Estranged Husband & Wife

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    John Boxall

    It’s Friday, it’s 3 o’clock, etc

    I have an appeal where Husband & wife (owner occupiers over 60) are both living in the matrimonial home while there divorce is finalised.

    We are paying him CTB on the basis of 50% liability – previously a couple claiming for 100%

    He is appealing against this decision.

    I understand that there is a Commissioners Decision on a similar situation when the former partner was loaded as a non dep, which indicates how divorcing husbands & wives should be treated.

    Can anyone point me to the decision.

    Many thanks


    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield


    đŸ˜¯ if they both liable for ctax – then they get 50% each – if they both resident – and both still own it then they will both be liable.
    The partner of a laible person is jointly and severally liable- but as they are splitting up they would probably argue that they arent partners.(though its down to ctax to decise who is liable)
    Crux of matter – who owns the house – a resident owner is top of hierachy – if they jointly own (which may alter once they are divorced) then they cant have more than 50% ctb each. On what grounds is he appealing??? Is she isnt listed as a liable person (and she doesnt jointly own it) then yep – he should get 100% ctb with a non dep charge for her.


    The case is CH/2267/2005 where Deputy Commissioner Richard Poynter looks at the definition of a married couple and concludes that it is very difficult, if not impossible, for one to be a non-dependant of the other because the definition of non-dependant requires a degree of communal living that would see them treated as a couple for benefit purposes. It is difficult for married people, or civil partners, to be estranged under the same roof because they are treated as a couple if they live in the same household even if they throw plates at each other. Obviously you have to rebate the liability as determined for billing purposes, but if they remain jointly liable it may still be correct to treat them as a couple for benefit purposes – depends just how separate their lives have become. If they truly are living separate lives but remain jointly liable by virtue of their joint ownership, then 50% CTB is the right option.

    And if they are still billed as a couple but you are convinced that they have ceased to be a couple for benefit purposes? Well, it’s another of those cases where decisions affecting liability might not always fit neatly into the CTB rules.

    One combination that should be impossible for all practical purposes is for the claimant to be 100% liable and his wife be a non-dependant: the degree of separation that would stop them being a couple would also stop hner being a non-dependant – that’s Dep Comm Poynter’s point.

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