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Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

finances after separation

(16 Posts)
pleasewhattodo Fri 04-Jan-13 21:17:28

can someone who knows about these things please help me.

dh and i separated in august last year. however we didn't do anything about our finances until today. he is a fulltime student... he was getting our rent paid for and was happy to continue this when he moved into his parents house. i did say i didn't want him to, but we were still sorting our relationship, and we thought we would hopefuly get back together, so i agreed to let him pay.

anyway, things haven't been working out, and i wanted to sort our finances out. my friend told me that if the tax offices know we have been separated since august, that we will have to pay all the joint tax credits back, and they don't backdate them. so today, I informed tax credits office that i am no longer wanting to claim as a joint couple, but as a single parent, and change the claim, as from now. i told them that it was december he moved out, and not august.

I also filled out housing benefit form. i phoned dh to let him know, and he has been very angry all day. he has phoned repeatedly and sent repeated texts saying that because i have told them we are separated, he will have to apply for student finance with no dependants, his circumstances will change, and he will lose a lot of money. he said ‘my lack of knowledge’ has cost him. ‘ i am very foolish’. and ‘i should have consulted him’. he said it is the equivalent of him taking all my benefits away from me for 6 months, and he canont believe he has done this. this has went on continually all day.
he also said that, because he has paid the rent for january (and inland revenue will take the money back off him now), i owe him that rent. he said if i don’t pay him he will take me to court. i said i would get the money backdated, but if they don’t back date it then i don’t know how i will pay him. he said he doesn’t care how i get it, i will have to pay him.

basically, he is angry that i have told them, and would have preferred to continue claiming as a married couple which is wrong. i am struggling with the whole thing as it is so complicated to me. i have free legal advice - should i go and ask a solicitor what to do? i feel at a loss.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 05-Jan-13 10:48:36

Definitely go to your solicitor. You've done nothing wrong by telling various agencies the truth... or something approaching the truth strictly speaking... but now you need to formalise the divorce and separate your finances 100% properly. It's no good talking to him because he's obviously only selfishly concerned with the effect it has on his income and the brow-beating he's been dishing out is quite unacceptable.

So you've done the right thing in being straight with Tax Credits... because a) it's fraud not to advise of changed circumstances and b) you need the extra money as a single parent far more than he needs it as a single student. Now you need to prevent him from bullying you by responding to any and all communication with 'talk to my solicitor' rather than engaging with him in person.

Good luck

pleasewhattodo Sat 05-Jan-13 22:19:16

thanks so much. i really am stressed about all this. if i go to the solicitor, i will have to tell her that he actually did move out in august ( i think she must know anyway from our previous appointment that he was already out). then, as a solicitor, would she not have to tell the child tax credit office? if so, then hte consequences are that we would have to pay our tax credits for 6 months back, and he would have to pay the student loan money back for which he was paying my rent. they don't back date child tax credits for more than a month, so i can't get a single claim backdated to get the money back. do you know if the solicitor would be ok with knowing that i said he moved out in december, since thats when we sorted all the finances?

im so confused about it all. mum said to go to citizens advice first. dh was also scaring me by saying i now won't be able to afford my rent, as i live in a 3 bedroom house and theres only 2 of us so i won't get full housing benefit.

he is also changing the contact times for seeing dd, and said he can't see her next weekend. i asked him to email me his plans, and he refuses. i don't want to talk to him. can i really just ask him to contact me through the solicitor? it seems like everything is just blowing up at the minute and i really need to know what to do about it all.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 06-Jan-13 10:54:40

Always be straight with your solicitor so that they can give you the best advice. You do not have to take the advice but, equally, they are not going to tell anyone anything without your express permission. They are not the police or social services. They work for you.... they represent you.

Solicitors that specialise in family law can also give you advice on access arrangements and, if he's messing you about and not sticking to agreements, that's a reason to formalise things. Solicitors cost money of course. CAB is just a different way of getting legal advice and is free... but there is a limit to what they can actively do

Rache1S Sun 06-Jan-13 11:12:01

I suspect you will get just as much in benefits as a single parent as you were as a couple because it is worked out on household income rather than number of adults living there. Try putting your old and new circumstances into this calculator so you can see for yourself.
If he is a student then I assume he won't be able to pay maintenance at the moment so you need to know exactly what your entitlements are so you can be self sufficient. And stop listening to him ,he only has his own interests at heart.

pleasewhattodo Sun 06-Jan-13 13:21:23

i have free legal advice so apparently my solicitor is not costing me anything - i have seen her once and she is very nice. we left it that we would try mediation and if things blew up in the meantime she would be there on hand in the background ready to step in. perhaps this is the time for her to step in. tomorrow i think i will arrange to go to both citizens advice, and to the solicitor, and be straight with them. i just want to do the right thing. my friend works in benefits office and she says this happens to people all the time (ie, people not sorting out their finances as they think they might get back together, and things being complicated etc)

thanks Rach. i think even without full housing benefit i will manage.... even though it will be tight, and if i don't get full housing benefit i will move to a smaller house. i also start a care assisting job soon one to 2 shifts a week so that will help.

today, dh said he wanted an urgent talk with me - he refused to email. i said i didn't want to and he is not happy...i'm going to email him saying he must email me as i don't want to talk, or else to arrange to talk with a mediator. i am afraid and anxious when talking to him. i wish all this was sorted. thanks so much for the support... its all a bit scary!

also, our names are still on the house lease! andi will be paying myself for the 1st feb. i will send a note to the landlord saying we are planning to get the names changed over. it will take awhile to sort a time forthis out.. i hope all this works out ok.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 06-Jan-13 14:06:08

If you have a free solicitor their advice will be better than CAB. Not sure it's worth duplicating it therefore. Ideally, yes, you should be able to negotiate calmly about things like money and access without dragging lawyers into it. But you know what they say.... 'don't take a sword to a gunfight'. So you're quite right to ask him to put everything in an e-mail or go via a mediator rather than letting yourself be dragged into a conversation where you might feel pressured into saying something you later regret.

