Don’t feel like I can financially support my son alone

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  • #44452 Report


    Wondering if anyone has been through or is going through anything similar. My partner and I have recently separated and as much as I want my 2 year old living with me, I feel like my own personal debt and living situation is a barrier to me being able to fully support him if he lives with me. It will break my heart to not have him living with me but I am struggling to see how I can make it work.

    His dad has always been the one to provide – I gave up my job and started working 2 days a week so that my partner could follow his dream of joining the police and I would do childcare, little one went to nursery the 2 days a week that I was working. Now that my partner is saying he can not afford childcare, I cannot get a full time job and fear this will mean I cannot afford to live myself let alone have my son living with me. I feel as if my son also prefers his dad as he’s more fun – it breaks my heart.


    I would really appreciate hearing anyone else’s experiences or just some advice.

    #44466 Report


    Whoa there sister! Take a deep breath and calm down, everything can be worked out and there is a system in place for single parents.
    Firstly, talk to the national debt advice line… They can give you advice on managing your debt. I was in a right mess when I broke up with my ex. He left me with £12k of debt which I managed to pay off in six years (cleared in June this year and now debt free). There are always options.
    Secondly, try to make an appointment with citizens advice who can advise on housing, universal credit and nursery. You don’t need a full time job, you’d be worse off if you work full time. I work 19.5 hours a week and I get universal credit which includes child tax credit and working tax credit and housing benefit. My wages cover my rent and UI and maintenance covers the rest. Your ex is police therefore can and will pay your maintenance. You can find out how much you are entitled to online, search maintenance calculator. It is in his best interest to reach an amicable arrangement with you to pay this on a regular date because if not, you will go through the CSA which charges for the service.
    It’s hard when your child prefers spending time with the other parent because they are more fun, trust me I know. But that’s ok, as long as we continue to love, nurture and provide security. Our children will eventually be adults and know how lucky they are to have us as mums.
    I hope this helps . X

    #44467 Report


    I totally agree with Hannah my ex left me in £30k of debt and I went to PayPlan who sorted it all out and it is now all paid off (took me 10 years), I would have gone bankrupt but i work in accounts so it wasn’t an option.  Last year I bought my own house, well it will be mine in 20 years,  but it’s the first time i have ever had somewhere of my own.

    I get tax credits, child benefit and maintenance and i work 30+ hours a week it takes a little while to sort out but you can do it.

    Kids go through stages of who they like and who they don’t like you just have ride it out and try not to take it to heart.

    #44468 Report

    Hi there

    Please don’t forget that you can always contact our Single Parent Helpline.  They will have the most up to date information on benefit entitlement and will be able to help you to explore your options.  Here are their details and I hope that the support other parents have given you will help a little.

    Kind regards, Justine


    #44475 Report


    Hello Bubbles,

    I have been there as well. I had the kids for years while she pursued her carrier and when we had finally made it, she decided to have enough of me and it is time to start a new relationship behind my back, then throw me out of our house and wanted to have the children as well. It feels horrible and there are some huge obstacles to overcome. But you can do it.

    Eldest one went with me and little one stayed with his mother. There is no point in insisting on having the child with you, if it is safe within the other household. It might be in his best interest to stay with his dad while you sort yourself out. You will see your child and over time you might get to where I am now, that you are in a position to provide much better and the child wants to live with you. Then it will change as it did here.

    Children need stability and if this goal can be served best with his dad, there is no reason to think this would be a bad solution. It is not about pride, it is about what serves the child best at this moment in time. I decided not to start a war but to keep things as calm as I could. That meant setting myself up again, being there for the children and building up a life. Now I am in a position to provide more stability than her and things have changed. It isn’t easy but it is not a bad way. Leaving a child behind with the ex when you have been the main carer is an emotional challenge to put it mildly, but it might be the best course of action for the child at a certain moment in time. And time will tell, how it works out in the end. But sorting oneself out first gives you a certain degree of freedom you don’t have when you start an all out war. Once you have cleared your situation step after step, as mentioned above, then there will be a much better ground to see if you can serve your child’s needs better and what is better for him then.

    I did it this way and still think I did our son a favour, even though he had a hard time missing me for most of the week at the start. It would most certainly not have been any better for him the other way round.

    #45156 Report


    Sorry to hear that bubbles.

    Definitely speak to citizens advice and the single parents helpline, as Justine said. Don’t beat yourself up. Maybe look for a job on the evenings or weekends, or see if you can find a job working from home, online or such like, to top up your income. Get some advice, take action and get yourself back on track. You can still have contact with your kid, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. I was in a similar situation to you until recently, and I’m getting myself back on track now, I was getting overwhelmed with debt and I had a bailiff come to my door, and it prompted me to get it sorted. I got free advice from advisors and ended up getting an IVA personally, but try free charities and advice lines. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself, your son would no doubt miss you if you didn’t have contact. Its not all about whose the most fun parent. I’m sure you bring things to his life his father doesn’t.


    Good luck to you

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