A woman has sparked a fierce debate online after asking people for their opinions on whether rules around fathers paying child support are strict enough.
The unnamed woman took to the British parenting forum Mumsnet to canvas opinions on the controversial topic, saying the system in the UK is a ‘joke’ and not strict enough, prompting mixed responses.
Commenters shared their horror stories of ex-husbands who claim to be hard up and pay a pitiful few pounds a month, while living lavish lifestyles.
But others claimed that some women see biological fathers as cash cows, and only want their money, while freezing them out of their children’s lives.
An anonymous poster has sparked a debate on Mumsnet after asking people for their thoughts on child maintenance services
The woman asked others for their thoughts in her post, titled Anyone think the UK is a joke when it comes to not paying child maintenance?
She said: ‘You hear a lot of stories especially in the UK where courts are not that strict on individuals who are no longer together to pay maintenance for their child.
‘Unlike the UK, USA is much more stricter and it is much harder to avoid paying child maintenance.
‘Anyone think the rules need to be a lot stricter in the UK? How can it be better enforced in the UK and what is the minimum amount a month you think someone should pay for maintenance assuming someone is on around £1.5k-£2k after tax a month.’
A small number of respondents were very sympathetic towards estranged fathers, and said child maintenance services were stressful for them too
One commentator, who was largely sympathetic to fathers, claimed that a high number are ‘driven to suicide’ by issues with child maintenance services.
‘I’d say they need to sort out their s*** before piling on more restrictions,’ she wrote. ‘There are always two sides to every story.’
Another suggested that some mothers are always unhappy with the outcome of child maintenance services, irrespective of what happens.
They wrote: ‘If you want 50/50 they say you want to avoid paying maintenance. If you pay maintenance, the CMS payments are not enough for all they do.
‘I think for some women, not all, a biological father has no value except for paying the maintenance. They want the child to be part of their new relationship with no involvement with the biological father. A lot of women say it in here. You don’t have to consult parenting styles, schools, health, travel, moving. It will affect the child though.’
Many respondents agreed with the poster, and revealed that they had struggled to receive child maintenance payments from their exes
However, others revealed how they were struggling to get payments from former partners, who are pleading poverty to wriggle out of it.
One wrote: ‘It’s terrible. My ex husband is self employed. Splashes the cash no problem but has said he claims benefits so only has to pay £7.50 a month per child. Doesn’t stop him trying to declare father of the year though!’
Another agreed, saying: ‘They should just use the powers they have. Five years my arrears having been stacking up whilst ex changes jobs. Goes self employed and moves house. Why they don’t just take it from his bank account I’ve no idea. He would soon be on to them if they did to sort it out.’
And a third chimed in to add: ‘I get £28 plus change a month which comes from him claiming universal credit. He owns and runs a business, no tax ever paid. I have complained non stop to CMS, said investigating him which can take up to a year, even though I’ve I’ve providing them with evidence of his business for years. He was taken to court in 2020 for arrears, but because he is no claiming a benefit they can’t touch him. Total system is a joke and not fit for purpose.’
Many Mumsnetters felt serious consequences should be implemented for those who fall behind on child maintenance payments.
Several posters wanted to see serious consequences for those who fall behind on child maintenance payments
One said: I think NI numbers should be linked to birth certificates and any non payment of maintenance covered by the state and reclaimed against the state pension etc.
‘It’s totally unacceptable to that so many kids are left in poverty because of these d******** and then successive governments wring their hands and witter on about the latest exciting “initiative” to tackle child poverty. How about we cut the crap and get the money to the absolute heart of the issue?’
A further commentator agreed, adding: ‘We should have started collecting it through tax codes a long time ago. We have real time tax now so even less excuse.’
And another felt even more strongly, writing: ‘If it was down to me I would put a County Court Judgment on anyone who is in arrears by more than three months
‘When these parents can’t lease a nice new shiny car and can’t get a mortgage it might focus their minds on what they need to pay.
‘Hit them in the pocket with a ccj and it always tends to focus a persons mind. I would also revolve their license and passport
‘I would also ensure that the maintenance is not reduced because they decide to have more kids or move in with a women and pay for her kids.’