My wife has recently decided she wants to separate and moved out 4 weeks ago to stay with a friend. While this is a very painful time, we want to stay amicable for the interest of our 2 year old child (and for us).
We are intending to have 50:50 shared parental responsibility as neither of us wants to be away from our child and have both always worked part-time to spent more time with them.
She is looking at renting her own place and has worked out that if she if the claimant for child tax credits rather than me then overall (as we intend to split whatever benefits
we get) we'd be better off by £100/month (as my income is higher than hers).
My concern is - does her claiming the tax credit (and child benefit) mean she would have greater rights to our child in the future? or does this have no bearing on rights
The money side of things is not too concerning to me, I'm scared that should she be the claimant and we stopped being friends in the future then there could be a chance I wouldn't be able to see our child as often (which is the hardest part in all this - I love being a dad and want to be there all the time, I don't want to be a part-time dad! But at the same time it's not in our child's best interest not to spend lots of time with their mum either!)
I'm no expert on the matter, but I doubt the
benefits claimed by either parent would influence the amount of shared care they should get. Maybe you could claim the child benefit and she could claim the tax credits and then re-distribute this between you. It would be a good idea to draw up a parenting plan. You should be able to find a template online. This will formalise your agreement, including the shared care and split of benefits etc. That way if the relations do breakdown you can show the courts the arrangement which has been in place.
You should get this checked with Citizen Advice, but my understanding is that if she has the child benefit then you become the non resident parent, which would mean she could claim maintenance from you, unless you have 50/50 care and can evidence this to the
Child Maintenance Service.