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Benefits System and Shared Parenting

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 23 Nov 2019 |
 
Parliament Mp Parenting Child Early Day

Separated Dads' letter to the government has so far (4 weeks in) only received an acknowledgement from no.10, but an MP has raised a new early day motion which is partly relevant here.The early day motion (34) was raised in parliament by Adrian Sanders, Liberal Democrat MP on 25th May 2010. Here are the details:

Benefits System and Shared Parenting

"That this House notes that child benefit can only be paid to one parent; further notes that this unnecessarily discriminates against the other parent where parents are separated and maintain shared custody of children; further notes that this can further discriminate against one parent by preventing access to suitable housing and additional income to allow them to provide for children; further notes that this can lead to restricted access for one parent to see their children; and calls on the Government to take action to address these problems."

This motion has only 18 signatures at the moment:

  • Liberal Democrats: Lorely Burt , Mike Crockart, Andrew George, Mike Hancock, John Hemming, Simon Hughes, John Leech, Bob Russell, Adrian Sanders, Mark Williams
  • Democratic Unionist Party: Ian Paisley Jnr, Jim Shannon
  • Green Party: Caroline Lucas
  • Labour Party: Martin Caton, Fabian Hamilton, David Heyes, Grahame M Morris
  • Plaid Cymru: Hywel Williams

So if you want to write to your MP about this issue, now is the time...

What is an Early Day Motion?

Early day motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. Very few EDMs are actually debated in parliament however, but are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, creating awareness of campaigns and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a cause.

MPs can add their signatures to an EDM to show support. They can also submit amendments to an existing EDM. Although majority of EDMs are never debated, the group of EDMs known as 'prayers' may be debated. Prayers are motions to overturn Statutory Instruments (laws made by Ministers under powers deriving from Acts of Parliament).

