A well respected, award winning social enterprise
Volunteer run - Government and charity funded
We help 50,000 people a year through divorce

01202 805020

Lines open: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
Call for FREE expert advice & service info

Disputing Claim of Child Benefit

  • gandalf1403
  • gandalf1403's Avatar Posted by
  • Premium Member
  • Premium Member
More
17 Jan 22 - 17 Jan 22 #518607 by gandalf1403
Topic started by gandalf1403
So I'm a Dad. I have a Child Arrangements Order which sees my two children in my care for (officially) 4 nights a week, each week from Thursday 5:15pm to 9:00am the following Monday.

Her pattern of care is from Monday 3:15pm (after school) to Thursday 5:15 (3 nights).

The order has been in place since Jan 2016. So, a while now. The Mother has never had the children at weekends (refuses - always has plans), so never has full days unless the children are on a holiday from school. I take both children to school each day (regardless of if they're with her - I collect from her address on the days they're with her). She collects each day, Mon to Thursday. I collect on Friday. She has never taken them on holiday. I have taken them away each year.

In summary, kids are with her 3 nights, a week and myself 4 nights and all weekend. She never has full days and has never expressed any desire for this pattern to be changed. Now, aside from the fact I never get a break at weekends, in practice, I have had them more than the 4 nights. Sometimes it's 5 or more as there have been disturbances at her address to which I have had to have them a little more. And there have other misc reasons for my having them more than the ordered nights.

My ex has historically claimed CB and as such is classed by HMRC as "primary carer", as defined by Child Benefit and NOT the court order.

Now, I'm not precious about it. I'd have to pay the CB back due to earnings, even if I had entitlement. But, it's that very thing Im asking a question about.

My son, 12, has been diagnosed with ASD. My ex put in a claim for DLA in October 2017 (din't even tell me she was doing it) and has been claiming this ever since. It's not a means-tested benefit like CB. None of the money sought from DLA is spent on him, in terms of improving his emotional, social, educational and mental health. Of course this is subjective and how do you measure it? Granted.

I could go in to a load of detail as to why I feel it's not being used appropriately, but that's a little irrelevant in respect of the question. But I wish to appropriate the DLA so I can use it to my son's betterment. So, finally, to my question:

If I counter-claim CB in order that I can get the DLA (as CB is seen as a gateway to other benefits), what chance have I of winning with my 4 nights a week care "as a male", (and sometimes more) to her 3?

What I have learned or suspect? HMRC have a "schedule 10" to follow when the claim is being disputed by parents. And almost 3 of those favour you if you are female. God's-honest-truth. I have a mixed, if not prejudiced view from HMRC, when I have tried to discuss the matter with them. Some offer more advice than others but they're not consistent in what they say. I've had one, offer this up to me, when I advised the care pattern despite myself having more nights: "So, your ex has all the school days then?" As if that is weighted more highly and having more school days makes her a, "proper" parent. I was shocked - it was definitely meant that way. Quite frankly, given they're at school, for all of the time she has them, her pattern of care sees her with them for 3 evening a week and 1.5 hrs on Thursday. And she never takes them out for the day.

I have both passports and birth certificates.

Children are, Daughter, 16.5 (in full time education). She actually lives with myself, full-time, and has done since March 2020. So, the Child Arrangements Order is irrelevant to her now. I believe my ex continued to claim CB right upto her 16th birthday in June 2012. So from Mach 2020 to June 2021, fraudulently claiming CB. But that's not my (strictly) my business. So, I'd only be disputing CB for my son, 11. I have not yet put in a claim for CB for my daughter. This is about to go in and will not be disputed. But when I throw in the claim for son, she will dispute it strongly, and likely it will have to go before a panel at HMRC.

So, any one like to take stab on my chances?
Last edit: 17 Jan 22 by gandalf1403. Reason: Miss-spelling and added clarity

  • rubytuesday
  • rubytuesday's Avatar
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
More
17 Jan 22 #518608 by rubytuesday
Reply from rubytuesday
Your sex has nothing to do with a CB claim. What is relevant is the number of nights the children are with you - and as you clearly have them for more than half the time then you should be designated as the "resident parent".

