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CMS 3 Shared Care and Contact ~ CSA Shared Care

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Under the 2012 scheme, shared care to an equal extent can result in a £nil payment. The Child Maintenance Service will not help you with this issue as the legal definition of "equal extent" is to complex to investigate. This is why you need to get legal advice urgently.

In order to have any success with a CMS shared care application, the case will require a detailed shared care report.  This report needs to be written in such a way that it will not be prejudicial to your case should it reach the tribunal stage.  We are able to write this report for you and help you present your case in the right fashion.  All reports are supervised by our Senior Partner, Mike Smith.

Mike has specialised in the field of Child Support for the last 21 years and he has a real passion for shaping Child Maintenance legislation. He was heavily involved with the Upper Tribunal decision GR vs CMEC 2011 UKUT 101 AAC which now gives us the legal definition of person with care. This has become very relevant in light of the new legislation where no maintenance becomes payable when 50/50 shared care is in existence. In cases like this Mike has been using the Footprint System to help parents to make their own arrangements.

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Shared Care Overview.

We are being careful to include the words "equal extent" because many people believe by just having 50/50 shared care they will have a £nil liability. This is not the case. There is no fixed rule and each case will be assessed on its own merit. This means the correct procedure needs to be put in place before any application is made and we can check your case for you. There are pitfalls in shared care because of Upper Tribunal decisions which affect the 1993 and 2003 schemes and which may carry forward into the 2012 scheme. Simply writing to the CMS and claiming to have 50/50 shared care will not be sufficient.

CSA shared care and its effect on child support payments is a controversial element of child support legislation. If there is a dispute about the level of shared care, the Agency will normally make a decision based on diary evidence. If either party is still unhappy about this decision then the matter will need to go to Appeal. We feel the best way to explain shared care is to read some of our clients’ experiences.

Not many people realise that the way the Child Maintenance Service now deals with shared care has changed. Until very recently, even if a Court Order was in place, the CSA would base their decision on what the PWC said or what was happening in reality. Now, if a Court Order or some other formal agreement e.g. a signed agreement drawn up by legal representatives on either side exists, then that will be the shared care which will be allowed in the assessment. If either party claims that does not reflect the reality of the situation, then they will have to get their agreement or Order properly varied and then the CSA will change the assessment to reflect the updated Order.

What our clients think.

Raymond Benn

I split with my soon to be ex 7 months ago after a week I had a phone call from the CMS.  A friend of mine told me that because I had the children half the time I did not need to pay any child maintenance payments.  When I told the CMS about this they said that the information was wrong I was assessed to pay £3380 a year.  I told my friend about this and he told me to contact Durham Legal Services.  When I explained to them the care arrangements they told me that I should not be paying any Child Support Payments.  They took over my case and 7 days later I received a letter saying that my annual liability was Nil “

Sandra Shepard “I had a court order saying the children were to spend 3 nights a week with me.  When the Child Maintenance asked me about shared care I was asked if I had a court order. I told them yes however my husband told the CSA that I was not seeing the children every week which was a bare faced lie.  Durham Legal Services took on my case and got the CSA to believe the court order. The CSA told my ex he would need to go to court to have it changed”.

Stephen Robson “ My ex told the CSA that I don’t have the kids 2 nights a week every week so I was not allowed any allowance.  It was so unfair because when I have the kids I do spend what I can on giving them a good time.  When I contacted Durham Legal Services they told me straight away what to do and how to collect evidence I had the children.  After two months of collecting evidence they informed the CSA and I was awarded 2/7th shared care”.

Tony and Helen Newton “When we split we wanted to keep things as normal as possible for the children.  We were both recommended by our solicitors to contact Durham Legal Services to work out the best way to approach child support.  We were aware that 50/50 would mean Tony would not need to pay any child support, but at the same time he earns three times as much and it would mean when I had the children stay with me their standard of living would be less than when they stayed with Tony.  Durham Legal help us through this and we set up a number of funds i.e. school uniform fund and we both pay into it a % of our earning and that works well for us.”


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If your Child Support case is under the old Child Support Agency CSA1 or CS2 schemes please use our www.childmaintenanceadvice.co.uk website.




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CSA Testimonials

I write this testimonial as the mother of a son who took his own life because of life’s pressures, including those placed upon him from the Child Support Agency.  I was not asked to write it but we feel we need to tell our story in order to help others.

Mr & Mrs S Moody, London

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