Case studies - faults in "shared care" in the reformed scheme
Case Studies - anomalies in the reformed shared-care formula
1 Two separated parents earn the same and share care 4:3. The NRP becomes far worse off than the PWC, and would be much better off never seeing the child.
2 Two rich parents share care equally. The person claiming Child Benefit is encouraged to use the CSA to obtain an unfair stream of money from the NRP.
3 The NRP is on benefits and the PWC earns. The NRP is financially abandoned by the state and the other parent while caring for the child.
4 Both parents earn the same low pay and share care equally. The parent claiming Child Benefit can also claim WFTC and childcare tax credits. The state bribes the NRP never to see the children.
5 Like "1", but they earn a little more and share care 5:2, with similar results.
6 Both parents are on benefits and share care. Only the PWC gets help from the state for the child.
7 This shows the totally unexplained difference between the way the CSA White Paper deals with equal split care and with equal shared care of two children.
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Case Study 1

The situation

The non-resident parent (NRP) earns £200 per week (net). The parent with care (PWC) earns £200 per week (or more). The PWC receives £14.40 Child Benefit.

The PWC has their daughter for 4 nights per week, while the NRP has her for the other 3 nights.

There is a significant cost in looking after a child at all (fixed costs), and the cost per night after that is less significant. Therefore, each parent is assumed to spend £17 for the first night of care and an extra £8 for each subsequent night. So they spend a total of £74 per week on their daughter.

The result

The PWC spends £9.60 of £200 income on the child per week. The NRP spends £50 of £200 income on the child. This is £20 more than he would pay in Child Support if he never saw the child. The reasons are:

  • The PWC does not support the child while she is the "absent parent" (Friday to Sunday).
  • The PWC continues to receive the Child Benefit even while she is the "absent parent" (Friday to Sunday).

The PWC spends £8 more than the NRP directly on the child. (This ignores the benefit anomalies). Child Support ought to be about £4 per week, to make the expenditure of each parent equal. The White Paper overcompensates at £17 per week, in spite of the fact that Child Benefit has already biased things towards the PWC.

With the Fair Shares formula, the NRP would be liable for a little over £17, while the PWC would be liable for a little under £13, and the net result of £4 or so is the proper amount in these circumstances.

This is an HTML transcription of an article written in September 1999, hence the benefits rates, the references to the White Paper, etc.

Page last updated: 5 July, 2004 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003