You would need to speak to the child benefit office as to what evidence you would need to submit to prove the children spend more overnights/time with you, and have done for a substantial amount of time. This link has more info on child benefit - www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Child-...enefit#guide-content

  • gandalf1403
  • gandalf1403's Avatar Posted by
  • Premium Member
  • Premium Member
More
17 Jan 22 #518609 by gandalf1403
Reply from gandalf1403
Thanks. Ok, so proof? Well, would you say the Child Arrangements Order I have be proof enough? That’s a legal court order that places them in my care for 4 nights and 3 with her. As to proving any additional nights, I cannot say I’m diarising those, forensically. But I’ve texts and other forms of communication where I’m asked to have them for additional nights. So I suppose my question stands, will my 4 to her 3 be enough for HMRC? When I ask them, they will not advise me. It’s very unhelpful. On one hand, child maintenance is all about nights. CB does not appear to be quite so clean cut.

  • rubytuesday
  • rubytuesday's Avatar
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
More
17 Jan 22 #518610 by rubytuesday
Reply from rubytuesday
You really do need to speak with the child benefit office as to what proof they would need from you.

When I went through a CB dispute some years ago, they accepted email exchanges between myself and my ex re arrangements for the children to spend time with time as proof the children lived with me, and not him as he tried to claim. If they accept email exchanges, then I would think that a court order should be more than ample evidence.

  • gandalf1403
  • gandalf1403's Avatar Posted by
  • Premium Member
  • Premium Member
More
17 Jan 22 #518611 by gandalf1403
Reply from gandalf1403
It is interesting as a clear distinction of nights ought to be enough. I did challenge the DLA claim some years ago and was awarded it for one week. They took the court order as enough. Then my ex rang back and disputed my dispute, so to speak. And as the CB claimant, she is “primary carer” as it were. Child Benefit office will not advise at all. They simply say I have to put in a claim. They said that on receiving the claim, they’d write to her advising her payments will stop. They then offered that it’s likely she’d turn dispute my claim. From there they advised a “panel” would decide, a kind of judiciary. When I repeated I have more nights, they would not advise me anyway. Reason for posting on here. As in, what’s been peoples experience with HMRC and a dispute of CB, as in what’s their main criteria?

  • Rickoshea
  • Rickoshea's Avatar
  • Platinum Member
  • Platinum Member
More
18 Jan 22 #518621 by Rickoshea
Reply from Rickoshea
Not the same experience but I think the issue with "nights" and clarity to the various organisations is that for CMS it's a blunt tool based purely on nights, yet for CHB it's around "care" who gets the payments.

I've no idea how true it was but I remember reading a case whereby one parent had the children every weekday and did all school runs, majority of midweek meals etc, bought all school clothes and so on, but the other parent had the children over every night to sleep due to the shift pattern of the other parent. So on the "nights" calculation one parent looked to have the bulk of the care but on a deeper look the other parent actually had more "care giving" responsibility hence the CHB went to that parent.

It's also partly explains why the CMS rules have a way to calculate if you have them for 7 nights when anything above 3.5 nights people assume = 50/50 shared care. That isn't true in all circumstances.

Sorry for rambling, but on top of the child arrangements order if you have other details and proof that you are providing a substantial amount of care for the children(and indeed receiving maintenance to that effect) should provide enough proof eventually that it is you who would class as the Primary Carer effectively. But sounds like a bunfight so best of luck with it all

  • gandalf1403
  • gandalf1403's Avatar Posted by
  • Premium Member
  • Premium Member
More
18 Jan 22 #518622 by gandalf1403
Reply from gandalf1403
Indeed a bun fight, yes. I’ve included copies of the court order with the claim I’m about to post but suspect little of that will be considered at the point the claim is processed. Likely when she disputes it, she’ll kick up a load of fuss and then it’ll be considered. She never even has to wash their uniforms. So based on what you have said, I’ll have to write an essay to prove my care commitments around her, I assume. Historically, doctors, school, dentists all have her address. I’d never disputed that as again, she’d have gone to war and changed them back immediately. So this again, will sanction her as “primary carer”. But she’s about as maternal as a house brick. Dumps them on me at all ends. Never has them full days, never asked for a day at weekends. So there’s a lot I can probs my day to discredit her act. But again, I’m far from hopeful that I’ll be successful.

Moderators: wikivorce teamrubytuesdaydukeyhadenoughnowTetsSheziLinda SheridanForsetiMitchumWhiteRoseLostboy67WYSPECIALBubblegum11