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Sole parenal responsability, advice needed. Please help. A bit long sorry

(16 Posts)
itsnotpossibleisit Sat 16-Jul-11 19:51:57

I have changed my nickname just in case ExP is checking as he knows I use mumsnet a lot.

I am considering going in to court to ask sole parental responsability. I am not doing it because I think DD is in danger when she is with her dad. She loves him to bits and so does him which makes this desicion even harder. The problem is that after my maternity leave ended ExP and I decided that it was best if I would give up my job to look after the little one. Almost two years after we separated so at the moment I am claming JSA contribution based. This week I have discovered that I have been denied Housing and Council Tax benefit on the grounds that I have not right to reside in the UK. I am from abroad but European Citizen. They say that I have not worked the minimum years needed to be entittle to the benefits. So in a few words, I am stuck in England (I don't mean it in a bad way blush), not getting any help from family because they don't live in England and ExP won't give me consent to go back to Spain which I can understand.

When we separated it never crossed my mind to go back to my country because I always thought that it was best for my DD to be close to his dad. I even rented a house 3 minutes walk from her dad so she would be close to him and would know the area. In theory he should pay me off my part of the property we bought together but he strongly believes that morally I am not entitle to anything from the house because I have never paid the mortgage even though I always paid the bills and the food, he is a tight ass. He used to pay me £200 per months after my maternity paid finished and he call it pin money. He even checked my bank statement to see how I was spending the money. He has kept the house and all the furniture we BOTH bought together. He is not paying full child maintenance because we have not reached a separation agreeement so already owns me money from the child maintenance. I have enough money to pay another two months of rent but after that I cannot afford to pay rent or council tax with the benefits I am getting. He has never bother asking me how we are managing, I have explained to him twice the situation DD and I are in and he doesn't give a f**k (excuse my french). So what do I have left? I do not know what else to do but for sure I do not want to end homeless with DD and I do not want to give him full parental responsability. He is a control freak and has made my life misserable for very long time. Just a shame I didn't see it before we had DD, I am so angry with myself for that angry. How have I been so stupid all this years?

Anyway, I am not asking you to tell me what to do but to tell me your opinion and what are my chances of getting sole parental responsability giving my situation so I could go back to my country and get all the support from my family and friends.

Does anyone know what can happen in court? What should I expect? How does it work? I would like to know from your experience so I can decide what is best for DD and myself.

Sorry for long post but I really need all you help again smile

brehon Sat 16-Jul-11 20:46:03

I haven't had this experience but: have you contacted a legal aid lawyer or the citizens advice bureau? You might a free legal advice centre near you. You really need good legal advice on this. Is your ExP British or European? This may make a difference. It seems to me that its ridiculous that you cannot take your child home to Spain (if you choose to) as it's in the EU. You could always ask about the EU Human Rights Act (I think it's Section 8 which deals with the right to a family life). Lord knows every tinpot despot, terrorist and low life use it to their advantage surely it should work for someone who genuinely needs it. Good luck to you and your DD.

itsnotpossibleisit Sat 16-Jul-11 20:51:55

Thanks brehon. ExP is English and so DD. I have spoken with my solicitor who is dealing with my separation and to be hinest I am not sure if she is giving a good advice. She has said that we can try but it is very difficult to predict the chances that I will have to get sole parental responsability. She has said that because ExP has good monthly wages and he could afford to go to Spain once a month that would be taken into consideration.

It is just really hard at the moment because I feel very guilty doing this to DD but what else I could do? I don't have any other options, it is crap

mrscolour Sat 16-Jul-11 20:54:26

I have a feeling that you can't apply for sole parental responsibility - I think that once a father has parental responsibility he always has it unless there is a really good reason for him not to (e.g. serious child abuser) but I'm not an expert so don't take my word for it. You could apply for sole residence but my solicitor advised me not to do this as it might be forcing the issue and my ex might apply for joint residence.

You really need some legal advice - you might well be entitled to legal aid. There is no way that he can say you've got no claim over the house and it's contents - these are all matrimonial assets which need to be divided along with any savings he may have in his name. You have both contributed to the marriage whether it's financial or by looking after your dd.

