An Aberdeen University law student this week went to court to force his estranged mother to contribute Pounds 400 a month towards his living costs at university.
Patrick Macdonald, 20, went to live with his father, a former advocate now unemployed, when his parents divorced five years ago. His mother, a lawyer with the Scottish Office, pays annual school fees for two daughters, while her two eldest daughters are supporting themselves through university with loans and part-time work.
Mr Macdonald has mounted a rare legal action under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985, which allows students up to 25 to sue their parents for maintenance if they do not pay their education costs. He has won legal aid.
Mr Macdonald this week described the move as "a business transaction", and said he was struggling financially.