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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.

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

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 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 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.

Inertia Wed 20-Nov-13 18:20:25

Frankly if my DH thought that pride was the priority in a situation where children were in (or removed from) an abusive situation, while their mother struggled to feed and clothe them, I'd wonder how I managed to end up married to such an ignorant arsewipe.

Please encourage him to read Wallacewindsock's excellent and moving posts up thread.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 20-Nov-13 18:27:08

But essentially OP's DH's logic is 'men who hit should be financially rewarded'.

So in cases of DV, where the only way for the woman to keep herself and/or the children safe is to cut all contact, the perpetrator of one or many criminal offences should be rewarded by being allowed to keep all his money for himself.

Whereas men who are not a threat, so will eventually gain access through the courts, should pay up. (Oh but not while he's fighting the case, until he actually sees them. So he must view payment as a penalty for trying to be a decent father).

And the inference is that women who fail to leave violent men in order to protect their children just don't have enough pride, right?

He's certainly telling you something about how much he values his pride, over others' wellbeing, I'd take notice of that!

Lazyjaney Wed 20-Nov-13 18:41:36

For as long as some RPs can play games with access, some NRPs will try and avoid paying. The fix here is to remove the cause IMO

DV is a red herring here, the bulk of these issues will be where no DV is involved, that is and will remain a special case.

fifi669 Wed 20-Nov-13 20:20:32

DV won't be the main reason RP stops access, it'll be one of a host of reasons. Even if the NRP was involved in DV the courts wouldn't stop them seeing the kids in a supervised setting if the violence was never directed towards them.

I see two sides of the argument here. Ex was encouraged to spend time with DS, doesn't bother, doesn't pay his CSA and is massively in arrears.

DP has a DD. He has never stopped maintenance, but ex will cut access for any reason. Started dating me. Let DD see her aunty (his ex doesn't want anyone else to see DD). DD was naughty at nursery so it must be DPs fault.... Literally anything. He's been through mediation 3 times and some family services thing. She cries and says it's all so difficult for her and he's made to feel the bad guy! She doesn't work. Has rent/council tax paid. Receives child benefit/tax credits/income support. Child maintenance is on top. She can afford a brand new car because he pays, yet only let's him see DD if she's in a good mood! How is that fair?

Lweji Wed 20-Nov-13 20:39:09

For as long as some RPs can play games with access, some NRPs will try and avoid paying.
If only it was that simple. smile
And all if NRPs were always prepared to pay, even with access. There are enough examples in this board where mothers complain that they are being offered less than the CSA recommends, or the NRP uses child maintenance to further control the RP.

fifi669 Wed 20-Nov-13 21:18:11

It should be as simple as unless the children are at risk, NRP pays towards them and RP doesn't stand in the way of the child's relationship with the NRP. In most cases the RP is a woman and the whole system seems massively biased in their favour no matter how badly they act.

When there's so many women out their with little or no support trying to keep the lines open between their DC and their ex, often battling the lack of interest from him, it makes my blood boil that other women will play God with their child's life! Aaaaaahhhh

Honestly, in DPs situation, you wonder how it's fair when you see what he goes through trying to see DD, jumping through hoops, ending up in tears, yet still handing over chunks of his salary every month to the woman responsible.
I know the money is for the children, but when I was jobless I survived happily with a child the same age on the same benefits but without CSA. Why should women like that collect the cash and refuse contact?

perfectstorm Wed 20-Nov-13 21:39:34

I don't know why so many people find this hard to grasp: the money benefits the children. THE MONEY BENEFITS THE CHILDREN. If some resident parents (usually mothers) are such atrocious ones that they try to deprive their kids of their other parent, how is it then fair on the child to deprive them of financial support as well? Why deprive a child on both fronts? I've already said I think a parent who unreasonably denies their children a relationship with the other parent should lose residence, because it's emotional abuse - a child has a right to a loving and close relationship with both parents unless one is actively a danger to them, and any obstruction of that is appalling. But that's a completely separate issue from denying the child financial support. You are making the child suffer as well as their resident parent, and what truly loving non-resident parent would want to do that?

As to "people only withhold money if they're denied contact!" sorry, but that's just utter bollocks. There are people who go through the courts for contact while simultaneously evading payment of child support - to remove gender from that situation I could provide a link to a lesbian couple in that situation from a year or two ago. Because people are sometimes selfish, men and women. And a major factor in whether a father loses contact with his kids is not in fact the attitude of the mother (though again, I am well aware there are some horrendous cases of maternal implacable hostility and quite deliberate parental alienation out there, which is straightforward child abuse to my mind). A major factor is whether or not the father has had more kids in a second relationship. If he has, he's much less likely to remain in contact, let alone close and loving contact, with the first family. Obviously there are loads of loving and involved dads with first and second families; I know several. But the reality is that that is statistically a significant variable, and it's hardly one you can blame on the first family's mother.

Trying to pin this on gender is a cop-out. Some fathers are just selfish arses, as are some mothers. The means people express that varies, so you get dead-beat parents and jealously possessive parents, neither of whom give a shit about the welfare of their children when that conflicts with their own wants. Not paying for your own kids is in effect thinking you need and deserve the money more than they do. Which is shitty - full stop. Punishing your children to get back at your ex is low, whatever the gender.

perfectstorm Wed 20-Nov-13 21:45:45

Sorry, a sentence should read And a major factor in whether a father loses contact with his kids is not in fact always the attitude of the mother. Losing that always makes it sound like I'm unaware that it can be, and as a friend is in their 3rd round of litigation to have their contact order enforced, I know it's very much a real problem in some cases.

It's also a real problem that some mothers try desperately hard to foster contact, and their exes chop, change, turn up only erratically and then peter out. Because good mothers know that harms their kids and want so much for contact to be ongoing, regular and positive. I've seen those situations, too. A friend sobbed down the phone recently, after soothing her heartbroken kids when they'd waited two hours for a Daddy who never turned up at all. Which is far from uncommon.

