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When can I start claiming as a single parent?

(21 Posts)
SusanDelfino Sun 20-Dec-15 21:47:32

I've been wanting to split from my H for a long time now but until recently he point blank refused to take me seriously and tried to scare me out of it. However, I think he's now at a point where he accepts it or so he says.

My situation is this: we rent, two DC (3 & 1), I work and study (both part-time), we get a tiny amount of CTC. So as a single parent I would qualify for income support, child tax credit and housing benefit.

When is the earliest stage of separation I can claim as a single parent?

Right now H still lives here full-time. In January he starts a new job too far away to commute from here so he will be staying with his mum from Monday to Friday and then come here for two nights at the weekend to look after the kids so I can work. He says he will get is own flat in our town as soon as he has enough money saved and until then will sleep on an airbed in the living room. We've not shared a bedroom in the last few years anyway. I want him to get his own lace for the weekends asap. He is awful to be around.

As soon as his new job starts we will no longer get CTC. The CB goes in his account, so all I will be left with is my wages from work, which isn't a lot. So have to rely on him to keep paying the bills and give me money (due to the missing CTC) for our every day living expenses even though he won't actually be "living" here anymore.

So my question is, when do I get the ball rolling re housing benefit etc? As soon as he starts working away r only once he has his own place in this town?

The two days he'd be staying here with the kids I would be out of the house and only be back to sleep if that helps to clarify the arrangement.

CinnamonBunYou Mon 21-Dec-15 00:42:44

It will have to be when he finds his own place. Housing benefit ask for bank statements, utility bills and rent agreements so you will have to take his name off everything and close any joint accounts

SusanDelfino Mon 21-Dec-15 02:03:52

So can I apply a few weeks on advance once I've got the moving date? What would happen otherwise if hb took ages to come through and I couldn't pay the rent? He has said that all bills will be transferred in my name the moment he moves and then it's my problem. We have no joint accounts so once he's gone Monday to Friday from January and me therefore not getting any ctc anymore, I have a huge problem. I don't thinky wages are enough to cover food.

goddessofsmallthings Mon 21-Dec-15 03:56:49

As it seems that your h is effectively planning to move out and leave you and your dc high and dry I would suggest you make a start by getting the child benefit paid into your account.

I also suggest that you make an appointment with a solicitor who specialises in divorce and family law so that you can be advised as to your legal entitlements. If you are minded to begin divorce proceedings, this will serve as evidence that your split if 'real' rather than something manufactured for financial advantage.

Have you spoken to your landlord/their agent about your impending change of circumstances? It's often the case that applications for HB take some time to process and there may be a delay before you are in a position to pay the rent together with any arrears that may have accrued.

Changing names on utility bills is simple but you will have sole responsibility for paying them once this has been effected.

Is it necessary for your h to return at weekends to care for the dc while you work? It occurs to me that he may well drag his heels about renting a flat in your location if he's living with his dm and he may not bother to fulfil any promises he's made in this respect.

Baconyum Mon 21-Dec-15 04:06:33

I've had a friend in a similar situation and there was allowance for such situations with benefits. Iirc if you're sleeping separately, not doing any chores for each other, no joint accounts etc you can claim while he's still there (but his contributions to eg utility bills and rent is taken into account). I'm not a fan of cab been given bad info by them too many times. Check with shelter and if you have a welfare advice unit where you are (usually based in social services offices) they know benefits inside out.

I hope its not changed to much but I must tell you this was 11 years ago my friend did this, so kinda 'don't quote me' doesn't hurt to try and find out.

Also the forms and evidence required is complicated so worth getting forms now. That way you can start filling them in with the basics (name and address etc) and collating evidence needed. Sometimes that can take a while to come through and they will want latest info.

CinnamonBunYou Mon 21-Dec-15 06:49:05

No you have to apply when he's actually gone. It doesn't take long for them to sort it out, took less than 2 weeks for me and my estate agents were understanding. Any other benefits will need to be put into your name, all you have to do is ring them up and they will send you a form. If you are working then you need to apply for wtc and ctc which still only takes up to two weeks to get sorted out and they usually send you a onw of payment a few days after your apply. You said your husband would be earning too much to claim ctc so it shouldn't be a problem for you to claim it in your name. Even though it's only two days a week he would still be classed as living there whether he is on the bills or not so I would enquire about that as I think it may affect your benefits and if you don't declare it, you could get into bother. Good luck x

CinnamonBunYou Mon 21-Dec-15 06:52:15

*A one off payment.

Also make sure child benefit is paid into your account as I think it has something to do with wtc and ctc but don't quote me on that. It's still worth getting it transfered into your name though

SusanDelfino Mon 21-Dec-15 08:38:43

I've not spoken to out landlord yet. I'm waiting with that til I know something discreet. I won't get wtc as I don't work enough hours, only one weekend day is for work, the other for studying. So it'll be income support And ctc. And yes, I rely on H to do that childcare as firstly, there's nobody else to do it (no family in this country and no childcare providers open on a Saturday) and secondly, even if there was a childminder working on a Saturday it would cost more than I bring home. So of he decides to not turn up I'd have to give up my job which I don't want. I also don't think he'd do that as we would miss his children too much. In fact, I'm relieved the new (and permanent) job is that far away as otherwise he might have gone for 50/50 residency. I've done some more research now and it appears you can claim as a single person while still under one roof if you separate all finances and don't share a life which we've not don't in at least two years. Like I said, we sleep seperaly, are barely here at the same time, we cook and eat seperaly and any short communication is about the DC. I'd file for divorce as proof of this but I actually don't have the money for a solicitor at this point. And it seems it's more expensive for the person filing than for the respondent. Sorry for the lack of paragraps, I'm on my phone. The CB is in my name but goes in his account. I'll change that in January.

