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Benefits System and Shared Parenting

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 29 Mar 2017 |
 
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).

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Hi I'm currently on ESA due to health problems,i currently have my boy about 3or4,times a week ,his mum and me are split upand she currently works partime,so what am entitled to if anything, because i feel i should get halve of the children benefit , after all the boy is at mine more than he is at hers .
Peck - 29-Mar-17 @ 8:00 AM
A little advice/ direction would be much appreciated My ex and I are amicable and have a shared care parenting agreement (self drafted, not a court order) nights are 50/50 and care is considered by both parties to be shared care. We have 2 children and receive the child benefit for 1 each My ex currently receives Housing Benefit but the local council have now reconsidered the Housing benefit claim and determined that the original payment was incorrect due to my ex only claiming Child Benefit for 1 child resulting in a reduction and a bill for overpaid Benefit. The council have advised my ex to make a claim for the CB for the 2nd child to increase HB to previous levels I would prefer not to release the CB for the 2nd child as this may present difficulties for myself in the future. I understand that CB is a gateway benefit for HB but My question is, can the council use any other evidence when evaluating HB in such a case ? if so their any text to support this ?
Stonecastle - 23-Mar-17 @ 10:06 AM
dad-of-r - Your Question:
Hi,I have a number of questions to this forum (not sure if they belong into different sections?)1) My Ex has 'declared' that she has taken 'full custody' of our son, after I have mentioned the possibility (which has not come to fruition) of me moving abroad. I will now only move 2 hours drive away from where my son lives. Is that a legal statement she has made and how does it affect my rights as a Dad?2) Based on the above she also has refused to work out when my son can spend time with me regularly (he previously spent Friday night to Sunday morning together at my place, 3 out of 4 weekends).This had an effect on the amount of maintenance I am paying as I am now paying for him spending all his time at his mothers instead of 2-3 days at mine.3) My ex is continuing to home educate our son, but refuses to give me any indication beyond a very basic outline, but from talking to my son I know he does not do much more than play computer games and have 2 musical instrument lessons a week. This does not in my view constitute age appropriate education/schooling for a 15 year old.Who can determine if that is 'age appropriate' and can I threaten stopping paying child maintainance, if I believe this education is not taking place (and he therefore is NOT in full-time education).Thank you for your thoughts.Dad of r

Our Response:
Firstly, if you are registered with the CMS, if you stop paying child maintenance you will accrue arrrears - so it is advisable not to. Your ex cannot take 'full custody' of your son, unless authorised by the courts. She can try to restrict access, but your option would be to suggest mediation in order to try to resolve the issue, see link here. Before any matters go to court, they have to be explored through mediation. Only if your ex refuses mediation, can you apply to court. A court will then make a judgement based upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your child. If you have been a hands-on dad to date - then in all likelihood this will be allowed to continue and once a court order is in place, your ex will have to stick to this. Alternatively, you may wish to seek advice from a solicitor who can write a letter outlining your parental responsibility rights, and demand access is re-instated or mediation is explored in order to come to a resolution. This may do the trick - if not, then I'm afraid you'll have to apply to court for a C100 contact order. With regards to the issue of your son's education, then please see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 21-Mar-17 @ 10:51 AM
Hi, I have a number of questions to this forum (not sure if they belong into different sections?) 1) My Ex has 'declared' that she has taken 'full custody' of our son, after I have mentioned the possibility (which has not come to fruition) of me moving abroad. I will now only move 2 hours drive away from where my son lives. Is that a legal statement she has made and how does it affect my rights as a Dad? 2) Based on the above she also has refused to work out when my son can spend time with me regularly (he previously spent Friday night to Sunday morning together at my place, 3 out of 4 weekends). This had an effect on the amount of maintenance I am paying as I am now paying for him spending all his time at his mothers instead of 2-3 days at mine. 3) My ex is continuing to home educate our son, but refuses to give me any indication beyond a very basic outline, but from talking to my son I know he does not do much more than play computer games and have 2 musical instrument lessons a week. This does not in my view constitute age appropriate education/schooling for a 15 year old. Who can determine if that is 'age appropriate' and can I threaten stopping paying child maintainance, if I believe this education is not taking place (and he therefore is NOT in full-time education). Thank you for your thoughts. Dad of r
dad-of-r - 20-Mar-17 @ 11:08 AM
Dad - Your Question:
I have my 3 kids 3 nights a week I privately rent and give her maintenance money I work full time but it is a real struggle are there any benefits or any ways of easing the financial struggle

