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TOPIC: Child Maintenance with 50/50 care

Child Maintenance with 50/50 care 8 months 2 days ago #104513

My ex and I split child care evenly but as she works in a school she has the children a few days a year more than I do, say 5 days a year more. My parents have offered to look after the kids during the holidays to bring the split to exactly 50/50 however she has declined.

As it currently stand we split all costs equally like winter coats, shoes and school uniforms and school trips etc.

She wants to make a csa claim against me and is looking for £300 per month, this seems really unfair her costs of child care are the same as mine. I should point out she earns around £40k per year so is ok financially.

Do I have any options here, can I refuse to pay for some of the costs we currently split?

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Child Maintenance with 50/50 care 8 months 2 days ago #104520

hi,

this is tough. really without a court order, CMS will most likely believe whatever your ex tells them, and could assume that you see your kids 1 night a week or maybe less.

use this CMS calculator to work out how much you should be paying: www.gov.uk/calculate-child-maintenance

whatever figure you get from her, show that to her and try and reason with her.

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Child Maintenance with 50/50 care 8 months 1 day ago #104535

@BarnsleyBoy

The whole issue of 'shared care' is in my view not clear at all, and I have sought clarification many times with the CMS. This is my current understanding, though I am less than 100% confident that it is correct :-

In the general meaning of shared care - where both parents share ALL expenses and the child spends equal time with each parent, then I believe that there is no basis for a Child Maintenance claim at all, simply because both parents bear equal financial responsibility in all areas.
However where a child is subject to a CM claim and monies are due, then the term 'shared care' refers to the amount of time that the child spends with the paying parent. According to a sliding scale, the paying parent receives a discount on the amount of CM that would be payable, but this is only to recognise the fact that the paying parent has to provide housing, food, and maybe other essential 'day to day' costs for the time the child spends with them. As far as I am aware, because the receiving parent still receives money, they are still responsible for 'non day-to-day' costs.

The problem is that the CMS do not spell out what falls in to 'day-to-day expenses' (to be paid for by the paying parent) and what falls in to 'non day-to-day expenses' (to be paid for by the receiving parent). However from my own personal enquiries 'day to day expenses' are limited to :- any housing costs (i.e. cost of house or mortgage/rent), cost of heating/running that property, cost of food for the child etc. It is not clear to me whether clothing is included.
My understanding of 'non day-to-day costs' (i.e. still to be borne by the receiving parent) basically means everything else, such as school trips, winter coat, school uniform, school shoes, haircuts, bicycle repairs, etc etc., even pocket money (as I have been told by a CMS agent). All this stuff is to be paid for by the receing parent and that is what the paying parent pays money to them for.

So my own opinion of your circumstance is that if a CM claim is made, then yes you have to provide a home (and heat it) and feed your child, and for that you will get a discount on the CM payable, but everything else like winter coat, school uniform, school trips, mobile phone tariff, etc. is up to the receiving parent to pay for (with subsidy from yourself via your CM payments).

However it is certainly not made clear by the CMS so I perfectly understand your confusion on the matter.

By the way, you say that your child only spends about 5 days a year more with your ex- than with you. For your information, if your child spends 175 nights or more with you (meaning up to 190 nights with your ex-), then this is classed as shared care band 'equal' which grants you a 50% (plus an extra £7/week) discount on the 'full' CM amount (i.e. as would apply if the child spent between 0 and 52 nights per year with you).

Hope this helps - and someone please correct me if I am wrong !!

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Child Maintenance with 50/50 care 7 months 3 weeks ago #104627

Will99 wrote: @BarnsleyBoy

By the way, you say that your child only spends about 5 days a year more with your ex- than with you. For your information, if your child spends 175 nights or more with you (meaning up to 190 nights with your ex-), then this is classed as shared care band 'equal' which grants you a 50% (plus an extra £7/week) discount on the 'full' CM amount (i.e. as would apply if the child spent between 0 and 52 nights per year with you).

Hope this helps - and someone please correct me if I am wrong !!


Hi all, just wanted to raise a question about the above. Surely if you have shared care then any maintenance costs would be negated? If he has split time with the other patent, he would be in a postition where he could equally claim against her in that case, no?

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Last Edit: by 51out.

Child Maintenance with 50/50 care 7 months 3 weeks ago #104672

If you have shared care you can put a counter claim in for child benefits. Which means probably neither of you get it. But the parent who claims can claim the maintenance

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Child Maintenance with 50/50 care 7 months 3 weeks ago #104719

@51out
"Surely if you have shared care then any maintenance costs would be negated? If he has split time with the other patent, he would be in a postition where he could equally claim against her in that case, no?"

