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Shared Care of a Child

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 25 November 2014 |
 
Csa Shared Care Non-resident Parent

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.

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@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
Hi 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
chucker - 28-Apr-13 @ 10:01 PM
To Furnace: The CSA is to be changed but they will apply similar/ same rules. They are governed by legislation and will enforce this. This is similar to say the Police. They work on overnight stays. So you therefore would have to have your child on a regular pattern of say 3 overnight stays per week. If you have this you are close to shared care but not quite there. She may not want to give more time than this because the new rules suggest shared care and no maintenance to be paid. My advice is to go to court and apply for a shared care order which outlines the arrangement in place and if granted you have equal access. I have already done this and been through the process. However each case will have its own circumstances. Your application maybe harder/ same/ easier than mine. I self represented and came through with a positive result. It takes time, so be patient. The system says the is no gender inequality but from my own experience I felt I had to prove myself as a father. I have no regrets. Means tested, I don't believe would occur, but I do feel the use of the maintenance is for here and now and this is recognized. All she would do is say it goes on this that and the other. Easily explained by her. A court may look at the financial side but only if it was relevant to the case. It primarily goes on the parent with care, who receives Child Benefit. Child Benefit is often the key to who is the primary carer and the person that can apply/ have child maintenance. Another would be to apply for the Child Benefit if she is above a £50000 to £60000 income as this is now means tested. You can directly apply for Child Benefit and they will look at the circumstances and if refused you can apply to be heard via a tribunal so your individual circumstances may change the outcome. As a parent you could apply for Tax Credits via HMRC, as you are under the threshold and she possibly can not claim these if above £58000 income. Child Benefit and Tax Credits are HMRC and the CSA is under the DWP. The above is not guaranteed but worth a try. Hope this is of help! M
M - 12-Feb-13 @ 7:01 PM
To Furnace: The CSA is to be changed but they will apply similar/ same rules. They are governed by legislation and will enforce this. This is similar to say the Police. They work on overnight stays. So you therefore would have to have your child on a regular pattern of say 3 overnight stays per week. If you have this you are close to shared care but not quite there. She may not want to give more time than this because the new rules suggest shared care and no maintenance to be paid. My advice is to go to court and apply for a shared care order which outlines the arrangement in place and if granted you have equal access. I have already done this and been through the process. However each case will have its own circumstances. Your application maybe harder/ same/ easier than mine. I self represented and came through with a positive result. It takes time, so be patient. The system says the is no gender inequality but from my own experience I felt I had to prove myself as a father. I have no regrets. Means tested, I don't believe would occur, but I do feel the use of the maintenance is for here and now and this is recognized. All she would do is say it goes on this that and the other. Easily explained by her. A court may look at the financial side but only if it was relevant to the case. It primarily goes on the parent with care, who receives Child Benefit. Child Benefit is often the key to who is the primary carer and the person that can apply/ have child maintenance. Another would be to apply for the Child Benefit if she is above a £50000 to £60000 income as this is now means tested. You can directly apply for Child Benefit and they will look at the circumstances and if refused you can apply to be heard via a tribunal so your individual circumstances may change the outcome. As a parent you could apply for Tax Credits via HMRC, as you are under the threshold and she possibly can not claim these if above £58000 income. Child Benefit and Tax Credits are HMRC and the CSA is under the DWP. The above is not guaranteed but worth a try. Hope this is of help! M
M - 12-Feb-13 @ 6:20 PM
