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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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My wife and I are separating. We have 2 children aged 10 &

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Hi. My wife and I are separating. We have 2 children aged 10 & 8, both born before we were married in 2010. A year later my wife suffered a brain haemorrhage and has various physical and mental disabilities since. My wife in June was assessed by adult social services to receive daily care and twice a week enablement. The children were also assessed and reported an express wish to be with Dad at home as I'm their primary care giver - agreed by Children Social services as my wife is unable to meet their needs despite support services put in place by adult services. We are a low income family, I have been self employed since 2005 and seen my business income deteriorate since 2011. We receive benefits and I control all the household finances. My wife has agreed to move out of our rented home since May with the children staying in the rented family home, although I suspect she has other plans. I recently stopped our joint claim for Tax Credits and applied as myself and 2 children so my wife could gain financial independence (she also receives DLA). However she is denying to change the name on Child Benefit to mine thus cannot claim Tax Credits. Her father looks after her individual finances as she is incapable. She is placing my children at risk due to a severe cut in income in which I will not be able to pay the bills, I cannot rely on her to do it and have serious issue with her father paying our house bills! I am therefore seriously considering removing the children under duress out of the family home to relocate to my mothers 250 miles away who we visit every school holiday. This loss of income is placing my children in direct harm. This proposed action is an action I do not take lightly. The children are exceptional and settled in school, my son plays youth football and I am a qualified FA coach of his team as well as club Treasurer. The children also love their mother dearly, and moving so far would seriously impact her ability to see them regularly. However I cannot condone or accept her actions - please advise.

Hi, thank you for your question. Given your wife has now moved out of the property and you are the main carer of the children you can write to the child benefit agency directly to inform them of the change of circumstances. You can see more information and contact details about reporting changes here:

If she contests this (which she has no ground to as the children no longer live with her) you can apply to court for a child arrangement order that they live with you (also known as a residence order) and this order will enable you to prove that the children reside with you.

I hope this assists you. If you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for your question without a positive rating. Thank you

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi sorry my wife still resides in the property, Adult services 4 months ago requested she be placed on a priority housing list, of which nothing has materialised, I find this strange likewise her 'need' to hold onto these benefits. I'm deeply concerned she is going to move out of the property with the children despite Social Services reports. However in the meantime I'm more concerned at the sudden and severe drop in income, which will seriously impact our ability to pay our bills.

I think you should write to the Child Benefit Agency explaining in fully the circumstances and detailing what you do to meet the care and day to day needs of the children, and what your wife does in relation to this, as well as her limitations due to her disabilities and ask for it to be transferred to your name.

If she attempts to leave with the children you should consider immediately applying to court for a child arrangement order which can be done on form C100 and a £215 court fee to your local family court, and if there is a risk towards the children due to her disability then you can do this on an urgent basis.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok and what about the legalities around removing my children from the family home. As mentioned I have medical forms & Social Services reports stating she lacks capacity to meet all the childrens need. In the next 2 weeks I will be unable to financially meet the needs of myself and the children, we will be unable to pay utility bills due to her actions - so my only option is to remove them from the family home.

As the mother has parental responsibility and your intention is to move 250 miles away, you would need to consult the mother before such a relocation and she can apply to court for an order prohibiting you moving away. In the circumstances you should consider applying urgently to court for a child arrangement order for them to live with you which will allow you to transfer the benefits to your sole name, but again you should inform the child benefit agency of this first as they may agree to transfer without any order in place.