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

Shared Care of a Child

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 28 May 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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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
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 time Kind regards
Bee - 11-Apr-16 @ 11:10 PM
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?
Gosia - 11-Apr-16 @ 8:00 PM
Gosia - Your Question:
Hi there My husband have a 2 children from previous relationship. He was paying maintenance regularly and see kids over the weekends. We have a 3 years old son together as well. Lately his ex give up on his 12 years old boy and she wants him to live with us because his behaviour is bad. He is 5 years behind at school, he lies and still from the shop. We both working full time and our son spending more time with the childminder then with us. His son need to attend special school because of his problems. I wonder if his ex is not a good mother why she can still have their daughter and give up parental rights on son. What choice we got ? And what we could do if we take him but then understand that we can't coupe with him ?

Our Response:
You don't say whether your husband's ex has a partner. If she is single it can be more difficult to cope with a troublesome child and she may assume your husband may be able to have more of a constructive influence. However, there are no rules to say who should be the primary carer of the children and it should be agreed between the parents when and where possible. If you feel you cannot cope then the issue may have to be dealt with either through mediation or as a last resort through the courts. Hopefully, once his ex has some time to re-assess the situation and may miss her son living at home, you may be able to come to an agreement and work at caring for him between you. A child is the responsibility of both parents and a shared-care agreement may be the most beneficial way forward in a situation when one parent finds it difficult to cope.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Apr-16 @ 10:21 AM
Hi there My husband have a 2 children from previous relationship. He was paying maintenance regularly and see kids over the weekends. We have a 3 years old son together as well. Lately his ex give up on his 12 years old boy and she wants him to live with us because his behaviour is bad. He is 5 years behind at school, he lies and still from the shop. We both working full time and our son spending more time with the childminder then with us. His son need to attend special school because of his problems. I wonder if his ex is not a good mother why she can still have their daughter and give up parental rights on son. What choice we got ? And what we could do if we take him but then understand that we can't coupe with him ?
Gosia - 10-Apr-16 @ 12:48 AM
Felly - Your Question:
Good morning Could someone please advice. I currently have an arrangement with my children's farther that he has the children alternate weekends Friday,Saturday, Sunday evening. During term time this is not an issue as we use the school. as a dropping off and collection point. However during the holidays their farther wishes for me to use a childcare provider as our dropping and collecting points but frefusses to share the cost of this. What can I do to make this equitable?

Our Response:
I can only suggest Mediation if you can't agree between yourselves, and you think he should contribute to the cost above child maintenance payments, if he pays. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. 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 a decision that you are ready to agree with.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Apr-16 @ 10:55 AM
Wally- Your Question:
Hi I'm after some advice my wife has commuted adultery we have two children And are currently separated but both live in the same house. If I went for a divorce on the grounds of adultery how are things worked out ? We own our house and I've said I want her to buy me out and give me half the equity ? I know I will have to pay child support but she's stating that I won't be entitled to half the house. My wife's a community nurse I just work at night behind a bar so currently I work in the evenings and my wife works during the day but I'm looking for a job during the day which means she will have to change her hours at work. To look after the children. I don't want to give up my kids but will find it difficult to continue doing what I currently do now.I'm not sure how things are going to turn out but I don't want to be in the situation as it is now listening to her incoming messages all the time and knowing what she doing. And I just want out of the situation now.

Our Response:
If you cannot agree between you regarding your financial split then you may wish to suggest mediation. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, Contact Orders, residence agreements and divorce. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. 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 a 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. If mediation fails, then you would have to take the matter to court, especially if you and your ex can't agree. In the meantime, I suggest you take some legal advice to see what your options are.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Mar-16 @ 12:44 PM
Good morning Could someone please advice. I currently have an arrangement with my children's farther that he has the children alternate weekends Friday,Saturday, Sunday evening. During term time this is not an issue as we use the school. as a dropping off and collection point. However during the holidays their farther wishes for me to use a childcare provider as our dropping and collecting points but frefusses to share the cost of this. What can I do to make this equitable?
Felly - 31-Mar-16 @ 8:45 AM
Hi I'm after some advice my wife has commuted adultery we have two children And are currently separatedbut both live in the same house . If I went for a divorce on the grounds of adultery how are things worked out ? We own our house and I've said I want her to buy me out and give me half the equity ? . I know I will have to pay child support but she's stating that I won't be entitled to half the house . My wife's a community nurse I just work at night behind a bar so currently I work in the evenings and my wife works during the day but I'm looking for a job during the day which means she will have to change her hours at work . To look after the children . I don't want to give up my kids but will find it difficult to continue doing what I currently do now . I'm not sure how things are going to turn out but I don't want to be in the situation as it is now listening to her incoming messages all the time and knowing what she doing . And I just want out of the situation now .
Wally - 30-Mar-16 @ 1:25 PM
Victim - Your Question:
Help, I am confused and was hoping for an explanation. I am involved in a bitter relationship in which the court have acknowledged that I have my child 50/50. I obviously pay for all my child's wants and needs when he is with me and my ex the same when he is with her. As revenge she has now gone to the CSA. Who have now stated that I have to pay 50% of her daily costs. I am baffled as to why this is the case. Especially when she earns more than me and is in a far better financial situation.This would now mean I pay for 75% of my child's maintenance. So in what crazy word is this fair??? To top it off she has lied to the CSA who are not interested.

