Home > Child Support & Family > Shared Care of a Child

Shared Care of a Child

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 28 Jul 2017 |
 
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/ CMS's Decision

The CSA/CMS 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/CMS, 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 Child Maintenance Service (CMS). 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/CMS 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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Hi, I left the marital home end of May because of an abusive and controlling husband toward me and my 3 boys (17-14 and 11). I am getting divorce for domestic abuse. Recently my husband has put allmy belongings (clothes) in bags,We have a joint tenancy agreement and my Landlord does not reply to my text.He refusing me to see my children and they are not replying to my texts. Today I received a letter as he ask for Child Maintenance. Do I need to pay? How does it work? Thank you
Me - 28-Jul-17 @ 1:53 PM
Cazo - Your Question:
Hi my son's ex has texted him saying she has a letter from csa saying he has to pay her £23 a week for his two children, he has them Friday - Sunday every week then all the school holidays. Csa has not been in touch with him about this. I have told him to get in touch with the csa to find out if she is entitled to this amount every week he is zero hours contract, he gets paid fortnightly only gets 120 wage most times.

Our Response:
Your son can see how much he should be paying via the CMS link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Jul-17 @ 2:44 PM
Hi my son's ex has texted him saying she has a letter from csa saying he has to pay her £23 a week for his two children, he has them Friday - Sunday every week then all the school holidays. Csa has not been in touch with him about this. I have told him to get in touch with the csa to find out if she is entitled to this amount every week he is zero hours contract, he gets paid fortnightly only gets 120 wage most times.
Cazo - 22-Jul-17 @ 8:41 PM
Pantsnvests - Your Question:
If my child whom I care for 6/7 days a week goes to stay at their grandparents for a fortnight during school summer holidays does the non resident parent have the right to stop the maintenance payments for this period?

Our Response:
If calculated via CMS, then no as the payments are averaged out across the year. If the agreement is family based, then it is to be negotiated between both parents as to what you think is in the best interests of your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Jul-17 @ 12:38 PM
If my child whom I care for 6/7 days a week goes to stay at their grandparents for a fortnight during school summer holidays does the non resident parent have the right to stop the maintenance payments for this period?
Pantsnvests - 13-Jul-17 @ 9:17 PM
Hi me and my ex have got 50 50 shared care with the 3 boys. I have bipolar and sometimes struggle with it. That's why we went 50 50. I'm I entitled to csa. Also do I get to keep all the benefits aswell.
Mitch1 - 8-Jun-17 @ 11:10 PM
My ex REFUSES to give me bank details I have been asking for years, she keeps saying she doesn't have a bank account.......i know for a fact that is Bull. She just keeps wanting it in cash. I don't want anything to do with her, she is a manipulative drug addict and I know she uses the money for drugs and not for the kids. I have spoken to the csa but they kept saying it doesn't matter as she is legally entitled to the money. Can I give the children the money directly?
Nick - 27-May-17 @ 8:35 PM
fozzy - Your Question:
I have not been able to have my son alfie and stopped from contacting him at all.for last ten yrs I hav e had him every weekend since birth and helped during the week if needed and school holidays as his mum started back at work.i tried making contact after first few weeks by going up to see if my son was playing out.i was seen and after a few times she had police come and arressted me for harrassment.its still under investigation so I not been charged. it does mean I have not contacted her since in fear of being arressted again.im on his birth certificate and im desperate to see him and have a strong bond.im not sure how to go about this lee

