Hi, I am hoping someone can shed some light on my situation.
I separated from my wife in December last year and have been paying child maintenance
on an agreement between ourselves.
Since then she has been throwing allegations at me and alienating my children against me. To the point where they no longer wish to see me.
I would like some clarification on if I should pay for the eldest child. It is something i am willing to do but with everything going on am reluctant as i may need all the money i can to go through the courts. to gain access to my children.
The eldest was 2 when we met and his biological dad had never seen him and died soon after we met, 11 years ago. We married 5 years ago and changed his surname by deed poll so he had the same surname as his siblings.
Am I required to pay for him while all this is going on?
My reading on this is that you have to pay for all children.
I assume you were married and not just living together.
When you marry you take on the 'package' ,that is partner and kids.
The very fact that you changed names by deed pole suggests that you accepted this,
Can I just come at this from the child's perspective. I know you are looking at this for advice for youself and are asking a reasonable question and I do not mean to judge you for doing so. It is clear from your post that you care for all the children very much. But I ask that in deciding however you do proceed that you first consider how this child that lost his father at a very young age, you gave him your name, your loved and treated him as your own... How will he feel when he sees that now that his parents are no longer together, he is treated differently from his siblings?
When you do start divorce proceedings he will be treated as a child of the family and his needs will be factored in to the division of assets etc. Is there an Order of the Court giving you parental responsibility?
I think it's wise to contact the CMS and ask what the position is in relation to child maintenance
for step children as I'm unsure if they would have jurisdiction. I think this would rather be with the Courts. And they would look at all the circumstances before making an order of CM. But based on what you say, I would guess that you have assumed the role of the child's parent and will have some financial responsibility for him.
Also when you refer to 'my children' is this a reference to the ones that are biologically yours or do you include your stepchild? What I'm asking is will you be seeking contact with your stepchild equally to your biological child? If you do wish to continue being a parent to the step child it's worth considering the damage showing financial preference to your biological children might do.
You will be forced to pay for the child as they are a \"child of the family\" which I've seen referenced in multiple places. The takeaway from this as a man is do not get involved with women who have young children as you will end up paying for them either by choice which is fine or by the threat of prison which is obviously not fine.
Actually, you make my point in a much better and more succinct way than I did but to follow up why should any man pay for another man's child in any other than a voluntary capacity?
You may find it offensive and that is your choice. I'm sure you hold some opinions I would find offensive, it's natural, actually, on reflection, I find your opinion on non-biological fathers being forced at the pain of imprisonment to fund other men's children offensive.
Being a step parent isn't for everyone. It takes a special kind of person with a big heart to find space in their heart and love a child unconditionally as their own, to be indifferent between their own blood and the non biological child. So yes, I agree with Spinit that if you meet someone and want to marry them but don't want to treat their child as your own and love them unconditionally, you should just walk away. Spare that child the pain of rejection. Maccy2 is spot on, in that you can't pick and choose. Once you become a dad/mum to that child, develop a bond and loving relationship, be part of a family - why should a relationship breakdown break that bond and unconditional love that has developed. That child doesn't deserve it.
There are some amazing people out there that have the capacity to love their step-children just like their own and I have so much respect for them.
It's okay if you aren't that person because that's when you should do as spinit says and don't get involved with a woman who has kids.