Some people are just shitty and should not have kids. Once they have, all you can do is try to ensure they help towards supporting them, and are supported in trying to see them. Unfortunately both are often easier said than done.

fifi669 Wed 20-Nov-13 21:49:07

I agree, parents who refuse contact for no reason should lose residence.

It'd be naive however to say the child gets the benefit of all money paid over. As an extreme, if a footballer was paying CSA do you think all that money is going on nappies? If the state is paying all the bills, what's left for the CSA to cover? As I mentioned before, I have been the single mum on benefits, I know how much they get. Especially at the age DPs child is now (3), they really don't cost that much! I have a child the same age.

Obviously this isn't the case for all people. But at either end of the spectrum people are doing well out of it, esp now CSA type payments aren't included as income for benefit purposes.

Lazyjaney Wed 20-Nov-13 21:57:40

"I've already said I think a parent who unreasonably denies their children a relationship with the other parent should lose residence, because it's emotional abuse - a child has a right to a loving and close relationship with both parents unless one is actively a danger to them, and any obstruction of that is appalling"

Despite it being all you say, in practice it's very difficult to do anything about these resident parents doing this.

"But that's a completely separate issue from denying the child financial support"

In your view it is separate, in a lot of other peoples' views it is not. Both are wrong, but both are done. So long as the agreed access is not enforced, some will choose to try to force the issue by withholding funding.

This btw is a totally separate issue to those NRPs who don't pay, even if offered access. While both are desperately heartrending, you can't conflate the two, they are totally different dynamics.

perfectstorm Wed 20-Nov-13 22:12:23

Benefits is, by definition, a limited life - and benefits have been quite sharply cut over the past two years, so women on benefits now won't have the same money you may have done under Labour. Just as one example: housing benefit used to pay the 50% point of local rents. Now, it pays 30%, and as they factor the 18% of properties managed as social housing into those rent calculations, which are always lower than market level, and many properties aren't available to people on benefits because insurance for landlords usually excludes it, there's a massive shortage in that price range. None is in areas, usually, where you'd want to raise a child - rents where we live are £1400 a month, on average (you can find a small 2 bedder for around £850, though rarely and they're snapped up fast when they appear), while Local Housing Allowance is less than £700. And we're in the catchment to the top primary and comprehensive. To send your kids to a good school in this town - not Outstanding, just Good - benefits are no longer enough - you'd need maintenance to top that up. I'm not sure how anyone could argue that isn't in the interests of the child?

And there is clear evidence of a straightforward link between family income and educational attainment. No child should be forced into a benefits lifestyle because the father thinks he has better uses for the money - the additional money will almost always benefit the child, because money will be slightly less tight. Very few women indeed, even those who don't want Dad around, won't spend extra on their children if they have it, and a worried-about-money mother means stress for the children, so why should those kids be doubly penalised?

Jack Monroe, the poverty blogger, has posted movingly about what her life on benefits was like under the Coalition. And she is on great terms with her son's father; has nothing but wonderful things to say about him. He couldn't afford to help her, or he would have. She makes that clear.

I hope it's very clear that I deplore it when parents seek to deny the other parent a relationship, because it abuses the child. I'm very aware that transferring residence is a draconian and damaging step, but I think it's a lot less damaging than losing all meaningful contact with half of your family - and I also think if that threat were meaningful, only women with genuine grounds for concern would seek to evade contact. Right now, it's almost impossible to enforce, because you can't easily penalise a resident parent without that adversely impacting the kids. I understand all the arguments and still think transferring residence to the parent capable of fostering genuinely meaningful relationships with both (or at least switching to a 50/50 arrangement, so as to reduce power battles) is the best option. But that's what needs to be looked at: what helps the children and not tit for tat between embittered parents. Not paying child support harms kids in almost all cases, so why do it to them, even if you also benefit someone you hate? What matters most? Depriving the ex, or depriving the child?

perfectstorm Wed 20-Nov-13 22:18:54

Sorry Lazyjaney, but I in turn think you're completely wrong. You are looking at it from the perspective of the adults all through, and not the children. It's just wrong to penalise kids for adult actions, and denying a child their support as a way of hitting out at the parent does just that. To be completely blunt, I don't care about parental feelings, interests and rights when set against children's. That goes for resident and non-resident, mothers and fathers.

I'm very aware that almost nothing is done to stop resident parents witholding contact, largely because short of transferring residence anything you do is going to be trivial or it hurts the kids too. But I think that transferral should be done more often, because if you don't, the pressure placed on the child can end up meaning they refuse to see the NRP as soon as they're old enough. And if resident parents genuinely had that fear, instead of a complacent awareness that contact orders are pretty well unenforceable in the face of implacable hostility, then attitudes across the board might alter swiftly.

Of course, that solution does rather depend upon both parents not being as bad as one another and equally determined to alienate the child from the other. Which is also a possibility, sadly.

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 20-Nov-13 22:25:09

I'm not sure I would ever contemplate as an adult, going out with a man who had to have sexism explained to him. My OH is the biggest feminist I've ever met.

feelingvunerable Wed 20-Nov-13 23:11:04

Excellent post perfectstorm.

People have banged on about one night stands and how really a man shouldn't have to pay up in those situations but what about the reverse?

What if, like myself, you have been married a long time. you both decide to have children and you both decide that it is best if they are cared for by a parent (usually the mother). Then the man fucks off with some tart and decides that not only will he not pay, but will not commit under any circumstances to set contact times.

So the rp is left penniless, in debt and with all the shit of having to console heartbroken older children and try to rationalise why their father is such a cunt and won't see them?

Should the committment and length of time of the marriage make the nrp pay more? Because it actually doesn't.

