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"If a mother doesn't let the father see his children, then she shouldn't expect or ask for any money from him" says DH

(106 Posts)
futureforward Tue 19-Nov-13 23:25:15

I suppose the thread could have gone in many places, AIBU, Feminism, Chat... but I've put it here because I think (sadly) people might have experience of what DH and I were talking about and so might be able to give some informed opinions.

For background, DH and I were watching Corrie, David and Kylie have split up and she won't let him see the children because she believes he could be a danger to them. David wants access to the joint bank account but Kylie thinks the money should be all for her and the kids and this is what prompted DH to say:

"If a mother doesn't let the father see his children, then she shouldn't expect or ask for any money from him"

I then said, what if the dad is an abuser, has committed DV against the mum for example, what then? DH replied that in that case if the dad was truly such a terrible person than the mum should 'have pride' and 'not WANT' to take any of his money as child support. I said well principles are all very well, but they won't pay for heating, or uniform, or food. Surely the best interests of the child must always be paramount which in that case means the dad should not be allowed to see his kids BUT he should be expected to pay child support.

DH loudly disagreed and TBH got quite narky about it! I would like to know whose way of thinking is right here?!

Children are not pay per view.
Non-payment of child support should be classed as child negligence in my view.

coppertop Tue 19-Nov-13 23:29:46

I would say:

1) children aren't pay per view.

2) What does your dh think would happen to the child if their mother also decided to opt out of being a parent? Or is it only the man who is allowed to opt out?

lizzzyyliveson Tue 19-Nov-13 23:29:52

He can think what he likes but the law of the land doesn't agree with him. Dads don't get to rent their children by the hour and I would think very poorly of any man that thought they should.

futureforward Tue 19-Nov-13 23:33:16

"Children are not pay per view", I wish I had heard of that phrase the other night! I did say, "you realise the money is not for the MUM, it's for the KIDS, who have done nothing wrong in this situation", but he didn't seem to get it.

I think in the last year or so I have been on here so much and really had my eyes opened about things like this, feminism, and "how the real world works". Sometimes it feels like DH has got this idea of how the world should be in his mind but doesn't see that in reality that is just not how things do or should work!

Slowly I am pointing out things like 'everyday sexism' to him and I think it's starting to get through, then we have a conversation like the one the other night and I think I am back to square one!

SnapespeareSong Tue 19-Nov-13 23:37:29

an absent parent seeing the children of the relationship is not to benefit the absent parent, but to benefit the children. I cant quite work out where an absent parents 'rights' sit when children seem to have no right at all to see an adult absent parent if the parent in question cant be arsed, yet still seems to think they are absent-parent of the year for strolling up and taking them to mcdonalds if it suits them

finance regarding the children is very much a separate issue

Lweji Tue 19-Nov-13 23:40:12

I think you could ask him what would he think would have been fair if he had been the child of a marriage broken by DV.

He's putting himself in the position of a man who wouldn't be allowed to see his children.
He needs to put himself in the children's place or the DV victim's (/parent left with the children's) place.

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 19-Nov-13 23:41:14

I dont understand why any good parent would stop the other parent from seeing their children but still be willing to take money - emotionally its better for the children to know both parents love them.

On the other hand I can totally understand why a parent would stop contact with the other parent if they were bad or disruptive - in that circumstance the responsibility for financial support would still remain in my opinion.

Dont like to use father as not all bad parents are fathers.

futureforward Tue 19-Nov-13 23:41:41

I absolutely agree, Snape.

I think the crux of the argument discussion was, what if the children are not seeing the absent parent, not because the absent parent can't be bothered, but because he/she is a danger to the children: e.g., child abuse, DV and so on.

DH was adamant that then the remaining parent should have more pride than to ask for money from the absent parent. This is what I mean by him living in an imaginary world. Pride won't pay the bills and if you are a lone parent because your ex is a terrible person who poses a danger to your children then I am guessing you are going to need every penny you can get. Not think 'I have more pride than to take money from him'.

Or, would the lone parent think that? Is DH right? I don't know.

Lweji Tue 19-Nov-13 23:43:25

Although, it is an interesting debate.

