Child Support: To Do or Not To Do

child supportI’ve received a few emails regarding child support: should I put my ex on child support, when should I, and even do I have to?

Obviously putting someone on child support is a personal decision and all opinions that follow are my own. 

First, lets look at my choices. Sass’ dad is on child support. I took him to court when she was only 5 months old because it was clear from that time that he would turn out to be a deadbeat. People give us signs of who they truly are, but because of love, depression, the need to settle, etc. we try to overlook it. Around that time though I knew what type of “man” I was dealing with.

His family was surprised because I never made them aware of the type of father he truly was. When he received his summons to appear in court, he began telling his family that I was keeping Sass from him, when in actuality he chose to retaliate to the child support issue by refusing to be a dad. Things would be ugly between us for awhile. Frankly, she’s 8 now and I still don’t like or respect him (but that’s a post for another day).

I have kept him on child support ever since and actually violate him whenever necessary for the same reason I put him on in the first place: he doesn’t take care of his child. He is little more than a sperm donor. As a young, single mother I struggled after realizing how expensive diapers, formula, and all the necessities were. It made sense to request child support. 

Reality of Child Support

Flash forward to our first court date and he was ordered to pay a whopping $50 a month! He conveniently “lost” his job prior to our court date. He was ordered to do a mandated job search through the court. A few months later and we returned and the support order was increased to $300. Not a lot, but any little bit helps.

But as I’ve learned over the years, taking him to court doesn’t ensure that he will pay. He’s a bit of a loser and often changes jobs, so the court loses track of him. It’s up to me to violate him and then they look for him. But he counts on the fact that I’m a busy, working mom who can’t just take time off to keep going to court. And he’s right. The arrears he owes me are nearing $20K and I doubt that I will ever see that money.

Why Bother

I feel okay about this for a couple of reasons. I put him on child support out of necessity for my child, not to punish him. I literally needed all the help I could get. And second, I needed to be able to tell my daughter that I did everything in my power to ensure she had a great childhood growing up. So far she has, with or without his money. 

child support

Deadbeats always cry broke when it comes to child support

He has asked me several times to take him off. My simple answer is no. And it’s mostly because he hasn’t tried to make things right in the last 8 years. If I knew that he was doing everything in his power to help her out, there would be no need for a child support order.

That leads me to Laughs’ dad. He is not under a support order. The simple reason is I just need to pick up the phone and say hey your child needs ____ and he’s all over it. Above and beyond. She’s constantly receiving things from him without asking. The sweet thing is he’ll send stuff for Sass too, so she hasn’t really ever missed out from her deadbeat.

So my answers to the child support question will depend on your personal situation. And my advice is to not count on it. Anytime I get a payment, I think of it as a bonus and we’ll do something special together. But I never look for it, because it simply isn’t a reliable source of income.

See Also:  Dating as a Single Mom

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