Oh and I don't have to withdraw access from my ex, the children have already decided for themselves that he isn't worth bothering with.

feelingvunerable Wed 20-Nov-13 23:12:36

Op- your dh sounds like a twat.
I would see red flags all over the place here.

duchesse Wed 20-Nov-13 23:32:27

Your "D"H has the wrong end of the stick- the child support is to support the child. It's not to be used as a stick to beat the mother/RP with. If a father/NRP truly loves his/her child, s/he will make sure that s/he contributes financially to that child's upbringing even if the mother/RP isn't letting him see them. Often in cases like these, the mother/RP is avoiding him/her because s/he's been an utter twat, so s/he shouldn't be too surprised if contact is difficult. (sorry, I realise that in my quest for balance, that paragraph actually makes little sense but I hope you get the gist).

If the mother/RP being difficult about contact for no good reason then he would have good cause to be annoyed but still not enough to withhold child support.

I actually think that fathers who are the RP still potentially the worst end of the deal compared to NRP fathers because there are very different expectations on men and women in terms of who does what after a split.

Lazyjaney Wed 20-Nov-13 23:37:09

"Sorry Lazyjaney, but I in turn think you're completely wrong. You are looking at it from the perspective of the adults all through, and not the children"

Yes, but you're looking at it from the point of view of what people should do, in an ideal theoretical world, not what they do in reality. In theory the RP should hand over the kids, the NRP should hand over the money, and the RP should spend it on the kids.

But given that the first link breaks because some RPs place their needs over the childrens', it's hardly a surprise that the second one does exactly the same in some case too. You can't castigate one and not the other, and you can't ask more of the one than you can of the other.

So while i agree the OPs DH is wrong in theory, in reality withholding the cash actually may have the desired result of getting more access, so it is not unreasonable for people in the real world to try it.

sashh Thu 21-Nov-13 09:12:10

If the father doesn't pay then who does?

Your dh and all the other tax payers?

Is he happy to pay for other men's children?

TotallyUprobably Thu 21-Nov-13 09:48:43

Lazyjaney - so if the RP acts badly and blocks access it's perfectly understandable for the NRP to act badly in retaliation and block money? The NRP knows their child is already losing out by their relationship with the NRP being blocked so the NRP, being a good parent, would want them to lose out further by losing financially too?

I'm not castigating one without doing it to the other - RP who block the NRP's access with no good reason are damaging their children and should be ashamed of themselves, and it would be lovely if courts could act effectively and fast about it, but unfortunately the system is far from perfect and it's usually one parent's word against the other so to come down hard would have an impact on RP who DO have a good reason to stop access but a hard time proving it too.

But any parent who sees the other parent acting badly and their child losing out and then decides to allow the child to lose out more by acting badly themselves, even if hoping to force the access issue through it, is being a pretty shitty parent imo.

TotallyUprobably Thu 21-Nov-13 09:51:47

And if we're being fair then what one parent can do the other should naturally be allowed to do seeing as one 'link' has already broken down? So seeing as dd's NRP walked off and left her with no money and no contact, I shouldn't be blamed any more than him if I don't pick her up from school today and don't bother funding her anymore? Really?

Lweji Thu 21-Nov-13 09:58:57

The problem with your posts, Lazyjaney, is that they seem to imply that it mostly starts with RPs withholding contact, then NRPs feel justified in not paying for their children.
We do have to wonder how frequently that happens, though. I have the feeling that it's much more often the case of the NRP not paying (and the RP still maintaining, and often striving for, contact).
And in many cases of NRP complaining about lack of access, if we dig deep, they should not have unsupervised access to their children.
Of course there will always be cases of abusive mothers who use their children to punish the fathers or too selfish to support regular contact.

I agree that RPs who don't facilitate contact should be punished, but how many NRPs would then actually want to become RPs? And how to punish RPs without punishing the children?

saragossa2010 Thu 21-Nov-13 11:33:28

There are masses of mothers who would love more contact from the children's father (even if he had them one night a year that would help me) but we don't even get that. What is fascinating is how the new women in the life can want a man who from choice chooses not to see their children. Do these men lie and say the ex wives deny contact when they don't? Are these new women just grateful they don't have the hassle of enduring the children's presence?

And plenty of us get no help from the father, not even a day a year and we pay everything and we pay him although I expect that is relatively rare.

Chunderella Thu 21-Nov-13 12:16:25

It is absolutely incorrect to say there is no legal aid for fathers anymore. In contact cases, since April 2013 there is legal aid only for victims of DV. There is no gender specification, so this would also include male victims. I suspect this includes more women than men, but actually most parents of both sexes are now excluded.

ivykaty44 Thu 21-Nov-13 12:24:55

pay per view is a horrid concept. Parents should both financially support their children and children should be allowed access to their parents and in a safe environment if needed.

moldingsunbeams Thu 21-Nov-13 12:37:10

The man created the children too and willingly in most cases, it is the children who go without if the man stops payment.

Ask him if it works both ways? If a man doesn't have to pay if he does not see his kids does the mother of a child have the right to refuse access if the father does not pay.

Of course not.

saragossa2010 Thu 21-Nov-13 18:02:59

I suspect the only way mine could hurt me (because I pay him, not vice versa) was by choosing not to "view" (nor provide physical childcare help) hence his decision not to "view". He was paid whether he viewed or not even though part of his financial demands on me were that he would heed a particularly big lump sum as he'd still want to take them on the expensive holidays they had with us when we were married. Instead he took the money, ran and chose not to view much at all and never more than a couple of hours.

wispa31 Thu 21-Nov-13 18:31:18

You dont pay to see your kids. Lousy pathetic excuse i hear on the phones at work all the time that one.

