As university fees increase and part-time jobs become increasingly scarce, students are relying on their parents more than ever to fund their academic studies. But what legal options are available to students who feel they are not receiving the necessary financial support from a parent? Can students sue parents for financial support in Scotland?
Parents have a legal obligation to support a child financially until they are 25 if the child is 'undertaking instruction at an education establishment, or training for employment or for a trade, profession or vocation'. The legal term for this type of financial support or maintenance is aliment.
While financial support for children under 18 is mostly regulated by the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service the Courts retain jurisdiction for those aged between 18 and 25 if they remain in full-time education.
The courts in Scotland may take account of the following:
- The needs and resources of the child
- The difficulty of the child's course of study
- Attempts made by the child to obtain part-time work
- The needs and resources of the parents
- Whether the parent is providing a home for the child
If the action for aliment is successful the parent will normally be required to make periodical (usually monthly) payments or become responsible for meeting specific expenses such as university fees.
Raising an action for aliment
Although struggling students should consider raising a court action for aliment it is important to consider the inevitable knock-on effect this will have on family relationships. This may not be the case if the action is being raised against a parent who has not played a significant role in the child's life. It is always a good idea to take legal advice in the first instance to determine whether you should pursue your case.
If you would like legal advice on whether you should sue your parents for financial support, get in touch with our experienced Family Law Team, with lawyers in Edinburgh and Glasgow.