Since March 2003 there has been a new and simplified formula to calculate maintenance that is paid. It is sensible to refer to that formula to work out the maintenance that you are likely to be required to pay and to try to reach an agreement with your spouse.
The child support formula provides for payment of maintenance for children based upon a percentage of net income. That percentage will vary depending upon the number of children and how often the children stay overnight with the paying parent.
The first step is to calculate the net income of the paying parent. This is straightforward enough and child support is calculated by reference to net income after deduction of tax, national insurance and pension contributions. Bonus, commission or overtime payments are included within the calculation of net income. In the case of self employed earners, broadly speaking net income is calculated by reference to the total taxable profits in the last 52 weeks, again with the deduction of tax, national insurance and pension contributions.
Once net income has been established child support is then calculated firstly by reference to the number of relevant children. If there is only one relevant child of the family then the basic maintenance requirement is 15% of net pay. If there are two children then the maintenance requirement is a total of 20% of net pay and 25% for three children or more.
That basic child support provision is then adjusted in cases of shared care where the children stay overnight with the paying parent on a regular basis. If, on average, the children stay with the paying parent more than one night a week, then the basic payment is reduced by 1/7th. If they stay with the parent more than two nights a week then there is 2/7ths deduction in the basic payment, and so on.
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