perfectstorm Thu 21-Nov-13 22:41:45

Sorry Lazy, but I'm afraid it's you who doesn't live in the real world on this issue. In defending the NRP's motivations for refusing to pay, you're assidously polishing a turd. It's straightforward bullshit to say: So while i agree the OPs DH is wrong in theory, in reality withholding the cash actually may have the desired result of getting more access, so it is not unreasonable for people in the real world to try it. Firstly because contact and maintenance are dealt with wholly and completely separately; for the most part, courts deal with extremely intractable contact disputes, while the CSA deal with child support. The courts quite specifically and explicitly don't want to know about payment or otherwise (unless Children's Act financial arrangements are in question, which is rare) and the CSA take the same approach. So you're presumably arguing that the RP may be more amenable to allowing contact if scared that the child support will dry up. But the problem there is that you're displaying serious naievety on human emotions. If someone denies contact, they convince themselves that the other parent is a scummy piece of shit who doesn't give a fuck about the kids anyway. There is no trust at all, nor any liking. If the parent reacts by stopping payment, that will just confirm that opinion and further entrench the resident parent in the view that is allowing them to emotionally abuse their kid(s) in the first place. It will have the opposite effect. Child support is legally mandated via the CSA anyway and the real issue with very entrenched contact disputes tends, in my view anyway, to be power. If money is witheld as part of that, then it's a power struggle between two people who hate one another and want to "win" and don't care if the kids get hurt. Any parent who really wants to see their kids is not about to start waving a red rag in front of the crazy bull. They'll be careful, on the contrary, to appear whiter than white and not to do anything that could make things worse. It's beyond crappy that they're in that position, but anything else damages the kids - and there's already one parent hell-bent on doing that.

There's another issue that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet. Kids are not stupid. They know that a parent refusing to pay is benefiting by being able to spend that money on themselves, and kids in that situation - with a RP who has already demonstrated in incapacity to put the child's best interests first - are going to be told "Daddy/Mummy won't pay any money for your food and clothes. They don't care. They don't love you." In the same way excellent single RP's shield their kids from the realities of crappy NRP's indifference, the shitty ones amplify, exaggerate and invent it in order to achieve parental alienation - and where a NRP witholds support, which is highly likely to inflict hardship on their own child, there is an undeniable lack of concern for that child coupled with an undeniable benefit to themselves in having more £ to spend. It's not just financial neglect, it has an emotional impact. It's also a form of emotional abuse. It tells that child they aren't valued or loved enough to be worth their child support. And a parent capable of trying to destroy the relationship between parent and child is equally capable of using non-payment to do that, regardless of the massive blow that is to that child's self esteem and belief that they're lovable. For a child to know a parent doesn't love them is one of the worst things you can do. That's why parental alienation is so terrible - and it's why non-payment is so reprehensible, along with the very real financial deprivation it usually inflicts. Finally, it not infrequently engenders a huge sense of guilt in those children, because an alienating parent will often emphasise how expensive it is to look after them and what a struggle they are finding it as a way of hitting out at the non-paying parent. What they seem not to grasp is the child hearing that their very existence is causing their resident parent financial hardship and pain will often internalise that and feel appalling over it. Witholding child support will damage a child's quality of life at best, and at some stage (because as they grow up, a child can only be shielded so much) the child will suffer emotionally from it as well. And pretending a parent does it as a tool to lever contact - well, it's just not true. They do it because they'd rather have the money in their own account and they want to hit out at the other parent. As posts here make plain, they aren't thinking of what that does to a child's quality of life or emotional security at all - or at least, you have to hope they aren't aware of that, and just don't care.

But given that the first link breaks because some RPs place their needs over the childrens', it's hardly a surprise that the second one does exactly the same in some case too. You can't castigate one and not the other, and you can't ask more of the one than you can of the other.

I think it is a surprise, actually, and not all NRP behave that way. Plenty are hugely responsible and very mindful that they don't want their children growing up thinking they weren't cared about - and that one day, when grown and may come to judge their parents over what went on in childhood, they want to be able to demonstrate that they behaved well.

I think it's fairly evident to anyone unbiased reading my posts that I don't ask more from one than the other, nor castigate one more than the other. I think both parents need to act up to that designation and to suck up things they find unpalatable - whether that be a continued co-parenting relationship with someone they hate, sharing their kids emotionally with someone they hate, seeing their kids living with a step-parent who may have trashed the marriage and not just walking away from the kids to avoid that, or paying money to benefit their kids which will inevitably also benefit someone they hate. And I respect parents dealing with either form of bad behaviour who find the inner fortitude to just get on with doing what is best for their children, regardless of the fuckwittage of the other parent.

Finally do you often tell people who disagree with you that they "don't live in the real world"? I assure you I've probably seen more and read more when it comes to intractable contact disputes/nonpayment of child support than you have. Which is why I'm under no illusions that people can behave appallingly and with the most cavalier disregard for the children's interests on both sides of the fence. Conversely, people can be unbelievably tolerant and self-abnegating when trying to continue a relationship with their kids/foster some sort of relationship with a crappy NRP. Women who don't claim their legally mandated levels of child support because they think they can manage, and are scared the NRP will drop contact if they do as a way of punishing them for applying for it/know their exes are lying about income but have zero intention of depriving their kids emotionally in revenge over it, are not ten-a-penny but are considerably more common than you might think.

The reality is that child support benefits children, and witholding it damages them. Knowing that, no decent NRP should be willing to contemplate it, just as no decent RP should be willing to arbitrarily and unreasonably withold contact. Sadly, both are miserably common, but only one has a relatively simple solution. As so many cases indicate (happy to post the law reports on a few if you're interested), if you don't remove kids early where a parent contact-blocks unreasonably, they end up refusing to have anything to do with that (great) parent as soon as they're old enough to vote with their feet. And if you don't move them early enough, then it would harm them more to do so than to leave them. It's a mess and a disgrace, but there's no CSA/removal from earnings solution. I do think making a genuine 50/50 care arrangement might help, but then again there's some research that it can unsettle the kids badly. There are no easy answers. Punishing the kids by allowing people to withold money though is very evidently just adding to their existing emotional deprivation.

perfectstorm Thu 21-Nov-13 22:43:44

I agree that RPs who don't facilitate contact should be punished, but how many NRPs would then actually want to become RPs? And how to punish RPs without punishing the children?

In a nutshell. Thank you.

saragossa2010 Fri 22-Nov-13 07:43:42

Sensible words from Perfects.. In our case I don't think they are damaged from lack of him paying anything as I earn more than enough though. His lack of contact (his choice) is the area where I am sure they would prefer (if he were nice and normal) contact. These things can be complicated. If he weren't up to much or is difficult older children may feel they are not missing out that he is choosing not to see them but they I am sure would think why on earth is he not like other fathers and nice.

