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Dilemma, Honest responses needed.

Discussion in 'Personal' started by evenbiggertel, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Help, I know that I am airing my dirty laundry in public but I would like some honest opinions, all my friends say I am in the right but they may be saying that as they are my friends.

    I have been separated from my wife for three years now, both moved on with our lives I am happy with my single lifestyle, she has had another baby with her new boyfriend. But we keep arguing about money.

    The situation is we have three children and we share the time we have them exactly evenly. I have them Sunday to Thursday morning (as they still go to school near me, my ex-wife has moved 30 miles away) and she has them Thursday to Sunday. I am in my Fourth year of teaching and currently she is not working due to her new baby, but previously she chose to give up work and work cash in hand for her boyfriend. As I work, I have to put the two youngest children in childcare which costs me about £240 a month.

    Now here is the issue, my wife claims all the benefits, Child tax credit, Child benefit, plus she gets her rent and council tax paid for. I solely receive my regular teachers wage. Now I have asked for some of the benefits for the children to be passed to me. But she has refused.

    Having done some research (internet, CAB, and Tax credit people) I believe that she is getting about £2000 in benefits a month (including rent and Council tax). I based this on just our three children (she has said she gets less than this but from my research it shouldn't be). I have not included her new baby in any of the calculations I have made or how much money, if any, her new boyfriend provides so it is conceivably more. This is about £500 more than I take home a month. As I have made the request she has threatened to fight for my pension and has suggested that I only see the children one weekend in two. I do not want this to happen, I would love to be a proper father, giving them the same time as I do now but able to afford to take them out. Also, selfishly I would like to have a decent life for myself, after all I feel I do work really hard for my money. This is difficult as I am only left with about £200 a month for which I have to buy my food, clothes and essential petrol.

    I am not asking for half of her amount of Child Tax Credits, I am asking for half of the amount that I could claim if I had them full time. This would still leave her with the majority of the amount.

    I have contacted CAB, tax credit people and they say that there is nothing I can do as she has convinced them that she is main carer so she should get all the children's benefit money. I cant afford to get a solicitor involved. I am trying to arrange other things for childcare and as far as I can I consider my bills to be as low as I can get them.

    Sorry about the length of this, I hope I have just provided the facts and not just told a sob story, I just want an honest opinion and if anyone has experience, are my figures roughly correct? From your feedback I can realise if I am being a **** or if I am justified in trying to fight for some of the Children's money to be passed to me. Also if you have any suggestions about what I can do, please suggest.

    Thank you
     
  2. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

    Sorry to hear about your situation.
    My first thought is that you should get advice from someone who knows. Gingerbread have a helpline and on their site say that they can offer advice about tax credits, benefits etc. Why don't you give them a call? If they can't help, I'm sure they could advise about who to contact.
    http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/425/Helpline
     
  3. Thank you for the contact, unfortunately they only suggested things that I have already tried. The only new idea they gave was to contact my MP.
     
  4. Have you considered advertising and trying to drum up some private tuition in your specialist area?
     
  5. oliverferret

    oliverferret New commenter

    "Child Tax Credit - Who Is The Main Carer?

    The child for whom a claim is made must live with the claimant. The claimant is the person who has normally been agreed by the parties with whom the child lives.

    If the Revenue make the decision they will ask

    which address does the child give as contact address or for mail

    where the child spends most nights, goes to after school, keeps toy/clothes/belongings

    who buys their clothes, food, underwear, provides pocket money

    which is the registered address for healthcare, social worker, health visitor

    are there any court orders determining responsibility"
     
  6. PlymouthMaid

    PlymouthMaid Occasional commenter

    I don't think you are 'being a ****' at all and you have presented the information pretty fairly from what I can see. It sounds unfair but I honestly do not know what the answer is if you ex will not play fair. In theory the money for the children should be shared. It is possible that she is not entitled to or getting as much as you think as any earnings the new chap have should be taken into account by the tax credits people (i am assuming they live together). Sorry not very helpful in terms of advice but wanted to say that I dont think you are being silly/unfair.
     
  7. Thanks for the messages. The main carer is a thorny one, we have the kids exactly half the time each, I am the contact for school and the after school care. But they are registered at the doctors where my wife lives. We both buy clothes, they have a bedroom filled with toys at both houses, I do not believe there is a main carer but I have been told that as my wife has less money coming in that she is in control of the children's benefits. She now refuses to give me any even though her income for not working and claiming the benefits is higher than mine who works. At the moment her and her new bloke do not officially live together so he officially provides no income to the house. She maintains that he only gives her presents which she can not help so cannot be counted as income.

    I am coming across as really bitter now, sorry am at wits end.
     
  8. PlymouthMaid

    PlymouthMaid Occasional commenter

    No you aren't sounding bitter at all. OK so she probably is getting quite a whack in benefits then so basically it seems to be down to her goodwill to contribute a little to you. What seems fair to me would be if she would meet you halfway on the childcare costs for the days you have to pay for but even that probably seems unfair to her as she doesn't need childcare. However in the children's interests of seeing both parents etc then she should morally help out. just my thoughts and trying to see it from both sides.
     
  9. oliverferret

    oliverferret New commenter

    If you can prove they are, in fact, living together then she is no longer eligble for some benefits which would give you some leverage. If you can prove that she is also working cash in hand as you stated in your previous post then you should also use this information

    .

    Even if he is not contributing to the household, he should be contributing to his own child. However, maintenance payments are not considered as income by the tax credit people.

    Why did she agree to this arrangement in the first place? (As a mother I would have never willingly agreed to this when my children were younger). If the current arrangement has lasted 3 years then you should assume that it suits her - does she actually want the children full time or is this all just bluster to get you to back down about the money?
     