Our Response:
You would have to check via the Turn2Us site here for more information.
SeparatedDads - 14-Mar-17 @ 12:55 PM
I have my 3 kids 3 nights a week I privately rent and give her maintenance money I work full time but it is a real struggle are there any benefits or any ways of easing the financial struggle
Dad - 13-Mar-17 @ 9:10 PM
@Wayne - you are not entitled to any financial help from the government if you are not the primary carer. The NRPs are not awarded anything! Josh.
JGIO - 10-Mar-17 @ 2:29 PM
Hi there I have my son for 3 days and nights every single week, me and his mum split in the summer of 2013 and since then that arrangement has been ongoing, up until July 2016 I was paying child maintenance and all the costs for the 3 days and nights he is with me and any clothes and stuff like that, I lost my job and am struggling on jobseekers allowance sometimes going without food myself so he is okay, am I entitled to any help or should my ex partner be sharing the benefits with me
Wayne - 9-Mar-17 @ 4:35 PM
My ex gf says I have to have my kids 4days a week can I claim her money then stop hers because I work 4 nights 12 shift so I am jw what I can do
Dunny - 11-Feb-17 @ 7:25 PM
Bobby86 - Your Question:
I have my daughter 3 nights a week, however as I live in a bedsit, I have to take her to my mums which means I have to sleep on the couch, while Little'un is on a fold out bed, as you can imagine it's not ideal. Is there any help I can get to better my situation?

Our Response:
I'm afraid when the bedroom tax came in, it meant that non-resident parents could not apply for an extra room for their non-resident child. Unfortunately, the only option is to rent privately.
SeparatedDads - 9-Feb-17 @ 2:13 PM
I have my daughter 3 nights a week, however as I live in a bedsit, I have to take her to my mums which means I have to sleep on the couch, while Little'un is on a fold out bed, as you can imagine it's not ideal. Is there any help i can get to better my situation?
Bobby86 - 8-Feb-17 @ 9:56 PM
Hi i have no formal care order but pay shared care child maintainance to my ex and have my son 3 days a week.She gets all his benefits including dLA as my son had autism.Can the DLA be split as ut should be for him (she thinks its for southern comfort)
Dava - 3-Feb-17 @ 8:22 PM
My daughter lives 7 nights with me and then 7 nights with her mum, therefore everything is 50/50. Her mum claims child benefit, but she does not claim child tax credits. Does this mean that I can claim the child tax credits instead ?
Si - 24-Oct-16 @ 9:40 PM
Andy - Your Question:
After years of problems with my ex wife, my youngest daughter(13) has now come to live with me for one week then with her mother the next, repeating, as she wanted more time with me. My ex has agreed to this (there are no court orders in place) and has allowed me to claim the Child Tax Credits for my daughter. She has kept the child benefit for her. My problem is my local council. I'm on JSA and claiming Housing Benefit at the moment and as my ex wife has the Child Benefit the council are charging me for my daughters bedroom. Is there any way out of this as I cannot afford £30 a week from my JSA and will lose my home and access to my daughter.

