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

Shared Care of a Child

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 17 Aug 2016 |
 
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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[Add a Comment]
coverpoint - Your Question:
Hi, I could do with clarification regarding 'overnight care'. My ex is claiming 'shared care', but is often with her new partner on nights when he is supposed to have her daughter. He leaves her with his grandmother or her aunt on these occasions. Does he not have to be at the same address overnight for it to qualify as overnight care?

Our Response:
Who your ex leaves her child with as part of her shared-care is at the discretion of your ex; i.e the parent with parental responsibility.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Aug-16 @ 11:17 AM
Hi, I could do with clarification regarding 'overnight care'. My ex is claiming 'shared care', but is often with her new partner on nights when he is supposed to have her daughter. He leaves her with his grandmother or her aunt on these occasions. Does he not have to be at the same address overnight for it to qualify as overnight care?
coverpoint - 17-Aug-16 @ 2:09 PM
My sons father has him four hours every fortnight at the moment i have notified csa several times he is in arrears as far as i know aswell but i keel getting letters every few months telling me they are reducing the amount to when he used to have him two nights every week which he no longer does as he has supervised contact i have a contact order from court i have residencythe best hell will get is one night every fortnight with him supervised by grandparents can i use this court order as evidence not his word against mine
becky17 - 13-Aug-16 @ 12:22 AM
Walshy - Your Question:
Partner's 5 yr old son used to stay with us at weekends. 6 mths ago his mum decided she wanted to change to having him weekends, him living with us 5 days a week. We applied for tax credits / child benefit. Now she says she wants to revert as she misses the money. What are our rights? Can she keep changing arrangements to suit her? Oh, btw she lives in a mum & baby hostel, pregnant with another child.

Our Response:
In this instance I suggest you seek legal advice about taking the matter to court for a residence order, especially if the mother is living in a hostel. If you cannot afford legal advice the Citizens Advice may be able to help, as will the Corum Legal Centre free legal helpline, see link here. If you cannot afford the legal fees with regards to taking the matter to court, you can self-litigate, please see gov.uk link here. You may also be able to get a reduction in court fees. If you can afford some initial legal advice (some solicitors also offer the first 30 minutes free), then it will help you to explore your options fully.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Aug-16 @ 11:16 AM
Partner's 5 yr old son used to stay with us at weekends. 6 mths ago his mum decided she wanted to change to having him weekends, him living with us 5 days a week. We applied for tax credits / child benefit. Now she says she wants to revert as she misses the money. What are our rights? Can she keep changing arrangements to suit her? Oh, btw she lives in a mum & baby hostel, pregnant with another child.
Walshy - 7-Aug-16 @ 10:29 AM
Mm. why would the paying parent still contribute to the receiving parent for a roof over the childs head evening meals and breakfast and utilitys when they have them over night? If i was contributing to home and feed my child 7 nights a week why would i still pay for 7 nights a week if i had them for 1 of those nights?
Gilly - 29-Jun-16 @ 2:17 AM
I have a 13 week old son. His father has only seen him for 13 days. I was wondering what rights does he have to visitation as he doesn't do any day to day care, overnight stays, doesn't provide any money and has often declined to see him. His parents also want access but I live 2 hours away and can't always make the travel
Nicky2008 - 25-Jun-16 @ 7:51 PM
Can someone please tell me why the paying parent gets a reduction on child maintenance when he has them overnight? What is this for?
Mm - 23-Jun-16 @ 10:18 PM
marevag - Your Question:
Hi dear, on Monday 20th June 2016, I posted my comment on here and was hoping for some help. But it appears that my comment is not showing anymore :(would you please let me know why?Regards,

