Although it is often the case that child support cases refer to the parent ‘with care’, or the ‘non-resident parent’, there are in practical terms many other domestic arrangements that do not fall into these two definitions. One such situation is ‘shared care’, in which more than one person looks after a child or children, but those people live in separate homes.
Who Can Share Care?
For the purposes of child support laws, ‘shared care’ does not include people who live under the same roof and share the care of a child. However, the following people are classed as having shared care: a person with care who is treated as though they are a non-resident parent (child in his/her care for at least 104 nights a year) – this could be a grandparent; a non-resident parent who looks after the child for at least 52 nights each year; or a child who is sometimes in the care of the local authority.
The CSA’s Decision
The CSA will, in deciding cases in which there is an issue of shared care, consider all the circumstances of the arrangements. The evidence to support a shared care application should be provided in writing but may be given orally if both the parents consent.
Who Receives Maintenance Payments?
There may be a question in shared care circumstances as to who should receive maintenance payments. If two people share responsibility for a child on a day-to-day basis, either one of them may apply to the CSA, on the condition that either both of them has parental responsibility or neither of them have parental responsibility. If one person does and the other person does not, it will be the person with parental responsibility who is entitled to apply for child maintenance.
If parents share care, the one who has the majority of the care will be the one who is entitled to child maintenance. If the shared care is entirely equal, it is the person who is in receipt of child benefits who can apply to the CSA. If both parents make competing applications for child benefit, the person who applied first will take priority.
Calculating the Rate Reduction
As we have already seen, a non-resident parent who looks after a child for at least 52 nights per year qualifies to have ‘shared care’ of the child. Although there are a number of variations and some exceptions, the following information reflects the general effect of shared care on CSA maintenance calculations.
If a non-resident parent has care of a child for between 52 – 103 nights per year, maintenance payments will be reduced by 1/7. For 104 – 155 nights, this fraction increases to 2/7. For 156 -174 nights, there will be a reduction of 3/7 and if the child spends 175 nights or more with the non-resident parent, maintenance payments will be reduced by ½.
The overnight care does not need to stretch to a 24 hour period, but must be overnight. If a child is in boarding school, with a babysitter, staying with a friend or is in hospital, the person who would otherwise have had care of the child during that period is considered to be the person with care.
If I have shared care of my children, will i have to pay child Maintainance to my ex Partner even though they are with me half the time? Also am I able to claim additional expenses such a rent, bills, petrol to pick the children up? And will these recalculate my child Maintainance rate or will they be paid as expenses in order to support me seeing the children?
Tony - 26-Sep-15 @ 9:32 PM
smithy - Your Question:
Hi help needed please.I have 2 children with my ex 6 and 2. They live with my ex but due to working on shifts I have them every night for tea every other week when on earlys and when im on lates I have my youngest in the mornings the 3 days hes not at nursery. I also have them both to stay at weekends. Early shifts fri night, all day sat they go home sat night then I have them most of the day sunday. Late shifts I have them all day sat, sat night and all day sunday. We share custody although they live with her. Me and my new partner also buy them clothes when they need it, £5 pocket money each week and half of the school uniform costs. I give my ex £100 a month for the kids but they always come to me with clothes that are tatty, old and stained. If we have spare time then we have the kids extra and during school holidays. She is now trying to say I need to give her more money. I love my kids and never want them to be without but I feel shes being unfair demanding more when she doesn't look after them properly as it is. She has also just had a new baby with someone else and I don't want to be giving her money for my kids when shes spending it on the new baby. Its not my fault shes self employed and her partner barely works any hours. Sorry for the rant the maintenance calculator doesn't seem to help anything but the basic details.
I'm afraid as it is a family-based arrangement, it is something you will have to resolve between you. However, as many parents decide to share the care of their children, if your children spend some time with you, the paying parent, this will reduce the amount of child maintenance you would pay, please see Money Advice Service link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Sep-15 @ 12:07 PM
Hi help needed please.