Our Response:
I'm afraid not because of the bedroom tax it means you cannot get help for children who live with you part-time and you don't claim child benefit for them. It is a very tricky process which is deeply unfair and biased against non-resident parents who may need the extra space for when their children come to stay - and yet the government still have not addressed the issue or made a move to scrap it.
SeparatedDads - 14-Oct-16 @ 11:14 AM
After years of problems with my ex wife, my youngest daughter(13) has now come to live with me for one week then with her mother the next, repeating, as she wanted more time with me. My ex has agreed to this (there are no court orders in place) and has allowed me to claim the Child Tax Credits for my daughter. She has kept the child benefit for her. My problem is my local council. I'm on JSA and claiming Housing Benefit at the moment and as my ex wife has the Child Benefit the council are charging me for my daughters bedroom. Is there any way out of this as I cannot afford £30 a week from my JSA and will lose my home and access to my daughter.
Andy - 13-Oct-16 @ 4:01 PM
Meat - Your Question:
Hey :) I have a court order for my daughter and myself to see one another every weekend {Saturday until Sunday}. I have been living with my mother since the mother of my child and myself separated. My daughter has always slept in my bedroom every time I have access, but now she's getting a little bit older and would obviously like her own space kind of thing. At the moment I'm back on JSA, been back on JSA for about 6-7 months so I'm not trying to use The Housing Association because i've always been in and out of work. But now as I'm worried that contact may possibly be effected because of this situation. So my question is "what kind of a chance do I have regarding having a house/place off The Housing Association considering that this is a situation where contact between myself and my child may collapse. Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
If you are on benefits, you have the problem with the bedroom tax which means you would only be offered a one-bedroomed house as you do not have full residency of your daughter.
SeparatedDads - 13-Oct-16 @ 11:48 AM
Hey :) I have a court order for my daughter and myself to see one another every weekend {Saturday until Sunday}. I have been living with my mother since the mother of my child and myself separated. My daughter has always slept in my bedroom every time I have access, but now she's getting a little bit older and would obviously like her own space kind of thing. At the moment i'm back on JSA, been back on JSA for about 6-7 months so i'm not trying to use The Housing Association because i've always been in and out of work. But now as i'm worried that contact may possibly be effected because of this situation. So my question is "what kind of a chance do I have regarding having a house/place off The Housing Association considering that this is a situation where contact between myself and my child may collapse. Thanks in advance.
Meat - 12-Oct-16 @ 2:09 PM
Hi, I'm after some advice really, I split up with my ex about a year ago, we have a 4 year old daughter together, and I have her 3 nights a week, as I work on a 4 on 4 off pattern so the days are different each week by one day. I've always told my ex that I wanted to bring my daughter up equally and 50/50 was what I believe to be best for our child. Things started getting quite messy around six months ago when she met her new boyfriend. The ex started to demand that I should find a new job (Monday - Friday) because it is effecting our daughter emotionally and she needs stability in her life and set days is the answer. I found out her ex has 2 kids and she basically wanted me to match the days that the ex's children weren't with him (this would allow them time on their own together). I asked my ex for 50/50 again but she has said not a chance and if things don't change you will not see our daughter at all. I have just started with mediation with the hope we can resolve it before going to court. She has told me that she wont agree to anything other than set days and she's going to mediation because its the process of going to court. I currently live on my own and rent a small house and my daughter has her own room. for the record I'm not on any medication or done anything wrong or hurtful to my ex and I feel this is the only thing she has to try and stop me seeing my daughter. I don't see why if im off and the ex is working I should miss out on valuable time with my little girl. What are the chances of me getting 50/50 with my ex? If the ex in mediation is being unfair do they take this into consideration and will the evidence be brought to the court? Does my job 4 on 4 off effect my chances of getting 50/50 access? Any help please!
bob - 10-Oct-16 @ 1:49 PM
Hi, I'm after some advice really, I split up with my ex about a year ago, we have a 4 year old daughter together, and I have her 3 nights a week, as I work on a 4 on 4 off pattern so the days are different each week by one day. I've always told my ex that I wanted to bring my daughter up equally and 50/50 was what I believe to be best for our child. Things started getting quite messy around six months ago when she met her new boyfriend. The ex started to demand that I should find a new job (Monday - Friday) because it is effecting our daughter emotionally and she needs stability in her life and set days is the answer. I found out her ex has 2 kids and she basically wanted me to match the days that the ex's children weren't with him (this would allow them time on their own together). I asked my ex for 50/50 again but she has said not a chance and if things don't change you will not see our daughter at all. I have just started with mediation with the hope we can resolve it before going to court. She has told me that she wont agree to anything other than set days and she's going to mediation because its the process of going to court. I currently live on my own and rent a small house and my daughter has her own room. for the record I'm not on any medication or done anything wrong or hurtful to my ex and I feel this is the only thing she has to try and stop me seeing my daughter. I don't see why if im off and the ex is working I should miss out on valuable time with my little girl. What are the chances of me getting 50/50 with my ex? If the ex in mediation is being unfair do they take this into consideration and will the evidence be brought to the court? Does my job 4 on 4 off effect my chances of getting 50/50 access? Any help please!
bob - 10-Oct-16 @ 1:37 PM
Marcus - Your Question:
I have had my children for 3 nights a week over the past 9 years and my wife has now reduced it to the original agreement of 2. My children are 16 and 12, there is no custody order in place although my children reside with my ex due to me working a 4 on 4 off shift pattern. My 4 off is when I have my children. Can she just change this pattern after 9 years of it being in place?

