Absent Father/Maintenance

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    I have a 9 year old, my ex husband left 5 years ago, and due to his volatility, gambling and mental health issues I applied and got a prohibited steps order to prevent my child being taken away by him. As a consequence, we have not seen or heard from him since. I have never received or applied for any maintenance as I have always been scared that this may make him demand to see my child, but financially I am really really struggling. I work part time, get UC but it leaves nothing at all after our bills and food. I don’t actually know where my ex is, though do know who he works for. I also know he is in the same relationship he was when he left us(!) and is bringing up this other persons son as his own.

    If I apply for maintenance I’m confused as to whether his new family takes priority, but more importantly would he automatically be allowed to see our child even though he hasn’t seen them for the last 5 years and my child who is very bright and articulate really doesn’t want to see him.

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