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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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I'm a dad of two, who live with me almost half the time.

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Hi, I'm a dad of two, who live with me almost half the time. I'm currently without income (setting up own business), and while on income, was paying voluntary maintenance. As I'm now living off of savings and would like these to last as long as possible, I was hoping to understand options.
Hi, thanks for your question.
Is your income nil? If it is then your legal liability for child maintenance is nil and it would be up to the mother to submit an application to the Child Maintenance Service to undertake their own assessment as to you liability. As you are currently paying voluntarily this can stop at any time, especially given your income has now drastically reduced.
What are the exact arrangements for the children so that I can check if it would be considered shared care.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the prompt reply. My income is nil. Left my paid employment in September to set up my own business - but expect several months of no income as I raise funds and launch the product.Arrangements with the children are as follows:
Week 1: with me on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (3 nights)
Week 2: with me on Wednesday, Thursday (2 nights)
Pattern is Week 1, Week 2, Week 1, Week 2, etcHoliday time is shared equally.Also of note - I recently (October) transferred £2400 to my ex spouse to cover expenses for her and the kids to travel to Argentina for a family emergency.My preference is to avoid any further transfer of funds to the mother while without income, but willing to continue to directly cover extraordinary expenses like clothing, school trips and events, extracurricular activities (football clubs, etc).Questions:
- Does this qualify as shared care and if so, what's the impact?
- Given the current situation, what are probable outcomes of the mother applying to the Child Maintenance Service?
The CMS will assess your liability based on your gross income - so if this is nil, your liability is nil. Anything else you provide above the CMS assessment would be voluntary payments.
Based solely on the arrangements you have outlined, this would not be considered shared care for CMS purposes. You will need to demonstrate that the arrangements are almost equal between you as well as both of you sharing the day to day care of the children. From the arrangements you have stated the arrangements are 5 out of 14 nights in your care, therefore not considered equal.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again. Is shared care defined as equal time between the two parents?If so, they're obviously not equal, though day to day care is shared. I do school runs (including on mum's days), cook, wash, homework, etc. Recurring events are shared - haircuts are with me, doctor appointments with her, etc.
Thanks for the further information - for it to be considered shared care you would need to demonstrate that the time they spend with you is almost as equal as they spend with the mother, and you both equally share the day to day care of the children - so under the current arrangements this would not be satisfied.