Ip Lai-hing understands single mothers who wince at the thought of former husbands contacting their children, but says she would have welcomed the father of her son and daughter taking a more active role in their lives. Ms Ip, 47, said her friends were reluctant to allow their former partners to spend time with their children because they had either been physically abused or were on bad terms since separation. 'Some of them feel that the men will brainwash their children and tell them that their mother is no good,' she said. When they divorced in 1992, Ms Ip's former partner handed her custodial rights to the children and ownership of their flat. Since then, he has visited his son, now 17, and daughter, 15, a few times a year on special occasions like birthdays and Christmas, but shoulders no further responsibility. Ms Ip and her children lived on social welfare payments until her older child turned 15 and she no longer qualified. It was only then that her former husband began paying for his children's tuition. 'He felt that since he gave me the custodial rights, I should do everything - from giving financial support to making all the decisions for the children,' she said. 'But I don't feel that way. I feel we're both parents, and as father and mother we both have this responsibility. I have no problem giving him more responsibility. I think it would be a good thing.' Ms Ip's ex-partner has been taking their children out to lunch more often in an attempt to get to know them better, but she said it was already too late; she had needed him most when the children were in primary school, but he had remarried around that time and had a baby with his new wife. 'I was afraid that I wasn't teaching them the right things in shaping their personality,' she said. 'Fortunately, they have turned out well and have a very positive outlook on life.'