CMS: cheating recieving parent and cheating paying parent are both bad parent

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    Hi everyone

    I would like to share my experience with CMS and the child maintenance system in the UK.

    I hope that we will be able to see the problem from 2 different points of view.

    The receiving parent and the paying parent.

    I don’t want to blame anybody or looking for excuses.

    I want to share my experience and hope that our mentality will change.

    I need to explain a bit of my context.

    I’m from abroad, a country in the north of Europe. It is not a poor country, I didn’t move here because of financial reasons but for being with the mother of my child.

    So after a few years of moving from one country to another with my ex, I decided to try one last time in the UK.

    I moved to the UK and very quickly little and subtle psychological abuse started to appears. “Subtle” because I didn’t see it as such at the time.

    I moved into her house that she just bought and I did a lot of hard and heavy work in it, thinking naively that it was our home!

    Then our daughter arrived. I was the happiest man in the world and I still am!

    From there, because I was with no other choice than to stay, the psychological abuse really starts.

    It was an everyday suffering, I wanted to stay for my daughter thinking all the time that the situation will get better, but all the time things were going worse and worse.

    I nearly became father, for a second time… of a child that wasn’t mine.

    That happened while my brother died. I returned in my home country to bury him before coming back and not being able to see my family for 2 years after that. That’s when my ex decided that it was time for me to leave her house and she wanted to split up because I told her that the situation had to change. I couldn’t take the manipulative and lying game anymore; I wanted to go to see a couple therapist.

    The only thing that kept me going was my daughter!

    From the start, I was very committed! I was changing her, waking up every night, went for walks with her. I promised from the moment she grabbed my finger with her tiny hands a few minutes after being born, that she will never grow up without her dad!

    I’m not going to talk about all the psychological abuse after our separation.

    When I moved on my own, I had no savings, no family to support me, I was self-employed and even if my business was growing a bit, it was not enough to pay for a house.

    I was sleeping in my car most of the time from January to March. I was still in her house officially before finding a place to stay but the abuse was so hard that I preferred to sleep in my car most of the night! I was just coming every day to look after my daughter.

    I was exhausted; I have lost 22 pounds at the time.

    My ex was using my situation to say how a coward and failure I was. She tried to say to our daughter that her dad would abandon her because he is not a real man and can’t be a good role model for her. Hopefully, my daughter was too young to understand a word of what she was saying.

    I was very lucky to have people starting to be close to me from work and seeing my situation. They helped me to find a house.

    I March I finally moved into a renting house.

    My salary was £1000/month at that time.

    I had no furniture at all!

    I made a loan to be able to buy some basics for my daughter. My daughter never missed anything!

    I was eating pasta, and counting the number of pasta I was putting on my plate. My only meal for the day. I was catching up when my daughter was there because I was eating with her what she was eating.

    At the time, my daughter was still at nursery. I used to have her from Saturday evening until Tuesday morning each week. The reason was that it was easier for her mom than she was able to have free time and go for pottery classes. I was happy with the situation because I was able to see my daughter regularly.

    I started to pay child maintenance after a few months after moving to the house; I calculated the amount from the GOV website.

    I calculated it too high because I’m self-employed and I made a mistake. I was paying double of what I was supposed to pay.

    I was paying for clothes; I was paying half of everything I could on top of that.

    I had to go on overdraft to sustain that life. I wasn’t going out, I wasn’t buying clothes for myself, I wasn’t eating properly.

    One morning I went up the stairs and fainted. I was exhausted! Hopefully, my daughter was with her mom at that time. I didn’t say anything to her mom because I was scared of her staying that I was unfit to look after my daughter.

    From there I decided to put all my energy and free time to develop my business.

    I managed to improve my situation but I wasn’t earning a fortune.

    I manage to buy furniture after a year; I took a delivery job at night time on top of my business.

    I enter into a massive depression during that period. I never showed anything, again, because I didn’t want to be seen as unfit to look after my daughter. I started therapy, the therapist told me that my ex has all the traits of a person suffering from narcissistic disorder. I had no clue of what that was.

    To be honest I still don’t know if the therapist was right or not, because posing a diagnostic without seeing a person is difficult I guess. Anyway, my ex is a very toxic person.

    When my daughter finished nursery and started to go to school, her mom decided that I should have her every other weekend. No discussion, no agreement, she just decided.

    But I was working on Saturday during the day and couldn’t just change that by clicking my fingers.

    I begged her for keeping our old agreement just the time for me to reorganize for work. I ended up seeing my daughter every other Sunday for one night. So, two days and two nights a month!!

    So I passed from 3 nights a week to 2 nights a month! no warning, just like that.

    My daughter and I, have a very strong relationship because I invest all I have for her.

    She was very upset about that new timetable.

    I obviously ended up paying more child maintenance. Just  a reminder that at that time the child maintenance was paid by me directly to her account and no CMS was involved.

    I tried to negotiate for 5 months for a new timetable for having more time with my daughter.

