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Parental Issues

(26 Posts)
Dragon15 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:57:15

It infuriates me how the Law can allow fathers to be eligible for contacts with their children and let them get away with child maintance! I am constantly pursuing my estranged partner to make him contribute to our child expenses while he is regularly escaping the responsability but claiming his parental bloody rights! where is justice? Us women are left with parental responsabilities school runs childcare - job juggling and bills paying! It is time for a full shake up on a more equal parental rights and duties!!

SirGin Thu 07-Jul-11 15:00:30

Totally agree. I happily pay maintenance ( and more ) for my dd. Would be over the moon if my XP agreed to a more equal 50:50 split in child care. I'd also not be required to pay any child maintenance then.

MissHodgeInHay Thu 07-Jul-11 15:06:12

It is not pay per view.

gillybean2 Thu 07-Jul-11 16:42:09

It isn't pay per view, I do agree with that.

But I do think that courts should look at whether a NRP is fulfilling their financial responsibilities when awarding contact. Because if they can't fulfil that basic need of their dc then how can they claim to be good, caring parents with their dc's best interests at heart.

My neighbour paid her ex £5 a week from her IS, despite having two other dc. Now her oldest has moved back in with her (ds is still with his dad) he is telling her she better not go to the CSA for maintenance for dd. Even though he happily took £5 a week from her IS for the last gew years he doesn't expect to have to pay one penny for his dd even though he has a job.

I suggested she tell him to tell the CSA they had a private agreement and to cancel his claim on ds from her. But he doesn't seem keen on that... hmm

niceguy2 Thu 07-Jul-11 17:16:02

I agree with the sentiment but the law doesn't allow father's (or mum's) to get away with not paying child maintenance.

Unfortunately the CSA was utterly unfit for purpose and it's because of their incompetence that so many have gotten away with it for so long.

What they should do is make CMEC as feared as the VAT man is for small businesses. Not many will fuck with the VAT man because they know they'll be in a world of hurt if they do. Same should apply for CMEC.

So in my view, CMEC should have a wide range of powers AND the authority to use those powers. Child maintenance is like a tax, only paid to your ex rather than the govt which arguably is even worse! So it's no surprise that many will not pay if they can possibly get away with it.

runningonmt Thu 07-Jul-11 22:42:04

I am all for CMEC bringing in the idea of calculating maintenance on Gross income rather than net income (due to be brought in in 2012) - perhaps my DS will be awarded a more realistic amount as I suspect his father pays more into his pension than he does in child support. I also suspect he pays more for his company car (not needed as his job is static) than he does in child support. It is amazing that NRP are allowed to make these choices to avoid paying a realistic level of child support. He also chooses not to pay the amount the csa have assessed but less but because he is paying 'something' he is not chased up on the arrears.

I would love a firmer system that actually does what it is meant to do - I would love them to push their weight around to ensure that NRP (regardless of gender) pay what they owe and when they owe it.

Bring out the big guns CMEC and start ensuring that these children are provided for by both parents (and not just the ones that they live with).

The parents who pay their fair share will not be harrassed - but the ones who dont should be dealt with firmly and swiftly. Life is hard enough trying to raise your children single handedly without wondering how much or if any child support will arrive this month.

sunshineandbooks Thu 07-Jul-11 23:26:20

But I do think that courts should look at whether a NRP is fulfilling their financial responsibilities when awarding contact. Because if they can't fulfil that basic need of their dc then how can they claim to be good, caring parents with their dc's best interests at heart.

Absolutely agree.

Latemates Fri 08-Jul-11 07:26:29

I agree that NRP should pay maintenance BUT in reality theCSA are harassing the NRPwho are paying both maintenance and running a home for the child and every expense linked to being a single parent too. The other side to this is SOME RP reduce their Childs contact as they realise this will give them more money.... So is is why I do not think the 2 issues should be linked. Furthermore, the company car, pension were likely an expense when the coup,e were togtherand if they had not separated the whole familywould be benefiting from these types of expensises. Now the RP mayn't stillbedirectly benefiting butthechildren will. So it's selfish to take take take from theNRP more an is fair Nd leave them and your children without

Now I know NRP who go without food and clothing for themselves inorderto make sure their children are ok but the RP who have new clothing, expensive hair and beauty treatments weekly, and many holidays and then pleed poverty.