SusanDelfino Mon 21-Dec-15 08:41:14

I will sie the next few days when he's at work to hint down any documents I might need. Does anyone know what they are? Passports, birth certificates, rental agreement?

wannabestressfree Mon 21-Dec-15 08:48:16

Get the child benefit moved and phone the cms as soon as he moves to assess him for maintainence.

SusanDelfino Mon 21-Dec-15 09:04:16

Another thought, he said that if I want him to move sooner we will get a flat in the city he'll work in but that would mean that contact would have to take place in this flat indefinitely. That's not something I want.

pocketsaviour Mon 21-Dec-15 09:19:39

Unless there is a dispute over shared assets (which as you rent I'm guessing there won't be) or over child contact arrangements, it will be cheapest to wait until 2yrs of separation and then file for divorce on that basis.

I would give Shelter a call regarding housing benefit but I think you need to be in receipt of income Support or JSA or WTC before you will be awarded. Can you start a claim for income support now? I would also apply now to get the CB moved to your account as it will take them some time to process.

Do you know how much maintenance he'll be paying for the kids? Would he be willing to give you two lots upfront when he moves out to help you his children out while your benefit claims are going through?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 21-Dec-15 09:20:20

You can claim whilst you live together but they won't take your word for not being a couple. They will look for evidence that he lives with you as a family unit - things like evidence that you don't cook for him, evidence that he pays his own bills and not yours. They will look into where his post goes, and if he does any activities which make him part of the family.

It is a fight, because it's so subjective, and if they find either at application or later that they do consider him to be living as part of a family unit with you, they'll recover the payments you've had so far.

I think a few things might make that a really hard test to pass, such as CB going to him, him providing childcare at the weekend... What is your plan for when he stops doing that? You can't say that you'll hope he carries on because you don't want to make him part of the unit, you need to live pretty much like he's not there and not rely on him for anything. Also, he'll probably stop when he gets every other weekend anyway, realistically.

Is his name off the rental agreement yet? You'll need to do that and get CB sorted, they'd be good first steps.

pocketsaviour Mon 21-Dec-15 09:22:02

...that would mean that contact would have to take place in this flat indefinitely. That's not something I want.

Why is that? Because TBH it's really not going to be sustainable long term for him to keep coming back to the family house to see the DC. It's going to be very confusing for the DC and I would personally hate to be tripping over my ex all weekend in my own home, no matter how amicable it was.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 21-Dec-15 09:31:43

I agree with Pocket. That's not sustainable and it's not something he can demand anyway. If his flat in the city is unsuitable for children, for whatever reason, he'll be expected to take them out to public places for contact or to his parents, etc.

The court won't expect you to let him have contact in your home.

cosytoaster Mon 21-Dec-15 09:33:14

Firstly, if you want to claim anything as a single parent is is vital that CHB goes into your account. I would second the advice to see a solicitor.

I claimed WTC and CTC as a single parent whilst we were still living in the same house as exH ( I was trying to find somewhere to buy on my own), I explained the situation to Tax credits and they accepted my claim, I did this for over 12 months.
I suppose HB may accept a claim from you before he moves out and pay based on your being a joint tenant (so pay your claim on half the liability), I would ring/call in, explain your situation, making it clear that you are no longer living as a couple, and ask for advice.

SusanDelfino Mon 21-Dec-15 10:11:23

It would be every weekend contact for him til 2017 because I work every weekend. Then my training will be Monday to Friday so it would change to every other weekend. Him taking the DC to his new work city for two nights wouldn't be in their interest as DC1 would have to give up her hobbies with her friends here and not go to parties. He does want to live in our town long term so contact is easier and it stays the DCs centre of life.

SeldomAthleticFC Mon 21-Dec-15 10:21:40

Absolutely get the child benefit paid to you.
He doesn't have to move out for you to claim as a single parent (I know this as I work in benefits) but if he's paying your bills and stuff (as opposed to paying you child maintenance) it's unlikely you'll be considered to have genuinely separate lives. Also, if you're joint tenants and he's still there, you can only claim for your half of the rent. So try and get everything in your name and then get him to pay you a weekly or monthly sum as maintenance. Easier said than done, I know.

SusanDelfino Mon 21-Dec-15 12:17:10

So first I need to find as many documents as I can.

Then get the CB paid to me.

Then claim whatever I already can as a single parent and hope to god he really leaves the family home a the weekends too asap.
At the moment he says it's a question of saving up a deposit for somewhere.

SusanDelfino Mon 21-Dec-15 12:31:24

And obviously child maintenance. How soon do I ask H for that? As soon as he starts working away? That's the hard one. As soon as he pays maintenance it'll take him longer to save a moving deposit. And all I want I for him to leave asap.

wannabestressfree Mon 21-Dec-15 14:45:58

Wait for him to go then.

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