I separated from my wife at the end of last year (an ammicable decision). We even gave it another go this year until last month when my wife, now ex turned round and said she had met someone else so wanted a divorce. Which is currently in the early stages.
We have 2 children ages 4 and 8. I have since the end of last year moved out of the family home (which was privately rented), took nothing with me (as i did not want to affect her and affect the children as little as possible) and built up another home for myself and our 2 children which I have had to fund myself at the expence of getting myself into debt but believed it was the right thing to do with as little disruption as possible for the children.
I have, since we separated last year and will always without exception put my children first. I still work 37 hours a week and have my children on a two week rota, 4 nights one week, 3 nights the next on a mutually agreed 50/50 shared care basis (7 nights out of the 14). I do half the school runs (3 afternoons, 2 mornings), provide clothes etc (which I have had to buy all from nothing since our split) Pay for school trips, hobbies, clubs, parties etc (or always a 50% contribution). I am a true believer of having a 50/50 opportunity in responsibilities and everything concerning the children.
However, at first I was actually more than willing to let her claim for all the benefits (Child benefit, working tax, child tax, council tax, housing etc) as if she has them fulltime but as things have changed recently and the communication between myself and my ex has deteriorated considerably I feel as though I have been left with nothing at all. I have done calculations and she (with benefits) recieves more than £800 a month more than I do and we both have the same things to pay for.
Is there anything I can do about this?
The child benefit (both of them) are in her name. Im not sure how to approach the matter or if there is anything I can do. I am a fair person and do not want to see her or the children suffer but at the same time I have to think about my own lifestyle with the children as the financial balance is swinging in her favour at the moment.
Err basically Stu no there isnt anything you can do under the current rules, you could claim for one each, as e o h says, but that would need her agreement (as PWC even on 50/50) and is that likely??
Guess hell would freeze over first but hey even the Eagles got back together so I guess anything is possible, except (in very rare circumstances) agreeing to share child benefit, if there is any conflict between you, like it seems there is, forget it!!
I have spoken to the child benefit office and they say I can put a 'rival' claim in and then they would decide.
However in doing this all her payments would stop (for the time being) whilst they come to a decision which they say can take up to 12 weeks!! I do not want to go through this process as I know she would not be able to survive without the help she gets but do I have any other choice? Or can I try and state it in a condition through the divorce. I would be more than happy to claim for one child and she the other but is that really possible? I really dont think she will agree outside of the courts, but have no idea if the courts will eventually side with her anyway......All I wish for now is the fairness and consideration of the lifestyle of our children in BOTH households but fear she wont give up any of what she already has. I do not want this situation to get messy as it will affect the children and also want a clear ammicable communication line between the two of us but if I do this, I know she will react badly and blame me for being unreasonable etc.