So to summerise, there are fantastic NRP who are up against horrendous RPand the are fantastic RP withg horrendous NRP who do not provide financially, emotionally etcto the child.
BUT if shared care was the expected and norm in the most cases then both contact and maintenance arguments would be obsolete. Those terrible NRPwhochoose to walk away would be sociallyunexceptable. This is surely a better system than the current mess thereisnow.

Truckrelented Fri 08-Jul-11 09:23:25

As this seems to be a pay-per-view thread what about,

The parent who moves away bears the brunt of the travelling costs and if the RP restricts contact they get less maintenance.

sunshineandbooks Fri 08-Jul-11 12:09:12

But maintenance is not about incentives/disincentives for contact. It should be paid regardless. Maintenance is not about making the RPs life easier, it is support for the child.

Truckrelented Fri 08-Jul-11 13:50:14

The way the CSA is designed, tax credits and child benefit the person who is RP gets the money, so it is pay-per-view anyway.

You know what if, and it is an if, I'd been forced to:

Leave my house.
Have a new man move in.
Go from being involved and seeing my children every day to seeing them twice a fortnight.
Pay 15/20/ or 25% of my salary to my ex, irrespective of what mine or her salary was. Or what bills we have.
Not be eligible for child benefit or tax credits.
Get referred to as an absent parent or non-resident-parent.

I think I'd be bitter.

VioletV Fri 08-Jul-11 13:53:31

SirGin Are you saying if you split childcare, 5050 you don;t pay anything to your ex? If so, are you 100% that is correct?

sunshineandbooks Fri 08-Jul-11 15:24:36

It is not pay per view and it shouldn't be. The child deserves to have both parents take responsibility regardless of how fair or unfair the relationship between them is.

Tax credits and child benefit are there to keep the child above the level of poverty. They are the bare minimum. Maintenance is paid on top precisely because so many NRPs weren't paying maintenance reliably and therefore the government had to stop counting it when awarding benefits.

Believe me, I spend far more on my DC than I get in tax credits or child benefit, yet they only have presents at Christmas and birthdays and we can never afford a holiday. Little things like shoes, calpol, clothes, haircuts, fuel, washing powder and extra electricity - all add up. Not to mention the cost of childcare. Maintenance would mean they could afford to have swimming lessons or I could afford to take them out once every few months. Would you begrudge them that? Any man who thinks maintenance should not be paid as soon as the mother is out of poverty is indeed bitter and not a good parent IMO.

It's fairly unusual for the mother to stay in the house unless it's rented (in which case it's not yours anyway). Apart from high earners it is not possible to sustain two housing costs and the courts will not order a NRP to pay a mortgage on the property that will leave him unable to put a roof over his own head. Likewise, a mother with dependent children, unless she is a high earner herself, will be unable to afford the mortgage by herself. In most cases, it will be sold and the asset split according to the law.

Whether or not another man moves in after the NRP has left is totally irrelevant. The relationship is over.

Seeing your children twice a fortnight? Fair enough, that's hard. I wouldn't do that to a XP (unless he was abusive or had substance abuse issues etc). Contact arrangements tend to reflect what was happening before the split though, so in cases where the NRP wasn't that hands on before the split it is obvious he's only going to get the 'every other weekend and one day in the week' deal.

It's irrelevant who earns what. Both parents created the child, both parents are responsible.

Does anybody ever refer to a NRP in real life as an NRP or an absent parent? I certainly don't and I don't think I've ever heard anyone else do it either. My X is simply "your dad" or "their father". And absent parent is just that - absent. No contact, no maintenance. That's not the same as a NRP at all.

runningonmt Fri 08-Jul-11 22:58:03

Furthermore, the company car, pension were likely an expense when the coup,e were togtherand if they had not separated the whole familywould be benefiting from these types of expensises.

Actually he did not have a company car when we were together - he owned his own car. He did have a pension but was not topping it up with additional volentary payments as he is now. My DS does not benefit from the company car as his father has a few hours contact with him per year (his choice not mine). My DS will be an adult when his father draws his pension so I am not sure how he will benefit from this (even if they are in touch with each other by then which is unlikely).

