Splitting Up Pays Better Than Staying Together for UK Couples
Filed under: Opinions
Back before I was married with children ("MWC") there was this rumor floating around that you could make money on your taxes by getting divorced. The idea was to get divorced at the end of the year and then remarry at the start of the next year, divorcing at the end of that year, too, in order to collect on some sort of tax credit. I don't know if that's true or not -- or if it ever was -- but I would assume that in many states the cost of the divorce would more than consume any money made or saved on taxes.
In the UK, however, it looks like single parents or those who split up are rewarded for doing so. According to an article in the Daily Mail, parents get more benefits if they separate. These benefits include tax credits in the neighborhood of £5,000 or roughly $7,500 for a single mom with a child. Numbers from a study done on the matter point to a lot of fraud. People are saying they are separated or divorced or are actually going through with it in order to get the additional money. And, hey, why not -- times are tough and families are willing to do whatever it takes in order to make ends meet.
Our own system in the United States isn't always that much better than the tax credit system in the UK. I can think of many examples where it behooves a mother to remain unwed from the father of her children in order to get tax credits and tax breaks. I've seen where it benefits a mom to not take a better paying job because she'll lose her eligibility for affordable housing (yet still not make enough money to afford a decent place of her own). What is the answer? I can't say. I don't know enough about the social system or the politics it takes to get the right decisions made. Still, it seems counter-intuitive to not provide benefits to parents who stay married, too.
What do you think? Should single parents be given extra help from the government? That's a touchy, touchy question! What about giving so much help to those single parents that it makes it a much sweeter deal than staying married?