Our Response:
Comments are never deleted unless they are inappropriate or they may have been too long and the comment space ran out, or they are undecipherable. I suggest you post your comment again. However, while we try and answer as many comments as we can, we cannot get to them all as we have many sites to moderate.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Jun-16 @ 11:28 AM
Hi dear, on Monday 20th June 2016, I posted my comment on here and was hoping for some help. But it appears that my comment is not showing anymore :( would you please let me know why? Regards,
marevag - 22-Jun-16 @ 2:45 PM
I have twins and my ex pays for 1 of themnow (as the other one decided over a year ago didn't want to go anymore), I notified the csa who adjusted the case. He hasn't had him anywhere near the 52 nights in just over a year that he says he was. After all this time I contacted the csa to tell them of a change, which they always tell you to and was told they would check with him. They rang me back to tell me he said he does. Apparently all the records I kept in my diary are not acceptable proof, how come his word can just be taken over the phone and what can I do?
Cassie22 - 15-Jun-16 @ 3:22 PM
My ex has our two children one night of the week despite promising that this would increase to two nights when her and her partner moved out of flats and house shares into a big enough house. They moved into to a 3 bedhouse over a year ago but I was told that she would still be having them only one night a week. We agreed in mediation on 2 nights and a week in the summer yet this has never happened. Do I have any legal options? Thanks
Mojo - 10-Jun-16 @ 5:09 PM
chan - Your Question:
My ex has.my son stay over 3 nights a week and is trying to make a claim for csa against me he also wants to see if he can get some child tax credits, has he got the legal rights to do this and if so could my payments be reduced and if so by how much?

Our Response:
Child tax credits and child maintenance are always paid to the primary carer by the non-resident parent. It means the non-resident parent cannot claim for either. Your ex may be able to claim a reduction in the amount he pays, due to the amount he has your child overnight, please see CMS calculator here .
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Jun-16 @ 12:55 PM
My ex has.my son stay over 3 nights a week and is trying to make a claim for csa against me he also wants to see if he can get some child tax credits, has he got the legal rights to do this and if so could my payments be reduced and if so by how much?
chan - 9-Jun-16 @ 9:24 PM
My wife and I are getting divorced. We have two children aged 10 & 13. We have an equal care arrangement which sees us share child care 50:50, including overnight stays and holidays. We also share costs such as school uniform, activities and events. My wife and I agreed as part of our family arrangement for the finances that my wife would be the sole claimant for Child Benefit. On top of this I currently pay a fixed sum as "maintenance". I have been advised that due to that we share child care equally and share costs, I am not required to pay a monthly payment as well. Is this correct?
JJ - 28-May-16 @ 3:51 PM
Meme - Your Question:
We have my step daughter 4 nights a week 208 days a year where as her mother only has her 3 nights a week isn't it legally right my husband reviewed the child benefit ?

Our Response:
It depends on who is considered the primary carer as the benefit will be awarded to the 'resident parent', which is quite often the mother. If your husband is 'recognised' as having his child more, then he would have to take this up directly with his ex to re-negiotiate who is 'officially' considered the primary carer, then he may be able to claim.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-May-16 @ 12:32 PM
We have my step daughter 4 nights a week 208 days a year where as her mother only has her 3 nights a week isn't it legally right my husband reviewed the child benefit ?
Meme - 18-May-16 @ 6:25 PM
When we worked out our maintenance payments in summer 2013 I'm fairly sure that the wording was if the child stayed with his dad for 'more than 52 nights a year' (ie 53)there was a reduction in maintenance. Now it appears to say 52 nights or over. My ex has our son for 2 nights a fortnight the equivalent of 52 nights a year and pays me full maintenance with no reduction. Could you please advise if and when the wording changed. If this means he's been over paying since the wording changed? Not Am i required to pay 1/7th of the maintenance I have received back? Please reply I'm struggling to find any reference to this anywhere. Although the more than 52 nights quote seems to be a generally accepted truth. Thank you. Jmum - 3-May-16 @ 7:21 PM
Jmum - 14-May-16 @ 6:22 AM
Katy - Your Question:
I have had parental responsibility of my son for 12 years and father has always paid maintenance. Father has now given option for him to live with him which for him is looking good as son seed grass greener. I don't think this will last however if it was to and I was the one to have him at weekend firstly would I have to pay maintenance and would I still receive from father?? I am worried not only that my son shouldn't have even been given this option and could take it as financially I wouldn't be able to keep the house that we have without the help of the maintenance ok more concerned about my son right now but also the financial side could anyone Offer any advice on this pleaseThanks