Our Response:
If you feel you are being treated unfairly, I can only suggest you complain via the link here, especially if, as you say, you have been awarded shared-care.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Mar-16 @ 12:54 PM
Help, I am confused and was hoping for an explanation. I am involved in a bitter relationship in which the court have acknowledged that I have my child 50/50. I obviously pay for all my child's wants and needs when he is with me and my ex the same when he is with her. As revenge she has now gone to the CSA. Who have now stated that I have to pay 50% of her daily costs. I am baffled as to why this is the case. Especially when she earns more than me and is in a far better financial situation. This would now mean I pay for 75% of my child's maintenance. So in what crazy word is this fair??? To top it off she has lied to the CSA who are not interested.
Victim - 22-Mar-16 @ 3:11 AM
Roscoe - Your Question:
Please could someone give me advice about my situation. I have a shared residency order for my son which means my ex and I share his time completely 50/50 including nights over. My ex receives all of the child maintenance and a monthly CSA payment from me. Surely this shouldn't be the case given the situation? I also pay half towards a childminder every month, this is to cover occasions when he is with the childminder, pre and post school. My question is should I have to pay all of the above as this really doesn't seem fair given the situation?

Our Response:
You would have to contact the CSA/CMS directly regarding this, as with regard to shared-care, Child Maintenance Service makes a deduction to the weekly child maintenance amount based on the average number of ‘shared care’ nights a week.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Mar-16 @ 11:48 AM
Please could someone give me advice about my situation. I have a shared residency order for my son which means my ex and I share his time completely 50/50 including nights over. My ex receives all of the child maintenance and a monthly CSA payment from me. Surely this shouldn't be the case given the situation? I also pay half towards a childminder every month, this is to cover occasions when he is with the childminder, pre and post school. My question is should I have to pay all of the above as this really doesn't seem fair given the situation?
Roscoe - 16-Mar-16 @ 7:35 PM
haaaaay. - Your Question:
I need some advice please. my boyfriend (father of our son) has said that he wants to take me to court when we just had an argument. I have never said he cannot see his son infact I'm the one who is always asking him when he wants to see him and at a reasonable time which he said ok but that hasn't happened. he asks to take our son to his mum's but she kicked me and our son out in just our pjams in the freezing cold and put her hands on me while I was holding the baby pushing me with such force I could of fell and my son would of been hurt so I have said he isn't allowed to see her or go to the flat, the flat also is moldy and has mice (new block building) there is alot mord but this is just to give you an idea. what do you think I should do?

Our Response:
Your ex cannot apply to take you to court unless Mediation has been considered first. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, such as contact orders. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. 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 agreement. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides. If your ex suggest Mediation and you refuse, then he will have to option to apply through the courts. You may wish to suggest Mediation to your ex yourself, if you can't agree between you.I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-16 @ 12:56 PM
Spacey - Your Question:
My husband and I have my stepson from Sunday 5 o'clock to Wednesday one week and then the following wee we get him at 8 am on Saturday to Wednesday 5 o'clock. It's a shared care which works ok. However his mummy is ruining him and we want to go for full custody and give her visiting rights instead or weekends. She's only there for the benefits she receives as being a single parent but due to the way the shared care is I don't think shes even entitled to the benefits (lone parent , child tax credit, housing benefit and we also pay her £40 a month maintenance!) can we dispute this and in doin so chase her away as such? We also have 3 kids ourselves and we are breaking our hearts seeing his behaviour get worse and worse as time goes on due to mummy being more worried about herself!! School have asked us to do all homework as she doesn't do any she doesn't go to parent teacher meeting etc she just doesn't care at all.

Our Response:
If you do not agree with the way the shared-care arrangement is operating, then in the first instance you should arrange to resolve these disputes via Mediation. Please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. If these issues cannot be solved via Mediation, of the mother refuses to attend Mediation, then you would have to apply through the courts. Court should only be seen as a last resort when the process of negotiation has broken down.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-16 @ 11:38 AM
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