It might be worth posting this in legal.

itsnotpossibleisit Sat 16-Jul-11 20:55:06

Hi brehon again. Just had a quick look at section 8 and I think it is against me as it says that "it can enforce access to a divorce father to his child". However we are not married. I am fucked and I can't do anything. Excusse my french

gillybean2 Sat 16-Jul-11 20:57:04

sole residency won't mean you can move back to spain. It means you can take your dd abroad for up to 28 days without needing permission to go. More than that, or a permanent move isn't covered by sole residency. You may also find it difficult to get sole residency. Your reasons for wanting it do not seem to be in the best interests of your dd, and courts are keen to give joint residency nowadays (and then work out the contact after that). In fact your ex may well argue that joint residency is needed. or that he should be given residency as you intend to move abroad.

If he gets wind of your intention to leave he will likely ask for a prohibitive steps order to prevent you from taking your dd abroad. So if you are going to go you should simply go if you really believe that is best for your dd. However you may be summoned back to court re this, or he may refuse to send your dd back to Spain after a visit though, so ideally you should sort this out properly.

How do you intend to keep contact with your dd and her dad if you go back to Spain? A court may give you leave to move abroad but you will need to show that contact will continue and how you intend to enable this. And if court doesn't give you leave to take your dd back to Spain will you go back without her or will you remain in England?

I think probably the best place to start is some proper legal advice on financial settlements and what you are entitled too. And if he's not paying what he should be in maintenance you may need to contact the CSA. They only back date from when you contact them, so what he hasn't paid to date you can probably kiss goodbye too (although I would suggest you can do that already)

gillybean2 Sat 16-Jul-11 21:11:56

Oh you did mean sole parental responsibility then? Highly unlikely. You would have to show it to be in the best interests of your dd and it clearly isn't.
Parental respnsibility means that a person has the responsibilities of being a parent. It gives no rights to that parent, only responsibilities. WHat arguement would you use to ask a court to remove those responsibilities from your ex?
Those responsibilities include financial ones, so presumably you are also asking the court to remove his responsibility to pay maintenance....? Thought not.

FIrget the parental responsibilty thing. You're not going to get it and you will go through months, more likely years, of court process, stress and expenses to be told no.

You're best off looking at what you can do to stay in the UK or what you need to do to move to Spain (ie ask a court for leave to remove)

WibblyBibble Sat 16-Jul-11 21:15:45

I am sorry you are in such an awful situation, when you are trying to do your best for your child but with no help! I can see that there are very strong arguments for you moving back to Spain when otherwise you are in danger of ending up homeless and starving here because of the lack of benefits entitlement- I don't think that's an unreasonable thing for you to want at all, and obviously it is in your child's interests as being homeless and without money is not good for a child! However, I am not sure the courts would accept it as an argument, because they tend to be a bit oblivious to poverty. It is a very scary situation. Something I think you need to do is contact an organisation that can provide advocacy for you, either to allow you to leave the country, or to insist that you get the support you need to live here so that your child can have more contact with the father. One organisation which has links relating to women with 'no recourse to public funds' is here: http://www.wrc.org.uk/what_we_do/campaigns/women_with_no_recourse_to_public_funds/default.aspx also it would be worth contacting womens aid (0808 2000 247) and Shelter (0808 800 4444) for practical advice and support as you are obviously in risk of homelessness if you can't pay the rent after two months. Also I am wondering, if you are forced to stay in the UK, can you apply somehow for citizenship so you don't need a contributions history for benefits? It's horribly unjust that you, as a parent with a young child, should live in poverty while people can leave school and go straight onto benefits without paying contributions! Also, is there any way that your ex's NI contributions could be counted for you to claim? Were you actually married? (I think there's still some antiquated thing that if you were married then you get more support than if not).

itsnotpossibleisit Sat 16-Jul-11 21:42:42

WibbyBibble: we are not married. So I am fucked and I have to stay in England where DD has contact with her father but her mother can't even afford to pay rent. I have lived in England for many years but I am missing a few months of working to be entitle to have all the benefits. I shouldn't have given up work and I would not have been in this situation. That is the reality

hairylights Sun 17-Jul-11 11:10:11

Not a chance of removing his parental responsibility.

Sorry things are so difficult for you.

Spend your energy trying to sort out the child maintenance.

