A Fair Shared-Care Formula for Child Support
by Barry Pearson
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Summary

Scope

The sole scope of this evidence is the White Paper's formula for assessing liability when both parents share the care of the qualifying children.

Thesis

The White Paper's formula for the shared care case is seriously flawed:

(1) It fails to account for the costs to both parents of caring for their children.
(2) It fails to look ahead to an era when both parents are likely to be working, as a result of various government policies.
(3) It fails to learn from approaches used by many other nations and states to achieve a fair formula for shared care.

This evidence proposes a fairer formula, similar to that used elsewhere in the world.

Specific points

The fair formula poses no risk to parents on benefits. They would never be worse off under this fairer formula.

The fair formula does not impose an extra load on taxpayers. In fact, it may even provide a (very tiny) extra benefit reduction.

The fair formula does not impose a significant extra administration cost or run the risk of repeating the current complexity. It only adds to administration costs in specific cases (both parents earning and sharing care), it doesn't add much cost or complexity, and since these are private cases the extra cost could easily be recovered by a service change.

The fair formula would not result in bad behaviour. In fact, because it is fair, it would discourage parents from playing games, and encourage non-benefits parents to make their own arrangements without involving the CSA at all.

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Page last updated: 13 December, 2003 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2002