Judge rules against excessive tuition costs in divorce settlement

Two teenagers whose mother said she needed £60,000 a year to cover the cost of out-of-school tutors do not have enough time in their lives to enjoy being children, a High Court judge has suggested.

The youngsters found themselves at the centre of a family court fight between their divorced parents.

Their mother wanted her multi-millionaire former husband to hand over nearly £150,000 a year to cover "child expenses".

She wanted £60,000 a year "just for extra tuition costs".

Mrs Justice Roberts said the teenagers lived with their mother in London - and she said their parents had "very divergent" views on the "wisdom and benefit of hot-housing".

Their father said they were both at expensive private schools - which he paid for.

And he said there was no evidence that they needed the "degree of extra tuition they are currently receiving".

He said he should be required to pay for only extra tuition recommended by the school.

Mrs Justice Roberts decided that an "appropriate level" of financial support was £70,000 a year.

"I have scrutinised her budget and it does seem to me that, whilst there needs to be some provision for extra tuition, the costs advanced by the applicant are unrealistic in terms of the time available to these children outside their normal school hours," said the judge.

"I did wonder on occasions through the course of her evidence when these two young people had any opportunity simply to enjoy being teenagers.

"I could not see that very much time at all was left in their busy lives for normal healthy socialising with their peers."

The judge said the man would pay for additional private tuition considered necessary by teachers.

She added: "Over and above that provision, it will be for (their mother) at her election to pay for any further costs of additional tuition out of the child support she receives for the children."

Detail of the dispute over out-of-school tuition emerged in a ruling on a larger divorce money battle between the children's parents.

Mrs Justice Roberts, who oversaw a trial at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said the man was involved in business and had assets of more than £30 million.

She said his ex-wife would get a multi-million pound financial package.

The judge said the family, who had lived in London, could not be identified.