Our Response:
You would need to seek legal advice regarding this as much depends upon whether you will be charged or whether the charges will be dropped. If you have had your son for the past 10 years, then you have a good solid relationship with him and a court will take this into consideration. However, much depends upon why your ex stopped contact and what the results of the investigation will be.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-May-17 @ 12:11 PM
i have not been able to have my son alfie and stopped from contacting him at all..for last ten yrs i hav e had him every weekend since birth and helped during the weekif needed and school holidays as his mum started back at work...i tried making contact after first few weeks by going upto see if my son was playing out...i was seen and after a few times she had police come and arressted me for harrassment...its still under investigation so i not been charged. it does mean i have not contacted her since in fear of being arressted again..im on his birth certificate and im desperate to see him and have a strong bond...im not sure how to go about this lee
fozzy - 24-May-17 @ 11:39 PM
Hi I have my 2 boys 50 50 basis and then more some weeks. I provide clothes food trips etc and always will while my boys are in my care.my ex claims for after school fees + other benifits she's entitled too roughly £220 a week plus her weekly wage.she now saying I have to contribute to school fees but I don't think this is fair as it's me who provides/cares for the majority of what I've said above.just want to know who is eligible to pay after school fee's as to me if she claims then she should pay as I don't get a penny towards anything for my boys ?? Thanks Damian
Day - 19-May-17 @ 2:25 AM
Hi I've been paying via CSA for last 5years based on residency of 52+ nights a year. Following the reassessment to move into the new Child Support Service my ex has stated I have children less than 52. I have a schedule proposed to see kids over coming year more than 52 nights however the CSA are only taking her word and therefore over charging. What can be done in this situation to prove the 52 nights? Thanks
Mainy - 11-May-17 @ 7:38 PM
Hi, does ex-husband's assets / lifestyle / court ordered maintenance arrears matter to the CMS? Does the fact that he now has children 50 percent of time, equal in proportion to the time my gorgeous wee ones spend with me, matter to the CMS at all? Care is fully shared, divided exactly in half, not only by number of nights, but also by day-to-day care. Ex is in almost £7000 of court ordered child maintenance arrears and has now applied to CMS who have assessed that I should pay him £9000 per year because he is not working and I am? He lives in 5-bedroom mansion, owns 3 luxury cars including a Porsche, luxury holidays, extravagant teacher gifts, private lessons for children. I live in tiny terraced house, 10-year old second hand car. Key point though is that he bought dozens of court orders over the last 6 years paying his legal team over £1million to ensure care is shared completely 50/50 (where I had friends help me / represented myself). And now that he's been fired, and hasn't paid court ordered maintenance in almost a year, I now have the CMS telling me I need to pay maintenance to him?? I thought the UK family court system was dismal, terrifying and bullying, but at least I thought it couldn't get any worse. I thought it was over and he couldn't take any more away from me. In walks CMS, and oh how wrong I was.
Exhausted - 13-Mar-17 @ 12:04 PM
I have two children who live with dad I have limited income and pay my maintenance as is legally required dad is haply for one of my children on shared care but financial I cannot afford him to stay that long without starving myself and going without things I need is dad responsible to provide for child who is staying with me if he is claiming benefits and I cannot provide what the child needs due to my own financial situation and if not is it classed as neglect of the child
Overwhelmed - 12-Mar-17 @ 6:09 PM
My ex has been living with his gf for months and has lied to cms saying he lives with his mum. His mum has the children 2 nights a week and he visits them. Cms have agreed he is living with his mum when he isn't. He said he doesn't want them anymore. So reducing payments. I cannot prove otherwise, apart from asking the children which they won't do. Help please
Me - 8-Mar-17 @ 5:25 PM
Jojo - Your Question:
I'm a separated mum to two children my son is being diagnosed with ADHD and his dad lives back with his parents,I'm struggling to cope with my son alone and was wondering where I stand does he have to see him just on a Saturday for four hours as he thinks he does or is there something I can do to Make him have him more.Any thoughts grateful received.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, I'm afraid there is little you can do to force your ex to see or play a larger part in your son's life if he doesn't wish to. If you are struggling with this issue, you may wish to see your GP to see if there is any respite services in your area. Please also see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Feb-17 @ 12:09 PM
I'm a separated mum to two children my son is being diagnosed with ADHD and his dad lives back with his parents,I'm struggling to cope with my son alone and was wondering where I stand does he have to see him just on a Saturday for four hoursas he thinks he does or is there something I can do to Make him have him more.Any thoughts grateful received.
Jojo - 26-Feb-17 @ 4:05 PM
Hi I split up from my ex husband over a year ago. I left our seven year old son with him in the marital home as I felt this was best for continuity and his well being. i moved into my mums which is not very far away - practical for school, etc. I tried to discuss finances before I left but he was having none of it. We ended up at mediation but it failed so we ended up in court and finally agreed shared care. My ex has my son 4 nights a week, I have him 3 nights a week and we split the holidays in half. My ex approached the CMS and I pay based on this arrangement but as he would never discuss money I feel this was a bullying tatic using the services to gain financial benefit. I signed over the child benefit willingly but then realised I can't claim the working tax credits because he immediatley puta stop on the joint claim and put his own claim in without prior discussion. I'm entitled to nothing because he has our son one more night a week than me. It just seem right that I'm paying out twice... working two jobs to make ends meet but if i do over time will I end up paying my ex more in CMS payments?
Moonbeam77 - 17-Feb-17 @ 2:21 PM
I have shared care of my son, 3 nights one week and 4 nights the following week.I would like to know what I have to pay his mum each week as we are miles away in agreement
Bluie - 17-Feb-17 @ 12:11 PM
Anon123 - Your Question:
I have 2 children, I receive the benefits and so am the main carer. Their dad has them 3 nights a week and so pays the lowest amount of maintenence. He has them from Wednesday at 6pm - Saturday at 4pm. However I pay for our youngest's childcare on those days and look after them after school until he picks them up at 5/6pm. Also, if one of them is ill, or its a school holiday, I take the day off work or pay for them to go to childcare. Does this sound fair?My understanding was that he pays lower maintenence as he incurs more costs from having them more. However, he's not spending any extra for childcare, sports clubs, clothing or anything on those days. Just dinner and a bed to sleep in over night on 3 nights and a daytime on the Saturday.