I have 2 children with my ex 6 and 2. They live with my ex but due to working on shifts I have them every night for tea every other week when on earlys and when im on lates I have my youngest in the mornings the 3 days hes not at nursery. I also have them both to stay at weekends. Early shifts fri night, all day sat they go home sat night then I have them most of the day sunday. Late shifts I have them all day sat, sat night and all day sunday. We share custody although they live with her. Me and my new partner also buy them clothes when they need it, £5 pocket money each week and half of the school uniform costs. I give my ex £100 a month for the kids but they always come to me with clothes that are tatty, old and stained. If we have spare time then we have the kids extra and during school holidays. She is now trying to say I need to give her more money. I love my kids and never want them to be without but I feel shes being unfair demanding more when she doesn't look after them properly as it is. She has also just had a new baby with someone else and I don't want to be giving her money for my kids when shes spending it on the new baby. Its not my fault shes self employed and her partner barely works any hours.
Sorry for the rant the maintenance calculator doesn't seem to help anything but the basic details.
smithy - 7-Sep-15 @ 3:26 PM
@Big mutha - as specified in the article, if the children come and live with you, your partner would be paying a reduced rate, i.e if the child spends 175 nights or more with the non-resident parent, maintenance payments will be reduced by ½. Some families agree a family-based shared-care arrangement whereby no maintenance is paid, but each parent contributes jointly to their childrens' welfare through mutual negiotiation. However, it doesn't sound like this would work in your partner's case. I can only suggest you/he talks to Child Maintenance Options via the link here and see what they have to say about the matter. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Jun-15 @ 11:31 AM
my partner has not been able to see his son for a few yearsl. he was making regular payments but the mother stopped them and moved away. He now knows which area they live in and wants nothing more then to see his son. we have been looking for where to start but all this information is confusing and we are unsure of how to approach the situation, any advice would be helpful thank you
anon - 18-Jun-15 @ 11:49 AM
Hi, my partner has recently moved in with me and we had to recalculate his maintinance payments to his ex to accommodate the new situation as we have a baby together and I have a child from previous, he has to pay for 2 children we calculated on the csa gov website. She has now decided she wants him to be 50% responsible with time and money she has said and has sat the children down and told them this. We obviously can't afford much more with some of the ridiculous demands with our own bills and what we already pay her maintinance, and he has his children regular where we provide clothing and general day to day costs when they are with us, so what does she mean as when she is asked she keeps ranting, and if she wants us to have his other 2 children 50% we will need a bigger home for their comfort which we can ill afford?I'm confused?? Sorry for the long winded comment just want to make sure all the children are catered for fairly and equally by all.
big mutha - 17-Jun-15 @ 9:30 AM
@Sophie - you would really have to get in touch with Child Benefit directly to ask this, via the link here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jun-15 @ 1:55 PM
My partner is officially claiming child benefit but I'm the primary carer and have left work to look after our baby. How can I challenge this as he claims he will sort it out but hasn't - it's been many months now.
Sophie - 7-Jun-15 @ 7:24 PM
@Anti nowhere punk - by the time she gets to 16, she will be able to make her own decision about where she wishes to live.
Debs - 2-Jun-15 @ 2:00 PM
@Fonzie - I'm afraid you would have to go direct to the CMS for this question to be answered, as we couldn't comment on whether your ex's earnings were legitimate or not or whether he is paying the correct amount, which I presume has already been worked out by the CMS on the basis of the information he has given. In many cases self-employed people, if they have a good accountant, can find ways of making it look as though they are not earning very much. Unfortunately, there is little you can do, unless you can prove that he is earning more then he is letting on.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Jun-15 @ 11:02 AM
My step children are part of a shared care order with the father and my wife were they spend weeks with each parent alternatively, but the eldest is approaching 16. Her father keeps trying to pressure her into moving in with him full time once she turns 16, is this legal or does the shared care order last till the children are 18. She will be in full time education till she is 18 if that makes any difference?
Anti nowhere punk - 29-May-15 @ 9:08 PM
We have shared care of our 2 children, them staying at his every other weekend Fri - Sun evening. I have asked for Child Maintenance to be paid and they worked it out that he pays approx £54 per week for both children. He didn't make his first payment and clearly demonstrated that he had no intention of paying any CM and has now presented them with evidence of low earnings, declaring an income (self-employed) of £245 to HMRC for 2014! He has a new baby with his g/f and her child also lives with them, so he will be in receipt of CTC and CB for their child and her child too. The CM agent I spoke to agrees that nobody can live on £245 pa as an income. His g/f is self-employed too and gets CM for her daughter from her ex. Makes no sense that if he's in receipt of CTC and CB for his child that he cannot afford to spend money on his other children? Are these benefits not included in the calculation as they are meant to be for the children that live with him full-time and not our 2 children? He could easily be earning over £30k due to his qualifications, but chooses to live off the benefits that are meant for his children.
