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Looking for advice.
(03-24-2017, 08:13 AM)Patrick C Wrote:
(03-23-2017, 01:45 PM)restart Wrote:
(03-21-2017, 10:50 PM)MarkR Wrote:
(03-13-2017, 11:25 AM)restart Wrote: Hi,

I recently moved out of the (rented) family home, and I'm a bit unsure about how to proceed with matters regarding my marriage. I have tried to get some info online, but I admit that I am confused about the best way to go forward.

I have been married for 12 years, but things began to break down a few years ago. We have two children together, and this has made it very difficult for me to make the decision to move out. To complicate matters further, she does not work full time; she is self-employed but only part time. 

For the sake of simplicity, I will list the issues I am having right now, in the hope that someone can help with some advice.

1. My ex tells me that the Council has not made a decision on Housing Benefit. The landlord of her property is holding me liable for the rent (which I have been paying for the past two months) until she works full time and/or the housing benefit comes through. No time frame given by the Council regarding the latter.

2. Since we have two children, I have been told that I cannot go for a divorce without first having gone through mediation. Is this really the case? We have no assets between us and no savings. 

3. I am hoping to be divorced as soon as possible, so that there is a sense of finality to all this, and the sharing of children can be confirmed. How long does a divorce usually take?

4. (This may be a question better asked in an employment law forum!) I work shifts including nights within the NHS, but I foresee a lot of difficulty in fitting the children in to my work picture. Does anyone have experience of having made work/life balance requests in their job? Do I, as a single parent or separated father, have any rights at all in this matter?

There are a few more questions swirling around in my head, but these are the key issues Im trying to juggle right now.

I'd really appreciate any input in this, because I am keen to move ahead with Life, because I fear falling into a rut and not being able to get out. Undecided

Thank you, in advance, for any replies.

1, who's name is the house in? Unless its in your name or you stood as guarantor for it, its not your problem. If your name is on it, i need to know the status of it, for example, are you inside a fix term, or is it now rolling month by month?This has now been resolved: the previous landlord has instructed the agent to release me from the tenancy - downside is that I have forfeit my deposit for it to be held against my ex's tenancy! I have, for the sake of the children, agreed.

If you are separated, then she could be claiming as a single person, and the law of the country is that only Child Benefit and Child Support payments are not treated as income for any Benefits. To get her claim sorted, I would advise she contacts either her local MP, Shelter or the CAB. She is tight lipped about whether the benefit payments have started. I have left it to her to resolve, since the house will soon be in her tenancy.

The fact is that any Benefit Awarded will be back dated to the Monday after she handed in a valid claim form.

2, That is the case.

Thank you for the info below!! It is really useful and gives me a much better idea of how to proceed.
3, You do not need Divorce to sort out Child Arrangements. Does this mean I can forego mediation and make child arrangements with my wife as long as the details are documented and signed by both of us? Mediation is costly.If you was married to your ex on the day of birth, or your named as the father on the birth certificate, in most cases you have PR. This means until a Child Arrangements Order is made (or a Consent Order covering Child Arrangements) you are on the same legal standing.

However, 1 of you will become the Resident Parent (the one who exceeds 50% of the time), and the other will have to pay child support. The Resident Parent claims Child Benefit, what qualifies them to claim Child Tax Credits, and the child's occupancy counts only at their house.

How it works, is the Resident Parent must pay all normal day to day costs, except for anything in your contact time. Your payment in a CMS case is fully inclusive, and the law can not make you pay more.

Where 4 kicks in, When looking at contact, a Court considers "Quality Time" to be weekends in term time, and school holidays. Therefore a typical order is Friday till Sunday every 2 weeks, and up to half school holidays. In effect, its halving it.

However, contact is done at times to suit the non resident parent, its their availability, not the preferred days and times of the Resident Parent. This should be regular time where its the non resident parents choice of activity's, with no need for the ex to be present and what happens in law is nothing to do with them.  Any Child Care should be in addition to contact time, if your willing to do it.

Unless your the resident parent you have very limited rights in employment law. If a Court Order gives you contact in school holidays, where practical you should be able to take your holiday entitlement in that time.

While contact is normally on a 2 week rota, it can be on any number of weeks, to match your work.

Where its workable then you can look at mid week visits or stay overs, making it more like shared care. Courts do look favourably on this, where your work means you can not have every other weekend.

I am not seeing any exemption from Medication, so if you can not sort Child Arrangements you need to go to them also, before you can apply to court for a Child Arrangements Order.
Benefits take about 6 weeks to sort and are back dated.  Your ex will no doubt receive her housing benefit and working tax credit within that time.  You cannot get away from Mediation as you have to attend before you can go to court for Divorce or access.  Mediation is about £90 for the first meeting, your ex will have to pay this also when she goes too, you will not go together.  If she doesnt want to go down the Mediation route then its quicker to Court but you need the form from the Mediation Practice saying it was a no go and giving the reason why! That form will then go off with your application, Dont let that 'no mediation wanted' reason be you as it wont hold well in Court, you need to be willing!

Just to correct this. Benefits with cooperation from the other side can take 6 weeks.

However, when the other person claims they have to leave it 30 days before it will go into dispute. If that happens, both sides will be wrote to, asking for supporting evidence. Right now post is on a 3 week turn round with Child Benefit. If both submit evidence, then it will take up to 3 more weeks, as its sent off to a "Decision Maker".

This is why I have the petition on the governments website. In my own case, Tax Credits was sorted in under a week (I had an existing claim they could add the children on to), but you need Child Benefit also in place, as until then the Child's Occupancy can not count for Housing Benefit.

While you will get it backdated, 3 months is to long to fund the rent etc for some people.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.

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