Our Response:
This is an issue you would have to resolve between yourselves. As there is no particular law regarding such disputes, if you cannot come to an agreement between you, your only recourse would be to suggest mediation.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Feb-17 @ 1:41 PM
I have 2 children, I receive the benefits and so am the main carer. Their dad has them 3 nights a week and so pays the lowest amount of maintenence. He has them from Wednesday at 6pm - Saturday at 4pm. However I pay for our youngest's childcare on those days and look after them after school until he picks them up at 5/6pm. Also, if one of them is ill, or its a school holiday, I take the day off work or pay for them to go to childcare. Does this sound fair? My understanding was that he pays lower maintenence as he incurs more costs from having them more. However, he's not spending any extra for childcare, sports clubs, clothing or anything on those days. Just dinner and a bed to sleep in over night on 3 nights and a daytime on the Saturday.
Anon123 - 13-Feb-17 @ 10:46 PM
Confused Mama - Your Question:
Yesterday I received the annual review letter and I got a little confused.Yes my son daddy does have him 52 night of the year. Underneath this I read Local Aithority Care for (child) is 1 night per week.I have read it Over and over and it still says the same thing.My son is not and has never been in LA care.Can anyone please tell me why it's on paper and where CMS might have got this information from?Any replies would be much appreciated.Thanks A confused Mam

Our Response:
You would have to speak to the CMS directly regarding this matter.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Feb-17 @ 10:00 AM
Yesterday i received the annual review letter and I got a little confused. Yes my son daddy does have him 52 night of the year. Underneath this I read Local Aithority Care for (child) is 1 night per week. I have read it Over and over and it still says the same thing. My son is not and has never been in LA care. Can anyone please tell me why it's on paper and where CMS might have got this information from? Any replies would be much appreciated. Thanks A confused Mam
Confused Mama - 9-Feb-17 @ 3:23 AM
Hi I left my husband 5 days ago as it was unbearable to live with him anymore unfortunately I left my 2 children with him.I am trying to find out what my rights are and how I can get 50/50 shared care of my children My husband is telling me I have no rights at all to see the children as I was the one that walked out and that I need to pay him £250 per month and I need to sign over child benrfit and he will allow me to see my kids we'd night and stay and Friday night and stay and sat this is the first week ad he's already changed it and said kids can't stay he's also quizing me about my money I have been back to the house and he's hidden the kids passports and birth certificates and demanded the child benefit What can I do and is he right
Batgirl78 - 4-Feb-17 @ 12:57 PM
"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." The CMS says no! I am trying to find it in the 2012 and 1991 act
Drahcir - 27-Jan-17 @ 4:24 PM
Dugsta - Your Question:
I have my daughter 3 sometimes 4 nights at my house or grandma house does this mean shared care and don't have to pay maintenance although willing to do so.