My DS would however from having a regular amount of money coming into the house while he is a child so that if he needs yet another pair of new shoes I can buy them for him. I would love to have a pension as I will probably be old myself one day but all of my income goes on essential bills.

macdoodle Sun 10-Jul-11 00:08:51

sir gin shock are you saying that you want 50:50 care because it will reduce your maintenance payments shock, because thats how it sounds, not because you actually want to see your child.
NRP's take the almighty piss, the cost associated with bringing up a child are far in excess of what you can put clearly on paper. Taking out the obvious costs of housing, heating, water, food, clothes etc. Plus childcare, plus activities (swimming, dancing etc and all the associated costs). The continuous requests from the school for money (trips, cake sale, school photos etc), birthday parties, days out, haircuts etc etc etc etc etc

I spend far far far in excess of 20% of MY income on my children and dont begrudge a penny of it. But I'll be lucky if my XH pays a penny, and can be damn sure he spends more of HIS income on HIM!

Oh but of course he has "rights" and makes damn sure he "gets them".

whiteandnerdy Sun 10-Jul-11 12:17:21

macdoodle - did you really want your post to imply that all NRP are not paying their fair share in far as financially to their children. Secondly what about the rights of the children to form a secure and meaningfull relationship with each of their parents.

As a NRP I pay for and do the swimming lessons, the birthday parties, days out, school uniform, I've also been paying the school dinners for one of my DS's and last month I paid an additional 74 pounds in dinner money arrears for another of my DC. Oh and joy of joys today I get another letter from school asking for an additional 40 pounds for dinner money arrears.

One issue I have with this whole RP/NRP method of seperated parents is that the state makes a choice on appointing one of the parents of a child as basically having responsiblity for the child, and the other parent as not. I'm sure most parents would agree that they were very different people before they had children. To what degree is due to the responsiblity and necessity of being a parent, and hence to what extent is the state approch to make one parent responsible to the child and one parent responsible for paying the other parent (hence to be responsible for them via proxy affecting them as parents). I can understand the issues of the state of not wanting to help both parents with housing and the additional problems of not wanting to split the support that the goes to parents between two households. There may well be other issues in the ending of the relationship between parents which affects them and what means they have to be a parent. Such as who has the family house, or who's working who's not.

I think every seperated family has it's own issues and difficulties, and hence I'm not into this NRP are bad and RP are wonderfull. People are people, they have feelings and emotions, and don't allways do what's best I really don't think that's any different for people who the state labels as NRP or RP, both still parents both still human capable of being douchebags.

chillistars Sun 10-Jul-11 13:36:35

50:50 residence is OK but does it really work? I mean if that means that the original NRP doesn't have to pay maintenance then how does the original RP afford to house the child? If, for sake of argument, the mother is on a very low income or doesn't work but the father is on a high income and doesn't pay maintenance then he is going to be able to afford to house his child but the mother may not without maintenance - only having the child resident 50% of the time doesn't mean 50% of the mortgage or rent.

macdoodle Sun 10-Jul-11 14:10:43

I'd be ever so curious as to how many NRP's actually contribute anywhere close to the tru cost of bringing up a child, and thats in money (never mind the physical, emotional and psychological cost)??
Of course thats a generalisation, but boy we hear an awful lot of it dont we.

sunshineandbooks Sun 10-Jul-11 14:52:46

Macdoodle you can make an educated guess from the CSA stats:

There are 2.5 million single parent families. 1.15 million of them use the CSA to settle maintenance. Of that 1.15 million, 861,700 of them pay. Of the 861,700 that are paying nearly half (47.3%) are only paying £5 per week regardless of how many children they have because they are on benefits.

Of the remaining 1.35 million single parent families, 60% have no maintenance arrangements according to the DWP.

Truckrelented Sun 10-Jul-11 15:03:28

We do 50-50 it works perfectly well.

sunshineandbooks Sun 10-Jul-11 15:09:32

Truck forgive me for being nosy, but what is your relationship with your XP like now and what was it like before you split up? (I'm guessing the split itself wasn't that great, but I don't believe that has to reflect what went before or what comes after in any relationship)

You've posted a few times on here about your 50/5o residency, and I'm sure I remember you posting a while back saying that you were very involved in the care of your DC before you separated from your XP. Is that right?

You see, I think it's very relevant. If you had a relationship that was characterised by respectful behaviour and a roughly equal division of childcare before the split, then 50/50 after a split seems an obvious resolution - fair to both parents and, more importantly, fair and consistent for the child.

