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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?!

mumsforjustice Wed 20-Nov-13 08:17:08

Of course the law seperates money and contact but I agree with dh when the fathers been a decent father and the mother is obstructive and denys contact. This happens and is terrible for children.
But much more common is the opposite where an irresponsible father fails to pay and then expects contact as and when suits, often erratically. Its awful because of the strain this puts women under - not only all the childcare and housework but trying to financially support her family too. That bad for the children too and often end up impoverished with a exhausted and stressed mum. How can they not suffer in this situation? I think a father should be denied contact when he refuses to pay support in this situation. Sadly the law disagrees...
I have to say too that where there's been dv the law then punishes the mother who does not want to have anything more to do with him. Can you imagine any other situation when someone has been the victim of violence and then the law requires you to "prove" the crime and justify yourself for not wanting to see the criminal so you are not forced to see your attacker on a regular basis? ...
Sorry to hear about the experiences here. Its really awful and my heart goes out to you.

SharpLily Wed 20-Nov-13 09:03:30

Eeeek, I don't think there's any easy answer here - I would say it works on a case by case basis. As a general rule then yes, if you've had a child you should be prepared to contribute but I think there are grey areas.

As an example, I have a close friend who, if I'm honest, I have to admit is a terrible mother. She 'tricked' her boyfriend into having a child - as in they discussed the issue, they agreed together to wait a couple of years until reaching a position of financial stability before trying for a baby. However she decided she didn't want to wait so she secretly stopped taking the pill, without telling him. Lo and behold, a baby pops out.

For various reasons the relationship didn't make it. Over the years he has stopped paying, because she constantly obstructs his attempts to be a father. She wants his cash but will not let him be involved or see the child if he can help it - he's not allowed to make any decisions, attend parents' evening or have any significant role in his child's life. He's desperate to be a good father and, quite rightly, hates the way she has dragged the child up. He always pays up in the end, for the child's sake, but he does withhold the money to try and provoke my friend into doing the right thing - which in my opinion doesn't include buying herself a new pair of Uggs with his money.

She is 100% in the wrong. She used him as a sperm donor, she doesn't want him to be a father, I'm afraid I don't see why he should be abused in this way.

I realise this case is probably a minority example, but to me it displays why there isn't a clear cut answer to the situation.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 20-Nov-13 09:23:40

Just to take issue with SharpLily's post on a small point: I have no doubt that women like this exist and is bad not just because it's unfair, but also because it justifies the "pay per view" defence of less conscientious fathers. However, unless the friend is paying 100% of the woman's income, it's a bit emotive to say she bought boots with his money. His money goes towards a roof over his child's head, food on the table, clothing, transport, school outings - and unless he's both rich and generous it's unlikely his contribution entirely covers all of these expenses. If the woman then goes out to buy expensive boots it's probably with the rest of her income, that she would still have had if she did not have a child to look after. Whether she is looking after the child well is another matter. Its mother still needs clothes.

There is recourse through the courts for contact by a would-be good parent, although I accept it's not nearly effective enough and I have heard one or two horror stories from (as far as I could tell) nice men who were sadly deemed by the mothers to be surplus to requirements in their child's lives. This is, of course, not the kind of situation the OP was talking about.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 20-Nov-13 09:24:11

and this is bad... (re-jigged that but it still reads clumsily).

EvenBetter Wed 20-Nov-13 09:24:25

SharpLily, in legal terms there is no grey area.

OP, is your husband not interested in educating himself on issues like equality etc? It's not your 'job' to try and widen his mind.

Bonsoir Wed 20-Nov-13 09:53:52

It's a complex debate with no straightforward answers. I think both parents ought to contribute to a child's upbringing and both ought to be able to enjoy their children's company. Too often the "burden" of child rearing falls unfairly on one parent, who then feels that the other parent shouldn't be allowed to enjoy his or her children's company "for free".

SharpLily Wed 20-Nov-13 10:01:53

it's a bit emotive to say she bought boots with his money. His money goes towards a roof over his child's head, food on the table, clothing, transport, school outings - and unless he's both rich and generous it's unlikely his contribution entirely covers all of these expenses. If the woman then goes out to buy expensive boots it's probably with the rest of her income, that she would still have had if she did not have a child to look after. Whether she is looking after the child well is another matter. Its mother still needs clothes.

