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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

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The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

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A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


Overpaid tax credits - notice to pay back

  • Stratocaster
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28 Aug 12 #352274 by Stratocaster
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I and my stbx received a letter informing us that we must pay back over £1400 in Child Tax Credit as I informed HMRC that we are getting divorced and although living in the same home have not been living as a couple for a long time.

All of the Child Tax Credits have been paid into my stbx own personal bank account, I have never had access to her account or the payments received in that account.

I have my own financial crisis and feel she should account for the payments. I have no idea if she still has them or if she has spent it.

Should I write a letter to her solicitor informing them of the demand to pay back the overpayment and request that she pay it back as she was the person receiving the payments? If the payments are no longer in her account can I request they account for where the money has gone?

I am getting worried about this as I have other expenses I must pay and do not have regular work to ensure an adequate income to pay all the house bills which she has never paid.

Please advise.

  • rubytuesday
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28 Aug 12 #352275 by rubytuesday
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If it was a joint claim, then you are both responsible for re-paying the over-payment, I''m afraid.

You can''t request that your wife is made to account for where the money was spent and on what.

I would suggest that you contact HMRC and explain that you are aware that you are responsible for repaying half of the over-payments, and would like to set up a payment plan that you can afford to meet. Any willingness to re-pay, even at £5 a week is seen as positive by HMRC. (based on my own experience of over-payments). Alternatively, you could suggest that he over-payments are simply taken out of the following year''s tax credits.

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28 Aug 12 #352282 by Stratocaster
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I was afraid of that. This is not a small amount and I have other bills to pay. I will have to contact HMRC to find out what the best solution is.

Thanks

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28 Aug 12 #352284 by TBagpuss
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Rubytuesday is correct so far as the HMRC is concerned (although unlike many creditors, they may be willing to reach separate agreements with each of you to repay half each)

However, as between you and your ex you can certainly ask that she take responsibility for repaying the debt as she has had the benefit of it. How reasonable it is to expect her to do so will depend on a range of factors including you respective finacial positions. If the bottom line is that, without the tax credits, it would have been reasonable for you to have been paying her maintenace, then it is likely to be fair for you to pay back a share of the overpayment. If the tax credits meant that she had significantly more income than you, then as between you and her, it may be reaonable that she take responsibility for the repayment.

  • u6c00
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28 Aug 12 #352303 by u6c00
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Tax credits are infamously inaccurate and most parents will, through no fault of their own, get a demand for repayment of overpaid tax credits.

Mostly these decisions can be challenged and often they get partially or wholly written off (personal experience (£3000 of £6000 overpayment written off because HMRC couldn''t prove it was our error). Google tax credit overpayment and you''ll find a site that will talk you through the process. It is time consuming and stressful, and many people don''t feel it''s worth it.

It costs around £2000 to HMRC to pursue through the full complaints process, so often it isn''t worth them pursuing you to the conclusion for small sums.

One thing I would say is DO NOT LIE. If it''s your mistake, pay it (HMRC are perfectly fine with you coming up with a payment plan to pay it off gradually). If you feel that it isn''t your (or your wife''s) mistake then start the process quickly.

I''ve been told (absolutely unofficially) that when universal credit comes into effect it''s possible that small and difficult to recoup debts might be written off, though if you are making payments to the debt by then they aren''t going to write it off. This of course may be complete BS so don''t bet your life on it!

Your stbx''s share of the debt will most likely be recouped against ongoing entitlement (i.e. they will reduce the amount until it''s paid) if she remains the primary carer / receives the child benefit and tax credits.

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28 Aug 12 #352307 by Stratocaster
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Thanks for that information. I''m actually hoping to be the primary carer or at least have a 50/50 share of our children.

As I understand it only one parent can receive the tax credits.

The amount they say is overpaid is because I told them that our marriage has been on the rocks for a number of years, and they put it on their system that we have been seperated for that number of years even though we live in the same house.

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28 Aug 12 #352315 by u6c00
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In that case the first action should be to write to them and clarify the situation: Although you had been experiencing relationship difficulties for some time you had still been living together as a married couple.

Hopefully that ought to be enough. I have been totally through the mill with tax credits so if you need any help with anything at all just give me a PM.

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