What I was trying to explain was that (according to my understanding) there are effectively TWO meanings of the term 'shared care' :-
1. Where both parents bear an equal financial burden of bringing up the child/children. I.e. they share all costs 50/50
2. Where a Child Maintenance claim is in place the term shared care refers to the amount of time that the child/children spend with the paying parent

In the case of 1, my understanding is that there is no basis for one parent to pay the other parent anything at all, simply because the financial burden is already borne equally. However it is always an option for one parent to make a claim against the other, in which case :-

In the case of 2, the term 'shared care' is a technical term that specifically refers only to the amount of time that the child/children spend with the paying parent and it impacts the calculation of the child maintenance amount that is payable. There are several 'bands' which grant the paying parent a discount on the amount of CM they must pay :-
Number of nights per year with paying parent CM reduction
Less than 52 zero
52 to 103 1/7th
104 to 155 2/7ths
156 to 174 3/7ths
175 or more (known as 'equal' band) 50% plus an extra £7/week

This discount is to recognise that the paying parent has to provide housing and feed the child/children when they stay with them, and in the case of the 'equal' shared care band this type of expense could be said to be shared equally. However the receiving parent still receives money from the paying parent and this is because the receiving parent is still solely responsible for other expenses outside this general housing / feeding type of expense - such as mobile phone tariff, school trips, winter coat, even pocket money etc etc. I am unsure if clothing is included in the general housing / feeding category or if the receiving parent has to pay for all of that as well.

So - at least according to my understanding - if one parent makes a CM claim and it is granted, then they are by that action assuming sole financial responsibility for all these types of (non housing / feeding) costs and the CM amount is the mechanism by which the paying parent subsidises them for those costs.

however happy for anyone to correct me ...

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Last Edit: by Will99.

Child Maintenance with 50/50 care 7 months 3 weeks ago #104742

quick google:

The law changed recently so that if there is 50:50 shared care the non-resident parent does not pay any child maintenance anymore if they can prove that they are doing an equal amount of the everyday care of the children.

i have CMS booklet here and on page 29:

Q. What happens if the day-day care of a child is equal between a paying and receiving parent?

A: In this situation, the paying parent does not have to pay any child maintenance for that child.

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Child Maintenance with 50/50 care 7 months 3 weeks ago #104745

Ok so what are the obligations on each parent when there is a CM case with shared care band equal ?
This is my situation and even though my son spends alternate weeks with myself and his mother, I am still required to pay CM to my ex- (reduced as a result of the share care band equal, but not nil).
So it follows that because I pay my ex- some CM money that she is financially responsible for some expenses that I am not, right ?

CMS agents have told me that I am responsible for ‘essential’ day to day costs such as housing and feeding for when my son is with me, but that because I still pay money to my ex- that she is still wholly responsible for ‘non-essential’ costs - examples quoted to me are pocket money, school trips, school uniform, haircuts, winter coats etc etc and even all clothing.

I agree it is far from clear ....
There MUST be a difference between both parents sharing the financial burden equally for all costs and no CM being payable at all, and a CM claim with 50/50 shared care whereupon some CM is still payable.

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Child Maintenance with 50/50 care 7 months 2 weeks ago #104787

Ok I have just spoken at length with a very helpful agent from the CMS about the whole area of 'shared care'.

If both parents share care equally, not just in terms of bearing the financial burden of looking after the child/children but also in terms of taking them to the doctor / dentist etc., then CMS take the view that no CM is payable.

If however a CM claim is made and implemented, then the term 'shared care' relates only to the amount of TIME that the child spends with the paying parent, and the reduction in the CM amount for such shared care is to take account of the fact that the paying parent has to provide housing and feed the child when the child is with them.
In terms of being compliant with the CM claim, the sole financial obligation of the paying parent is to pay the amount of maintenance as per the schedule calculated by the CMS. The paying parent IS NOT legally obliged to pay for ANYTHING else - no school trips, no mobile phone fees, no winter coat, no shoes, no school uniform or any clothing costs at all, they are not even required to pay for school lunches for the time the child is with them or even for any pocket money to the kids. As long as the paying parent pays the other parent the amount of maintenance directed by the CMS then they are compliant, even if they pay absolutely nothing for anything else.

So that is what I have just been told by the CMS.
Of course the paying parent may choose to also pay for other stuff (I choose to still give my kids some pocket money for example) but that is entirely up to them and not legally enforceable.

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Last Edit: by Will99.
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