Is it ever ok for a Father to not pay child support?

(52 Posts)
LivelySoul Fri 13-Dec-13 19:04:30


I am posting here as I do want men's opinions as well as womens...

I recently had this conversation with two of my male friends and I found it really interesting and wondering what the consensus is on this.

Should a man who has fathered a child always be held financially responsible for their children? For an example two consenting adults have a one night stand, woman finds out she is pregnant and goes ahead with the pregnancy, the father did not, should he be liable to pay for his child?

The case that sparked our conversation was in a nutshell, married couple can't have children, find a surrogate, during the term of surrogates pregnancy she decides to keep the baby (which she is legally aloud to do) once this child was born she denies all access but claims for child support which the biological father has to pay, however as he is not on the birth certificate and fails to get access...

What do you all think?

Was that surrogacy case in the UK? I am doubtful.

My view:
1. Fathers should always pay child support, and it should be a proper amount, not some cursory small sum after they divert half their salary into a pension scheme or something. The father can ONLY make the decision about whether he is happy to support a child before he has sex.

2. Access and child support should be completely unrelated.

LivelySoul Fri 13-Dec-13 19:09:50

No the case was actually in the US and just what sparked the conversation...

SandyDilbert Fri 13-Dec-13 19:11:57

since when has a name on the birth certificate been a requirement for you to get access?

LivelySoul Fri 13-Dec-13 19:13:11

Now I am not saying that this is my personal opinion but the argument that came up with this is that a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy with no consent from the Father so should a Father not have the right to terminate his responsibility to support emotionally and financially? For instance, relinquish parental responsibility voluntarily without courts or the agreement of biological Mother.

lottieandmia Fri 13-Dec-13 19:13:37

Surrogacy is, of course a potentially a complicated situation that requires the acceptance by everyone involved that of the surrogate decides she wants to keep the baby the law is usually on her side.

Fathers should always be liable for child support. There is no situation where they should not - it takes two people to make a baby and everyone knows that a pregnancy can result from having sex even if you took precautions to prevent it. Potential fathers also know that if they make someone pregnant they will have little say in the outcome.

LivelySoul Fri 13-Dec-13 19:15:05

since when has a name on the birth certificate been a requirement for you to get access?

I honestly am not sure about the legalities of that, this was just the article we read, as I said it was US so obviously the laws are different from the UK and vary from state to state.

lottieandmia Fri 13-Dec-13 19:17:11

There are loads of men who just walk away from their biological children and act like they don't even exist. The woman is always left with the task of bringing the child up so the least the man can do is to pay child support. It's also stupid to say 'oh well the woman could have had an abortion'. Some people can't do this.

LivelySoul Fri 13-Dec-13 19:30:08

Can't or won't? They could do it they choose not to for whatever reasons they have. I would absolutely be in the "won't" category but that's not to say I couldn't. I know there are religious reasons people "can't" but I would still say they won't because of their religious reasons, the only time I would say someone couldn't is if they found out they were pregnant too late.

There is a choice for every female but not every male. I really am on the fence about this, which at the start of the conversation I really wasn't but after listening to my friends opinions and thinking things through logically I really struggled to make my mind up if I'm honest. Like I said the topic interests me but I am in no way looking to offend anyone just intrigued to others opinions.

lottieandmia Fri 13-Dec-13 19:39:42

Sorry I think that is nonsense. If the man doesn't want a baby he can make sure he uses a condom. All this stuff about poor men not having a choice I just don't get.

Whether a woman has an abortion or a baby as a result of having sex, it is her body that has to suffer the physiological and the psychological fall out afterwards. Having an abortion is not like taking a paracetamol.

LivelySoul Fri 13-Dec-13 19:52:04

I never set it was... I'm just saying there is a choice there.

Originally the condom was my argument too but what if they did and it just didn't work?

caroldecker Fri 13-Dec-13 21:16:08

Any person who has PIV sex risks having a child. A woman has the option afterwards of an abortion, a man does not. He therefore makes a potential financial commitment before the act, and we should ensure all our children are aware of this - there are many ways to enjoy yourself without PIV.

Daddyofone Sat 14-Dec-13 07:05:57

There was a case in the UK last year where a gay man had agreed with two lesbian friends to father two children for them with an agreement that he would play no part in the children's lives.

A few years down the line the two women broke up and the one with care pursued the man for CM. Back dated I believe.

I thought in that situation it was unfair to expect the man to pay.

