Unfortunately, I don’t think my case is the only one of its kind and there are others very similar to it.
If this is you, I’m after some advice please?
I have a five year old daughter who I don’t see. I wasn’t put on the birth certificate as I wasn’t on speaking terms with my ex as we had split when she was in the early stages in the pregnancy. Please don’t judge, I know it sounds terrible that we split at that time but things weren’t great on the build up to it and unfortunately there was no reconcile.
I had tried to build bridges in the passing months but was only causing yet more arguments and stress. So the contact got less and less. To the point that it wasn’t her phoning me to tell me I have a daughter is was in fact CSA requesting money. As you can imagine the path she intended to take was never going to be a smooth one.
Some time passed and after many groveling messages and phone calls I was finally allowed to meet my little girl. This was a massive relief. During the visit the conversation finally went towards the money. As I already have two boys from my previous relationship so I am familiar with paying maintenance. I have never had a problem paying for my children’s up keep and I have always paid on time without fail. I did use the CSA calculator from the website and it came up with an amount, so I rounded it off to the closest hundred in an attempt to prove I’m trying to build a bridge. At that time she was happy with that.
Time went on and I had being arranging to see my little girl in her mums home so that she was familiar with her surroundings and her mum being present, as you can imagine this wasn’t a great experience as my ex and I weren’t in a fantastic place in terms of our relationship but we put it to the side for the sake of our daughter.
It wasn’t long before the trouble began, All of a sudden it was an inconvenience to meet at her house any more (I think her then current partner didn’t like the fact that he thought we were playing happy families) so we would arrange to meet elsewhere, in the public, in an attempt to ease his jealousy. It didn’t work and in time the visits got less and less frequent and so did her replies. She even got christened without me knowing.
A year later, conveniently when she was now single, I was allowed contact again. Obviously I agreed. We would meet up in play areas as she was now active and liked to run around so we thought it was better to make it out more like a play date. Things escalated quickly and I was even allowed to bring my sister to meet her niece. I even introduced my two boys to her sister.
But this didn’t last; she got with a new boyfriend. But this time rather than just ignore my calls, she changed her tact. We would arrange to meet on certain days and last minute change them. She knows I work shifts and she would request me to meet her somewhere for the same time I finished work, but she lived 40 minutes away and then make out that she gets too tired if it’s any later as she has nursery the following day. I would try and free up plenty of time to see her but the time that I offered was always at an inconvenience to her plans. I tried to balance seeing my daughter, seeing my two boys and work, but it was not going to plan. Because of her constant change of plan last minute, I was missing out seeing my boys and then causing problems with their mum. I was also getting in trouble in work because I was leaving early to try meeting her tight deadline, which was pointless at times as I would be parked up waiting for her to turn up. This was now beginning to affect my health as I was constantly stressed about things and was constantly worried who’d I’d upset next.
I tried to reason but unfortunately in time she got what she wanted. For me to accept what she wanted the whole time, for me to not see my daughter.
It’s been almost two years and her and her partner are now married and have twins together. My daughter now has HIS name and I am left with no contact and via the CSA I still pay every month without fail.
So, here’s my question… Where do I stand? She’s moved house so I don’t know where she lives to even send a birthday or Christmas card. I have no problem with the money side of it I just get frustrated knowing that they are all playing happy families and I feel they use my daughter as a payment where they happily pick up £300 a month from me and still won’t let me even know how she is doing in school or anything?
The title of your topic is "child payment" but really your post is more about lack of contact and you ask what can you do? What would you like to do?
If you are paying via the CMS (CSA) then you are most likely paying the correct amount and there's not a lot else you can do to change that, unless your financial circumstances change.
Contact and maintenance are two separate issues and one is entirely independent of the other, if you are unhappy about being excluded from her life there are steps you can take.
You would first need to find out where they live, you can apply to the court for a Seek and Find Order which will locate them for you. You could also apply for a Child Arrangements Order and Parental Responsibility and the court will look at this too.
As you have had a relationship with your daughter in the past, the court may decide that contact should resume. It would be in a Contact Centre to begin with, to give you both a chance to re establish your relationship and if that goes well contact would then be moved away from the centre at some point.
It would be a long, slow process and depending on whether you self represent through court, or instruct a solicitor to act for you, it can cost a great deal, both financially and emotionally.