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Perspective please - maintenance and stuff(16 Posts)
Would appreciate some perspective. I’ve posted before but name changed as this may be outing. Don’t want to drip feed so this might be a little long sorry.
Divorced six years ago two children. Ex left in a spiral of drug addiction and alcohol, DV involved. He is now much better and has stopped as far as I can tell.
I’ve had counselling and largely come to terms with what happened and held things together for DC. We do ok. I have a good job we have a lovely home, good school and I now have lovely boyfriend who my dc get on with really well.
In divorce agreement ex agreed to pay maintenance when his (irregular) work allowed and I kept family home (which I brought to marriage and paid for entirely). Otherwise clean break. He never paid maintenance and dropped in and out of our lives when it suited him but I always supported his seeing dc and made arrangements with him when he was in a fit state and wanted to.
For past 2 years he has been working steadily earning £20k. Last year he paid just £100 child maintenance. Early This year I phoned the CMS after he refused to even give dc any pocket money and he now pays the minimum set by cms. He puts a nasty reference on each payment which is usually a synonym for ‘parasitic’. In his texts to me he is usually a bit pompous and righteous but polite.
He responded to cms by a) seeking legal advice on overturning our clean break divorce (I know he can’t do this) and b) refusing to see dc because he ‘can’t afford it’. This has had such a terrible affect on their self esteem, especially my youngest. He doesn’t call much either. On the one surprise visit he did make in 6 months my youngest came home very upset because he took her out for tea and did not look at her then made her sit in the car outside our house while he had a conversation with his sister about lawyers on loudspeaker.
Dc know about cms because he told them, so I then talked to them about it openly (but of course not about the horrible references). I hoped it would stop them trying to work out what they had done wrong make him stop wanting to see them as they have a tendency to blame themselves.
He did finally take them on a holiday which he booked before the CMS contacted him. They had to endure a week of his whole family talking about how wrong I was to make him pay maintenance and criticising me for anything else they can think of.
After holiday he seems to want to see them again but they are now both very down and mixed up as they don’t like their dad but still love him. My eldest says she doesn’t want to see him at all and he still talks to her like she is 7. I’ve talked to her about it and suggested she should just see him less. My youngest is so confused about her feelings for him she started self harming. He seems to be playing head games with her at the moment - post is already long enough so don’t want to describe here.
I don’t know what to do for the best. I just want them to be ok.
Thanks for reading if you got that far
Have your DCs had any access to counselling for themselves? I would look into this esp for your youngest.
They are 12 & nearly 14. Both have had access to counselling through school and I’m now looking for counsellor for youngest outside school as the counsellor at senior school is a ‘bit weird’ according to my youngest.
If he cared about his children he would be paying maintenance to support them. The money is for them, not you, and he is being an arse. The kids are getting near an age where they will understand that.
However you did seem to get an extremely good settlement - well done for that. You did incredibly well to keep the house. So maybe this is why he is so resentful. You still deserve maintenance though.
In spite of all the things he (& his mother) says and does I have always encouraged contact because it’s the right thing to do but I am starting to wonder if it’s done more harm than good. My eldest refuses counselling as she doesn’t want to talk to a stranger. We talk though. Recently eldest DC told me that he used to hit them often while I was at work which I didn’t know.
At the time we divorced the house was literally a building site. He walked out on it and left me to it. I think that’s the main reason I got to keep it. It’s a lovely home now, but I worked until midnight every night for a year to make it that way.
1. They are at an age where a judge would say that contact is up to the kids. I would let 14yo stop going to see him. I understand that parental alienation is an accusation that many abusive men make when it's their actions that have led to their children going NC. You know the truth so hold you head up high when your ex blames you for the kids not seeing him. He is to blame.
2. Yanbu to contact CMS. He's a parent and should contribute to the kids.
3. Dad and paternal granny are deeply nasty people. The girls are old enough to know this.
4. I would get counselling for dd2. In my experience kids from divorced parents sometimes tells each parent what they think that they want to hear. Someone neutral who's not going to judge her for stating her feelings might be more successful at getting dd2 to deal with her feelings.
Thank you for replying. I have felt uncertain what is best to do for contact at this age and not sure how much I should be led by teenagers who naturally pull away. Eldest seems happy to chat on phone and they have just arranged for her to see him next weekend. Youngest has chosen to stay with me because she has a club on Sunday he was refusing to take her to.
I'd also speak to the police/your bank about the messages he's writing to you on the bank transfers as it's harassment.
Not sure I would want to involve police but I hadn’t thought of speaking to bank. As upsetting as they are, the nasty references say more about him than me. And, I had thought, if there is any question about alienation in the future they are the only solid evidence of what he is like.
It’s harmful if him to treat the kids like this. He’s using them as pawns. I can never understand why fathers refuse to recognise that their children cost money.
I wouldn’t make any move to stop the bank references. You are just building up further evidence of his character in case he ever takes you to court again.
He’s never taken me to court because he’s never needed to. I think he thought about it once and sought advice but his solicitor actually apologised for bothering me once he had all the facts and supporting evidence for his drug addiction and dv. I know he’s an arse and I guess my question is how I can best protect my girls self esteem and happiness in the face of his manipulation. They still love their dad in spite of everything and they have every right to.
If your eldest has said she doesn't want to see him, I would respect her wishes and stop the contact. A court would not force her to see him. The youngest self harming is very worrying and I can't see how continuing to see her father is in any way good for her. They might love their father and but he is damaging them in a cruel way. The way he and his mother are behaving over the maintenance is quite ridiculous. He went for years without contributing to his daughters cost and should be pleased that he is now in a position to partly pay his way.
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