"Children First" & Second Family Children: Analysis of the issues and options
by Barry Pearson
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Discussion & conclusions

The approach used here

It is not "mathematically" obvious that a 2nd family modification is needed, or if so, what.

(This contrasts with the way that it is mathematically obvious that a shared-care modification is needed. The different implications of 51%-49% caring compared with 100%-0% caring are glaring).

The vital principle of treating all children with equal importance doesn't settle things. If the standard liability were 1%, the NRP's remaining 99% would be enough to spend at least the same on 2nd family children. If it were 50%, a modification would be needed to spend equally on both sets of children. But at 15/20/25% it is not obvious.

Typically other nations/states using a formula/guidelines don't appear to have a 2nd family modification, although some do - see Appendix B.

The starting point for discussing "2nd family modifications" to the GP formula is to analyse the basic formula without any such modification, to see whether problems arise. If one is needed, it must then be designed to overcome specific identified problems - perhaps the basic formula doesn't work in the 2nd family case, or is unfair (eg. treats certain children as more important than others), or causes hardship (eg. loss of home, job, etc).

This paper identifies an idealised "balanced expected spending" situation for two households, using just the basic formula, which appears to have the right attributes of fairness, equality, etc. The situation is intended to have the characteristic that if it can be achieved, this shows that there is no "mathematical" reason for such modifications (there may be other reasons), otherwise this is proof that a modification is needed.

Then the paper examines whether it plausible to achieve this situation, so that conclusions can be drawn. It also examines the proposed 2nd family options. Appendices discuss various aspects of the situation.

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Page last updated: 17 November, 2002 © Copyright Barry Pearson 1998