    Everything I bring up at the time was refused.

    I had no choice but to go to court. It took a very very long time for me to sort out my rights. I went to see a solicitor (A few of them), I finally took another loan for paying for the fees.

    I won! I had a court order and was able to see my daughter more than 2 days a month!

    Her mom told me that I was doing that just to pay less child maintenance and saving money.

    I need to be clear about paying for my daughter.

    I’m paying for most of the school uniforms, I have a wardrobe full of clothes that I bought, I pay for swimming lessons, I pay for everything when my daughter is here! I offered her mom to use the clothes I bought because those are not my clothes but the clothes of my daughter. But, when my daughter was going to her mom with other clothes than school uniform, the clothes disappeared or were left on a corner until they were too small.

    Now financially, her mom has twice my salary, her own house, comes from a very wealthy family, works 2 days a week, has child benefit, child maintenance, and child tax credit.

    I have nothing! Every penny comes from my work!

    So no, I’m not saving money by having more time with her.

    The child maintenance I was paying was still too high but I thought that it would be the only way to keep her mom away from me as the only thing she is interested in is money and social status.

    The pandemic started and my business suffered, I spoke to her mom and told her that during the pandemic I would have to reduce the child maintenance to the real price calculated on the gov website. I calculated precisely how much I should pay. I was originally paying double of what I was supposed to pay.

    In August I managed to go back to see my family with my daughter.

    My family helped me with the cost of the tests and the flight ticket.

    Without that, I would have not seen them. My daughter saw her grandma for the fifth time in 6 years!

    My mom is 86 years old and she can’t travel here to see us. But with my financial situation, I had no money to go back.

    Her mom and I had a little argument about a silly thing while I was there. Again she was manipulating and turning things around, but this time I decided that it was enough!

    Enough abuse, enough lies.

    I told her that I wanted to have only written contact, the phone would be used only for emergencies regarding our daughter.

    I came back from my home country. 10 days later I received a letter from the CMS by the post.

    I was surprised and shocked! We never argued or talked about the child maintenance.

    I called them, persuaded that I was ok and shouldn’t worry too much.

    I have been treated like a criminal straight away!

    My ex “forgot” to mention the number of days that my daughter was staying with me.

    I have been lectured by the employee of the CMS because I have to understand that the non-resident parent has to participate for their children.

    The amount requested by CMS was far too much!

    I explained that I had my daughter a lot each year and I have a court order.

    And that’s where the problems started.

    The court order stipulates that I have my daughter specific days each week and a half each term. But it also stipulates that for each half-term, the parents have to decide the number of days together.

    I calculated the number of days that I had my daughter this year, 167 days.

    Because I have my daughter for each day of each half-term, because her mom has a partner and needs time off.

    All that time is not taking for account because the court order doesn’t stipulate precisely how many days I should have my daughter.

    I’m now falling into the lower category.

    I have emails, texts messages with all the dates that we agreed for each half-term.

    But it is not being taken into account.

    The child maintenance is now raised. I’m now in a very tight financial situation. I will have to cut something down.

    If I lose my car, I can’t drive my daughter to school every morning. It takes 1.30 to 2 hours to take my daughter to school every morning against 20 to 25 minutes in the car! With 2 loans I can’t buy another car on credit if my car dies.

    I recently started to go to a cheap gym, I don’t go out, and I never go to the pub, cinema, dates,… I have a few friends (All with kids) and no partner.

    I work, look after my daughter and go for walks and go for a gym session every two days.

    I will have to cut that down. I will, but that was helping me keep going. That’s ok I can go for a run instead.

    But I also realized that I will have to cut the number of days that I have my daughter each half term. Because yes, when she is at my home, I pay for things as well on the top of school uniform, swimming lessons, climbing lessons, music lessons, clothes, toys,…

    I confronted orally the mother of my child to ask her why she gets CMS involved as we never had any fight around child maintenance. That she should have talked to me before.

    She told me that I will never be able to rebuild my life because she will make sure that it will not happen. She doesn’t want me to be the father of our daughter, but her new partner. I’m just a babysitter in her eyes.

    The CMS was a punishment for trying to take distance from her manipulative games.

    When I asked the CMS what would happen if I had difficulty paying for one month, they told me that I should contact them and find an agreement with them. This is fine because that’s what I would have done anyway, but after that, they told me that if I don’t pay, it can go to a debt collector. So if I understand well, in order to make my daughter happy, some debt collector will come and seized her toys, and her things?

    My only solution now is to go to court again, if possible. I can’t have another loan, but I can have a very high-interest credit card.

    I will use that for paying for legal advice and try to have my daughter a bit more and pay the right amount of child maintenance with a very strict court order.

    In August, my ex went on 2 weeks holidays in the Alpes. The holiday program cost £4000… for 2 weeks!

    She is about to sell her house and buy another one, bigger, in a very posh area.

    Her new partner has his own helicopter and took my daughter in it for her birthday.