Spottybra Sat 14-Dec-13 07:20:00

Dsis never saw a penny from dnephews dad. I supported d nephew with clothes and toys and sports clubs, meals out and holidays. This was on account that he was violent and abusive and had never had a job in his life. Dnephew was hospitalised after being beaten in his care at 15 months old.

Better off without him.

crunchypower Sat 14-Dec-13 14:13:59

If you are a sperm donor I don't think you should pay. I beleive this is the current legal position, if it is all done correctly and not some dodgy verbal arrangement.

caroldecker Sat 14-Dec-13 14:39:01

sperm donation via a hospital leaves no parental rights or obligations. Any other arrangement does not work as the mother is unable to sign away the rights of the child to receive parental support

Daddyofone Mon 16-Dec-13 21:48:01

What ever the legalities around donations via official routes, I still have to say in terms of the OPs question, the story I mentioned does in my mind make it morally ok for him not to pay CM.

It's the exception to the rule. There's always one.

halestone Mon 16-Dec-13 23:52:33

I agree that in the surrogacy case he should not be made to pay.

I also think that a man who wants access but is refused by the mother shouldn't have to pay maintenance. I l know this is a controversial view but i believe that if he wants a part in his childs life and proves it consistently and there is no history of abuse and isn't allowed, then that woman is saying no i don't need any help so i find it hypocritical for her to demand money. I think he should be able to put that money jn a separate bank account for his DC to access at a later date.

TheGirlFromIpanema Tue 17-Dec-13 00:01:20

Men do have a choice though hmm

They can actually make a choice a long time before pregnancy occurs.

ONS scenario - of course he bears some of the financial responsibility. He made his choice.

Weird surrogate scenario - sounds a bit dodgy to me.

Surely a sensible person would have legally drawn up agreements before any baby was born. If not (in case of either sex) then tough luck imo. The concept of financial responsibility is a lot older than any men currently providing sperm in this type of situation.

caroldecker Tue 17-Dec-13 01:17:09

Legal agreements on surrogacy are irrelevant - the mother cannot sign away the rights of the child. Only through a hospital route are sperm donors protected from financial responsibility

randomAXEofkindness Tue 17-Dec-13 01:54:29

Yes. Factoring in travel expenses (which are all dh's responsibility because he happens to have a penis), dss costs us significantly more than he costs exw. It would be unfair for him to then have to pay child maintenance. Why should he?

BillyBanter Tue 17-Dec-13 02:04:08

I'm sure there must be some circumstance where it would be reasonable not to. Your example is an odd one. I certainly feel sorry for him.

For practical reasons of biology men's choices end at a point before sex. If the CSA is good for one thing it's helping men realise this.

Daddyofone Tue 17-Dec-13 05:29:27

Another one that springs to mind ( as bonkers as it is ) is that odd woman who writes in the Daily Mail. The one who was a fashion editor.

She wrote that she used to try and inseminate herself from her husbands discarded condoms. Ugh.

I think it'd be unfair for her ex husband to pay CM if she'd succeeded.

Annonynon Tue 17-Dec-13 05:57:13

In the surrogacy case it's not the maintenance I have a problem with but that the father isn't being given access, he went into it knowing he was fathering a child and that child is still his

Sperm donors are the only ones who should be exempt imo

Also not all women have the choice of a termination, there are still legal limits in place. As others have said the mans choice happens earlier than the womans but he still makes it, after that the consequences are clear

Agree with what others have said here. The surrogacy scenario sounds hard, but it is an extreme scenario. I think another example where the man shouldn't pay is where a woman rapes a man and, as a result of the rape, gets pregnant. I expect this does happen, but extremely rarely.

As for one-night stands: I think it is clear that the man should pay up if required. The alternative would be to force the woman to take on a crippling burden or have an abortion. I can't see how it is fair that anyone should face a choice like that. Child support is hardly enough to keep a person in clover as it is.

I understand that the situation in NZ is that sperm-donors aren't liable as long as the agreement is drawn up prior to the pregnancy - this stops fathers from trying to wriggle out of their responsibilities after the fact.

fifi669 Tue 17-Dec-13 23:20:04

I do feel sorry for men who have one night stands where contraception fails, or are told their girlfriend is on the pill etc. They become parents without any choice in the matter, where as the woman can decide to terminate or place the child for adoption if she doesn't want to be a parent. Yes it's their body etc but if I were a bloke I'd be petrified.

Women who maliciously cut fathers out of their children's lives shouldn't get a penny. You can say it's for the children, access isn't linked to maintenance and all the rest, but it's just wrong that the only part you can play in a child's life is to give your wages over. If he is abusive/dangerous/a drunk fair enough. Because you have a new partner, he does or you just want the child to yourself isn't good enough.