  10. This sounds a bit like the situation my brother had with his ex-wife. He ended up taking her to court and all the boyfriend's assets etc were gone through as well.
     
  11. Sorry to hear of the pressure you are under, and especially as I really don't think there is much you can do about it. If you cannot afford a soliciter, you are dependant on good will, and if you try and force it, the goodwill might well decrease, and access to your children be disrupted..

    I am a single parent who has had no financial support what so ever. We have often been very tight financially, but the situation does steadily improve, as child care costs decrease.
    I work full time, and for the first 10 years or so of parenthood, would certainly have been better off on benefits. It was probably easier for me to accept the situation, as I wasn't having wodges of money that were rightfully mine dangled in front of me, but held just out of reach, as you clearly are. Still my advice to you is accept it. Accept it as part of the sacrifice you have to make to raise children, and then get on with enjoying your family life, and, except in extreme cases, money isn't really a factor in how happy and secure children feel, and the satisfaction and pleasure you can get from having your children in your home. Beleive me, they are young for such a short amount of time, a decade or so of feeling the pinch financially really isn't going to figure very highly when you look back at the major peaks and troughs of your life! But a happy family life, and loving lasting relationships with your children certainly will!
    Of course, if in the future you find you can afford a soliciter, and be in a position to force your ex partner to be fair, through the courts, then go for it. Otherwise, don't rock the boat, as it aounds to me that you have a lot more to lose than you are likely to gain.
    Good luck with your kids. It sounds like you are the type of reliable loving father that is worth double his weight in gold!

     
  12. I am so sorry to hear of your situation. What agreement do you have in writing? Could you possibly arrange for a discussion with a solicitor just to see where you stand legally? CAB? Father's organisations? Is there anyone on your side of the family that you could talk to about this?
    You sound like a good father - and you are usually the ones that get clobbered (speaking from bitter family experience). But if your wife is claiming for childcare, does she pay for childcare as well? Why, if she is not working? Have you spoken to your teaching union? It's amazing what they can help you with/ point you in the direction of.

    I'm not so sure that keeping a low profile is the way to go - you could easily be heading for depression/ stress/ whatever. It certainly didn't work for my brother, who is now left counting the days until his children turn 18.

     
  13. Benefits do seem to be set with the assumption that all fathers are feckless - which is clearly not true. Are you 100% sure that you can't qualify for any help with childcare? Even tax free vouchers might help. So far ad the mothers income goes, any reduction to hers wouldn't benefit the children as the amount wouldn't be passed on to the father, unless she was willing to sacrifice being the named main carer. Unfortunately many working parents can see that non working parents can seem better off financially, but you are doing much more in being a role model to your kids. Best of luck
     
  14. All parents spend most of their income on their kids, and have limits on all other aspects of their life for the duration of their childhoods. What ever your situation, raising children costs £1000s
     
  15. moonpenny

    moonpenny New commenter

    From the points you make in your op, I would say your ex is being quite selfish and as you have the children approx half the time, you should get half of the money that is provided for them (not her)
    As there is a certain amount of childcare paid for via child tax crdit depending on income (I think this has changed so don't know the exact percentage) wouldn't it make more sense for you to claim the tax credits so you could get some of the childcare money back in tax credits and then once you have deducted that amount to cover some of your childcare costs, split the rest?
    The only other thing is that child tax credit is dependent upon income so the more you earn, the less you get so she will probably get more but if you claim it and you have a wage of say,£30k, you probably wouldn't get that much as it is on a sliding scale - she might get the higher amount because they have a lower income?
    You could put your wage and childcare costs into the tax credit calculator and this will tell you what you would get if you claimed it, instead of your wife. If it was more, she may be willing to let you claim.
    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/payments-entitlement/entitlement/question-how-much.htm
    The only other thing I can say is that childcare costs are a pain in the @@@ but at least they don't last forever and then you will have some more money. The most important thing is maintaining stability and contact but it is a shame your ex is being unreasonable and keeping all the money for herself - although I would suspect her selfishness may be one of the reasons the relationship didn't work.
     
  16. Hi - I think your only options are to go to court - they will go through the finances of both parties - including the boyfriend if he is living with her and they will decide what is fair. That happened to me.
    Or I believe there is some kind of Family mediation available through the court system? You will have to do more research on this.
     
  17. Again thank you for all your replies, including the ones straight to my inbox, I really did not expect that.

    In answer to some of the questions raised. I have calculated the Tax Credits I could receive and it is a lot less than my wife gets but still a significant amount and it would cover the childcare, which is my ultimate aim really. But unless my ex wife agrees to this it will not happen.

    I do already claim the tax free vouchers which does help but still means I have to pay a large sum to be able to see my children.

    I have written to my MP and made an appointment for a free half hour consultation through my union. Hopefully I will be given some advice about what I can do.

    Also in response to a previous post who said I should just accept what I have. I have tried but it is getting increasingly hard to do so. I am struggling to get by when my ex-wife is able to go on foreign holidays. It is getting upsetting when my children ask me for little things and I am having to say no as I dont have the money when I get the response that their mum can afford to and has paid for them to do this and that. They are not old enough to understand what the situation is.
     
  18. Hope things work out well for you and your kids.
     
  19. moonpenny

    moonpenny New commenter

    Do you pay maintenance just for the time the kids are with their mum?
    What a difficult situation - I can understand why it is getting to you.
    Is going to court and representing yourself a possibility as Pasty says - the courts are supposed to
    make sure that both parties reveal their exact their financial situations.
    Would you be able to use the childcare voucher system which offsets some of the tax you pay against childcare costs? Sorry, don't know much about that.
     
  20. moonpenny

    moonpenny New commenter

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