Help! Ex sending the kids to school with no lunch.

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This topic contains 33 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  GingerbreadJustine 6 days, 1 hour ago.

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  • #35450 Report

    Rob in Leeds

    Hi Everyone

    I’m new here, the CMS suggested I checked |Gingerbread out.

    I’m looking for some advice. My ex wife is the main carer for our 3 kids.

    The eldest is away at University, we have a 16 year old son at a local college and an 11 year old daughter at high school.

    I live almost 100 miles away, see the kids (now mainly just my daughter ) alternate weekends when I drive to collect them from their mothers house, bring them back to Leeds and do the reverse on a Sunday evening. It’s been that way since 2013.

    My ex works full time, always has, she has a well paid £60k + job and a new partner who lives with them. I pay regular Child Maintenance.

    The issue is, outside of the Child Maintenance payments, the ex is demanding I pay for additional things, including school & college lunches. I’ve been advised by the Child Maintenance that I have no legal obligation to pay anything other than the regular maintenance so I’ve refused. We don’t have any family based arrangement otherwise the CMS wouldn’t be involved and unfortunately there’s no court order for contact arrangements.

    It has reached the point where the kids are being sent to school & college with no funds to buy lunch & no sandwiches by a mother who point blank refuses to give them anything other than the instruction to call me to ask for money. She’s gone on to threaten to stop me seeing the kids unless I give in to her demands!

    The CMS suggested that I may want to contact Social Services, which seems somewhat extreme and would no doubt cause even more trouble but what alternatives do I have?

    This is just one of several issues but the most worrying.


    #35452 Report


    Before you post inflammatory comments on here, I would ask you to clarify the following.

    How do you know this?

    How do you know that it has not been a simple mistake?

    Kids forget their lunches.

    Sometimes parents forget to top up their kids lunch thing at school.

    And to be preemptive. Don’t come back with an aggressive response to me. It is not my fault. I am just pointing something out.

    I don’t think it warrants social services involvement right now. Please get this in perspective will you?


    #35453 Report


    Hey Rob

    I know my own children of high school age choose not to take lunch to school, I’ve gone through periods were I’ve made their sandwiches only to find them under their beds or in the kitchen bin afterwards. I stopped putting money on their lunch cards as I buy food from the supermarket in order for them to take packed lunches. It’s too expensive for me to pay for 3 children school lunches at £150 per month. I think in your situation I would encourage the kids to utilise whatever mum has in the cupboards to make some lunch to take with them, I try and encourage we kids to be independent and if they make it then they’re more likely to eat it. My own experience is that choose not to make it, doesn’t make me happy but they’re getting to an age where they are responsible and I can’t spoon feed them forever . Hope that’s helpful


    #35454 Report

    Rob in Leeds

    Whoa! not quite the response I was expecting from a request for help.

    “Inflammatory comments” really?

    How do I know this? This is not the first time, it’s been going on for a while. Both of the kids have called again today asking me to send money or add funds to Parentpay so they can get lunch because “Mum won’t”.

    Here’s the text from an email from my ex …

    “Pay your daughters lunches I’m not getting involved in lunch provision Your actions mean she will go hungry if you don’t”

    For clarification Jessica, this is my childrens’ mother.

    I did say that contacting Social services seemed somewhat extreme, which was suggested by Child Maintenance who also suggested I look up Gingerbread to see if I could find other help.

    Care to add anything constructive?

    #35456 Report

    Rob in Leeds

    Thanks Greenfingers, that’s a perfectly reasonable suggestion so long as there is food available for them to take a pack up.

    The worrying thing is, is that their mother is point blank refusing to provide lunch, this is what she says …

    “Pay your daughters lunches I’m not getting involved in lunch provision Your actions mean she will go hungry if you don’t”

    #35457 Report


    Yes. You are over reacting.

    Don’t post on here and be aggressive and obnoxious when someone gives you their opinion which is courteous and might I add, patient and constructive.



    #35460 Report

    Rob in Leeds

    What on earth did I post that was aggressive or obnoxious? Please explain, particularly the former.

    I asked for some help, explained the situation, provided an example and evidence.

    Over reacting? Would you be happy if your children were deliberately and frequently being sent to school with no lunch or funds to buy some – would you, as a mother, put your kids in that position?

    #35461 Report


    Oh dear. Really sorry. But I think you need to chill out.

    Hope you get a chance to put your feet up this evening.

    all best


    #35462 Report


    And no. Of course I wouldn’t put my kids in that position.

    However as previous poster pointed out I also understand the reasons why kids do certain things. i.e forget their lunch, etc.

    So this needs taking into account.

    And no, it has nothing to do with me, and my mothering or parenting. You posted.