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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My partner has a 5 year old with an ex partner, we have 2 sons under 2 years old I have had to leave work coz I had a bad pregnancy and couldn't walk just found out our son has a head condition and needs surgery on his skull. My partners had to drop his hours to 16 hours a week from new year week when he goes back to work after our son's operation which is being done in liverpool. I claim a joint universal credit for us both that tops up our income as a house hold will CSA take universal credits and his wage together to work out what he has to pay her or does it just go off his wage from work.
Chaz - 23-Nov-19 @ 7:07 PM
Hi really need advice I live with my boyfriend and we are going to be the main carers for my step son that has specail needs he is 22 living in a care home at the moment been having best interest meetings because he wants to live with his dad. It has been decided that a care plan will be put in place and will be done under the court of protection which is great because he gets to live with use I will be giving my full time job up and my boyfriend will still be working . The concern I have is that they have said that my step son mum can still be his a pointy which means she will still have full responsibility of his benufits and will give us board money and also have his mobility car is this legal he visits his mum every week other weekendon a sat for 3 hrs is this legal can this is be allowed if he is going to be living with his dad and me full time hope you can help
TR - 18-Oct-19 @ 1:16 AM
Hi me and my children's mum separated 25/12/17,at the beginning of that year i had admitted a gambling addiction but got support and not gambled since,my father who was the closest family member I hadcommitted suicide, and i was also diagnosed after been admitted to a mental health ward with social anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorderso the relationship between me and their mum was difficult,i have two biological childreny herboh with additional needs and also had taken on her son as my own from 9 month old hes 11 now , his father wasn't involved at alland his own choice, we was honest with him when he was old enough to understand the situation,i found out at 14 my dad wasn't biologically my dad and felt like id been lied to but he didn't stopbeen my dad or treat me any different,well in January 18 my ex accused me of assaulting her and my little boywhich i was completely cleared but found out 2days aftershe had done thisso she would be classed as a victim of domestic abuse to qualify for legal aid and get a non molestation order and a prohibited steps order against me,it led to involvement of social services and family courts,it took 3months of assessmentsmeetings and whatnot and at the end was told there was no issues or concerns what so ever and could havekids from school Wednesday over nightthen Saturday morning till Sunday evening,i was paying 60 a week towards them , but thenabout may time she startedplaying games again,threatened if i didn't do as she says il be stopped from seeing kids, and i was scared she would if i didn't,over the year its got to be a weekly thing,now its come to her contacting social services again so because there dutie bound to look into the allegations av again been stopped seeing kids luckily every single message between me and her was saved on what's app and have been able to get the transcript sent tp me which the social worker has , no av seen this as a opportunity to be able to voice all the difficulties av had without worrying about her stopping me seeing kids,now over the past 2dqys her messages regarding my mental health have been vile,she has said shes not going to complying with social services,and if i dont do what she wants i will only see my kids in a contact centre,not knowing i have been in contact with the social workerwho was disgusted with what she was reading,would I have a good chance to go for full custody,as this is the 2nd time social services av been involved,i was discharged last September from the metal health team,av satisfied social services and court,the kids arr happy when with me,there has Never been a time av cancelled seeing them and for the past year their mum has not had their best interests when doing all this to me , with stopping access when she dosnt get her way, shes been proven to use the courts and social services to her own gain by threatening me with it all, and with the kid
Tony - 22-Mar-19 @ 12:46 AM
My ex is pushing (50 )I am still in my 30s now I have (maybe) with the emphasis on (maybe )a teenage daughter to her she is (14 )now .my relationship with her was open on her side .she never wanted child support which is a (big indicator plus a guy does claim to be her father .I have never taken her to (court for visitation or more importantly for a DNA test ).she would have claimed child benefits from the governmentfor this child in question which is (fine) .i haven’t seen this child sence she was (5 )I have a lot off questions surrounding who the (bio father is ).i know it’s ancient history now I have been told bye family members and friends to write it off because I have been in a lot of trouble from her in the past .my family told me to leave her out off my will because off uncertainty off the fact the child may not be mine .now this child doesn’t carry my surname and was christened in my church .my question is would the mother be up for fraud if in fact the child wasn’t mine ?
C.laurie - 22-Feb-19 @ 8:06 PM
Hi, I split with my ex approximately 10years ago now and since then although being unemployed 6months after splitting up, I have had a family based agreement whereby I have never defaulted in any monthly payments to their mother. It started from £80 per month. I was then threatened to her that I had to give her £130 per month approximately 3 years after and have been paying this! It was back in July 2018, that again upon being threatened by her telling me to give her £240 per month or she’ll be ‘going to the CSA’ Unbeknownst to me doesn’t exist anymore, it’s the CMS. I called the CMS in November whereby they were shocked with what she was demanding, despite her knowing I have been on my ESA benefit (mental issue) 2years after splitting up! I get £267 from the benefits which leaves me with £27 left! I have a mortgage of £220 per month along with all other mandatory bills. If it wasn’t for my very kind hearted mother (who even fronted my ex with the deposit and insurance for my ex for her 1st car when we were together) she is keeping me alfloat and stopping the bayliffs knocking my door! My ultimate question...is there any way whereby I can be reimbursed for the serious overpayments I have been paying for years and years! The legal minimum due to my benefits situation says £7 per month per child but I am happy to pay £80 as they are my kids too obviously! She will not talk about it and am sure the kids don’t see any of it...instead it is keeping her and her new husbands mortgage and other major debts they have got theirselves into. Sorry if this is an essay but as you can imagine....I’m absolutely irate about this. 1000’s of pounds been, in effect, stolen from me for HER benefit...not my/our kids ??
RichW - 22-Feb-19 @ 1:17 PM
Hi I understand this if for dad's but I'm trying to help my bf. He's going to represent himself in court to have access to his 3 children with his ex partner. What sort of notes does he need to take with him what questions are common to be asked. Also I live in a 2 bed flat with my son when he gets the order from court that they can stay over night what's the most normal way of sleeping arrangements as he will be moving in soon. Thanks
Georgina123 - 29-Jan-19 @ 7:29 AM
Hi I’m new to this forum, so here I go. I am a working parent trying to save for a mortgage but that’s a long way off and need some advice I separated from my x 8 years ago and my sons was 3 and 6 at the time.i would pick them up on Fridays and drop them off on sundays.Over the years they have been staying more and more like the whole summer holidays,weekends,weekdays, basically when ever they want. So me and the x agreed that I could have them 50/50 so they can stay as much as they want. Now my sons are with me more than with her and I only have a one bed room apartment.Which has their bunkbed in it they stay with me a hell of a lot and I asked the council if I can join the register and explained that they stay with me 3-4 days a week now and they have no room. I was told they ain’t entitled to a room because I don’t get child benefits which prove they live with me!!! which I don’t want anyway. I don’t want benifits I want a extra room for my sons that I will pay for. Can anyone help me out on here please. The x gets child benefits which I don’t want but my sons do live with me 3-4 days a week if not more.
Lawrence - 26-Oct-18 @ 12:37 PM
I have a 3 year old son with my ex. We seperated around 18months ago, we agreed to co parent and the arrangement was I would have him Sunday to Wednesday afternoon and she have him the rest of the time. I have quite a low paid job earning at best around £1300 a month. She recieves all his benefits and i also give her £100 a month. My question is, am I entitled to any sort of help with money? It seems so unfair that I have him almost half the time and pay her alot of money every month and am not entitled to anything. Please help, I'm starting to struggle financially quite alot.
Dan - 7-Oct-18 @ 9:02 PM
So. This is a complicated one. I have my fourth daughter on the way with my current partner of 6 years. My other 3 daughters (to two different exes) I have at least one a week overnight. Basically I'm worrying about everything. We are currently living in a two bedroom house which isn't sufficient. I can't apply for a council house because they won't include my other daughters in the application process. I'm on minimum wage, my partner works in a school and we both work full time. Our total earnings work out to about 28000 a year which may sound like a lot but we always struggle with money. I checked the benefits calculator and we earn to much to receive any benefits. We're struggling to move because we have bad credit (the struggling with money part) and our landlords have blamed us for damage done to this property that was actually caused by damp so any reference we do get never gets accepted when applying for a new home. I need help! Any advice would be much appreciated.
Jim - 19-Sep-18 @ 9:24 PM
Jayden - Your Question:
I have to kids I see 2 days a week for 3 hours and every other weekend which I pay food etc I buy clothes constantly and help ex when she moans the kids need something. Since the kids have requested to live with me and they cry every time I take back to ex shouting at the mum saying they don’t want to live with. Filed for custody of kids. What is best way to help them live as I think cafcass will side with her. She been horrible made threats and breaking the court order constantly. What can I do to help get kids and make them happier

