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Benefits System and Shared Parenting

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 10 Aug 2018 |
 
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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[Add a Comment]
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
Pounell - Your Question:
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

Our Response:
Can the father prove that his daughter is living with him and not the mother? If the child is living with him full-time and the mother is claiming benefits and the benefits office will not give a decision, then his only recourse is to take the matter to court, please see link here . If he is on a low income, please see link here and if he cannot afford legal representation, please see link here. The main thing he needs to do is to prove to the court is that his daughter is not living with the mother. The father may wish to join the Separated Dads forum, where our dads who may have been through similar experiences can help. He may also wish to seek some legal advice. The Citizens Advice Bureau can help. So may the Turn2Us site here .
SeparatedDads - 20-Jul-18 @ 3:00 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
Add - Your Question:
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.

Our Response:
I can only direct you to the link here , which should help answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 28-Jun-18 @ 2:11 PM
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
Sunrise - Your Question:
What happens when the eldest child (2 Children, both sexes) reaches 17 and the shared care arrangement with contact order you've had for last 9 years, where child benefit for the younger child is paid to the higher earner? Possibly leaving the low earner, risk of loosing home as they don't receive the child benefit for the a child that's 4.5 years younger then the oldest.So when the eldest child comes out of full time education but has chosen from age 16 to negotiate own arrangements on which parent they stay with majority, which is the lower earner and in that time the younger child also stays 1 extra night a week.What do you do?

Our Response:
If you cannot agree between you and your ex, or via mediation then you would have to refer the matter to court.
SeparatedDads - 8-Jun-18 @ 2:28 PM
What happens when the eldest child (2 Children, both sexes)reaches 17 and the shared care arrangement with contact order you've had for last 9 years, where child benefit for the younger child is paid to the higher earner? Possibly leaving the low earner, risk of loosing home as they don't receive the child benefit for the a child that's 4.5 years younger then the oldest. So when the eldest child comes out of full time education but has chosen from age 16 to negotiate own arrangements on which parent they stay with majority, which is the lower earner and in that time the younger child also stays 1 extra night a week. What do you do?
Sunrise - 8-Jun-18 @ 9:26 AM
BR - Your Question:
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.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, this remains a tricky area to negotiate. As explained in the article, only one parent can claim benefits for the child, this is the parent who claims 'child benefit'. Generally, the parent who claims child benefit is considered the primary carer of the child. The primary carer of the child can also claim child maintenance from the other parent, which is dependent upon how often the non-resident parent has the child overnight. Shared care is usually a family-based arrangement and is agreed mutually. The gov.uk link here will tell you more. Mediation should be the first port of call where you cannot agree, please see link here . However, it may be worth you seeking some legal advice here as you could end up seeing your children less and being forced to pay more if your ex is issuing warnings about restricting access. Therefore, taking a rational and cautious approach may further you better here.
SeparatedDads - 5-Jun-18 @ 10:49 AM
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
Db - Your Question:
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

Our Response:
You will be allowed to claim additional benefits if your child is living with you. You can see what you may be eligible to claim via the link here.
SeparatedDads - 23-Feb-18 @ 11:12 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
The information I am seeking is on behalf of my partner: After 2 years of court proceedings my partner (mother) has been able to agree with her ex (father) terms for a shared residency. The order has been approved by the courts. The problem is he is homeless. He has went to housing executive thinking because he has a court order he should receive housing benefit and a 2 bedroom flat/house for when he has the kids. He has responded to my partner saying the housing executive will only give him a house if he is in receipt of benefits for one of his kids. Is there any other way around this? Thanks
DAD1 - 1-Feb-18 @ 5:57 PM
She’s offering me 3 days with our child, our paid nanny (her mum) has looked after her every week day for the past 16months. When I have our child do I have to keep taking our child there or am I able to put her in a nursery. Is there anything she can do to stop this?
Up and away - 27-Jan-18 @ 5:01 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 - 26-Jan-18 @ 11:44 PM
Up and away - Your Question:
Hi I have a 2yo and my partner cheated we are now separating. We both work full time and pay her mother to be our nanny. Who is classed as a primary carer? Also what is the likely hood of a 50/50 split?

Our Response:
You would have to negotiate this between you. Currently, no one is classed as the primary carer if you both have full-time jobs and share the day-to-day care of your child. Only if the matter gets to court, would a court decide on what it thinks is in the best interests of your child. Court is always seen as the last resort when mutual negotiation and mediation have failed. Hopefully, if you do separate, you can decide fairly between you both what you think works best.
SeparatedDads - 26-Jan-18 @ 2:11 PM
Hi I have a 2yo and my partner cheated we are now separating. We both work full time and pay her mother to be our nanny. Who is classed as a primary carer? Also what is the likely hood of a 50/50 split?
Up and away - 23-Jan-18 @ 12:03 PM
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