Q&As

Where there is a dispute between parents as to the extent of overnight care for the purposes of the calculation of statutory child support, how may the number of overnight stays be proved?

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Published on LexisPSL on 29/03/2019

The following Family Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where there is a dispute between parents as to the extent of overnight care for the purposes of the calculation of statutory child support, how may the number of overnight stays be proved?

In relation to shared care, section 3(5) of the Child Support Act 1991 (CSA 1991) provides that:

‘For the purposes of this Act there may be more than one person with care in relation to the same qualifying child.’

The Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations 2012, SI 2012/2677, reg 46(2) state that:

‘…the determination is to be based on the number of nights for which the non-resident parent is expected to have the care of the qualifying child overnight during the 12 months beginning with the effective date of the relevant calculation decision.’

Generally, regard will be had to a period of 12 months, but the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has discretion to consider a lesser period of time. When making a determination, the CMS must consider:

  1. the terms of any agreement made between the parties or of any court order providing for contact between the non-resident parent and the qualifying child, or

  2. if there is no agreement or court order, whether a pattern of shared care has already been established over the past 12 months (or such other period as the Secretary of State considers appropriate in the circumstances of the case)

For the purposes of Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations 2012, SI 2012/2677, reg 46(5) provides that:

  1. a night will count where the non-resident parent has the care of the qualifying child overnight and the child stays

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