    I feel ridiculous with my 3 stupid boxes of Harry Potter lego (that I paid for by doing some food deliveries on evenings on top of my job). And the surprise birthday weekend that I organize for her.

    But you know what, my daughter loves me and I love her, unconditionally.

    I give all my heart to her education. She learned to ride a bike with me, she learned my first language with me, and she learned to have confidence in the water with me.

    I teach her the value of work, the value of independence. Every day that we have together I really do my best for her to have quality time.

    Her mom has a very particular relationship with money. 2 years ago, I realized that the bottom of my daughter was very red and infected all the time when she was coming from her mom. I was cleaning it and put sudocream and it was getting a bit better, but as soon as she had a longer period of time with her mom, it was getting red and infected again. My daughter wasn’t complaining about it but it must have been painful like hell!

    I took a picture one day, send it to her mom and ask why it was so infected. After a long conversation, she admitted to not washing her with soap. Just clear water, to save money. My daughter told me that she wasn’t taking any baths after school with her mom. I confronted her mom to know the truth and she told me that she wasn’t washing her because water is too expensive.

    Recently, her mom has stopped giving her snacks for school saying that it was costing too much money. My daughter asked to have snacks again. I calculate how much fruits cost for her snack for a month and I will give that as extra on the child maintenance just to make sure that she has her snacks when she is with her mom.

    I want to finish with this.

    CMS is a really bad way of dealing with child maintenance.

    All the paying parents are not evil, and all the receiving parents are not angels!

    We are paying the price for the bad one. Like some people on benefit cheat the system, but a majority of them aren’t.

    The problem is that CMS can be used for abusive receiving parents to punish the other parent. The CMS just gives them the weapons to do so. It is supposed to be impartial but I can assure you that it is not.

    It is the entire child maintenance system that is problematic. The parent who doesn’t “live” with the child is paying and the other pay for stuff with that money.

    We all know that it doesn’t work this way anymore. It is a lot more complicated than that today.

    The paying parents are not just bread owners anymore. They want to be involved in their children’s life. For that we need time with them, money as well, we should stop saying that the other parent has a “visitation agreement” or “right to visit”!

    My daughter has 2 homes, legally not, but I always told her that she has a home at mommy and at daddy.

    It is not Daddy’s house or mommy’s house.

    I have my daughter nearly half of the year, and I have to pay an amount for child maintenance like I’m having her less. I still provide everything when she is here, I still pay half of the things for school and even more, especially for extracurricular activities, I actually pay for all of it!

    I made a rough calculation of how much I pay for my daughter in total and how much her mom pays regarding her income.

    I’m far from being at 20% of my income; I’m about 30% to 40%! Do I want to stop buying clothes for her and just assume that it is included in the child maintenance?

    Should I stop paying for activities and assume that it is included in the child maintenance?

    To all of that, I say NO! I love taking her to swimming lessons, I love choosing clothes with her. I want to be part of those things. Plus it helps her to feel at home when she is with me. I want her to feel home, to feel safe and cozy here!

    On the other hand, her mom is not at 15% of her total income in expense for her.

    If I don’t pay for music lessons, she will not and our daughter will have no music lessons. If I don’t pay for swimming lessons she will not.

    I want my daughter to have access to those things.

    I know now that I can forget about rebuilding my life. I’m the non-resident parent, the bad one.

    That’s fine because when I see the level of confidence and the wonderful person that my daughter is, I just assume that I’m part of it.

    I just want to say that putting pressure on the paying parent is not the solution. All parents in my situation will pay a very heavy price for that.

    Another thing is that the real victim here is children! If my daughter sees her dad falling apart or having to go back to his home country because I have no support here and no way to keep things going, then our relationship is dead! Her mom will do everything to make sure that I have no contact with my daughter from that point.

    If that happens, how will she feel?  Kids always assume that it is their fault, ALWAYS!

    So I can understand that CMS should reenforce the payment of bad paying parents, but what happens in a case like mine?

    I carry on trying to do my best, but this system is biased. Please, if you want to fight for more equality, make sure that you are fighting for the right thing, because at the end of the day, the cheating paying parent and the cheating receiving parents are just bad parents, and we should fight against them.

    I know that some receiving parents as well, are in a very unfair and bad situation financially. But paying parents can be as well. We are fighting the same enemy here! Bad parents!

    Putting people in categories, male, female, black, white,… is always a bad thing.

    But in this case, it is our children who are paying the price.


    Thank you for reading me.

    #59280 Report



    I was scratching my head when you mentioned about her telling you water and food is expensive so she cut down, but she lives with some rich man with helicopter!? lol. If your in a lot of financial hardship, I would suggest to cut down on the extra activities like swimming classes etc. even doing simple things like reading a book with your child or going to the park is great. they want your time and attention. you don’t need to splash out. I only spend lots during the summer holiday period. Yes CMS is a horrid system and am not expecting them to make any positive changes any time soon. with your court order, how often are you seeing child now?

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