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Equally shared care of children: a pyrrhic victory if for financial motives?

Date:17 DEC 2015
Many family law practitioners will have experience of cases where one parent (usually the father) presses strongly for equal shared care of the children and there is at least a suspicion that part of the motivation is to reduce the amount of child maintenance which would be paid under the formula set by the Child Support Act 1991. It is very well known that the assessment of child maintenance is reduced by reference to the number of nights the child spends with the non-resident parent in a prescribed 12-month period. So less than 51 nights results in no reduction 51-103 nights results in a 1/7th reduction 104-155 nights results in a 2/7th reduction and 156-174 nights results in a 3/7th reduction.

What if the parent who is not the applicant to the CSA has exactly the same care of the children as the 'person with care' or even more than the person with care? The Child Support Act 1991 specifically provides that there may be more than one person with care in respect of the same child (s 3(5)). However the Act also defines the non-resident...

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