Our Response:
You don't say whether there is a court order in place or not. If there is a court order in place, then your ex will be in breach of it if she has changed the days, please see link: Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do, here. If you have a family-based arrangement wherby contact has been agreed between you both, then you would have to seek mediation, and if your ex refuses this, then you would have the option to take the matter to court. In your favour, the fact one of your children is 16 and the other 12 means both children are classed as old enough to have an opinion whether they wish to see you and this would be taken into consideration in court. Therefore, dependent upon the circumstances of why your ex has stopped access, it may actually be worth you seeking some legal advice and seeing whether your solicitor would drop your ex a line highlighting this. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 10-Oct-16 @ 10:26 AM
I have had my children for 3 nights a week over the past 9 years and my wife has now reduced it to the original agreement of 2. My children are 16 and 12, there is no custody order in place although my children reside with my ex due to me working a 4 on 4 off shift pattern. My 4 off is when I have my children. Can she just change this pattern after 9 years of it being in place?
Marcus - 9-Oct-16 @ 4:42 AM
Have been in a relationship with a lady ( partners )for two years , her behaviour changed as soon as she got pregnant ? Two month before her due date she told me she's no longerinterested in the relationship . Now I feel I've been used and dump and all she needed way a child . Myproblem is she've delivered but don't want me to put my name on our daughter birth certificateand even chosen babies name without asking me for my opinion . What do I don't to gain my parental responsible .?
Ben - 7-Oct-16 @ 8:26 PM
I have 2 children with a ex. She gets all benefits. I am on esa & have my children 3 nights a week. I only recive 73 a week on esa. Am I entitled to any benefits as I have my children 3 nights a week. ? Any help
Mr mc - 2-Oct-16 @ 9:38 AM
Dad- Your Question:
Hi I'm after some help around a house situation from a break up with my ex partner, I'll explain In more detail if anyone can help.In short we separated some time ago, I've been to family court to have an access agreement put in place as things have been made a little difficult. Maintenance payments are through the maintenance options and are being paid regular the issue I have is I still pay half the mortgage even though I no longer live there.I don't want to force them out but Im struggling to make maintenance payments, pay half the mortgage and move on with my home and living costs. I've offered her to buy me out but she suggests she can not afford it, she won't let me buy her out as she understands her rent would increase. Can anyone help is there anything I have overlooked or should be considering.