Our Response:
If you have agreed with your ex that you have shared care and you don't have to pay child maintenance then theoretically yes. However, in a practical sense, the parent who is in receipt of child benefit etc is considered the primary carer, while the other other parent the NRP (non-reisdent parent) who is also classed as the 'paying' parent. This means if you both disagreed over your current agreement, then you 'may' be liable to pay child maintenance if the matter went to court. However, if you currently have a shared care arrangement, the chances are a court would rule to continue this in which case your 'shared-care' status would then become 'official'. I hope this makes sense.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jan-17 @ 2:54 PM
I have my daughter 3 sometimes 4 nights at my house or grandma house does this mean shared care and don't have to pay maintenance although willing to do so.
Dugsta - 25-Jan-17 @ 12:40 PM
Danielle - Your Question:
Hi all, looking for some help and advice my son is 13 years old and has been staying between me and his dad now for a few years one week here one week there his dad claims all entitlements for our son has done always we set up an arrangement where he would give me £50 a month more than fair considering I have him the same amount of time over 2 years ago this stopped and has put it off coming up with excuses I dont no what to do I'm currently on maternity so don't have a big income paying bills and feeding 3 kids is a huge stretch recently.Thankyou in advance

Our Response:
If your ex is considered to be the resident parent/primary carer, then he will receive the benefits directly, meaning what he gives you is discretionary. It means there is little you can do here to make a claim. You may wish to speak to CMS directly here to see whether you may be entitled to child maintenance if he is working and you are not.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Jan-17 @ 11:04 AM
Hi all, looking for some help and advice my sonis 13 years old and has been staying between me and his dad now for a few years one week here one week there his dad claims all entitlements for our son has done always we set up an arrangement where he would give me £50 a month more than fair considering I have him the same amount of time over 2 years ago this stopped and has put it off coming up with excuses i dont no what to do I'm currently on maternity so don't have a big income paying bills and feeding 3 kids is a huge stretch recently. Thankyou in advance
Danielle - 23-Jan-17 @ 1:11 PM
My 15 year old daughter stays with me three nights a week Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday but her mum keeps changing nights or adding extra nights without any notice. Is it possible to have something formally drawn up that dictates what the nights are and don't change. I don't mind the odd time with notice as everybody has to make changes but my ex abuses our agreement. Also she goes away on holiday 3 separate weeks in the year and generally never says but expects me to have our daughter on those occasions. Any help or advice appreciated Thanks
Grumpy - 1-Jan-17 @ 6:40 PM
Carolina - Your Question:
Hi, my partner is still living under the same roof as his ex-wife and children whilst he completes a court application for the ex-marital home to be sold. He mostly cares for his children overnight whilst she stays out drinking. The CSA have assessed him for child maintenance on the grounds that she has full-time care of the children, the reason that the CSA have given is that she receives the child benefit and is claiming she is the full-time carer. He has been presented with a huge bill totalling over £5,000. How can this be justified??? Please offer advice on how can they base their calculation with him living in the house and basing the decision purely on child benefit. How can he prove he is the primary carer? Thank you very much indeed.

Our Response:
This is a touch confusing. As a rule, payments are made by the 'non-resident' parent to the primary carer and is not only calculated by the NRP's earnings, but also by the amount of nights the NRP has the children overnight. This, of course, wouldn't apply if he is resident under the same roof, as effectively he is still a 'resident' parent. If he thinks the calculations are unfair, he would have to complain or appeal, please see gov.uk link here. He may also wish to seek some independent professional advice. There are organisations such as NACSA that can help, but will charge.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Nov-16 @ 10:53 AM
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