A 41-year-old unemployed man has failed in an “unprecedented” bid to force his wealthy parents to keep supporting him financially.
The man, a qualified solicitor who has mental health disabilities, said his parents had “nurtured his dependency” on them and recently “significantly reduced” their financial support after his relationship with them deteriorated.
Lawyers representing the man argued that a judge could order parents to provide support, citing laws relating to marriage and children, while his parents said the claim should be dismissed.
Sir James Munby described the case as “most unusual” and, as far as he knew, “unprecedented”, adding: “I suspect that the initial reaction of most experienced family lawyers would be a robust disbelief that there is even arguable substance to any of it.”
The judge ruled against the man after considering arguments at a remote family court hearing, concluding that the 41-year-old had “no case”.
“His parents have supported him financially down the years and continue, to some extent, to do so,” he said in a ruling published online on Wednesday.
“They have permitted him to live in a flat in central London, of which they are the registered proprietors, and in relation to which they have until recently been paying the utility bills.”
The judge added: “Of late... the relationship between the applicant and his parents - in particular, it would appear, his father - has deteriorated and the financial support they are prepared to offer has significantly reduced.
“He characterises their stance as seemingly being that, having in fact - whether wittingly or unwittingly - nurtured his dependency on them for the last 20 years or so - with the consequence that he is, so it is said, now completely dependent on them - they now seek to cast that dependency on to the state.”
Although the man is a qualified solicitor, with a degree in modern history and a master’s degree in taxation, Sir James noted that he had been unemployed since 2011.
The judge dismissed the case as the court had no jurisdiction to grant his claims under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the Children Act 1989, or under human rights law.
Sir James said he was satisfied that the applications should be “summarily dismissed” and refused permission to appeal the ruling.