Our Response:
It is rare the courts will hand children over to the non-resident parent without a good and provable reason (i.e. such as social services being involved for the likes of neglect etc). As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. The court's general objective is towards continuity and stability. If you do not have 50/50 shared care already, it is unlikely the courts would remove the children from the resident parent on the basis of you saying they do not wish to return home. Many children find separation difficult and many children do not wish to be parted from the parent they see the least. However, it doesn't mean they wish to be separated full-time from the parent they see the most.
SeparatedDads - 13-Sep-18 @ 10:46 AM
I have to kids I see 2 days a week for 3 hours and every other weekend which I pay food etc I buy clothes constantly and help ex when she moans the kids need something. Since the kids have requested to live with me and they cry every time I take back to ex shouting at the mum saying they don’t want to live with. Filed for custody of kids. What is best way to help them live as I think cafcass will side with her. She been horrible made threats and breaking the court order constantly. What can I do to help get kids and make them happier
Jayden - 12-Sep-18 @ 1:13 PM
Hi i havd 5050 with my children and a 1 yeae old and my hobby have 2 kids my daughter got adhd how do i get help wirh housing ple help
Karen - 27-Jul-18 @ 11:10 PM
My 13yr old granddaughter lives in a one bedroom flat with her dad and they are living on his jobseekers allowance £75 per week. Mom works full time, is getting child tax and child benefit and lives alone in a 3 bedroom house. She has her daughter one night a week. Benefits office have been "looking into it" since Dec 2017. He is at his wits end and does not know where to go for further help. He is now unable to pay his TV licence so he is really worried. They have had no car, phone or internet since October 2017. Any advice please as to where he can get help
Pounell - 19-Jul-18 @ 12:44 PM
Hi, my son is 10 months old and I have him at mine Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday night's and all day Monday, my sisters or mum have him Wednesday, Friday and Saturday during the day while I'm working. I have him a lot more than my ex as she got herself into loads of money troubles and had to work more. What I was wondering is why I still have to pay her maintenance when I have him every day and night except 2
Luke - 14-Jul-18 @ 10:10 PM
Dwhitts - Your Question:
We are going to be getting 50/50 custody of my step son. Mum claims child benefit & wtc. She also gets csa. When we have 50/50 access will the csa money be stopped as we will have totally equally custody We are happy for her to continue with child Benefit & WTC. are we then entitled to any of this to put towards his upkeep in our home??