Point taken, but it doesn't nearly cover the situation in this case. She has no income because she's lazy but is more than adequately supported by her parents and whatever other dumb bloke she has latched onto at the time. She has more than clothes, she has a shopping problem. I brought up the Ugg boots specifically because I have been there when he has given her cash and she said to me "bonus, I can go and get myself another pair of Uggs now" - and then asked not to tell anyone (not for the first time) that he has given her money so that she can carry on slagging him off to the rest of the world. When he pays her, he is very generous and as I have said, only withholds funds to try and put his point across.

As I've said, I know this sort of situation is relatively rare but it happens and I don't think it's as simple as saying that men need to hand over cash, full stop.

absentmindeddooooodles Wed 20-Nov-13 10:07:22

My dp has a child from a previous relationship. He has not seen her for over a year. The mother will not even contemplate talking to dp about access. She has flat out refused on many many occasions with no grounds.

Dp has paid child maintinence from before the child was born. Every month without fail. Dp and myself have gone without food to make sure he can pay it. Dp paid for mediation....did everything he was asked. Changed jobs. Went on a parenting course. Jumped through every hoop she threw at him. Still nothing.

I have read all the solicitors letters and all the texts between dp and the mother. She is horrwndous. Making up blatant lies and blowing thi gs out of proportion.

Dp is a fantastic step dad figure to my ds. He has nothing bad on record, a good hardworking proffessional man, does his best 100% of the time. He lost 10 uears qorth of savings because of the mother. She even hit him on one occassion. Even so....he still pays maintinence to his child that he helped create. The mother does not use the mo ey he gives her. It goes straight into a bank account and its never touched. But paying is all dp can do from a distance.

Its going to be too long before dp can see his child. There is no legal aid for fathers. The mother gets all her court costs paid. Dp gets nothing. It will cost us 1000's of pounds which we just dont have. But thats another debate.

My point is....yes an absent parwnt should still pay maintinence. My own father never ever did and seeing my mum struggle has been horrid.

Someone upthread made a good point about adoption/opting out though. Interesting subject.

If you bring a human into the world you are responsible for that life. You provide for its needs, requirements and sustinence. I don't care if you live with it, see it or have never met it. You do it. Any other answer is plainly ridiculous whether mother or father, both being capable of being the party seperated.

This might be idealistic. But IMO it's the only way. Anything less is inhuman and immoral.

SharpLily Wed 20-Nov-13 10:22:01

If the coupling is a one night stand and a man doesn't want to become a father, he needs to protect himself no matter how many forms of contraception the woman tells him she's using. However in committed, long term relationship where lives and families have been shared for a long time, should a man still use a condom just in case, even if both sides of the couple have agreed upon the pill as contraception and have made a joint decision on family planning? If one side of that partnership then deliberately deceives the man - in that case is the man just as responsible?

I'm not trying to be difficult here, I fully believe that both parents should be responsible for their children but I find in real life it's just not that simple.

TotallyUprobably Wed 20-Nov-13 10:39:22

Definitely agree OP - I've been in virtually the exact scenario you're looking for. DD's biological father (know that's contentious but he's done no fathering so I can't see a reason to call him dad) was emotionally and physically abusive so I had to leave him when dd was incredibly young. He gave me £20 a couple of weeks after I left, this was over 12 years ago, and he hasn't contributed a single penny since. He'd tell you I stopped him seeing dd but the reality is all I stopped him from doing was taking her off alone, after the first time he did so he disappeared with her and the police had to bring him back. His pride then stopped him coming to see her as it would have to be with me present so he voluntarily hasn't seen her since.

I had to use CSA at one point, because of the rules then about being on income support - they contacted him and got back to me to tell me he'd threatened to push for contact if I pushed for maintenance and I was given the option not to pursue him so I didn't. I wouldn't have stopped him seeing dd if he'd voluntarily chosen to but I certainly wasn't going to force the issue with an abusive man by pushing for maintenance. So I've had nothing from him for dd's care besides that £20. Which works out as less than half a penny a day.

