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Lee, 41

Struggling to juggle the financial challenges caused by paternal leave proved to be too much for Lee and his wife, causing the pair to separate soon after their third child was born. And following this relationship breakdown Lee, a chef from Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, found that the pressure facing him soon became unbearable. With £550 a month child maintenance to pay, alongside sole responsibility for the debt that was shared with his wife, he relied on a series of loans and credit cards to stay afloat, only plummeting further into £20,000 of debt.

“It affected my life greatly. I became very depressed and lost a lot of weight due to anxiety and not looking after myself

“Debt was manageable when I was with my ex but when we split I still had these debts, plus an extra £550 a month child maintenance to pay. Then the cost of visits to see my kids on top of that meant it mounted up quickly.”

Searching for the most wallet-friendly option, Lee chose to use up his limited holiday dates to cover his paternity leave. He found that the paternity leave payment offered by his employer was much lower than his salary, and not enough to maintain his family financially. Without using his annual leave dates to spend time with his newborn, his emotional bond with his child would have been sacrificed too.

“The first few months of a child’s life are very important to bond and to get to know your child and vice versa. It’s hard for parents to try to juggle both work and family time, especially in a job like mine where I would leave at around 8:30am and not return home most days until about 11pm.

“It’s impossible to take extra time off work on paternity as the money doesn’t cover the bills, and there is an extra mouth to feed. It also puts strain on relationships.”

After seeking help from a debt support centre, Lee spoke to Creditfix where he set up a Trust Deed. He is now in control of his finances enough to pay his child maintenance, as well as visit his children regularly.

“It’s made a massive difference – I’m not inundated with creditors chasing me and sending various letters, emails and texts. All my debts are being dealt with and, best of all, my stress levels have lowered again.”

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