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

Shared Care of a Child

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 6 Feb 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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Please advise as I am getting conflicting information from CSA/CMS. I have been to court re set days for my kids. I wanted 50/50 but my ex worked the system a treat to advantage.Over a 2 week period I have 6 over night stays and my ex has 8.On my long week I pick up my 2 children at 4pm from school on Wednesday and return them at 7pm on Sunday night . I wanted to have them overnight on Sunday and that would be an exact 50/50 shared care ,My ex objected for no other reason than money.long story short I now have to pay £260 a month to her. I have supplied various evidence to support that I have day to day care of my children ,all credible however they have informed me that my ex has contested it and that they believe her and not me, pure and simple.My ex cheated on me, been with several new partners and police involved several times. I pay all my girls activities , school trips , clothes holidays and everyday living costs, i get around £1700 month . My ex has a salary , tax credits and child maintaince, I feel this is no where fair or proportionate I'm happy to pay but the calculation they have told me to pay I have issues with. I'm now contesting their decision , I'm I wasting my time has anybody went to a tribulal and had any success , thank s
Charly c - 6-Feb-16 @ 11:50 PM
unsure - Your Question:
Hi I have a newborn baby and my ex has taken me to court wanting shared cared she is breast fed and he doesn't think there's an issue with him taking her but breast fed babies are fed on demand. Is shared care right for such a small young baby?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot predict what a court may decide. However, the fact you are breast-feeding will be taken into consideration.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Feb-16 @ 2:48 PM
Hi I have a newborn baby and my ex has taken me to court wanting shared cared she is breast fed and he doesn't think there's an issue with him taking her but breast fed babies are fed on demand. Is shared care right for such a small young baby?
unsure - 4-Feb-16 @ 5:14 AM
My ex partner has parental custody of our 6yr old, not through the courts but à verbal agreement through ourselves. I have my daughter every week-end fri-sun. The past few months Ive missed à few fridays due tostarting new jobs, but all in all I' ve had her more fridays than not. I am no longer working due to ill health, my daughter does not go without when shes here.The situation now is he has been contacted by csa asking what the arrangement between me and him reguarding our daughterstaying with me at week-ends and he is denying the friday nights because I missed à few. I have just been signed of sick for the next 2mths I dont grudge him any money. I just want to know where I stand reguarding this. I know through csa that some circumstances if your on benefits, if your child stays overnight one or two nights then you may not need to pay any child maintance, is this true?
Anjibanji - 20-Jan-16 @ 8:07 PM
mb1977 - Your Question:
I left my husband nearly 2 years ago and we both have shared care over our 3 children (3 nights one week 4 the next) but he gets all the benefits for them yet I'm still buying their clothes (he agrees to paying for school uniform) but when I've asked for half or even some of the benefits he laughs at me. I tell my kids if they need anything they are gonna have to ask him to buy it as I can't afford it but they won't so I either have to struggle or they go without. I'm fed up of struggling and need advice

Our Response:
Have you thought of asking your ex to attend Mediation if you are unhappy with the financial arrangement? Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach an decision that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides. However, if your ex refuses Mediation, then unfortunately the only other option is to apply through the courts.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Jan-16 @ 2:09 PM
I left my husband nearly 2 years ago and we both have shared care over our 3 children (3 nights one week 4 the next) but he gets all the benefits for them yet I'm still buying their clothes (he agrees to paying for school uniform) but when I've asked for half or even some of the benefits he laughs at me. I tell my kids if they need anything they are gonna have to ask him to buy it as I can't afford it but they won't so I either have to struggle or they go without. I'm fed up of struggling and need advice
mb1977 - 10-Jan-16 @ 1:22 PM
SE- Your Question:
Hi I am confused. My ex (never married) has our daughter every other weekend. But has been on holidays with his girl friend so some weekends he has not had my child. Surely my daughter should be entitled to more than 5.24 a week? He is in full time work showing up with new car, bragging about promotions so why does my child get so little? Who can I get to really look I to this case as CSA keep saying they have done all they can.

