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What support is reasonable in 50/50 care?

  • halflifedecay
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10 Sep 12 #355012 by halflifedecay
Topic started by halflifedecay
My stbx has agreed to 50/50 care of our 2 girls. We both have our own businesses and I currently work full time (minus one afternoon per week), while she works school hours (plus the one afternoon I finish early). We both earn similar amounts (Me, slightly more probably, but pro-rata who knows?)

She will be receiving the child benefit. She has asked for a monthly figure (I believe by entering some data into the CSA calculator). The calculator seems a little unfair - even if 50/50 care has been agreed, there is still an amount to be paid by one party to the other. This seems odd for many circumstances - equal childcare costs etc.

In our situation, I appreciate it will take her a while to ramp up her business from the part-time hours she has been used to. Hence, I''ve suggested that I''m happy to pay, but for a limited amount of time.
Firstly, does this sound reasonable?
Also, would this be termed as child support or spousal support?

I also think she''s about to take issue with it being a temporary measure. She has mentioned that she thinks she could get more if she wanted. I don''t want to, but if this went to court, can they overrule the CSA? Or are they one in the same?

(sorry for the rambling nature of this post!)

  • Child Maintenance Options
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11 Sep 12 #355245 by Child Maintenance Options
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Thanks for the post,

child maintenance is paid to the parent with day-to-day care of the child by the other parent. In cases where parents share the care of their children equally and the main day-to-day carer cannot be determined, the parent who receives Child Benefit for the child will be classed as the provider of day-to-day care. So, even if you share the care of your children, if your children''s mother receives Child Benefit for them, she is the parent with day-to-day care and you have a legal responsibility to pay child maintenance. This is set to change in future under the reforms proposed by the Government.

The government is introducing a new child maintenance system later this year. As well as providing separated parents with more support so that they can sort out child maintenance between themselves, there will also be a new statutory scheme that will eventually replace the CSA.

The new 2012 scheme will have different rules around shared care, although the rules will still be mainly based on the number of nights the child spends in the home of the paying parent. For one thing, the parent who is expected to pay child maintenance can challenge this decision if the overall care of the child is shared exactly equally. If they can provide evidence that confirms this, then that parent''s payments for that child will be zero. At the moment, the parent who is expected to pay can’t challenge the CSA''s decision on these grounds.

Having said this, that doesn''t mean you have to use the CSA. Many parents find that it''s easier and more flexible to make a family-based or family arrangement. This is where two parents sort out child maintenance between themselves, without any involvement from anyone else. It''s free to set up, and you can change it if your circumstances change or as the children get older and their needs change. This allows parents to decide between themselves how to share the cost of raising their children. For example you could agree on a regular weekly payment, a contribution to household bills, or payment for specific items (like school shoes, clothes etc). If you''re able, I would suggest that you speak to your children''s mother about making a family arrangement.

You can use the Child Maintenance Options calculator to get an idea of how much you pay through the CSA, and then use this amount as a starting point for a conversation about working it out between yourselves:
www.cmoptions.org/en/calculator/calculator.asp

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11 Sep 12 #355247 by Child Maintenance Options
Reply from Child Maintenance Options
Thanks for the post,

Child maintenance is paid to the parent with day-to-day care of the child by the other parent. In cases where parents share the care of their children equally and the main day-to-day carer cannot be determined, the parent who receives Child Benefit for the child will be classed as the provider of day-to-day care. So, even if you share the care of your children, if your children''s mother receives Child Benefit for them, she is the parent with day-to-day care and you have a legal responsibility to pay child maintenance. This is set to change in future under the reforms proposed by the Government.

The government is introducing a new child maintenance system later this year. As well as providing separated parents with more support so that they can sort out child maintenance between themselves, there will also be a new statutory scheme that will eventually replace the CSA.

The new 2012 scheme will have different rules around shared care, although the rules will still be mainly based on the number of nights the child spends in the home of the paying parent. For one thing, the parent who is expected to pay child maintenance can challenge this decision if the overall care of the child is shared exactly equally. If they can provide evidence that confirms this, then that parent''s payments for that child will be zero. At the moment, the parent who is expected to pay can’t challenge the CSA''s decision on these grounds.

Having said this, that doesn''t mean you have to use the CSA. Many parents find that it''s easier and more flexible to make a family-based or family arrangement. This is where two parents sort out child maintenance between themselves, without any involvement from anyone else. It''s free to set up, and you can change it if your circumstances change or as the children get older and their needs change. This allows parents to decide between themselves how to share the cost of raising their children. For example you could agree on a regular weekly payment, a contribution to household bills, or payment for specific items (like school shoes, clothes etc). If you''re able, I would suggest that you speak to your children''s mother about making a family arrangement.

You can use the Child Maintenance Options calculator to get an idea of how much you pay through the CSA, and then use this amount as a starting point for a conversation about working it out between yourselves:
www.cmoptions.org/en/calculator/calculator.asp

  • jslgb
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11 Sep 12 #355272 by jslgb
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If you have equal 50/50 care of your children then technically you could claim child benefit for one of those whilst your ex wife claims for the other, and then you would both be liable to pay the other child maintenance.

Does your shared care equate to the same amount of nights per year?

  • halflifedecay
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14 Sep 12 #355881 by halflifedecay
Reply from halflifedecay
Sorry for the delay in reply.

Yes - exactly even, 50% / 50%

My stbx is saying she''s looking for around £200 per month. I guess this is due to the fact that I earn a little more currently (though as I mentioned, our earning capacity will be the same when we separate). She''s now saying that this should continue until our children are 18.
She''s recently seen a solicitor, so I''m guessing they''ve told her to go for as much as possible. I think she mentioned during a phone call, that she was told she could go for more of the house equity.

Unfortunately, it doesn''t look like she''s going to be very flexible and will use the CSA as the blunt instrument it can be.

Any suggestions welcome

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