    #35463 Report


    I agree Rob, that’s not a great email and doesn’t paint mum in a good light. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to change mums stance on the issue. All I could say is at 16yrs, the older 2 are entitled to work so have the ability to earn if they want something, the younger one not so. I think in your position I would start to give pocket money, either cash fortnightly or pay into bank account with cash card, maybe £5 per week. That way she/he can choose to spend the money on lunch at school if they wish. I recognise that that’s money in excess of CMS but with it going direct to the child. It’s a nice way of her to learn how to manage her money too. She’ll be able to get a pasta pot or something similar for £1 I’m sure. Or if she wanted to save some then you could teach her how to reduce cost of lunch by making sandwiches. Personally, I get the kids to earn the pocket money by washing pots, emptying bin, tidying their room etc but that’s personal choice

    The other point to make is that it takes 2 people to argue. Remove yourself from the argument and it becomes the rant of one 😁


    #35464 Report


    Good points greenfingers. Mine is 14.

    I am lucky in that she is really responsible about money, which sadly, some aren’t.

    It is a complex subject.

    Too easy, just to blame the ‘mum’.

    Sorry to be short of patience with this poster, but too easy to blame the woman, and I have no truck with it. Life is a lot more compolicated than that, especially with teenagers.


    #35468 Report

    Rob in Leeds

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    JJ you’ve offered nothing to the request for some help, no constructive advice just accusations that I’ve been aggressive, posted inflammatory comments etc and of course that I’m simply blaming “Mum”. None of which you’ve substantiated.

    That’s not particularly helpful or supportive at all, especially for a 1st time poster, I thought that was the point of this forum or is it just because I’m a man? Anyway, that’s enough about you.

    Greenfingers, of course sadly I think you’re right about the mother changing her stance, or behaviour and not entering into the conversation is a sensible idea. At 16 my son can, and does work, that’s unfortunately the biggest reason why I see less of him now. I agree he could use his own money to buy himself lunch and perhaps that’s a good suggestion if a pack up isn’t available or not of his liking. At 11 my daughter is in a different situation, she already gets pocket money when she’s with me and to be frank I’m quite happy for her to spend it on whatever she chooses.  The issue I have though is the kids shouldn’t be put in a position such as this in the first place. If I wasn’t paying regular maintenance or if their mother was struggling to make ends meet then it would be a different discussion entirely, but that’s simply not the case. I guess I’ll have to see if anything changes and if not, take some action.

    thanks again



    #35471 Report



    Jessica you come across as some sort of man hater. Your comments are really awful! Why waste your time  to reply to some one who has asked for advice and you felt that they were being aggressive!

    #35475 Report


    Hey Rob

    I’m so sorry jj has been so rude to you, it’s unforgivable the way she has attacked you for no reason at all. Do your best to take no notice of her, she’s a bit of a know it all and she is the reason I don’t come on here much any more. There is no excuse for her behaviour towards you, we’re not all like that I hope you know.

    Now on to the school dinner for your 11 year old. Did I read her school runs on parentpay? My son’s school does too. If you can get the ex to give you the log in details use it to put in a monthly amount that will cover her meals and break time snacks. then reduce the amount you pay CM by the same amount, could that be done? If it can’t be done contact the school and discuss it all with them. They will be able to have a look  on the system to see what money is going into her account, see what food she is eating at school. Your ex might just be talking a load of old BS just to pee you off or get more money from you but if she isn’t school will not want your child going without food during the day and they will want this sorted out for your child’s benefit and as dad you do have a right to ask these Q’s.


    #35483 Report

    Rob in Leeds

    Thanks Kath

    I think JJ is just a bit lonely and lacks some attention. Hopefully she’ll find some elsewhere and be happy.

    Yes Parentpay is in use at my daughters school and I have my own login so I can see what’s been paid, what she’s spent and what she’s eaten. I’ve paid for plenty of her lunches when she’s had nothing left in her account and when she’s called me at lunchtime to say that her Mum is refusing to top it up but it has to stop. On her very first day in high school her mother added £2.95 to her Parentpay account for lunch. £2.95! Who does that? Why not £3 or a fiver? It was a Tuesday, a lunch with a drink and a snack is £3 minimum, what was she going to do the next day? Yeah, “phone your Dad”

    I’ve spoken to the CMS directly about this but they will not take anything into account that I may pay for outside of Child Maintenance so I can’t deduct anything from my regular maintenance payments regardless of whether I can back it up with evidence. I really wish it was that simple.

    It was the CMS case worker that suggested I contact Social Services as my regular Child Maintenance payments are contributions towards food, housing and clothing for the children when they’re not with me. If the kids are going without food it could be viewed as neglect. I don’t want to go down that route it seems excessive but as someone has suggested via a direct message it might be worth a conversation with them to hear their view.

    It’s absolutely about getting more money from me, that’s been 100% her focus during and since the divorce. I’d perhaps be a little more sympathetic if she was on a low income and struggling but that really is not the case, her earnings are at least 3 x mine. In fact they returned from a skiing trip to Austria at the weekend after she took the kids out of school for an extra week after the Christmas break – naturally there was no discussion about this despite it meaning I missed a weekend of my regular contact (again) and could potentially face a fine too!

    Talking to the school is a very good suggestion and something I will do, thanks for suggesting that.

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