Our Response:
If the father takes on the role of primary carer of your son and your son lives with him, then understandably your ex would not have to pay maintenence to you. In fact if you are working, you may have to pay maintenance to your ex for the day-to-day care of your son and the two days would be deducted as overnight stays. You can see how much you could be paying here.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-May-16 @ 2:32 PM
I have had parental responsibility of my son for 12 years and father has always paid maintenance. Father has now given option for him to live with him which for him is looking good as son seed grass greener .. I don't think this will last however if it was to and I was the one to have him at weekend firstly would I have to pay maintenance and would I still receive from father?? I am worried not only that my son shouldn't have even been given this option and could take it as financially I wouldn't be able to keep the house that we have without the help of the maintenance ok more concerned about my son right now but also the financial side could anyone Offer any advice on this please Thanks
Katy - 12-May-16 @ 12:32 AM
Browny69 - Your Question:
I split with my wife 3 years ago. We have 2 children together age 5 and 7. I haven't worked for the last year due to an accident and I am having an operation soon. For the last 12 months I have had my children split 50/50. I'm living in rented accommodation which I have to pay bedroom tax on. Is there anything I can do to get more help. I sometimes go without food just so I can heat the house when my kids are at mine. I can't work at the moment because I've broke my back and shattered a disc but have always worked beforehand and always paid my csa when I was working. She is so selfish is there anything I can do?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this, being both physically compromised and being made to pay bedroom tax must be very difficult for you. I can only suggest accessing the site Turn2Us, here which may be able to help.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-May-16 @ 2:42 PM
When we worked out our maintenance payments in summer 2013 I'm fairly sure that the wording was if the child stayed with his dad for 'more than 52 nights a year' ie 53there was a reduction in maintenance. Now it appears to say 52 nights or over. My ex has our son for 2 nights a fortnight the equivalent of 52 nights a year. Could you please advise if andwhen the wording changed. And if this means he's been over paying since the wording changed? Thanks
Jmum - 3-May-16 @ 7:21 PM
I split with my wife 3 years ago. We have 2 children together age 5 and 7. I haven't worked for the last year due to an accident and I am having an operation soon. For the last 12 months I have had my children split 50/50. I'm living in rented accommodation which I have to pay bedroom tax on. Is there anything I can do to get more help. I sometimes go without food just so I can heat the house when my kids are at mine. I can't work at the moment because I've broke my back and shattered a disc but have always worked beforehand and always paid my csa when I was working. She is so selfish is there anything I can do?
Browny69 - 29-Apr-16 @ 2:44 AM
cat - Your Question:
My partners ex has just made a claim for maintenance for their 9 year old son after she walked out and left her 15 and 17 year old children with him. She has no contact with the elder 2 children and my partner has the 9 year old over night every weekend. He is not disputing the maintenance claim. But does he now put in his own claim against her for the older children?

Our Response:
Yes, there is no reason why he can't (if his ex is earning). He would be advised to talk to the CMS first, please see link here. Whether is ex is entitled to pay for the older child depends on whether he/she has left school or not. Every parent has the basic responsibility to provide for their child up until the age of 16, when they are legally allowed to leave school and get a job. After this age, it depends what the child chooses to do. If they continue in full-time non-advanced education not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then maintenance payments will continue until the child finishes the course, or until they turn 20. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Apr-16 @ 12:57 PM
SLR - Your Question:
I recently left my partner after he turned violent towards me and my 8 month old baby, he never actually hit us and so when arrested he was released without charge.As he is just a baby will he be allowed access on his own? When my baby cries a lot my ex partner gets really angry so I am really concerned about his welfare and obviously he cant talk yet so he wont be able to tell me if he was hurt.

