New rules from 2013
The new rules for eligibility to Child Benefit, announced in the budget earlier in 2012 are due to come into effect from 7th January 2013.
Subject to the usual rules of eligibility, the benefit will still be paid out in the first instance but for families where one person earns over £50,000 the benefit will be reclaimed through a new income tax charge on that person. In effect, one parent could claim and still receive the benefit but it will be paid back via this tax charge from the higher earner’s income.
Rather than an instant removal of all of the benefit at the £50k threshold, there will be a slow tapering so for every £100 above earned above £50k Child Benefit will be paid back at 1%. This means that regardless of how many children you are claiming for, by the time the income reaches £60,000 there will be no Child Benefit left.
This withdrawal process hasn't satisfied all nor resolved the earlier issue of inequality, if both parents earn just below the £50k threshold e.g. £49k per year each, which would give them a combined household income of £98,000, Child Benefit will still be paid out.
Also, single parent households with just one income but earning just over the £50k limit will also lose the benefit.
The rules around divorced and separated households are also now known, if you separate from your partner part-way through the tax year and your partner's income is over the threshold the new rules of withdrawal will apply up to the date that you split up. After that date your new circumstances will be taken into account and benefit (or a portion of it depending on your own income) may be reinstated.
The HMRC website has more info here.