Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK

- promoting responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce -

Shared Parenting - tax and benefit advantages

Parents with shared residence orders for two or more children will both be eligible for the additional personal tax allowance.

They may also increase the income available to their children by coming to an arrangement with their former partners by declaring that they are the primary residential parent for one of the children. They will then both qualify as single parents and will both be eligible for one parent benefit, the higher rate child benefit, family credit and a higher rate of housing benefit. In addition, because they are residential parents, they both qualify for council family accommodation.

The arrangements will have to be carefully worked out, having due regard to the relevant regulations. Information about DSS benefits is available from most post offices in leaflets: FB 27 (Bringing up children ?), CH 1 (Child Benefit), CH 11 (One parent benefit), FC 1 (Family Credit). The relevant Inland Revenue leaflets are IR 22 (Personal Allowances), IR 30 (Separation & Divorce) and IR 29 (One Parent Families).

Basically the benefits and tax allowances are available to persons who maintain a qualifying child at their own expense and have the child living with them. For tax purposes it is sufficient that you maintain a home for the child, with perhaps their own bed or better still their own bedroom. But since the government regard bed & breakfast accommodation as home for many children, parents who live in flats and bedsits may also qualify.

The regulations for DSS benefits are more rigorous, and require that each child spends more than a total of 56 days in any 16 week period with the parent who is claiming.

Footnote: One parent obtained a shared residence order on the basis of the tax advantages alone.

(From an item by David Cannon originally published in Access magazine No 22)

Last updated - 22 April 1997

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