Parents who give up their children for adoption aren't considered responsible for their maintenance. Should absent parents be able to opt out of contributing towards their children by opting out of any parental rights over them?

Lweji Tue 19-Nov-13 23:46:40

As a victim of DV, actually, I think the abusers should have mandatory contributions towards the financial losses suffered.
Stuff pride.
Most DV victims end up in smaller houses, with solicitor expenses, etc, with less income because they were victims of a crime. Why not be entitled to compensation, as you would for libel, for example?

bragmatic Tue 19-Nov-13 23:48:55

On the other side of the coin, I must say I'm confused by some mothers who bend over backwards to make sure their children have a 'relationship' with a mostly absent, non paying father. I don't think I would be so gracious.

olathelawyer05 Tue 19-Nov-13 23:50:28

"I dont understand why any good parent would stop the other parent from seeing their children but still be willing to take money..."

...because they aren't good parents, or are just plain stupid/selfish, or are consumed by their own anger.

There are some who think "...I'm not getting to see my kids so why should I pay", just as there are some who think "...No money, no contact with the kids" - silliness at either ends, and the children very quickly become a commodity.

DollyTwat Tue 19-Nov-13 23:52:28

My ex would never see his kids then, he pays nothing and I've had to separate the two things.

The other thing here is that an abusive nrp would use this S a means to control the ex - not fair on the dc

I let out a hollow laugh when I saw the title. So if a man chooses to pay no maintainance should he have no right of access then? How many of us mothers on here encourage access with no maintainance, purely to allow our dc to have a relationship with their dads?

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 19-Nov-13 23:55:10

My son has a very troubled friend - mum hates dad and is very vocal about his failings (she has a lot of reasons to be angry with him to be fair) but im not sure slating him to the children is good for them.

Once they grow up they will see for themselves if their parents are good or bad but, unless the parent is abusive or dangerous, it is better to leave them to make that decison for themselves as they grow up.

Mattissy Wed 20-Nov-13 00:01:12

Of course absent parents should pay for their children whether they see them or not. No grey area here at all.

However, if they pay AND they are deemed to be a fit parent, then more should be done to ensure an absent parent who wants to see their child, can. The £60m question is how would their parental 'fitness' be easily established and how would it be administered?

WallaceWindsock Wed 20-Nov-13 00:07:19

Point out to him that a lot of victims of DV walk out with the cloths they stand up in, have no joint finances (financial abuse is very common in DV relationships) so find themselves in a refuge room, eating donating tinned ravioli, wearing donated clothes. They have to apply for crisis loans as they can't afford so much as a tin of formula and a pack of nappies until their benefits are in place which takes several weeks.

They have to stay there until they have slowly and steadily saved up enough to have left or they can wait for a council property. This can take up to a year and is commonly a minimum of 6 months.

I fought tooth and nail to keep P away for my DD when the above applied to me. I also fought tooth and nail to get maintenance in place. This was because I was making one tin of tomato soup and two rolls last me a whole day so that I could afford formula and nappies for my daughter.

Your DH is living in cloud fucking cuckoo land. If I'd had pride I wouldn't have eaten. If I'd had pride my daughter would have been in the same nappy from the moment she woke up until when she went to bed like a woman who I was in refuge with until we rallied round and shared what we had.

The women that have reason have to stop access between father and child are the women that have to put their child's safety first and so leave when they can. For one women I knew in refuge, she had managed to lose her partner unexpectedly in a crowded shopping centre, had rung WA and been given an emergency room. She came in with nothing, not even a clean pair of undies or a bank card. She still needed to feed both her kids.

Your DH is clearly just unaware of the reality of the situation so many women find themselves in. Well done for challenging. Maybe get him to read the thread?

futureforward Wed 20-Nov-13 00:14:51

Wallace thank you for sharing that. Yours is exactly the kind of situation that I was trying to explain to DH. I will share your post with him and I hope things are better for you now thanks

futureforward Wed 20-Nov-13 00:24:12

And you're right, he does live in cloud cuckoo land about things like this. I just don't think he's ever really experienced that side of life, he's never had cause to think about it or known anyone in that position. Hence his rather black and white thinking on things like this. I am doing my best to educate him! smile

WallaceWindsock Wed 20-Nov-13 01:09:17

It's so common. Most people can try and imagine what it might be like and debate how they would react in that situation but the reality is not much talked about. please do show him my post.

