Family Law News Edinburgh

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Quarter of a million couples pretend to live apart

A recent report from the think tank Marriage Foundation has claimed that around a quarter of a million of couples are claiming lone parent benefits, while continuing to reap the benefits of a two-parent household.

According to the report there is a significant discrepancy between the ONS figures for the actual number of lone-parent households in England and Wales, and the number of people who are claiming lone parent benefits.

Cohabiting couples who claim the tax credits illegitimately stand to gain up to £7,100. Parents with two children can benefit from up to £9,985, whilst parents with three children can increase their income £11,917 by pretending to live apart.

Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation, who wrote the report said:

“It is indefensible that parents who are in committed, stable relationships should face such significant penalties for staying together, to the extent that some pretend to be separated, in order to avoid penalisation.

“The type of relationship that is statistically least likely to end in family breakdown is marriage. Only a quarter of couples who split up in the first three years of their child’s life are married.

“As the children get older, the proportion increases in the favour of marriage. 93 percent of couples who remain intact until their child’s fifteenth birthday are married."

The Marriage Foundation has called on Government to introduce an additional child benefit in order to counteract the existing financial penalties for married couples.

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