"Children First" & Sharing of Care: Problems with the proposed formula, and a revised proposal
by Barry Pearson
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Example 2: Problems for a low-income NRP trying to pay for sharing of care

Everyone agrees that where possible separated parents should share the care of their children. But the formula does not encourage this where the NRP has very low income (a significant minority of NRPs are out of work).

Consider a PWC earning (say) £232, and an NRP on benefits or very low income. The Green Paper states that the NRP should pay £5 per week if care is not shared. Suppose, now, the NRP cares for the child for (say) 2 nights per week.

Green paper:

Presumably the maintenance liability will be reduced to about £3.60 per week. This makes virtually no difference to the PWC, who is relieved of the cost of the child for 2 nights a week, but it makes no provision for the NRP to pay for the child for those 2 nights. (Presumably benefits will not pay extra for those 2 nights, and the NRP is already getting less than "poverty relief" benefit levels because of that £3.60).

Revised proposal:

The revised proposal identifies that the NRP pays the PWC £3.60 for 5 of the nights, and the PWC pays the NRP £10 for the 2 nights. (The latter amounts to two sevenths of what someone on £232 income would pay per week). The PWC pays to be relieved of 2 nights care, and the NRP has about £6.40 above his/her own income to spend on the child.

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Page last updated: 3 November, 2002 © Copyright Barry Pearson 1998