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Can’t afford to keep my children

(158 Posts)
Tobl20 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:08:20

Just wondering if anyone else who shares custody of their children with an ex partner has found a solution to this dilemma of only one parent being able to claim benefits for the kids. I share custody of my children and my ex partner claims child benefit and tax credit for both kids. This has been the case for the last 2 years since we split and he is still living in our house and refuses to sell. When the kids are with me we all live in my parents spare bedroom and share a double bed. It’s very cramped and there is no room for all their clothes and toys etc and my parents are selling the house so I need to find somewhere for me and the kids this year but cannot afford anywhere. I only earn 550 a month from working part time since September as my youngest has started full time school. But it is still not enough to live on when trying to see what kind of housing I can afford. I only qualify for a one bedroom property from the council as I am classed as a single adult with no children. I will also need to budget for utilities which I’m not paying atm as my parents pay all bills and don’t charge me any rent as they know I can’t afford it. They are supportive and won’t sell the house until I’m able to move out but I feel bad as they aren’t wealthy and both still work full time and have a mortgage to pay. They help with costs for the kids too such as food school uniforms etc. But my problem is I can get no financial support at all and may be forced to give up custody of my kids to their dad.

PorpentinaScamander Tue 14-Jan-20 00:10:08

Why is he claiming all the benefits? Do they split their time 50/50? Could you claim for 1 child each? I have friends who did that and it worked well.

JasonPollack Tue 14-Jan-20 00:14:29

How is their time split and how many kids are there? Would it not make sense to take the one bed from the council and then try to make it work?

Howmanysleepsnow Tue 14-Jan-20 00:15:33

When you say you share custody, what is the split? Is your ex more entitled to claim child benefits than you?
Could you up your hours when the dc are with your ex?
Could you get a one bedroom property with a sofa bed in the living room for you and have the dc share the bedroom?
Have you seen a solicitor? Could you force him to buy you out or pay you rent for your half of the property?
Sorry you’re going through this, it sounds tough.

RandomMess Tue 14-Jan-20 00:17:39

If you have more than one child the sensible thing would be for each of you to claim for a child or two each.

Is it true 50:50 overnights? In which case claim for CB for one child include your evidence that it has consistently been 50:50 for two years.

Was he financially abusive when you were together or is it just over the house being sold?

RandomMess Tue 14-Jan-20 00:19:03

The other reality is that you need to work full time...

Tobl20 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:19:18

It’s supposed to be 50/50 yes. We have a court order. But he works 6 days a week and his mum works part time on some days so sometimes I have to collect the kids on his days etc which makes things awkward as I am trying to work as much as possible on the days he has them. He claims all the benefits because he’s allowed to. Both of us are equally entitled to the benefit but only one of us can claim. It’s like a loophole in the law as “shared care” wasn’t very popular until quite recently and the law needs to catch up. We don’t have a good relationship but have to communicate for the sake of the kids. He is a bully and I have to be very careful about bringing up issues as he loses his temper about literally anything.

BrieAndChilli Tue 14-Jan-20 00:21:31

Can you not work more hours while the children are with thier dad?
Can you give us more details so that people can advise you better?
Who do the kids love with and when? What’s the split eg 2 days at your and 5 with Dad? What’s the situation with the house? Is there equity in it. Can he buy you out of your share?

Tobl20 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:21:50

Yes he was abusive and still is very controlling but I’m trying as best as I can to make it work for the kids. I can’t really afford to go to court etc again as it was so expensive for my parents the last time. It cost around 4 thousand in total just to get a custody order.

BrieAndChilli Tue 14-Jan-20 00:22:24

Can you not claim for a child each? That’s how other people deal with this situation I think?

Howmanysleepsnow Tue 14-Jan-20 00:22:41

Can you add them on your UC claim?

doritosdip Tue 14-Jan-20 00:24:14

You can claim for one child each. It is allowed and very common with shared care families.

DangerMouse17 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:25:24

Well on his days he needs to collect them? If he has to spend on childcare because his mum isnt around, tough luck and then that's what he will need to do.

On those days you work if still doing part time...or you work FT so you get more £. If the kids are at school you can do more hours.