Sadly, I don't think your experience is representative of the norm, though I believe it is becoming more common, which is great.

sunshineandbooks Sun 10-Jul-11 17:14:44

chillistars I'm pretty sure that in cases where there is a significant difference between the RPs income and the NRPs, maintenance is still paid even in cases of 50/50 residency.

I think that's the right principle, since the idea is to try to keep the child in the same standard of living (or as close to) as he/she/they would have had the parents stayed together.

It could be considered a little unfair if one parent is a high earner and the other earns a less but still high amount (e.g. parent A earns 100,000 and parent B earns 45,000), but then you could argue that cases where the NRP pays £0 or £5 a week to a mother on benefits is unfair also... The point is it's about the child.

whiteandnerdy Sun 10-Jul-11 18:02:02

Hold on though what about the case where 50/50 residency has RP with the significantly higher ernings. In this case the parent with RP doesn't have to help out with the other parents cost of living. So there's a potential for parents wrangling over who the govenment selects as being the RP and who is going to be the NRP.

Also in the cases of both parents being low income or on benifits again there maybe a rush to get be the RP as they get support for housing and social support with being a single parent ... to which the NRP isn't entitled.

There is an issue when a couple who have only enough or even less than the combined erning power to raise their children. By splitting up combined with the high price of housing, there is going to be a significant reduction in the ability for either parent to provide for their child. Therefore in these situations there is the potential for one parent to be aided by the state with being a parent and the other parent being obliged to help even if they don't agree with this split in responsiblity. Therefore it's easy to see how this combination of emposed responsiblity can affect the relationship between parents and indeed with their children.

I'm not sure if the govenments focus on emposing mediation on the parties will help or not, and it maybe a long time to see if such a shift in focus is helpfull in strenghtening the relationship between child and both their parents or not.

sunshineandbooks Sun 10-Jul-11 20:37:03

whiteandnerdy I agree that when it comes to 50/50 there needs to be an acceptance that both parents are resident parents. That should still involve transfer of maintenance one way if one parent is significantly better off than the other though IMO. But if parents are on benefits I think both parents should have the fact that they may need to house one or more children for 50% of the year taken into account when assessing their housing needs. Even now some local authorities will factor in the need for an extra bedroom for a NRP that's applied for housing benefit, though it currently varies between councils and it is discretionary.

Will this encourage people to take on more responsibility? I'm not sure.

First off, I think it's important to recognise that most couples will not get to this stage. They will settle on residency arrangements without ever going to court.

I can see some parents pushing for more residency simply to reduce/increase maintenance, though I think only a few diehard nutcases would see this through to the bitter end. Most people would quickly give up once they realisation that more time means more responsibility.

I still feel that 50/50 is not an appropriate outcome for many children though - it would involve too much change from what went before. If my XP had gone for 50/50 <hollow laugh> I'd have fought him over it. Not because I didn't want him to have the time with them but because it wouldn't have been in our DC's interest. Considering that I did it all (and not because I was taking over either - I practically begged him to get more involved) my DC would have had possible attachment issues had I allowed him 50/50 at that point.

From my own POV though I'd have loved 50/50 - I never wanted to be defined solely by being a parent and my career has suffered because I have all the responsibility. We had children on the understanding that I would be the main breadwinner, but as soon as he realised how demanding DC were, he changed his mind. I ended up becoming primary carer almost by default. But that's what parents do when it's necessary, isn't it? The best for your child even if it's unfair on yourself?

I think that a lot of women who resist greater contact do it for reasons similar to mine, and not because of some twisted attempt to punish their XPs or diminish the other parent's importance. They genuinely believe that the child is better off spending more time with them than with the other parent, and in many but not all cases they may be right. I think mediation may help some of these cases and that 50/50 (where geography/schools/child's wishes etc allow) could be worked towards longer term, but not necessarily granted straight away.

sunshineandbooks Thu 21-Jul-11 22:54:19

On the subject of rape, one thing HH did not do was to try and encourage the attitude that rape victims are just evil lying bitches - which is precisely what the coalition did try to do when it decided to being in a law to allow men accused of rape to have anonymity. Only rape, mind you, not any other crime, even though rape is no more falsely accused than any other crime. I support the idea of anonymity for all accused, but not just for accused rapists as this supports the idea that women lie. When the truth is that accused rapists lie more often.

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