I'm sure you'll be OK. You've got a solicitor so you've got the right advice and legal muscle. Your instincts about the Tax Credit office are good. You're keeping boyo at arms' length. Just keep a clear head, make yourself #1 priority, and I think you'll get a lot of personal confidence from the experience.

pleasewhattodo Tue 08-Jan-13 10:25:52

it was very good. she said that i hadn't done anything wrong, it wasn't like i was making extra claims for a single parent while also making joint claims, so we haven't benefited from any extra money. and if he wants to go down the route of saying we separated in august, then i would be entitled to housing benefit for those 6 months probably, while he would have to pay back his dependents grant from his student loan, so it will not be worth it for him. and she said if i don't have the money from januarys rent, which he says i owe him, then i can't give it to him (although i will ask housing benefit for this money)

the only thing i am worried about is, our dd had a free nursery place (well, substantially reduced fees) because he got a student childcare grant. now that he is putting through his student finances without any dependents, we are worried that we will lose this grant, and won't be able to afford to keep her at her nursery. she loves her nursery, but i really benefit from it too as i use the time to study, complete my student placements, and have just got myself a part time job. there is no way i can afford childcare if we lose this.

but that is something i will have to deal with. i am glad things are getting sorted out, i feel i have good support behind me now that things are out in the open. thanks also for your support

newyearnewattitude Tue 08-Jan-13 10:51:45

where do you study? It might be worth approaching them for financial assistance towards your childcare and placement expenses. Most institutions have a hardship/access to learning fund and single parents are high on their priority lists. They may also have separate hardship funds for your specific subject....

pleasewhattodo Tue 08-Jan-13 11:48:06

i only study part time though. and i already did a degree years ago so i don't think they will give me anything - still i suppose anything is worth a try! as although my course is parttime, i am in a placement which is for 2 days a week.

RedHelenB Tue 08-Jan-13 14:04:07

Be honest about the nursery - if you can get 16 hours of work a week you would qualify for working tax credits & then they contibute to nursery costs.

pleasewhattodo Wed 09-Jan-13 11:01:00

ive just went to citizens advice. the advisor seemed to think working a few hours a week and paying for childcare still wouldn't be worth it - not with the job i am doing, it just doesn't pay enough. i feel stupid... making all that effort to apply for the job and get it etc and now if i have to tell them i won't be starting afterall.

citizens advice were great. but i feel quite sad. he said we probably will lose the childcare grant. he said i will probably be worse off now. and i will only be entitled to a 2 bedroom house rent benefit, although im living in a 3 bedroom house.

they are going to do a full benefits check this afternoon when i phone through all the details. one of the things i am most worried about, and this sounds completely stupid - is that i won't be able to cope with my 15 month old all week. i find it hard enough one day with her by myself. she goes to nursery 3 days a week and i also need that time to recharge my batteries. she's a live wire, and doesn't go to bed until ten, by which time im shattered and go to bed myself. she wakes me up in the morning, and doesn't sleep for longer than half an hour during the day. i just don't know what i am going to do. my mum will look after her one day hopefully so i can do my placement, and dh will have her one day so that i can study and do housework, but stil i think i am really going to struggle. all this is very scary.

and the other thing is - he was paying her childcare which worked out at £30 a week (the rest was subsidised). for those 3 days she was in nursery, i saved money! she ate good meals there, i wasn't out spending. now i know i am going to be out spending money to entertain her and keep ourselves occupied. there is a surestart centre near us so i will make use of that... and a gym but with the creche it costs £10.00 a go. and the soft play is £14 a month, which if she wasn't in nursery i would definatley get.

sorry for going on... thanks for listening. i know these are normal problems people go through, i know i had the luxury of having her in 3 days a week for free pretty much while i did my course. i think its hitting me hard. and will i be able to afford to provide for us? yikes.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 13:07:30

"paying for childcare still wouldn't be worth it "

'Worth it' is not necessarily about the £££s short term. Don't quit anything yet. If you take that job you might be a little worse off short-term but equally you could progress in the job, get promotions and be in the way of other opportunities. If you're sat at home bored with a toddler, you won't develop, you'll lose your skill-set, and you may even find it more difficult to get back into employment in the future.

Your ex has a financial responsibility so make sure he coughs up. And your family may be able to help with costs. There are free nursery places from age 2 or 3 (I forget), she'll be at school before you know it. So really look at this carefully because a job is so much more than money.

RedHelenB Wed 09-Jan-13 17:19:54

You only need 16 hours of work & you'd get 80% of that childcare paid for.

holidaysarenice Thu 17-Jan-13 07:06:50

I might be wrong, but I thought that even separated your es dh could still get the subsidised childcare from his uni. It might be worth looking their website.

BranchingOut Thu 17-Jan-13 07:42:00

Talk to the nursery before pulling her out, or could you use one at the Sure Start centre?

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