However, your dh is so wrong - I have plenty of pride and I don't personally want a penny of his money but the maintenance is not for me, it's for dd. When dd was tiny and I was going without to provide for her she didn't have pride and she didn't give a shiny shit where the money was coming from, she had needs and her parents were both responsible for meeting those needs, regardless of contact or other issues. THAT'S why he should have paid maintenance, and that's why I would have taken it - it's not my place to decide what dd should have based on my pride! And I consider exh to have failed as a man and a father just on not paying maintenance, let alone contact etc. I shouldn't have had to ask him and he shouldn't have needed to be chased - he should have been pushing envelopes of cash through my door if there was no other way to get money for dd to me.

Anyone who decides not to provide for their child based on their feelings, their opinion of the child's mother/primary carer or what they're 'getting out of it' is behaving like no sort of parent as far as I'm concerned. Exh has in essence shown he's happy for his own child to starve which makes him scum - he has the responsibility to provide for his child, I don't have the responsibility to chase him or decide whether to take his money out of 'pride'. That's why a mother should expect money to turn up regardless of contact if she's buying what the child needs - because the money is for the child - and the child can't be responsible for taking the money and going shopping!

Aussiemum78 Wed 20-Nov-13 10:46:41

Maybe you should ask him what would be fair if you walked away and didn't see the kids, but had lots of money to spend? Would he expect support?

perfectstorm Wed 20-Nov-13 10:58:11

There is no legal aid for fathers. The mother gets all her court costs paid.

Not unless there's been claimed domestic violence with some element of 3rd party proof - you can't get legal aid at all for private law (as in, between couples and not a dispute with social services) children's cases unless you're the victim of domestic violence. Before that you could only get legal aid if you were a very low earner (I think less than around 19k a year from vague memory) but it wasn't decided by gender. Couldn't be, as that would be against the equal opportunities legislation. It just isn't true that mothers automatically get their expenses met and fathers don't; it never has been. It used to be determined by household income, and now they don't care unless there is some evidence to suppport a claim of DV.

Anyone who decides not to provide for their child based on their feelings, their opinion of the child's mother/primary carer or what they're 'getting out of it' is behaving like no sort of parent as far as I'm concerned.

Completely agree.

absentmindeddooooodles Wed 20-Nov-13 11:16:00

Re legal aid.... ( one of my family members is a family law solicitor) and we have been to a solicitors and the cab numerous times in the last few months.

Yes obviously agree its done on income....the mother inour case has huge amounts of assets....but only works part time. Does not offically live with her new partner. She claims tax credits and does everything off the books. She is getting all her court costs paid. Our solicitor told us that the mother has more rights with everything to do with the situation. ( in our case)

My dp earns 15k a year. There is no legal aid for fathers in family cases anymore. This is what we have been told by 3 seperate proffessionals. The mother earns more than we do and will get legal aid.

In our situation the mother is getting all the court costspaid and we are getting no help whatsoever.

There has been no mention of domestic violence. ( like I said the mother hit dp once, but he does not want to mention it as things will get messy. He does however have proof of this in the form of emails where she has admitted to it and referwnced the fact that he did not retaliate and simply walked away)

If it is the case that we have had crap advice from lots of seperate sourcea then bloody brilliant. At this rate we will not beable to afford to go to court for years and years. Seems so unfair.

iwantanafternoonnap Wed 20-Nov-13 11:21:19

My ex doesn't see my DS but thats his choice, like a lot of fathers, no way do I think he shouldn't pay. I did briefly think about telling him to shove his money but it is for my DS and he deserves that money.

Children should be paid for whatever the circumstances.

perfectstorm Wed 20-Nov-13 11:41:28

absentminded most mothers don't get legal aid anymore. Honestly, they don't. There are some people who were engaged in litigation over the kids before the law changed so their public funding certificate is continuing to run, so if she had public funding over this beforehand - snuck in before the cutoff, so to speak - she may well still have it now. Otherwise no, she won't. It's only available in domestic abuse cases (there doesn't need to be physical violence for it to qualify, but it needs to be regarded as a course of oppressive behaviour) or cases where there's reason to fear the child may be abused. How recent was your advice? I promise you that mothers didn't have more right to public funding than fathers before though, either.

