"Children First" & Second Family Children: Analysis of the issues and options
by Barry Pearson
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Balanced Expected Spending

Principles

This identifies household cash flows which attempt to achieve the following:

- 1st family children and 2nd family children see an equivalent contribution from their common parent (the 1st family NRP), so they are seen to be equally important - a principle which must not be compromised;
- children see the same proportional contribution from each parent, so there is no bias towards PWC, NRP, or NRP's new partner, or by gender.

It is unlikely that this scenario will be achieved exactly in any particular case. It depends on the whims of the parents, and legislation can't ensure this. Any or all of the parents may be miserly or generous towards their children. Nothing except open-book family accounting, or eliminating human variability, will prevent this.

The key is whether the child support formula performs a redistribution which enables the various parents to achieve this fair balance if they choose to, without unbalanced hardship. That is probably the most that can be expected from a redistribution formula.

The cash flow across the two households

The starting point for this situation is the 15/20/25% which the NRP is expected to contribute towards the 1/2/3 1st family children. If this is reasonable, it is assumed reasonable for this person's contribution to the 2nd family children also to be 15/20/25% (according to how many there are). Given that all parents (not just the NRP) should contribute to their children, it is further expected that the other parents should also contribute 15/20/25% of their income to their children. This is an idealised cash flow for the two households which has equality of responsibility and importance explicitly designed into it. (This paper assumes no sharing of care). So:

1st family NRP spends 15/20/25% of own net income on 1st family children (via the PWC), 15/20/25% on 2nd family children, and so has 50% to 70% for everything else.

1st family PWC spends 15/20/25% of own net income on 1st family children, and has 85/80/75% for everything else. (Also spends the money from the NRP on the 1st family children).

2nd family other parent spends 15/20/25% of own net income on 2nd family children, and has 85/80/75% for everything else.

1st family children receive money, goods & services to the combined value of 15/20/25% of the net income of each of their parents.

2nd family children receive money, goods & services to the combined value of 15/20/25% of the net income of each of their parents.

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Page last updated: 13 December, 2003 © Copyright Barry Pearson 1998