The reality is that few mothers are ever jailed or lose the children for refusing contact and plenty of men give up work to avoid having to pay anything. We could change the system so that if you fail either to have your children half the time (which is a cost in itself for those of us who work) or do not pay then you are obliged to have them with you (forced contact or at the least are given a pile of their washing to get done every week or something practical like that) and if you fail to turn up for a contact visit three times or are 20 minutes late (and on the other side if the mother fails to make them available 2 times or 20 minutes late 3 times then the children go to the other parent for three weeks.

Lazyjaney Fri 22-Nov-13 07:52:08

"Finally do you often tell people who disagree with you that they "don't live in the real world"

Only if they think idealist theories apply when the evidence is clearly that they don't. As you finally admit in your last paragraph, perfectstorm:

"no decent NRP should be willing to contemplate it, just as no decent RP should be willing to arbitrarily and unreasonably withold contact. Sadly, both are miserably common"

Expecting all NRPs to be saints when the RPs are being shits is just unrealistic. Not much more to be said, really.

perfectstorm Fri 22-Nov-13 08:16:07

I don't expect that, as I plainly stated on numerous occasions. You misrepresent me - have to, I suppose, if an apology for your mistake is beyond you. I consistently condemned both sides, while you tried to argue that it was a valid strategy on the part of the NRP - which it self-evidently is not, as you now appear to admit. Glad to see my arguments have changed your mind on that. wink

You also don't appear to grasp that many, many non-payers aren't being refused contact. Many don't actually take the contact they're freely offered, and don't want to pay either. But then you do tend to have a strong bias towards a male perspective on all issues, and most NRP are men, so I guess that's not a surprise.

perfectstorm Fri 22-Nov-13 08:17:44

Saragossa forced contact would be terrible for the children, though. That's the problem here with all aspects of bad parenting after separation: the solutions almost always impact the kids adversely. That's why there are so few simple answers.

Contrarian78 Fri 22-Nov-13 12:09:19

I've always found the whole business of child maintenance odd. A friend of mine is going through a divorce at the moment. In order that his STBXW can stay in the family home (for now) he's paying something in the order of £2k per month. She is still able to claim a myriad of benefits on top of this. I should add that he has the kids (a daughter and a stepson) 50% of the time.

Surely the starting point for access should be 50:50 (which I believe it may well be) and any maintenance due from the NRP should be collected by way of an adjusted tax code and kep by the state - to the extent that the RP has to rely on State benefits to supposrt themselves. If the parents want to come to an arragnement over an above that - then that's fine.

I do have some sympathy with NRP's though who perhaps feel that the only "leverage" they have - with regards to enforcing contact - is to potentially withold financial support. I'm not saying it's right, but I can at least understand it.

Lastly, (and I offer my back for flaming here) some people should just stop having kids with people they don't know! Or stop having kids when they relaise their partner is an absolute *&%$£$!

fifi669 Fri 22-Nov-13 13:11:15

DP would love to be the RP! But as I mentioned before, he has always paid a bit above the CSA recommendation, so he's not refusing maintenance. Do you think it's fair that his ex can withhold contact and then ring and ask him to pay half of nursery fees, clubs etc on top of CSA?

Anyone know what the punishment is should the RP defy a contact order? From my limited knowledge, it's a slap on the wrist and don't do it again....

DP will be going to court after Christmas to seek official contact (as ex keeps changing or stopping how much he can see his DD). We both know in all likelihood she'll either ignore the order or the DD (3) will mysteriously always be ill/busy that day....

saragossa2010 Fri 22-Nov-13 13:49:33

I would support a 50/50 default. That is not currently the law. I agree forced contact may be hard both on the father who wants to avoid seeing the children and children who may not want to see their father. however it might be fairer as a default and then if parents/children agree not 50/50 or the courts agree otherwise then you can depart from it but not otherwise.

I don't agree it is fair you can refuse contact and yet expect payment but I can see why the law does not link them (and I write as a resident parent 100% of the time who would love 50/50 and is paid nothing and has paid the father which is a pretty unfair deal - all the childcare or paying for it, paying the father and he doesn't help or see them at all - just took the money and ran).

I suggest above that if a mother refuses or is late with contact 3 times then the children go to the father for 3 weeks. And on the other side which is just as common if the father does not turn up 3 weeks in a row or only very late or returns them late then he shoudl lose contact with them for the next 3 weeks.

Money issues are not always solved by deductions from salary as plenty of men give up their work purely to avoid paying or go into some kind of cash in hand business or to find themselves in New Zealand and legally avoid paying anything that way.

No easy answers.

perfectstorm Fri 22-Nov-13 19:40:44

Contrarian if he has the kids 50% of the overnights then he needs to get a new CSA assessment, and a contact order that acknowledges that status quo, because there are deductions on maintenance per night spent away. There's also a cap on what the CSA can remove, so even a bloke on 10k a week would apparently only be paying around the £200 a week mark, if he has them half the time. Though I note you say "stay in the family home" so presumably that's for mortgage etc? In other words it's ancillary relief (spousal division of money associated with divorce) and not actually child maintenance per se. The maintenance payable in that situation, as opposed to other financial settlements ancillary to marital split, would be at absolute most a couple of hundred weekly. Probably less.

It is horribly unfair on some NRP - the classic scenario of wife is main carer, has affair, kicks him out, he gets every other weekend and the privilege of paying for his kids to live with another bloke is often trotted out, but it's as real as the guy who abandons the kids for another woman with nary a backwards glance and has to be chased for support. The problem is that if you put the kids' best interests at the top of the heap, at least one and often both parents will lose out in various ways.