I have a seven year old son who stays with me 12 nights out of a four week cycle and also has equal days split over holiday periods.I have consistantly requested equal access rights to my son ,however his mother has refused.There are no reasons I can see for her to do this other than spite.With regard to maintance I provide my son with a home,Which I rent,food(this includes paying for his school meals),clothing,activities and holidays.I am on a low income and my ex has just got the csa involved and is asking for more.She herself is an extremely wealthy woman whose income is provided by a large portfolio of stocks and shares and she also owns property to a value of around 800,000.At a recent mediation session she declared her income as approx 9000 per year.She also made clear that any monies recieved from me would be put into a savings account for my son until he was eighteen.Though I would give my son my last penny if need be I wonder where I stand in terms of payments to the CSA as it is my beleif that the CSA takes the money for the childs day to day living.I feel that any extra I would have to give would in fact be taking away that which I am currently able to provide for my son.I wondered If my ex partner will have to be means tested and also what the situation is with regard to her not revealing her true income to mediation or the CSA.Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
furnace - 4-Feb-13 @ 5:28 PM
......forgot to also add, I searched this - maria miller mp announces 50-50 shared care See what you come up with makes interesting reading. Dated the 2nd July it is in the wording..... Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller said: “Parents’ responsibility continues post separation, particularly when it comes to financial support. We are determined to support, encourage and- if necessary- enforce parental financial responsibility. It is right that those claiming benefits make a greater real contribution towards their children’s upbringing. Our wider welfare reforms will ensure that working to support your family is always a better option than dependency on benefits.” The changes announced today will help ensure that all non-resident parents make a meaningful financial contribution to the welfare of their children and offer a fairer deal for parents who share the care of their children. A widely resented Child Support Agency rule will be scrapped for clients of the new scheme. This required some parents to pay maintenance even though they share the care of their children on a 50-50 basis. In the future, no maintenance will need to be paid in cases like these where care is shared exactly equally. Hope this helps! M
M - 2-Feb-13 @ 11:32 AM
Hi All, I have been doing some research and I have found that since October 2012, it appears that parents who have exactly shared care - 50/50, have a much fairer system for paying maintenance. It may not be guaranteed (disclaimer) but the link below is a Government Department displaying in the public domain, information to support "Equal Shared Care". The Child Maintenance Service (part of the Department of Work and Pensions). CMS I understand, are taking over the previous CSA with a new system and method for maintenance from October 2012 and I found on a web site as a guide for MP's for their constituents, so they can no doubt dispense advice. I came across an MPs guide to child maintenance and this had a part on page 33 that indicates the new changes. It indicates there will be no child maintenance liability when the day-to-day care of a child or children is shared exactly equally between both parents. Both parents will be required to show evidence that the day-to-day care is shared exactly equally. As long as you can support this by way of evidence, such as Shared Residence Orders, structured arrangements etc particularly ones with structures in place for a good period of time, should hopefully allow some equality. For me, I will always provide for my son, irrespective of the above, but I strongly feel from my experience this provides a fairer way for me to bring my child up by my own efforts. Good look all! M
M - 2-Feb-13 @ 11:05 AM
onwards and upwards.........tally ho
imalwaysrightimhuman - 28-Jan-13 @ 12:25 AM
Is'nt the situation dealt with through the reduction in payable child support due to shared care, ie 3/7ths or 1/2 according to the number on nights spent ? I do agree that although the current trend is toward "shared care" or in legal terms "joint residence" the child benefit regime needs to catch up with reality. We still get the feminists on their high horses claiming themselves to be the primary carer as if that gives them divine right to make all the decisions about the child and leave the father in the dark.
