"Children First" & Sharing of Care: Problems with the proposed formula, and a revised proposal
by Barry Pearson
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This document is a response to the "Children First" Green Paper.

The scope of this document is the method for modifying the maintenance liability where separated parents share the care of their children. (It has nothing to say about the formula where care is not shared, nor how the amount of sharing is decided).

The Green Paper's proposal for handling sharing of care is flawed:

1. It is surely desirable for both parents to share care, yet the formula behaves very unjustly where care is shared more or less evenly.
2. An NRP on low-income who wants to share care with the children is financially discouraged from doing so.
3. It reduces the maintenance liability too slowly & unfairly for the case where PWC & NRP have similar incomes.
4. In certain cases it encourages the separated parents to lie, play the system, and attempt to reduce the liability and maximise the money obtained from the taxpayers.

The revised proposal is that the formula should be symmetrical. While one parent cares, the other pays. These calculations for both parents are then "netted" to identify the resultant maintenance liability. This overcomes the above flaws.

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