As to the state keeping the extra child support, that was the case, and in fact was why the Child Support Agency was set up to begin with. They used to prioritise cases where the RP was in receipt of benefit, much to the chagrin of working RP who could wait years to see a penny. But that meant the children didn't benefit from the money being paid, so in 2010 the law was changed so maintenance wasn't factored in at all - I only found that out this week myself, because I worked under the old system. It does make sense, as most kids in single parent homes live below or just above the poverty line, so it's a good way of targeting those families (the kids have already suffered a major deprivation in losing one parent fulltime, after all). As interventions to help kids go, it's not a bad one.

Fifi I sympathise so much. Believe it or not there's been an awful lot of thought and research into how to force RP to comply with contact orders, but the problem is the remedies tend to hurt the children, too, and also alienate them yet more from the NRP. Short jail sentences are theoretically possible but rarer than hen's teeth, but that isn't from sympathy for the RP but because of the impact on the kids. You can imagine how they see it - that their NRP has sent their RP to jail, not that the RP is a selfish arse who brought the punishment on themselves. Community service, with the kids cared for by the other parent, is an option, but again, it destabilises the children's routines and sense of security, and adds to the conflict. Genuinely shared - close to 50/50 - care is sometimes helpful as it cuts the power struggles, but the problem there is you have two people who by definition can't get along in any way for any reason having to co-operate closely and communicate constantly, and the inevitable conflict the kids will witness will all be about them. Horrible position to be in, and horrible example of adult communication to set. So all you're left with is transferring residence, which blows all that child knows apart, and completely disrupts their life all over again when stability and continuity are the best defences we have for children after a parental split. Personally I think it should happen more often, and at an earlier point: there are way too many cases where a child is irrevocably alienated from a loving parent because of an implacably and unreasonably hostile resident one, and a switch before things reach that point should be ordered in my view because the damage of losing a parent and hating a part of who they are is so appalling, that IMO the balancing exercise falls on the side of transfer. But that view isn't currently the most accepted one, because as mentioned, there are equally solid arguments against it. There just isn't an easy answer there, whereas with the money there is, as long as the RP is employed. The CSA can deduct from salary- simple(ish) as long as the NRP isn't furious enough to resign, and isn't self-employed. With contact disputes, it's the judgement of Solomon as to what can be done.

I'm assuming mediation has failed in your husband's situation - so no contact order by agreement possible? Always better than litigation if remotely possible, because adversarial court action is corrosive and stressful and expensive. Everyone loses, really. sad Good for him in paying more than he has to, though. Kids grow up and start being interested in facts, and at that point, such black and white evidence of his determination to put their interests first will help. It's such clearcut evidence of love, when a parent denies themselves to benefit their children. It isn't only or even mainly about the money to the kids, when people refuse to pay. It's a shame their mother isn't equally concerned with their welfare.

Saragossa, the problem with the remedies you suggest is they don't provide the kids with the sort of predictable, constant routine that is the best thing for them after a parental split. And while most people are employees, I agree it's a sticky wicket when someone's angry enough to stop working, or self-employed. Though actually moving to New Zealand is less of an obstacle in terms of enforcement than you might think. I don't know what the answers are when people consistently contact-deny, but given parental alienation is generally present in that situation, I rather reluctantly fall into the "reverse primary residence" camp. I could link to too many cases where that hasn't been done, and the kid is so used to blaming the NRP for the conflict and so vehemently opposed to contact, by the time they're hitting their teens nothing can be done anymore.

I suppose if there were any easy answers, they'd have been found by now. It's not as if it isn't a heavily researched area.

fifi669 Fri 22-Nov-13 20:17:04

DP has been to mediation 3 times I think? Each mediation certificate only lasts a few months in the eyes of the court so every time she stops contact it starts all over again. The ex has refused contact saying he wants to run off with his DD, me and DS (which was never in anyway a plan!), that he wouldn't be allowed to let DD see her grandparents, aunts, uncles etc let alone me and DS. She makes unreasonable demands such as he had to prove he could dry DD with her present before he could take her swimming in his own... There's actually loads of things, most stupid and petty, some massive like the no family thing.

We want nothing more than to include his DD in our family, DP is raising DS as his own and we have another in the way. Pretty sure ex will stop contact again once she knows. She's already told DP AND a mediator that we'll never be DDs family, that any child we have won't be brother/sister and that she'll make DD know this. Mediator said she's entitled to her opinion! How is that in the child's best interest?

She currently gives him 1 hour a week. She cut it to 45 minutes a few weeks back because DD was naughty at nursery and wouldn't share a car..... This was blamed on DP. She cut it before because DD wet the bed....

It's crazy that RP can behave like this and not be punished!

perfectstorm Fri 22-Nov-13 20:52:04

Yeah, sadly it does sound like court is your only option. It's frustrating beyond belief, isn't it. The worst thing about these cases is they're so petty at the same time as being so devastating - you do wonder how they aren't actively embarrassed to come out with such crap, when there are women with genuinely and scarily threatening exes who are fighting to keep their kids safe, and then you have a selfish PITA fighting to deprive their own child(ren) of the best hope they have of a secure, stable and happy childhood. Believe me, it's something the courts are aware of and used to, but to an extent their hands are tied. There's nothing they can do that won't wind RP like this up more, and make things harder, short of transferring primary residence. Which actually is why I think that should be an option considered earlier, and more seriously, in more cases. If RP like your H's ex knew they were risking primary care, you'd see a dramatic shift in compliance in many cases. But they don't because they feel more disruption would be more harmful to the children concerned, and they can't effect that strategy on the specific kids to help others down the line, obviously. But personally, I do think they should. I understand the emotional price payable by the children but I also think it's lower than losing a parent from their lives altogether, which happens too much.

Obviously I sympathise with women who've had a husband leave them for another woman, and who are scared to hand their children over to play happy families with the man who betrayed them and the woman who dislocated that family to start with. (Not saying that's your scenario, I hasten to add, just that it's a common one.) It's hugely hard for a mother to behave impeccably in that situation. But the thing is, being a parent means swallowing down even appalling hurt and pain if yout child's welfare desperately requires that - it's the same as expecting a father kicked out in similar circs to not only know his children are living with the couple who broke the family unit, but that he has to help fund things. Adults have to accept that gross injustices to them may sometimes be implemented because to do anything else will harm the kids. They have to be the adults and suck it up, basically, if they want to be good parents. The problem is you're dealing with flawed human beings, and so the gulf between what they should do and what they will do is predictably great.