madmike - 25-Jan-13 @ 2:26 PM
A message to the author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister (writer of the above article) I am a dad of one child, a son, and I remarried last year. My relationship with my son is great and he one of two of the best things in my life, the other is my current wife. My ex wife and I have a shared residence order and I actually have more than 50% of the time with my son, full parental responsibility and involved in every aspect of his life. She works with a good salary and was receiving Child Benefit, but this is currently being disputed by me, as I feel she does not use this money as it is intended. I often ended up paying child maintenance but paying again and sometimes 3 times for basic items the money provided by me in the first place, should have covered, i.e basic appropriate clothing etc. It came to a head and this situation had to be challenged to ensure fairness. I am all for fathers to take responsibility for their children but fairness should and must prevail......Child maintenance and Child Benefit are in current suspension awaiting a decision from Child Benefit, and to be fair the CSA have inquired about the situation and left this alone until a decision is made who should receive Child Benefit. This said, I continue to support my son fully without question. Child Benefit can only be paid to one parent when one child is involved. But the recipient can split this but my ex will not. I personally feel the fairest way if I received CB is to share it equally and we both independently support our son. Sounds simple, but the system sees a parent with care and the non resident parent. If you are non resident and even with at least equal care, you still pay! My query is the paragraph by the author and I have researched this to death and no further forward: "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". It is the last sentence that intrigues me and what this means and where in law is this applied to the legislation of CB, CSA etc Can the author or anyone else reading this possibly share their wisdom on this situation. Answers on a postcard most welcome. Thanks! M
M - 18-Jan-13 @ 11:14 PM
Hi Gary, i'm afraid not.I'm no solicitor but i'm in the same position and as she got in there first thats the way it goes.I have to pay csa money too and we have equal split of our daughter.Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
cp - 17-Jul-12 @ 10:33 PM
i have split from my partner we have 4 children. She has moved out and we are sharing the children equally.She currently receives child tax credits and child benefits.If i am having equal custody and responsibility should i not receive half the payments for the childrens food, clothes etc, at this moment in time she will not hand share any of the benefit payments, is there anything legally binding that can be done ?
gary - 9-Jul-12 @ 9:27 PM
I have split with my partner of 9 years, we have two kids. She is moving out and we are sharing care of the kids, me Monday after school to Friday morning, her from Friday after school then dropping them at school on Monday. She currently receives child tax credits etc. If i am to have equally shared custody and responsibility should i not receive half of the payments for things like school dinners, clothes etc. etc. She is saying she will send me half of the payments that currently go to her but she cannot be trusted to do this so i would like to know if it can be split between us or legally set up or is the system not flexible enough for this. I know that if its left to her to pay me when she is short of cash any time she will withhold the payment and never pay it. Is there anything legally binding than can be arranged?
BeeKay - 13-Jun-12 @ 6:35 PM
me and my ex partner have joint custody and shared access of our child but i certainly do alot more parenting in the terms of school and clubs, driving etc. and pay 4 the majority. during the holidays he is leaving our child in the care of his girlfiend who has already got a child that has been put up for foster care by social services. what are my rights when this goes to court? and what are hers
hats - 12-Apr-12 @ 2:52 PM
i lost my partner a couple of years ago. an it was agreed that id let my boyfriends parents would always be apart of our daughers life. we went to court an go joint custody. they have the child benifit number an i cant get any help etc working tax credit housing benifit. i work part/full time im really strugglin what can i do?
jodie - 21-Feb-12 @ 7:57 PM
i pay maintenance for my girls, i also have them 10 nights a month these are week days too. my ex wife gets tax credit, childbenefit and csa from me, my Question is i get no financial help when it comes to; child care and paying for school meals. As i still have to work, to support me and the children and wanted to know my rights around this as i believe this is totaly unfair as i feel i pay for this already with my csa payments. would love some feed back on this thankyou.
oldman - 9-Feb-12 @ 2:11 PM
How can this be right, if it is exactly joint shared custody why do i still have to pay her maintenance, why dont she have to pay me anything for me looking after the children?
jimster - 8-Feb-12 @ 9:15 PM
Rachel is so wrong! this is THEIR child. how can 1 parent have more rights than the other? both parents deserve equal rights with their children. shutting people out of kids lives that love them is devious and cruel and can seriously backfire when the child learns the person isnt bad and the mother shut him out for personal reasons of jealousy and malice
gr8dad - 2-Nov-11 @ 5:13 PM
My new girlfriend is wonderful with my sons. My ex is a devious child destroying so and so, try not to hate and be jealous. very hard I know but it affects the children involved, honestly from experience.she might be a great person with your son
gr8dad - 2-Nov-11 @ 5:08 PM
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