had been fought on a grand scale and with extraordinary ferocity. The father had been required to provide a £220,000 housing fund for the mother and their teenage son, and to pay half the latter’s school fees, but had paid less than £4,000 in day-to-day child maintenance over a five-year period.

In those circumstances, the hard-pressed mother applied for a £20,600 lump sum from the father to pay for such items as a replacement car and a new laptop for their son. The father, however, hotly resisted the application despite the Court’s finding that he was a rich man, either owning or having a beneficial interest in property and pension assets worth in excess of £5 million.

The Court observed that it was an indictment of the child support system that the father had been required to provide so little maintenance for his son. He had engaged in all-too-familiar manoeuvring in an attempt to insulate his resources from the reach of the mother and the Court. He was well able to afford the modest capital sum claimed by the mother and, in order to ensure that he paid it, the Court entered a charge against a £450,000 property that was in his sole name.