5OBalesofHay Tue 17-Dec-13 23:29:01

Of course it is sometimes ok for fathers to not pay child support. Not all children live with their mothers.


A man who has a one-night stand exercises choice. He can choose not to have the one-night stand. Unless he is educationally subnormal, or extremely misinformed, he will know the risks.

Women who are awarded custody of the children, and who therefore incur the costs of raising them, should be entitled to financial support from the father. If a woman is maliciously refusing contact, I would have thought legal action would have been the appropriate remedy. That said, I am surprised when I read the experiences of people here who are UK-based: I am beginning to wonder if shared parenting is relatively uncommon there. I do also wonder whether the courts are pretty inflexible in their approach to varying custody orders.

TheMeaningOfLifeIs42 Wed 18-Dec-13 00:11:30

Just wondering what opinions are on one night stands where the guy wants the baby and the lady doesn't (I don't have an opinion either way just wondering) should he have any rights then to keep the baby and make her pay csa as she knew the risks before doing it

basgetti Wed 18-Dec-13 00:18:54

No he doesn't have the right to force her to keep the baby. It is just how biology works. The man can exercise his choices pre conception by using contraception. The woman then has further choices if pregnancy occurs by virtue of the fact that she carries the entire physical burden and risk. The choices at this stage are unequal because the biology is unequal.

basgetti Wed 18-Dec-13 00:22:31

And 'she knew the risks before doing it'. The remedies for the woman cannot be compared to paying child support. Both options for her are very physically invasive and carry risks to both physical and mental health.


I think it's a bad situation for a man to find himself in. However, unless he has no rights at all, it would follow that he would be entitled to force the woman to carry the baby to term, give birth, and then give the baby up. That cannot be preferable.

Once again, the clear lesson (which it has to be said has echoes down the ages) is don't have one-night stands.

fifi669 Wed 18-Dec-13 09:52:06

Did you not see the case that came up recently? 82 court orders over 12 years, the mum defied them all.

Men should know that a baby, fatherhood and financial responsibility could all arise every time they have sex. Women know that pregnancy, a baby and motherhood could arise. If a baby does arise then both parents should take responsibility to whatever degree is appropriate. For men, the minimum is financial support.
I don't think the argument that women can choose abortion holds any weight to be honest. Pregnancy is a physical condition happening to a woman's body and can only be ended by the woman whose body is pregnant. A baby is an individual person with human rights, opting out of fatherhood/financial support is not equivalent to terminating a pregnancy.
Choice comes into play for men before making the decision to have sex. There are alternatives to risking pregnancy, there is avoiding PIV sex, there is using a condom properly, there is choosing to only have PIV sex with a partner who is using hormonal bc.

Surrogacy is a separate issue. Morally, a woman who takes sperm from a friend for surrogacy purposes shouldn't expect financial support IMO. But legally she can, if they haven't taken the precautions of going through official channels. I would never advise a man to agree to informal surrogacy.

caruthers Fri 27-Dec-13 21:54:48

Of course child support should be paid in the usual circumstances but that child support has to be financially relevant to the wages of the father.

For example if a father was on a low wage supporting his family and that family was poor as a consequence then it stands to reason that a salary that is of that amount can't afford to keep two homes running.

Fathers who shirk when they can afford get my goat just as much as the feckless mothers who withhold contact because they feel like it.

Children first and adults second ALWAYS!!

FastLoris Sat 28-Dec-13 14:44:39

There are obviously some situations in which a man should not have to pay child support. For example if a family has a stay at home dad and full time working mother, the parents split up and the children stay with the dad. Surely the mother should then be the one paying child support, according to exactly the same reasoning why men normally have to pay it?

It seems to me the whole argumen about child support suffers from an assumption of men being the financial provider and women the nurturer. I thought we were supposed to be moving beyond that assumption?

Other than that, some interesting angles in this thread. Will need to come back and read more thoroughly...

mat690 Wed 22-Jan-14 15:13:11

the woman has 100% of the power to decide if a pregnancy comes to term so should bare 100% of the financial burden if the man did not consent to become a father.

BadChat25 Thu 23-Jan-14 15:28:31


Wow... It's not exactly an easy decision for a woman you know. Any man who has sex with a woman (especially without contraception) should know it's a possibility that she could fall pregnant. He has an obligation to provide financially for his child as much as the woman does.

trooperlooperdo Sat 22-Feb-14 17:06:20

not when the mother spends all the money on alcohol, tatoos, clothes, eating out and drugs for herself and the father buys all the clothes for the children when they visit him. The mother gets over £1000 in child tax credits and child benefit per month. In that situation the father shouldn't have to give the mother anything!