We did talk about this while in refuge as I was there over Christmas. We couldn't really afford a Christmas but the refuge staff rallied round providing some basic food, cheap presents and a tree with lights and tinsel. The kids in there were all scarred one way or another. There was a little girl who repeatedly woke in the night screaming, she was having flashbacks of the abuse she had witnessed. A little boy had become very withdrawn, flinched at sudden movements, wet the bed, hid when he heard shouting or loud noises. Not all DCs are effected in such dramatic ways but they all remember and have parts of their childhoods stolen from them. And their fathers are responsible for that. From our perspective those men weren't fit to spend any time with those children if there was a chance they could inflict further damage. However they are still responsible for bringing those children into the world, and if they are so damaged that they can't parent them, they can still provide for them and so contribute to their lives in a way that can only benefit them. That money ensures a home, food, clothes, school uniforms.

Don't those children deserve that rather than to be punished. How do you explain to a five year old boy that he can't have any new school shoes because your pride prevents you from accepting money from their father? Maintenance is in place because it is expected that when to people have a child they have a responsibility to ensure a quality of life and basic needs met of that child. In a relationship both parents would naturally put money towards the upkeep of that child, that responsibility doesn't end if you separate. It isn't about the mans rights, and how he shouldn't have to pay if he can't see that child, it's about doing right by that child regardless of how you feel about the other parent. The reality he's not realising is a child doing with less because of an idea of pride.

WallaceWindsock Wed 20-Nov-13 01:18:27

I think what I'm trying to say is that I've seen the flip side, the actual reality of what a child's life is reduced to when DV has been present and a parent has fled. I've lived it and know that if your husband faced the reality he would fight to get his hands on that maintenance because failing to do so results in children suffering.

In refuge you have to lie low until you are relocated away from an area connected to your partner so unless you have savings that's several weeks relying on benefits. You have to pay to stay in refuge, mostly via HB meaning you only pay a service charge but it's still more money. Then you need to pay for tokens to use the laundry rooms, you have to buy your own loo roll and basics and keep them separate. These little things add up.

Some women are able to work but taking childcare into consideration it's tough. Tougher still when trying to remain invisible and untraceable to ex partners, many women didn't like leaving their kids with childminders etc after school and tbh a lot of the kids needed a lot of tlc and time with mum. A lot of the women are processing and suffering with depression, PTSD or just need some time to adjust so that's a longer stretch on benefits. Or they have been controlled for so long that they don't work, have lost confidence and aren't in a position to waltz into a full time job. So most are on benefits. So that maintenance money really does make a significant difference.

I am bowing out now, as I'm getting quite emotional about this. I hope you have some luck in discussing this with him.

WallaceWindsock Wed 20-Nov-13 01:23:25

Also please tell him that the hardest thing to accept is that you need to swallow the pride he's talking about. I can remember being in floods of tears and feeling like I had failed because I needed to accept Ps money. Of course I had pride, I didn't want any connection with him at all, let alone letting him think that I needed him in any way, that I owed him. But I had to swallow those feelings and go crawling to him cap in hand (before I had the sense to contact the CSA). He used it as a stick to beat me with, really lorded it over me. Not nice.

perfectstorm Wed 20-Nov-13 01:27:35

The money belongs to the children. Any man who thinks a woman should "have more pride" than to want her kids to be properly housed, fed, clothed and cared for is thinking the man is more important than the kids' welfare. It's not his money, or the woman's. It's the children's money he is trying to argue should be denied.

I think women who refuse contact for no good reason whatsoever (and they do exist) should lose primary residence, because denying a child one of their parents is a deeply emotionally abusive thing to do. But child support is always about what the child needs, and for a man to think his contact with them should dictate whether they're properly supported is pretty breathtakingly egocentric. Albeit very common.

perfectstorm Wed 20-Nov-13 01:29:46

So if a man chooses to pay no maintainance should he have no right of access then? How many of us mothers on here encourage access with no maintainance, purely to allow our dc to have a relationship with their dads?

This, too.

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