Our Response:
I'm afraid there is no rule book here. Some mothers refuse their ex's contact with their children and they have to fight through court to get it. Other fathers are offered contact and are lazy about it, and some fathers or mothers do not wish to see their children at all. I'm afraid it depends upon the couples involved and what mutual agreements they can come to. There is no court ruling to say that your ex must see your daughter. Although you could suggest mediation to him if you can't resolve these issues between yourselves. If you are unhappy with the CSA/CMS you can complain, see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jan-16 @ 2:43 PM
Hi I am confused. My ex (never married) has our daughter every other weekend. But has been on holidays with his girl friend so some weekends he has not had my child. Surely my daughter should be entitled to more than 5.24 a week? He is in full time work showing up with new car, bragging about promotions so why does my child get so little? Who can i get to really look i to this case as CSA keep saying they have done all they can.
SE - 6-Jan-16 @ 11:12 PM
Anon - Your Question:
Me and my ex both work full time, have our 2 children equally, she earns £1600 a month and gets the child benefit of £130 a month, I earn £1800 a month and then pay her £100 even though I have the kids just as much. Is this fair? My children are 8 and 5

Our Response:
You can work out if you should be paying anything via the CMS calculator here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Jan-16 @ 12:42 PM
Me and my ex both work full time, have our 2 children equally, she earns £1600 a month and gets the child benefit of £130 a month, I earn £1800 a month and then pay her £100 even though I have the kids just as much. Is this fair? My children are 8 and 5
Anon - 5-Jan-16 @ 5:22 PM
BattlingDad - Your Question:
My wife and I have separated and have agreed a 3 4 night split during the week but I have him from Friday after school till Monday morning aswell after two evenings and an additional afternoon so at least 50% of the time. Ive agreed to pay my wife half of all child related benefits but my wife has now decided she wants to claim all the benefits and not split them but still expects me to give 50% of the care. Can shevdo that?

Our Response:
There has been a lot of controversy over shared benefits, because as specified in the article, the entitlement to child-related benefits is awarded to the main carer in separated families. Even in cases where the care is equally shared, HMRC will assess who has the main responsibility based on specific criteria. Unfair? Many think, yes, but at the same time Gingerbread has put out a leaflet on shared care in seperated families which explains the whys and wherefores of such decisions, please see link here. I hope this helps answer your question.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Dec-15 @ 10:14 AM
My wife and i have separated and have agreed a 3 4 night split during the week but i have him from Friday after school till Monday morning aswell after two evenings and an additional afternoon so at least 50% of the time.Ive agreed to pay my wife half of all child related benefits but my wife has now decided she wants to claim all the benefits and not split them but still expects me to give 50% of the care.Can shevdo that?
BattlingDad - 18-Dec-15 @ 3:26 PM
ejelg - Your Question:
I'm divorced we have 2 children between us. 1 child lives with her other lives with me. We see other child equal amounts. Though she's down by a few nights due to work commitments which I'm fine with. Do we need to pay child maintenance to each other? Or is the set up equal?

Our Response:
It is entirely up to you. If there is little discrepancy in your earnings, then it would be pointless to set up an agreement where you paid each other. However, if one of you is earning less, then the other may want to give some support. This is usually encouraged through a family-based agreement, where you decide mutually. However, if both of you are content with your current set-up, then you need not change the arrangement at all.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Nov-15 @ 11:59 AM
I'm divorced we have 2 children between us. 1 child lives with her other lives with me. We see other child equal amounts. Though she's down by a few nights due to work commitments which I'm fine with. Do we need to pay child maintenance to each other? Or is the set up equal?
ejelg - 22-Nov-15 @ 11:42 AM
Hi there my husband currently pays his ex wife for one child he is now 13 he has been in boarding school for over 12 months now and spends little time at home, his mum is in the military but she is moving over seas for 3 years now how does that stand as he would not be living with her and would only see her in the holidays but we would be sharing those holidays we basically need to know is she still entitled to the payments as she would not be in the same country and we would rather he got the money directly to support him any advice would be good
Bella - 3-Nov-15 @ 7:04 PM
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.

Our Response:
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
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