Charged For Splitting Up By A “Pro-Family” Government..

Today it has emerged via one newspaper that the government are planning to financially penalise couples who want to split up. The story is   here.

This latest deranged idea consists of couples being charged a fee for arranging child maintenance agreements, instead of the current free service of the CSA. Although using the CSA is not actually compulsory anymore. It is possible to have a private arrangment if both parties are in agreement.

They also want to ‘encourage’ couples into mediation, which is where you sit in a room with someone and discuss your relationship problems and try to come to a sensible agreement or solution.

While I do not encourage the breaking up of happy marriages. If you’re happy together then that’s wonderful. However this proposal opens up a whole truck load of problems. I suspect that the government are well aware of this but do not care.

The most important people in a marriage are the children. I don’t think there are many who will disagree with that. The government’s stance is that children benefit from being in a stable marriage, with two parents. I agree with that. However, children do not benefit from being in unhappy households, much less when they are growing up in an abusive or violent home. Abuse comes in may forms, not just physical. There is financial abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and then physical abuse. Children in abusive households are more likely to be abused themselves. Witnessing abuse can cause behavioural and/or emotional problems including psychosomatic disorders, stuttering, anxiety and fears, sleep disruption, excessive crying and problems at school. It is not in the child’s best interests to live in an abusive household! Who would want someone’s child to witness or be subjected to abuse in their own home? Apparently the government do, although they will argue that they despise domestic abuse in all it’s forms.

Some people think that victims of domestic violence and abuse stay because they want to. This is a myth. Victims stay out of fear, loss of hope, confidence and self esteem. Many many victims do not have the financial means to leave, many do not know there is help available (which is under threat currently in many areas due to government spending cuts). Many more have been conditioned to believe that they deserve the violence and abuse they are subjected to repeatedly. I know that I believed that abuse and violence were all normal parts of a relationship and a marriage, depsite being raised in a “normal” loving family with no abuse or violence present. It is hard enough for a victim to break free. Now the government want to charge them for it because they want people to believe any marriage is better than no marriage.

I seperated from my ex husband in 1999. In those days CSA intervention was compulsory in many cases. The CSA have paid me a total of £0.00 from my ex husband, despite him working for around 6 years of the 12 years we were apart before he died. I wrote to them and told them exactly where he was working but I still received nothing. I am not sure if the government realise but you don’t have to go through the CSA anymore, you are allowed to make your own private arrangement, which actually works more often than not because if you are unemployed you are allowed to keep all of it! Prior to 12th April 2010 there was a disregard system in place, usually around £10. As I never received anything from my ex I don’t really know those rules so I apologise if they are wrong. I currently receive a small contribution from my ex partner (father of the 2 youngest), which depends on his circumstances. If he is working he gives me more, when he is not working I get whatever he can afford towards nappies and other baby things.

However, the above only works if both parties are in agreement. As my past experience shows sometimes the absent parent is unwilling to pay towards the upkeep of their children, hence the reason the CSA are in existence. The huge problem with Camerons and Co’s new plan is that what happens to the parent with care who cannot afford the new charge? What exactly will happen to them? They say that couples will be ‘encouraged’ to undergo mediation, I assume that it’s not complusory then, or is it just a clever play on words?

The end result is likely to be that the parent with care will be left with no payments from the absent parent if they cannot afford the new ‘charge’ for using the services of the CSA, unless said absent parent agrees to a private arrangement, resulting in more child poverty, more single parents trapped in poverty because the absent parent has wriggled out of paying their way. I thought this government wanted to reduce child poverty not increase it, or at least thats the line they were using a few months ago before they launched their attacks on child benefit, tax credits and child trusts funds. Not forgetting the broken promise of protecting Sure Start and education budgets.

So, in conclusion, this new fancy idea of making money from the ‘caring’, ‘progressive’ conservatives is to trap unhappy people, abuse victims and poor people in marriages they want to leave using money as a weapon. Lovely eh? How to destroy a whole generation of adults and children, stripping them of their human rights, all to line their own pockets and blackmail people into fulfilling their single minded notion of what a family is (we have discussed this before).

Just a little note for anyone who thinks marriage is the only way to raise children. I would have left my ex husband regardless of any financial benefits or disadvantages. I was no longer willing to be a verbal or physical punch bag, and I was no longer willing to allow my child to witness such things. She was also subjected to physical abuse when she was 12 months old (Christmas day 1999). We lived on £71.10 a week and we were poor, really poor, but you know what? It was so much better than waking up everyday in fear, so much better than waking up and wondering what he had sold to pay for his habit. A million times better than my daughter growing up thinking that relationships should be based on fear, control, abuse and violence. If I had to do it all again and live on £10 a week I’d do it because being poor and safe is better for us than being rich and in danger.

David Cameron, you are trying your hardest to deter people from divorcing, seperating and splitting up. Most of us who already broke free would still do it all again, even with your absurd measures in place, but why should our children suffer because you fail to recognise single parent families as valid families? I am curious to know what Womensaid and gingerbread think about all this…


Posted on January 9, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’ve never recieved a penny from my ex towards my child’s keep and technically should be worse off after divorcing. In reality, he spent most of our income on himself and although I might struggle for money now, at least my benefits go where I want them to – on food, bills and trying to ensure my child is provided for.I’d rather live in a cardboard box than be subjected to his cruelty again.

    I only realise years later that being blackmailed into mediation (it was that or he’d threaten court action) was his final desperate attempt to control me. In some ways, it was worse than the actual abuse itself. He was assumed to be honest, fair and a good father by Family Mediation, even though I’d informed them of his history of domestic violence. He was encouraged to lie with impunity; I was castigated for showing any distress and for trying to explain my reluctance in allowing him greater access to our child. One mediator told me my child would grow up to hate me, and that I could take my chances with the court system if I didnt agree to the agenda that she and my ex were proposing!

    I would strongly urge any mother who has escaped an abusive relationship to think very carefully before considering mediation. Similarly, find out all you can independently about child support & benefits. Take advice from CAB, your local Womens Aid or women’s centre. The government is, yet again, punishing the vulnerable. Don’t be pushed into it!

  2. I’d like to let anyone in need of help regarding domestic abuse to go to also look at Those people helped me so much after I left, I wish I’d known about them before.

    Regarding mediation, my ex husband was far too lazy an abuser for that. He did tell lies to his solicitor about me which happened to be the exact things he was doing to me, taking drugs etc etc. My local domestic violence centre helped me so much, they were the first understanding human contact I had in a very long time.

    This government want to bring us to our knees. I’ve been there once before, I’m not going there again. It’s time to stand together ladies and gentlemen! Show them we’re not accepting this in solidarity for all those men, women and children out there who are going to suffer but have no voice.

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