Our Response:
You would benefit from seeking legal advice here in order to explore your options.
SeparatedDads - 27-Sep-16 @ 1:53 PM
Hi I'm after some help around a house situation from a break up with my ex partner, I'll explain In more detail if anyone can help. In short we separated some time ago, I've been to family court to have an access agreement put in place as things have been made a little difficult. Maintenance payments are through the maintenance options and are being paid regular the issue I have is I still pay half the mortgage even though I no longer live there. I don't want to force them out but Im struggling to make maintenance payments, pay half the mortgage and move on with my home and living costs. I've offered her to buy me out but she suggests she can not afford it, she won't let me buy her out as she understands her rent would increase.Can anyone help is there anything I have overlooked or should be considering.
Dad - 26-Sep-16 @ 10:13 PM
Jon - Your Question:
I need some help understanding something. I am 48 and was recently made unemployed for the first time in my working life. I have been forced to claim benefits. I have three children and am divorced and share the custody and costs of the children 50/50. I have never received any child benefit as my ex wife keeps this and I am told I have no entitlement against it. The benefits office have awarded me £73 a week despite the fact that I have three children on a 50/50 basis. The advice they gave me was to talk to my MP. This strikes me as discrimination - not only do I never see the child benefit, I have now been punished again as I am do not receive it. Has anyone else out there had a similar experience? My children would be better provided for if I was hit by a bus and the life insurance kicked in. In my divorce, I limped away with round 25% of the family assets and had to endure the humiliation of my ex-wife and her new man to boot. I feel very betrayed by this country - I am expected to be a contributor on every front but when push comes to shove men like me just don't matter. I would be very interested to hear anyone's comments on this.

Our Response:
I'm afraid this law has yet to be changed, as specified in the article. If you are now unemployed then is stands to reason that you will not be able to afford to provide for your children on the level you previously have, which means your ex will have to take on more of the financial burden. Therefore,regardless of her unwillingness to share any child benefits with you, then now she will effectively have to provide more for your children out of the benefit than she would have had to previously. Much depends upon earnings also, if you were earning more than your ex when you were earning, then it stands to reason that your ex is the person that would receive the benefits in order to make up the shortfall.
SeparatedDads - 12-Sep-16 @ 11:40 AM
I need some help understanding something. I am 48 and was recently made unemployed for the first time in my working life. I have been forced to claim benefits. I have three children and am divorced and share the custody and costs of the children 50/50. I have never received any child benefit as my ex wife keeps this and I am told I have no entitlement against it. The benefits office have awarded me £73 a week despite the fact that I have three children on a 50/50 basis. The advice they gave me was to talk to my MP. This strikes me as discrimination- not only do I never see the child benefit, I have now been punished again as I am do not receive it. Has anyone else out there had a similar experience? My children would be better provided for if I was hit by a bus and the life insurance kicked in. In my divorce, I limped away with round 25% of the family assets and had to endure the humiliation of my ex-wife and her new man to boot. I feel very betrayed by this country - I am expected to be a contributor on every front but when push comes to shove men like me just don't matter. I would be very interested to hear anyone's comments on this.
Jon - 11-Sep-16 @ 10:07 AM
libbsm - Your Question:
Your advice to Twitchy regarding ex partner not telling him about a child she had. Wanting backdated payments.He wasn't married therefore not on birth certificate unless she took someone in pretending to be sad.This means he does not have to pay as there is no proof the child is his without a DNA test first which he would have to pay for.ThereforeMetaphoracally speakingShe can whistle

Our Response:
I'm afraid child maintenence payments are not as straightforward as you think. A 'named' father (regardless of whether he is on the birth certificate) is by law responsible for paying child maintenance until a DNA test proves otherwise.
SeparatedDads - 4-Aug-16 @ 11:21 AM
Your advice to Twitchy regarding ex partner not telling him about a child she had. Wanting backdated payments. He wasn't married therefore not on birth certificate unless she took someone in pretending to be sad. This means he does not have to pay as there is no proof the child is his without a DNA test first which he would have to pay for. Therefore Metaphoracally speaking She can whistle
libbsm - 3-Aug-16 @ 3:22 PM
I have my daughter 3 or sometimes 4 nights a week am I entitled to a council or houseing agency place as I work
geezer - 11-Jul-16 @ 5:47 PM
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