Contact cben/HMRC and tell them its 50/50 if hes going to be difficult. Put in your own claim.

Tobl20 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:25:51

I try to work when the kids are with dad but he is very unreliable and it’s difficult as I have needed to leave work a lot because I’ve needed to pick the kids up on his days. He can’t afford to buy me out but won’t sell either. It’s supposed to be a 50/50 split 3 days one week and 4 days the next. Alternating. It’s quite an erratic schedule and I knew at the time that he would be unable to stick to it because of his work and lifestyle but he insisted on 50/50 so I had to agree in the end.

Smotheroffive Tue 14-Jan-20 00:26:37

Then he shouldn't be having control of the children if hes a bully, and financially abusive.

You urgently need to speak to rights of women for free legal advice on their helpline. Call and call until you get through.

Also contact the national domestic abuse helpline to see what they say about his behaviours and how you canttact for fear of his reaction.

You have been bullied into a corner is how this comes across and I'm so sorry that this is happening to you. Get urgent advice and turn this around for you all.

DangerMouse17 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:27:18

Why did you leave the family home and let him have his way? Is he abusive?

Smotheroffive Tue 14-Jan-20 00:29:37

Are the children doing 'well' under this regime? He is failing them by not turning up, but you are protecting him because hes knows he has you over a barrel and that you will pick up his slack.

So your work, pay and circumstances suffer.

You need to write to court that he is persistently breaking the court order, giving dates and times of when hes refused to collect his own children.

Tobl20 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:30:53

Luckily my boss is friendly with my parents and knows the situation and is very understanding. She lets me give her my available days at the beginning of the week. If I had another job I would have been fired I know. Before September I couldn’t work hardly any hours as my son was only in nursery. But I’ve upped my hours a bit now he’s in school. I have contacted child benefit office but it is up to the parents to sort out who claims what in cases of 50/50 custody.

RoseMartha Tue 14-Jan-20 00:31:58

I think you need to go to citizens advice. Or a free half hour consultation with a solicitor.

Smotheroffive Tue 14-Jan-20 00:33:04

Not in cases of abuse its not.

Neither you nor your boss should dancing around to rectify his arrogance and neglect of his children.

He has a court order, and hes routinely breaking it.

Act now to turn this around.

DangerMouse17 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:33:11

Sorry just saw your post about him being abusive. He has really done you over here.

He may be unreliable and although it's hard I think you need to stop being at his beck and call. If he is "unreliable" on one of his days, you DONT get the kids and let him be late and get a bad rep with the school. He is still controlling you in all this.

Your days are yours, his days are his.

He isnt entitled to all the money and who cares if he gets cross. Insist its equal. Put a claim in and tell HMRC why. I'm so angry on your behalf to be honest. I hate bullies like this!

Tobl20 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:34:17

I have had help from the women’s aid centre for the past few years and I’ve been working on building up my confidence etc and I’ve also done the freedom project. The problem is I have no money at all to go to court. And even if I did he would go ballistic and the children would suffer. He wouldn’t physically abuse them I know but he has a bad temper and has snatched them from me in the street before and I didn’t see them for 2 weeks.

RandomMess Tue 14-Jan-20 00:34:19

Go through the procedure of apply for CB, you are entitled to claim for one child each.

As for picking them up you need to learn to say no, I'm at work you can't... or if you have documented that you have had them for more than 50% of nights as well as being the default parent take it back to court and self rep.

Get a full time job and then you are simply not available to have the DC as and when he demands.


Bouledeneige Tue 14-Jan-20 00:35:51

I think you need good advice about sharing the proceeds of the assets in the marriage and the benefits and then you also need to ensure that you can work full time. He will have to make his own arrangements for childcare - you simply cant impoverish yourself and your children.

DangerMouse17 Tue 14-Jan-20 00:36:02

And yes, if he fails to turn up to collect and is generally rubbish stop helping him! Use his failures to get a better deal for you and the kids. If he was a real father he would want to help make it equal and not have the kids all in one bed with you on your days, in a cramped room. He would want a decent environment for them in both homes.

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