Have you contacted Families Need Fathers? They aren't like Fathers for Justice, and help mothers and gay parents too. They're there for non-resident parents, basically. Lots of parents these days have to self-represent, which is stressful but not impossible.

For clarity on the legal aid/public funding aspect, maybe post here in legal? I'm sure the family lawyers on Mumsnet could help.

absentmindeddooooodles Wed 20-Nov-13 13:21:32

Perfectstorm thanks so much for that post!

The advice we got was in the last couple of months....the most recent being 2 weeks agi. Sounds like we have been told very wrong!!!

The mother didnt get any funding before so no carry over like you say.

Realised that I came across as a bit mean towards motjers in general then...tjats genuinley not the case....I am one for a start and know just how hard it can be for so many women out there with regards to things like
this.

Will definatley contact families need fathers. Would love to get more info on self representing as its jist heartbreaking to see such a lovely dad seperated from his child. Not fair on either of them.

Meglet England Wed 20-Nov-13 13:35:41

Legal aid is imnpossible to get these days. I earn £8k and still had to pay for mediation and a session with a family lawyer.

XP has been gone for almost 5yrs now and still pays maintenance via the CSA. The only time I blocked contact was after 6 months of erratic contact, some of the drunk and the final one an explosion of effing and blinding because the DC's were fiddling about at bedtime and he wanted to get to the pub hmm. I said he could see them again once we'd been to mediation and sorted out a contact centre. He was asked to leave mediation for getting nasty and e-mailed me saying he would never attend the contact centre. Luckily he's dug his own hole because he wouldn't be allowed to see them without jumping through some big hoops and going to a contact centre again. So no, I wouldn't just allow contact if he appeared out of the blue. It would be too dangerous for me and the dc's.

Meglet England Wed 20-Nov-13 13:37:10

Ooops, sorry for typos. Am going for a walk in my lunch break!

Why does he think a child should be punished for something over which they have no control?

He is happy for a child to go without because of the actions of the mother? Mum has to toe the line or the kid won't get a penny from the father towards the food in their mouth.

Can he not separate the needs of a child from the actions or choices of a parent?

and that's without adding what about all the fathers who need to be kept away from children for the child's safety!

What's pride got to do with anything? So all a bloke has to do is to kick the shit out of his kid and he'll never have to pay a penny towards the roof over the child's head or the food in the child's mouth because the mother should have more 'pride' than to demand a contribution from an abusive man for the child he helped to create.

Sorry, but I have to say that's some fucked up thinking.

SharpLily Wed 20-Nov-13 14:39:38

Well the debate and futureforward's conversation with her husband were provoked by Coronation Street and there was no suggestion of domestic violence in that case. Once you start taking that sort of circumstance into account I'd argue again that you can't make blanket statements about access, payment or any of the associated issues.

saragossa2010 Wed 20-Nov-13 15:13:14

50/50 contact often works best particularly as in so many couples these days both work full time and both earn about the same.

This is interesting. in England I did not ask for maintenance for the children, because i was proud and i thought fuck you i can get by easily on my own. and I did fine, because no-one was spending a fortune on expensive booze and cigarettes. But now i have moved home to Scandinavia, I had to "demand" maintenance in order to apply for benefits! The benefit officee rang up my ex and England and told him he had to pay. I was astonished. (he was violent and had restrictions on the contact, but has contact via skype now.) But the Law here is such, the absent parent must stump up, no matter what. It boils Down to the children having enough to meet their needs. this must be priority, and sadly arses exist of either gender.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 20-Nov-13 17:45:01

That would be very expensive pride. How many mothers would choose to see their children suffer - most likely lose their home - in order to service her self image? She'd be derided as a selfish monster.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 20-Nov-13 18:07:50

Turbo, I thought that was true in the UK and was the main reason for establishment of the CSA - not to make things fair for children but to recoup the government's benefit payment costs.

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