Your Father's Right?
Lawyer and father of three Michael Cox argued that he should not have to pay child support if the children spend half of the week living at his house. The courts disagree...
The Child Support Dilemma
Michael Cox, a lawyer who separated from his wife and three children 12 years ago, has been jailed for refusing to pay his ex-wife child support because their three children spend half their lives with him.
Mr. Cox, an advocate for Fathers4Justice, claims the system is 'oppressive, unjust and discriminatory' towards men.
The 43-year-old shares the care of his children with his wife – there is a mile between their households and the children spend half of the week at each. He is also, however, expected to pay the Child Support Agency for the time they spend with their mother – because they are officially resident with her. Meanwhile, his ex-wife Lesley Peach, is not asked to contribute towards the boys' upkeep.
Mr. Cox represented himself in his trial in March, when he was given a 42-day suspended jail term with the condition that he began paying the CSA £365 a month.
Yesterday, the sentence was activated after the Southampton court heard he had not yet paid any money to Ms Peach. Mr. Cox insisted "I have been referred to as an absent father but that's not what I am. I'm a father who well knows the obligation to his children and I discharge that obligation. I feed all my children. I clothe them. I house them – that's what I spend my money on."
"The CSA gives me no assistance for that and requires me to spend the money twice. My ex-wife is not a little old lady living in a shoe, reaching in the back of a cupboard for the last tin of beans. But, according to the law, I'm dead in the water. I'm bang to rights."
Should fathers always have to pay Child Support? Answer our survey and have your say in the forum…
- Discipline for dads requires effective relationships and positive attention, say Supernanny Experts Fathers Direct.