Has your husband contacted Families Need Fathers? NOT Fathers For Justice, who are nutters, but FNF, who will help anyone - men and women alike, gay and straight alike - the name is a hangover from the days when no dads were ever RPs as so few had significant childcare responsibilities. And does he have a good solicitor? Obviously it depends on her age - little but often is seen as best for preschoolers - but if she's school aged, then he should be gunning for every other weekend and a midweek night at the very least, I think. An hour a week is derisory and her mother is not thinking of her welfare at all in limiting it to that.

I used to think NRP who walked away from their kids without fighting for contact through the courts were as scummy as the contact-denying RP. Then I actually learned what was going on, and came to have sympathy and understanding for why some did it. It's appalling that legal aid has been removed, in my view. I know they say it's not just about money - that people need to think twice before resorting to the courts - but let's be realistic here: nobody sane would ever go to court if they could mediate instead. It's hardly stress free. And some RP who have genuinely suffered abuse will be denied help, because it was never recorded, and so many great NRP will have to spend stupid amounts of money they don't have, or drive themselves crazy self-repping, just to try to see their kids at all. It does sound, with an ex that difficult, that you need the clarity of a defined court order setting out proper levels of contact, and the ability to haul her back for enforcement proceedings if she flouts it. It's just a shame it ever had to come to this.

If you aren't currently represented then the Coram Children's Legal Centre have a good free helpline. They can talk you through the process/options if you need to self-represent. They obviously have no motives in advising you other than the best interests of the child, which can be a real help when establishing what to do next.

I'm really sorry you're in this situation. It's a particularly unique form of hell, isn't it? Relatives, partners and friends of people being denied contact with their children are so powerless to help. It's painful.

fifi669 Fri 22-Nov-13 21:35:45

That's exactly what it is! Powerless to help those you love the most. Seeing a man like DP who is the stereotypical strong and silent, bottle it all up type, break down in tears is devastating.

I'll point out those links to him. He doesn't have a solicitor, he doesn't have the money, but has had a few free half hours. The last one didn't sound very positive and basically said he needs to play the game. Sigh.

Thanks for your help, sorry for the hijack!

perfectstorm Fri 22-Nov-13 21:57:49

You do need to play the game, there was never a truer statement, and miserably the court option can make things a lot worse - it needs to be at the point you don't feel you have many alternatives before that's a risk worth taking. It does need a lot of thought, but sometimes it's all you are left with. Only you and your DH can really know if his relationship with his DD is surviving such limited contact time.

I'm sorry you are in this position, and your DH. And I'm sorriest of all that your poor little DSD is. It's awful to know so many kids are being preventably fucked up by parents who cannot put their own issues aside to save the kids' misery, and that she's losing so much from the extended family, too. Good luck with it all, and I hope you find a way through.

BasilDalekEater Fri 22-Nov-13 22:09:05

Non-payment of maintenance is financial abuse. Your DH is in favour of financial abuse OP.

Courts award care and control by what the status quo is. I too agree with 50 /50 care, if both parents have done 50% of the childcare. The way the courts work, is that they assume that the welfare of the child is absolutely paramount and the rights of the parents must take second place to the welfare of the child. That is absolutely a correct principle IMO. If most of the childcare has been done by the mother, then the courts will award care and control to the mother. Because that is what is in the child's best interests - the status quo.

If people want 50:50 care and control of children after relationship breakdown, then they need to do 50:50 parenting before relationship breakdown.

fifi669 Fri 22-Nov-13 22:23:32

basil so if mum refuses to work after DC, the dad should refuse too so he would get equal contact? That makes no sense.

BasilDalekEater Fri 22-Nov-13 22:37:15

He could suggest she goes part time and he goes part time fifi.

That way, he's taken the same financial and career hit as her and he's demonstrated to a court that it's right to give him 50:50.

Also hard cases make bad law. The principle that a child's welfare is the most important consideration when deciding care and control, is right IMO. Do you disagree with it?

Lazyjaney Fri 22-Nov-13 22:56:24

"He could suggest she goes part time and he goes part time fifi"

Or even better he could stop work, tell her to work full time, demand RP status and then deny her access to the kids.

"The principle that a child's welfare is the most important consideration when deciding care and control, is right IMO"

Of course it's right. Now, given the RP is being an emotionally abusive shit and the NRP is being a responsible parent, how about re-considering who has care and control?

Lazyjaney Fri 22-Nov-13 23:04:05

"you tried to argue that it was a valid strategy on the part of the NRP - which it self-evidently is not, as you now appear to admit"

I didn't say it was valid. I said it was not unreasonable, given that the do nothing approach was guaranteed to achieve nothing.

As for the rest, I do note you have somewhat moderated your stance over the last 2 pages - glad to see my arguments have changed your mind smile

feelingvunerable Fri 22-Nov-13 23:07:37

care and control?
wow what an awful way to look at things.

Personally I would love for my ex to have more care of the dcs. I am exhausted by having the vast majority of responsibility, both financial and emotional. I would love for him to step up to the plate and take some bloody responsibility, but the reality is somewhat different.

As my dd1 has said though, "You have been a wonderful mum, whilst dad has been a disappointment."
Sad but her feelings .

feelingvunerable Fri 22-Nov-13 23:11:51

I'm so glad that I have always loved my dcs to such an extent that my needs come second to theirs.
My love for them is not conditional upon their love for me.

Disgusting that many other parents don't take this view. Imo they don't deserve to be parents.

fifi669 Fri 22-Nov-13 23:13:59

The dad can ask. What's stopping her saying no?