Have you considered looking for work? You're only fuckedif you are completely set on being a sahm, but the fact is it doesn't look like your circumstances allow for that now.

cestlavielife Sun 17-Jul-11 21:35:06

you need ot be clear whther you are asking solicitor about parental repsonsibility (unlikely to be taken away from dad!)

or residence - which is different/ residence is where she lives.

but the short answer is get a job and go back to work. what was your job before?

if you are spanish EU citizen you have right to reside in UK. and you presumably been habitually resident. you ned good advice on that www.housing-rights.info/03_1_2_Housing_benefit_law.html#persons-from-abroad
"The overall effect is that to be eligible for HB/CTB a person must:

•have a right to reside in the UK (other than as a jobseeker or the right of an EEA national during their first three months of stay in the UK); and
•be habitually resident.
"

if you not spanish/eu citizen then maybe different?

itsnotpossibleisit Mon 18-Jul-11 14:16:57

I have been looking for a job since March this year nd after sending a lot of applications forms, which requires a lot of time to fill in, I have not had any reply. I will carry on looking for a job because I know I need one.

The problem with the right to reside it seems that I need to prove that I have being self-suficient for 5 years and over. I have work for almost 4.5 years so not enough but if my time looking after my DD while ExP was working counts then yes I have been self-sufiecient for 5 years.

I don't know, it is a bit of difficult situation.

Thanks to all of you for your comments

niceguy2 Mon 18-Jul-11 16:39:21

Hi there

I feel for you. My OH was in the same predicament as you when I met her. She left her nutjob of an ex and was told she was not entitled to income support & housing because of the habitual residence tests. So she had to somehow try to make do from child tax credit of £50 per week. Luckily she could live with her sister for a while which meant she had a roof over her head and the £50 at least covered food.

I think the test is merely that you've been resident so the fact you've not worked shouldn't matter, as long as you can prove you've been in the country long enough.

So I hope you can somehow hang on for a few more months. In the meantime I'd suggest going to the CSA and sorting out maintenance now. Don't let him fob you off with excuses.

As for the house, it could get messy. Is the house in joint names or sole?

The parental responsibility is the wrong route to go. A court won't take his parental responsibility from him.

Shirah Mon 18-Jul-11 19:49:10

Hi, As my partner has already mentioned I was in very similar situation few years ago. As for benefits you only stand a chance of getting concil tax and housing benefit if you are working. Your best bet is to contact CSA and sort out child maintenance. They will backdate the payments from the day you apply.
I don't think you stand a chance of moving back to Spain as even if you just take your child back your exP can use Hague Convention against you. Even if you are the main carer.
It sounds to me as if your solicitor is not very knowlegeable about EU citizens in UK. You can try contacting different solicitor and Citizens Advice, although Citizens Advice people seemed to be a bit stuck in my case.
Somebody already mentioned Women's aid and Women without Recourse which is a program run by Women's aid. Get in touch with them as they have contacts with solicitors and should be able to arrange legal advice for you as well as consult you about benefits and housing.
In the worst case if you are not able to afford renting a house anymore you will have to go in woman's refuge and although it sounds awfull it also means you get support with sorting out your monies, applying for housing, etc.
Depending on your work experience and skills it is worth considering applying with translating agencies. Even if you don't earn much it looks good on your CV, especially if finding a permanent job takes a while. Better than a gap anyway. I know very well how hard it is to find a job if you are a single parent with a small child and have been in UK only for several years. Try applying with big companies which have their equalities and diversities policies in place. Although try looking for multilingual (english/spanish) vacancies, e.g. http://www.multilingualvacancies.com Hope this helps, I don't post very often but your post brought back some memories.

itsnotpossibleisit Mon 18-Jul-11 23:18:57

Thanks to all of you for you comments, I really appreciate them in this dissicult moments. Mumsnet is always the place to turn in difficult situations smile

Niceguy2: they have proof that I have been in the country for almost 8 years as in 2004 I was getting housing benefit and council tax benefit and they didn't put me any problem previously. Why now I can't understand. It seems it is because I am getting JSA countributions based. If I was getting JSA income based I could have access to housing benefit and council tax. Just funny.

Shirah: I have already realised today that people get lost when they realised that they do not know too much about EU citizens in the UK. I have contacted a charity which seems to have some idea and they are dealing with my appeal but as they told me I don't have very good chances to win the appeal.

I really need to find a job urgently but I do not know what else to do. I have been trying for a while and I do not seem to get much luck with this either. On the other side I have to deal with an ExP that is trying to make my life still misserable even though we do not live together anymore. When will he stop trying to control my life? Will he ever let me live in peace? Do not answer I know the answer is not

fivalentine Wed 20-Jul-11 14:49:23

just a note. csa is only calculated from the date they contact the non resident parent not the date the parent with care applies. hth

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