Our Response:
Much depends upon your mutual agreement. If the other parent is claiming these benefits, it's up to her if she wishes to share them. You can see more via the link here, for additional information.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jul-18 @ 11:11 AM
We are going to be getting 50/50 custody of my step son. Mum claims child benefit & wtc.She also gets csa.When we have 50/50 access will the csa money be stopped as we will have totally equally custody We are happy for her to continue with child Benefit & WTC. are we then entitled to any of this to put towards his upkeep in our home??
Dwhitts - 9-Jul-18 @ 1:43 PM
@Stepmum - I think the difficulty is how to prove it? Plus, it doesn't matter how much she earns or what she does with her life, the other parent still has to pay. So, she could be a millionaireseveral times over and still be able to claim child maintenance from the other parent.
JBB - 3-Jul-18 @ 10:52 AM
Can the press not be involved in this? It’s clearly a biased system and as it’s mostly men who suffer surely discriminatory too? We hear a lot in the press about how fathers won’t pay but nothing about this. My husbands ex pretends she works for her husbands ‘company’ for x hours a week to claim tax credits. She also gets CB and maintenance. She has the 2 eldest boys in school and the youngest in full time daycare while she spends her days as a lady of leisure! No need to work with all that coming in and a husband who works full time (but pretends he doesn’t!). I won’t even go into how many nights we have the kids and how much we spend on them. There are so many stories like this and somebody needs to provide a vocal platform to gain the attention of those with the power to make changes. It would be something that sells papers surely???
Stepmum - 2-Jul-18 @ 2:38 AM
Hi my partner and I split up 4 1/2 years ago due to financial infidelity on her part we have 3 children together and I now have a 2 bedroom rented home which the children sleep at every Wednesday and alternative weekends i pay full maintenance every month and am working full time could you please tell me am I entitled to any help in any way? Many thanks.
Add - 26-Jun-18 @ 7:17 PM
having recently split from the mother of my kids im interested to know what benefits im entitled to? we both work full time and earn the same amount though she has a lot of debts on her side.we have agreed for now to have the kids 2 days each. this has gone on for several weeks but she has begun claiming for benefits as though she has them full time! should I also enter a claim for benefits as its 50/50 split custody at the min? anytime I bring it up she makes threats about not seeing kids, supervised visits and all sorts of rubbish. I just want it all to be split 50/50 with regards to time with the kids and any financial help we may be entitled to.
BR - 4-Jun-18 @ 2:32 PM
I wonder if someone can help me ... I am asking on behalf off my bro he has 4 children with a ex parent who claim tax credit child tax child benefit etc etc but he has them over half a year at his can he claim half the benefits the mother gets ( his ex ) plus he also give her mauntanece ..
Jojo1805 - 26-May-18 @ 9:04 PM
Hello I just need some advice on on how child benefits work me and my ex split some time ago but ever since that, we did agree on splitting the days so I have her every over day 3 days a week but I seem to have my child 4 days and 4 night a week, I work 4 days a week with no help from the exfinanciallyFinding it hard to run a house work and pay for child care what help is out there from the state as we still get all the benefits
William - 6-May-18 @ 6:09 PM
alfie - Your Question:
Hi, hope I can get some advice here. My daughter stays with me the equivalent of 2.5 nights per week. This had to be court ordered as her mother wanted me to have no contact at all. My daughter is severely disabled and receives the higher rate of DLA. I provide everything for my daughter when she is in my care, clothes, toys, nappies ect. Her mother sends her with nothing but the clothes on her back. I've had to buy a hospital bed for my daughter's room, and had to buy my own wheelchair accessible car as her mother will not let me use the one provided by DLA when my daughter is in my care. Her mother receives the all of the benefits - child tax credits, DLA, mobility car, also she is able to claim cares allowance, reduced council tax and heating allowance. I am not able to claim anything and she will not split anything with me. This equates to hundreds of pounds a month. To top it off I am still legally require to pay child maintenance, which I must do every week. Myself and my partner are both self employed and have a low income and we are really struggling financially to provide everything that my daughter needs when she stays with us. Is there anything that I can do about the unfair benefits-can't-be-split system? Surely this is not right. P.S. discussing my concerns with her mother is out of the question she is psychotic.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, in order to challenge this your only recourse would be to apply to court for a Specific Issue Order, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:32 AM
Hi, hope I can get some advice here. My daughter stays with me the equivalent of 2.5 nights per week. This had to be court ordered as her mother wanted me to have no contact at all. My daughter is severely disabled and receives the higher rate of DLA . I provide everything for my daughter when she is in my care, clothes, toys, nappies ect. Her mother sends her with nothing but the clothes on her back. I've had to buy a hospital bed for my daughter's room, and had to buy my own wheelchair accessible car as her mother will not let me use the one provided by DLA when my daughter is in my care. Her mother receives the all of the benefits - child tax credits, DLA, mobility car, also she is able to claim cares allowance, reduced council tax and heating allowance. I am not able to claim anything and she will not split anything with me. This equates to hundreds of pounds a month. To top it off I am still legally require to pay child maintenance, which I must do every week. Myself and my partner are both self employed and have a low income and we are really struggling financially to provide everything that my daughter needs when she stays with us. Is there anything that I can do about the unfair benefits-can't-be-split system? Surely this is not right. P.S. discussing my concerns with her mother is out of the question she is psychotic.
alfie - 8-Apr-18 @ 6:14 PM
My son stays with me every weekend and I recive CB as mother is illegal immigrant and has no recourse to public funds . I recived tax credits and CB but HB is saying that I can not claim . How many nights or days does it state for to be allowed to claim HB Thanks
Jay jay - 2-Apr-18 @ 12:50 AM
Im 29 yo and im on esa because of past and i really need to step up and be a fulltime dad so the mother of my child can make her self strong enough again because im on esa will this effect me when i have full custoday please if you can answer this question for me i would be really grateful many thanks
Db - 22-Feb-18 @ 2:14 PM
Paul - Your Question:
Hi. I split from my ex 7 months ago. I have my 2 children 4 nights a week yet my ex claims all the benefits. She said if I try to claim benefits she will stop me seing the kids full stop. I can prove I have them 4 nights a week can I claim? I’ve just lost my job and have no way to pay my bills. Thanks