If contact should be arranged on a childcare before breaking up basis it should be built up to 50:50 where the NRP wants this. Then with equal time, there would surely have to be no maintenance either. Problem solved.

perfectstorm Sat 23-Nov-13 05:21:01

LazyJaney, if you ever post in a way that shows you even see children in such disputes as human, rather than bitplayers in some man's psychodrama, then I may be interested in your opinions. If your reading comprehension improves, too. As it is - no. But if it makes you feel a little better about yourself, believing you could affect anyone, anywhere, then absolutely, keep right on. I'm good with that. wink

Basil, I agree.

BasilDalekEater Sat 23-Nov-13 12:32:08

I would have no problem with that Fifi, provided that the partner who had gone out to work and was enabled to do so by the partner who stayed at home, was obliged to gradually financially compensate that partner who had lost out in terms of wage, career progression, market value, pension accrual etc., by staying at home.

That way, childcare would be valued. If men knew it was valued a) they would have more respect for the women who do it and b) they would start doing more of it themselves while they were actually married and c) the whole of society, including workplaces, would have to change in order to accommodate its status as essential and valuable and d) men and women's experience of parenting and work would be more similar, meaning that hopefully, relationship breakdown would be less likely in the first place.

saragossa2010 Sat 23-Nov-13 15:55:00

basil, we had 50/50 before the split, in fact perhaps more like 60.40 in his favour and then he chose to take a lot of money and have no none of the childcare after. I accept I am unusual in that I earned a lot more than he did (we both worked full time) and our court order says I support the children. In fact one risk was he would get them after the divorce as he had done a bit more care although they were old enough to choose and he didn't want them at all so that never came to pass.

The problem with all my proposed remedies - dumping the washing on the man to do, forcing him to have them 50% of the time even if it were a week on week off or never changing Wed - Sat is that as you say the children suffer. If both parents abandoned the children as my children's father had done they would be in care (and I appreciate I am very lucky to earn enough to keep them all and to have paid out to their father).

As for men who set up a small business so they have no income (dead easy to do) or give up the high paid job to play at work in a vineyard in France to avoid paying a penny that is often done. I see it all the time. I've had men bragging about it on dates, as if they think it will make me think more of them! Even had the one who works for a very rich shipping family as an accountant/adviser regaling me about tax havens he used to avoid paying his wife (not exactly a good chat up line for someone left paying everything for her own children). I agree however that in principle if someone moves abroad, if you can find them and if they are paid under PAYE you may be able to use the courts to get paid abroad - not easy though.

Another trick some men use is give up work entirely and their new wife has a baby and she carries on working. Maintenance is based only on his income and not that of his new family whereas if the new wife gave up work and he supported her and the new baby he would still have to contribute to the first family.

[Thankfully however most men do want to see their children, are happy to do their washing and the dross stuff not just the playing around stuff and plenty also pay]

duchesse Sat 23-Nov-13 16:21:39

fifi, I may be being a bit thick, but surely if your DP has a court order stating his access days and duration, he can take his DD from her mother's care at the time and day decided and not bring her back until the end of his access visit? Does the mother turn up at your door to collect her after 45 mn?

Is the mother really doing it to be difficult to your DP and you? To me that says a lot more about the child's mother's state of mind than anything else if she does- she cannot bear to be without her dd for more than an hour. Which is certainly not healthy for the child. Does the mother have friends and hobbies of her own?

Lazyjaney Sun 24-Nov-13 09:40:54

"LazyJaney, if you ever post in a way that shows you even see children in such disputes as human, rather than bitplayers in some man's psychodrama, then I may be interested in your opinions"

I think your biasses are showing, it's better to keep gender out of it IMO and look at the roles and who is being abusive, and who is being abused, clearly.

The kids are already involuntary bit players, collateral damage in the RPs psychodrama, irrespective of what the NRP does. The damage is Already being done. IMO the obvious solution is to recognise this as serious abuse and remove the kids, a short term pain for a long term gain.

Expecting saintly behaviour from NRP's when the RP is being an abusive shit is unreasonable - humans are just not that perfect. Kicking the NRP for not being perfect is just another form of victim blaming. It's a real testament that so many don't walk away IMO.

fifi669 Sun 24-Nov-13 10:40:33

Damn it. I posted a massive rant and it disappeared!

DP hasn't got a court order yet, every time ex allows him contact she says they don't need to go to court, it's not fair in DD etc and he optimistically (foolishly) believes her. He's had a 7 month period if no contact, a 6 month and 4 month. The longer periods were as he was applying for legal aid back in the day. It takes so long as there's a period he tries to reason with her, then the wait for mediation. She had an appointment, then him, then together. She has missed said appointments dragging it out longer. She had freely admitted in front if the mediator she'd like it to go to court as it means he can't see DD for longer. Although he is currently allowed to see her, he'll be pushing for court in the new year. He doesn't want to do it now and help dude seeing her over Christmas.

They were never married. She's 24 and quit work at 20 when she realised she was pregnant and plans to be a SAHM from now on. DP didn't want it this way but obviously doesn't have a choice. Before that worked part time at co-op. DP is 28 and works at sainsburys. There's no pension rights/loss of career/earnings to take into consideration here.

I'm not sure if ex has problems being away from DD or still wants to punish DP. They split in April 2011. On one hand she makes snide comments to him every time to picks up or drops off DD. This week it was, you and fifi aren't as close as you think, you're not actually that stable... I've met her twice briefly when they were together and we have no mutual friends, I have no idea where she plucked that from! When DP had my DS's car seat in, she said DD isn't sitting where that cunt has been sat. I hate to think of the prison sentence I'd serve if I'd been there for that one....

On the other hand she doesn't have many friends. DP said she never wanted to go out when they were together, she wanted to be with him 24/7 and he wasn't allowed out either. If he did go play football with his mates she'd accuse him if having an affair with one of the other men, he went to see his mum and came back to the washing machine had shredded his favourite jumper... We were friends and colleagues at the time so it's not post break up bull shit. This attention is now on DD. She says DD is her best friend....

fifi669 Sun 24-Nov-13 10:41:55

Help dude = jeopardise

Why do are phones want us to look stupid?

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