Fonzie - 27-May-15 @ 5:19 PM
@Sue - I am sorry to hear this. Currently, the resident carer is the only parent that is entitled to claim benefits for the children. If you get awarded residency in court, then of course you will be the one that is entitled to claim.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-May-15 @ 12:00 PM
My two children (aged 3 & 5)
Live with their father I have them every 2 weeks fri night sat all day/night and Sunday till 4pm
I also have half the school holidays
At present he takes all the benefitsavailable for both children am I I titled to anything?
We are at present going to court over the children as he snatched them but has equal rights so court have said that for now he can keep them :-(((((
Sue - 17-May-15 @ 8:58 PM
I have been married to my wife for 19 yrs we have two children one is 16 and the other is 14, we are in separating and selling our home and splitting the equity, see is keeping our car and have all our possessions, we are going to get our own places to live And share the time of looking after our children equally. I earn a good income but my wife only works part time, how much maintenance would see be entitled too. Can anyone help as I'm concerned about what I can afford to live on.
Pater - 27-Mar-15 @ 7:41 PM
@tasha - I have included a link that may helphere.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jan-15 @ 10:01 AM
i have recenlty got joint custordy of my 6 year old, meaning my ex and i have our child the same amount of time working onn a two weekly rota however, in the school holidays when i collect my child from my ex i collect him at 1pm and return him at 6pm meaning my ch8ild is with me for longer. My ex recfieves cb and ctc, i am currently debating wether to make a claim for cb and ctc myself as i have to pay for transport to get my son to school, i still buy him clothes and if i was to go back to work which i would like to do i wou8ld have to pay childcare out of my own pocket. I am also a student at college hoping to go to university this year and i would somehow have to fund child care on the days that i would attend uni and have my child. Do i have a leg to stand on if i make a claim?
tasha - 6-Jan-15 @ 3:40 PM
@Lizzy - here is a link to an NHS site that should help you and included what benefits you can get link here . Also, you should have a word with Child Options link here, it offers a maintenance benefit calculator and you can also speak to them direct. Now you have had a diagnosis, there should be a lot more help out there for you.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Nov-14 @ 10:10 AM
My ex and I separated 6 years ago - he took me to court and was awarded 40% of property and just CSA payments. Our son was diagnosed with autism last year - my ex has been promoted to Head teacher yet i am struggling to increase my hours as I have the children 6 days a week and need to be there to take him to school and collect. I also need to provide lots of after school activities as he struggles in social situations? Can I claim more maintenance because of this diagnosis. My Ex refuses to accept this diagnosis and constantly blames our son's behaviour on my poor parenting.Any advice?
Would I be able to have reduction in his share of property? His career is thriving and mine is stunted.
LIZZY - 25-Nov-14 @ 1:28 AM
@Lynn - I think you would need to get some further advice on this. Here is a link to the CMA child maintenance calculator and page which might help you work out if you are entitled to any money. Link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Nov-14 @ 12:33 PM
i am a single mother with 2 girls who has shared residents my x husband has the child tax credit for the 2 of them also one child benefit for the oldest he doesn't give me any money at all , he has them 4 nights i have them 3 nights. It is so unfair has i have them Friday till the Monday drop them of at school have them back on Wednesday from 3 till 8, holidays it is to be week about . Have you any advice please
lynn - 21-Nov-14 @ 9:45 PM
@Masuma - in the first instance it sounds like you need to speak with someone directly regarding your pregnancy. You can ring CareConfidential pregnancy helpline to speak to an advisor. Tel 0300 4000 999 link here . You can also call Family Lives on 0808 800 2222. It can give extra confidential help and advice. link here . If you haven't visited a GP yet, then you will alo need to do that. A doctor will also be able to help advise on your best route forward. As it sounds like your boyfriend is in Balgladesh, I'm afraid we can't advise on your situation with regards to any financial support as it is outside our remit. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Nov-14 @ 12:25 PM
I am pregnant now is. 6months I came in London as a student
After few years I go back bangladesh for two months in the mean time I meet
With my boyfriend we stay together for one week
And then I come back london I find out I am pregnant now my boy friend
Ignore me . I can't. Do anything I can't tell my parents about that
In this condition what should I do how can I service with my child .
