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I'm a so-called absent father of 2 girls aged 18 and 15. I didn't choose to be absent and tried all I could to get to see my children. Despite court orders giving me access to my girls 12 years ago when they were 7 and 4, my ex-wife would use every trick at her disposal to stop me seeing them. She started rows every week, called the police telling them I threatened her, even though I have never been violent to her or anyone in my entire life.
She finally told me one day 12 years ago that the girls didn't want to see me again. Foolishly I backed off for a while thinking they would come to me when they got older. The months went by and I went to the house at Birthdays and Christmas with money and cards etc. hoping they would see me but nothing changed.
Months turned in to years. I never missed a Birthday or Christmas and I wrote my number on every card but still never got a reply. On a few occasions when I went to the house with money for them the door was answered by my ex-wife who snatched the money and slammed the door. I never abandoned my kids but to my shame I never really fought for them because I didn't want them to be caught in the middle of a custody battle and felt that they shouldn't be forced to see me if they don't want to.
Ex-wife wouldn't even talk about a settlement...I am now in a relationship with a wonderful woman who has 4 great boys. They respect me immensely and I have been part of this family for 10 years. I finally got a new job a couple of years ago after being out of work for a long time. I was only working a couple of months when the CSA sent me the forms to fill in. My partners boys are grown up now and paying their way though still living with us so my outgoings where considered low. It took the CSA nearly 8 months to work out how much I had to pay but still charged me arrears from when I started work.
There is no way my ex-wife (who is on benefits) would even talk about a settlement of any sort. My eldest daughter is 18 yet I'm told I have to pay till she is 19. I pay over 40% of my meagre wages and barely have enough left to live on at the end of the month. I think at the very least the woman should be made to work out a settlement to include access. I haven't laid eyes on my girls in 10 years even though they only live 3 miles away. I never abandoned my girls and would give anything to spend even an hour with them.