It is (or should be) a matter for social services if a mother is not looking after her child properly. I fail to see how it can ever be in the interests of the child for the father to unilaterally refuse to provide financial support.

Of course, if the father has custody, the same principle applies to the mother.

But the basic point remains. If you don't want to get a woman pregnant, don't shag her.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 25-Feb-14 07:47:32

When a man and a woman have sex, they can make a baby.

We learn this in biology age 11.

If a woman is pregnant, she can choose whether or not to continue the pregnancy.

We learn this in PSHE age 13.

Men and women bear financially responsiblity for their biological children unless adopted.

This is the law which is widely known.

If you cannot understand these three facts, whether or not you "agree" with them, you aren't mature enough to be having sex.

InitForTheCake Tue 25-Feb-14 09:07:16

There are loads of men who just walk away from their biological children and act like they don't even exist. The woman is always left with the task of bringing the child up so the least the man can do is to pay child support.


See this generalization drives me bonkers. The fact that my DSD M refuses to pay a penny towards either DSD or her half sister (not my DHs child) who also lives with us as M has lost interest, means it is unlikely we can afford to have a second DC ourselves. M refuses to pay because she doesn't want to, and has continued to have further DC.

Women are not always left with the task of bringing up the child. We are by no means unusual in this situation. Yes there are deadbeat dads, but there are deadbeat mums too.

And in the case where a women can terminate a pregnancy; as is her right; without the consent or against a father's wishes; can we at least acknowledge how difficult that is for the potential father? In the case where the pregnancy is planned and the woman changes her mind?

It's not all black and white.
Trying to enforce black and white 'facts' on situations that fall somewhere in the wide spectrum of grey without at very least acknowledging the heartbreaking complications is; in my view; plain wrong.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 25-Feb-14 09:19:24

Init - of course it is difficult for the father if he would prefer a pregnancy to continue, we can sympathise just as we would, say, with a husband whose wife had opted out of an unpleasant medical treatment that might prolong her life at the expense of its quality. We can sympathise without it changing the facts.

Agree that the onus is on all NRPs to responsibly pay child support, male or female.

ReadyToPopAndFresh Tue 25-Feb-14 12:59:32

ONS scenario if you dont want to be a dad..don't have sex. It's always a risk

OP's scenario with the surrogate. NO that would be devastating an.

Woman raping a man scenario mention by toadinthehole if that were proven hopefully the women would be considered a sex offender and not in charge of the child. It would be adopted and not the man's responsibility unless he wanted custody?

The sperm donor for the two lesbian women, think that was wrong and that the man should never have had to pay.

ReadyToPopAndFresh Tue 25-Feb-14 13:05:05

the woman has 100% of the power to decide if a pregnancy comes to term so should bare 100% of the financial burden if the man did not consent to become a father.

Fuck someone and you consent to becoming a father.


hmsdad71 Tue 08-Apr-14 05:15:47

A father should always pay Child Support. It should always be in line with wjat they can afford though and the mother should also allow the father fair and unrestricted access unless extenuating circumstances prevail. Any father who doesnt pay because they cant be arsed isnt fit to be a father as they clearly shirk financial responsiblity. Obviously some fathers arent in a position financially to pay so shouldnt be punished because of this.

claraschu Tue 08-Apr-14 05:44:00

I don't think it is so simple. If a woman decides to keep a baby, when her actions and words have told a man she would terminate if she got pregnant, I think she is sometimes wholly responsible for the baby.

fifi669 Thu 08-May-14 21:06:12

Statutory rape of a make in the US who then had to pay child support

fifi669 Thu 08-May-14 21:06:22


fifi669 Thu 08-May-14 21:08:54
oopsadaisyme Wed 14-May-14 00:43:10

My 4 year olds 'father' walked out on us quite a few months ago - he has a new 'wife to be' (was cheating for quite a while), took us for every penny we had, while stashing money, now changed his surname, no contact details, nothing - its impossible to chase for child support - but left us in a world of debt -

But hear he has holidays a plenty and making a fortune - facebook via

lostdad Wed 21-May-14 17:28:13

In response to the OP's question: That goes for both parents.

Both parents have a duty to provide in all ways for children. It's not the responsibility of either to financially provide neither is it the responsibility of either to care.

Welcome to the 21st Century! wink

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