Masuma - 10-Nov-14 @ 6:40 PM
my question is I have shared care with my husband he pays me child support we have 5 kids and he makes a lot of money. I have not made that much money and always qualified for school lunchesand material fees. Now that I'm married state took my new husbands income and we did not qualify for free school lunches and material fees. My ex husband refuses to pay for the kids meals on his weeks and says that's what he is giving me child support for. In our divorce decree we are each required to pay 50% of all school activities sports exc. But he says that he does not have to pay for the school lunches because that is what child support is for. How do I handle this ? 5 children that's 50 a week. After paying for bills , groceries and other expenses. I'm broke
suki - 20-Oct-14 @ 7:01 PM
My sister has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has two children one 24 and 9 year old daughter she has been in an on off relationship with the father who has a drink problem his mum lives next door and has basically taken over as a mum in the 9 year olds life the partners mum is on medication for depression and other illness I am concerned that my sister is being now I feel manipulated into getting married to the father of the child to put my neice in their sole custody and for him to have a right to their inheritance where do I as an aunt of the children especially the 9 years old upbringing or the financial implication of the 25 years old inheritance
Pink bow - 19-Oct-14 @ 11:22 PM
I have 2 boys 11,and 14. 6mts ago after my divorce settlement (which my ex got £50,000 more than me because she had both boys with her and I had no where for them to stay with me) I bought a house with my new partner and her 3 children aged 13, 16,in school, 19 year old off work long term with illness ( major opp on spine/ spinal cord wont be back to work for some time) There father pays them £100 per mt allowance, notting to my partener, As soon as we moved in my oldest moved in with us more than 5 mts ago now end April, so I let my ex claim for them both until he was sure he wanted to stay with us, we now need the money so im going to inform tax credit and child benefit of the changes, I also have space for my younger son who stays every other weekend and comes for tea at least one evening a week I earn 26k my partener 15k and the ex is about 18k doesn't have a partner living with her but has a fiance in turkey.my question is, will I have to pay any moneys to my ex ? If anyone has any facts on the matter it would be appreciated, many thanks
Daddy paddy - 25-Sep-14 @ 9:47 PM
Parent with care - Why am I paying ?250 per month since August 10 2013 for my son who has been detained under a Section2/3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 -Therefore not living with the PWC since this time. My Son is not in the care at all of the PWC but under the Mental Health Act Restrained against his will in Mental Health Hospitals. To deal with the Trauma of ur own Son being incarcerated against his will for his own Health is bad enough, but to Pay the CSA/ PWC at the same time is Deplorable and in my mind Unfair- Unjust and Illegal as he is Not in the Care of the PWC?
Appreciate any constructive advice on a way forward with an Agency that will not take the facts of this Case in to Account! Shame these Pen Pushers don't go though the same Trauma ! Any advice greatly appreciated.
CSA Suck - 4-Feb-14 @ 2:59 AM
I've been married for nearly 10yrs,we have a 4yr old child together,he kicked me out on Christmas day because I confronted him of cheating on me,he admitted to it all.so I'm living with my parents at the moment and have applied for CB,CM,Income support because I've got no job my ex partner employed me.He has been visiting our daughter and she stayed over at his house but was feeling uncomptable with out me. But his not sticking to his word and we have had a lot of arguments about our daughters visiting arrangement so I told him if he wants to see her he should apply for custody do it properly ang legally.What share do you think I should have from the family house were we lived? Because there is 2 of us and 1 of him. Please someone I need some advise.thanks.
A - 26-Jan-14 @ 11:27 PM
Chucker, if you are over 25 and work over certain hours you can claim working tax credit regardless of how often you do/don't have your children.You don't have to have children to claim WTC.
stepmammy-1 - 13-May-13 @ 1:12 PM
Can I claim working tax credit when I share custody of my children half the week as I live on my own and its not cheap caring for them