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Child Benefit - Rival Claim - Contested Child Arrangements


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Senior Welfare Rights Officer, Welfare Rights Service, Leicester City Council

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My client is the father to 2 children (aged 2 & 4)
He gets paid chB for eldest child, she gets it for the second (just historical - the way they filled in the claim forms)
Following separation, she has put in a rival claim for the chB for the eldest child.

The separation has been full of difficulties.
She is allowing him overnight contact for only 2 nights per week.
It is clear to me (from all the evidence) she is manipulating the system to obtain Child Maintenance (as that follows the child benefit). She is deliberately denying him further contact, despite him asking. She is refusing mediation (in order to drag it out).

He has made an application to the court for child arrangements - he wants 50/50.
So it would just for each parent to have child benefit for one child each (as in the Ford case - Rightsnet summar - in full  .
The hearing date is not for a few months.
In the meantime she has continued to refuse more than 2 nights.

HMRC have sent him a questionnaire in response to mum’s rival claim.

Does anyone have experience of how the HMRC discretion is exercised in such situations (I believe its Sched 10 SS (C&B) Act 1992)?
He wants to convey to them that this is a manipulated situation, the fact she has them more is her way of getting the money to flow to her, she is unreasonably denying him, he is waiting for a court order.

1. Would this be persuasive or will HMRC just look at the factual situation as it is (irrespective of motives)?

2. Should he put in a rival claim for the second child against her? Pros/cons?

3. Where can I find the HMRC internal guidance on how to exercise their discretion?

      [ Edited: 14 Jul 2017 at 12:34 pm by FerhanaBhogadia ]
Surrey Adviser
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Benefits/Debt Adviser, Esher CAB

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This is not the same as your case but may give you a flavour of HMRC approach.  Cl. had twins.  Her husband had applied for CB & they were paid it.  When CB rules changed his income was too high & payment stopped but claim was not terminated.  They separated - children both with Cl.  She claimed CB for both.  HMRC decided it should be paid for one of them to husband & to Cl. for the other, because he had an outstanding claim (of course, he didn’t get any payment due to high income).  We were told there is no appeal against such a discretionary decision.  We didn’t get it paid to Cl. for the second child until divorce was settled.  Needless to say, another branch of HMRC had agreed to pay Cl. CTC for both children from the outset!

In your Cl’s situation I would put in as much factual detailed information as possible.

Elliot Kent
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Ed Pybus, sometimes of these pastures, got the guidance released under FOI in 2016:

It’s appendix B at the very bottom.