Our Response:
This is a tricky situation, as by claiming child benefit your ex is seen as being the primary carer. However, if you have your children four nights per week, in theory you are the primary carer (if you undertake most of the day-to-day care of your children). In cases such as this, your only recourse would be to try via mediation to resolve the situation, or if your ex refuses and stops you seeing the children, you would have to apply to court. However, court is always seen as the last resort and you would have to apply for a child arrangement order to determine where your children should live and which parent should be the official primary carer, please see link here . As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 12-Feb-18 @ 9:46 AM
Hi. I split from my ex 7 months ago. I have my 2 children 4 nights a week yet my ex claims all the benefits. She said if I try to claim benefits she will stop me seing the kids full stop. I can prove I have them 4 nights a week can I claim? I’ve just lost my job and have no way to pay my bills. Thanks
Paul - 11-Feb-18 @ 8:24 AM
Jay - Your Question:
I have reasontley separated from my wife and had to move back in with my parents me and my wife want me to have shared custody of our 2 children would I be entitled for a council house I work but couldn’t afford private rented for me and my 2 children

Our Response:
It is unlikely you would be awarded a property with more than one bedroom. Unfortunately, the council only takes on the primary carer's status. You can see more via the Shelter link here .
SeparatedDads - 5-Feb-18 @ 2:57 PM
I have reasontley separated from my wife and had to move back in with my parents me and my wife want me to have shared custody of our 2 children would I be entitled for a council house I work but couldn’t afford private rented for me and my 2 children
Jay - 3-Feb-18 @ 11:47 PM
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