Our Response:
You don't say whether the matter is going to court. If it does, then Cafcass will get involved, please see link: What Goes into the Cafcass Family Report? here. The courts will make a decision based upon the information in the report and what it thinks is in the best interests of your child. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Apr-16 @ 11:28 AM
My partners ex has just made a claim for maintenance for their 9 year old son after she walked out and left her 15 and 17 year old children with him. She has no contact with the elder 2 children and my partner has the 9 year old over night every weekend. He is not disputing the maintenance claim. But does he now put in his own claim against her for the older children?
cat - 27-Apr-16 @ 6:09 PM
I recently left my partner after he turned violent towards me and my 8 month old baby, he never actually hit us and so when arrested he was released without charge. As he is just a baby will he be allowed access on his own?When my baby cries a lot my ex partner gets really angry so I am really concerned about his welfare and obviously he cant talk yet so he wont be able to tell me if he was hurt.
SLR - 27-Apr-16 @ 11:05 AM
Bee - Your Question:
Good evening,I have been married for 6 years now. During this marriage I have encountered a lot of physical,emotional and mental abuse. I have been to my GP and logged physical abuse 3 times. This included bruising, carpet burns and marks on my neck left due to strangulation. Police have also been called to my home and my mother in law sent them away, saying nothing is wrong. My dilemma is that my spouse and his family are lawyers. They appear to be decent members of society, they are educated and would not fall in to the typical category of domestic abusers. I would like leave my husband but am apprehensive due to child custody. As my husband has clearly stated he will want full custody of the child. My fear is this that my child has not really bonded with her father as he has never spent time with her, she doesn't really see him as her father and if she is in his company she will constantly ask for me. He has never financially provided for the child or had any experiences with her. I feel if he gains custody my child will be psychologically damaged as she struggles to cope without me. This prevents me from moving on. I would be most grateful if you could take some time to review my situation, and tell me what is the likelihood that I will get custody of my daughter. Also I understand my husband does have the right to see his daughter but what sort of access will that be and what sort of time scales. I understand each situation varies and is dependent on when you actually go to court. However I would really like a rough idea. Thank you for your timeKind regards

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear you are stuck in such a dreadful situation. Firstly, there is help out there and you do not have to leave you daughter with your husband or family if you are concerned for her welfare. You can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247. Thisis run by Women's Aid and Refuge and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It offers confidential advice, support and information to victims of domestic abuse, and can help with referrals to women's refuges for women fleeing domestic violence. The helpline can provide access to interpreters in a range of languages, please see Shelter link here . If you go to a woman's refuge both you and your child will be taken care of. Regardless of your husband being a lawyer (the court will take this on board and make allowances accordingly). Also, if you have suffered domestic violence, you will be allowed to apply for Legal Aid, please also see CAB link here which should give you all the information you need. Generally women are seen as the primary carers of their children and fathers as the non-resident parent. Just because your husband is a lawyer it doesn't mean he will win. I suggest you make sure you keep and gather as much evidence as possible regarding his actions which will help you in court. Your GP records will also help prove this if you have been treated for injuries resulting from domestic violence and the court would never rule to place a child in such an environment, regardless of your husband's profession.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Apr-16 @ 2:43 PM
Gosia - Your Question:
Hi there My husband ex girlfriend signed paper that she give up parental rights to their 11 years old son and asked us to take him. How we can make that paper legal?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link herehere regarding Child Arrangement Orders which will explain the process you will need to go through.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Apr-16 @ 2:07 PM
Hi I am enquiring on behalf of my step daughter.She and her ex partner have a 4 year old daughter and they have "shared care".The ex partner claims the child benefit and the tax credits and housing - this was organised via his mother and my step daughter was strongly encouraged to accept this as the best outcome for everyone.My concern is what my step daughters legal rights are ................is he classed as the main carer and if so what detrimental effects could this have on my step daughter ie. could he at any stage take her daughter away?If she was to apply for the child benefit and he contests this and the tax credits what will she need to prove to re-gain control over the benefits? Any advice greatly appreciated.
Cassie - 12-Apr-16 @ 12:48 PM
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