March 05, 2009,
N.C. asks from Washington, DC on February 18, 2009
Advice on How to Ask Baby's Daddy for Financial Help
Okay, so this seems like a very cowardly and unintelligent request, but I need a bit of advice on how to ask my baby's father for child support. I have not filed for support yet, but recently received notice from my son's medical insurance company that if I do not do so, we will lose all our benefits. As a mom who is only working part-time, I am finding this situation difficult. My ex and I used to argue a lot about money and he gets really, really stressed and upset when we have to discuss this. He is under other financial strains from his family and debts he has acquired. I find it very difficult to approach this subject with him, and would like to find a fair and diplomatic way to talk about it with him. I feel like such a coward to not talk to him about it, but in the past, he has expressed great anger and depression regarding money and our situation, and I do not like to fuel the fire, if you know what I mean. I would welcome any suggestions as to how to proceed with a letter or phonecall to him, and even if you want to write to reprimand me for not putting my son's needs first, I am okay with that. I do understand that I need to be brave, but I find it hard to do sometimes. Thanks for listening!
So What Happened?™
Oh, my goodness. THANK YOU so much to everyone who has responded overnight!! I am truly touched and amazed, and felt a lot of support from all you moms. You all are saying similar things, along the lines of having to ask my baby's father for support. And yes, I have known this and felt I should do something for some time. However, I did want to be fair to my ex, and because of all the stuff he was telling me about at his house, I didn't want to stress him for money. I also felt more independent when I was not asking him for anything. Part of me, the proud and immature part, just wants to prove that I can do this on my own, and that I don't need him to help me. Of course, no one plans to be in this kind of situation where you are so dependent on others while caring for your child (and I don't plan to stay on medical assistance forever and am already looking at taking on second jobs to supplement my own income), but while we need it, we are so grateful to have it, and I do know I have to learn to be an advocate for my son. Being assertive in a positive way was never easy for me. I guess I have to learn it now, and I feel stronger knowing I have advice from such amazing and wonderful moms as you all. Best wishes and love to you! ^-^
W.E. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
OK... first off.. the ONLY insurance company that I know of that has ANY right to tell you to go after child support is MEDICAID. Don't be ashamed of it. It is there to help. Use it! And YES they will cut you off in a heartbeat without a second thought. All you have to do is tell them you can not afford to file for child support yourself and every state has a district/commonwealth attorney that will file on your behalf. It is a free service to those recieving state assistance. They will take into consideration both parents income and make him pay a percentage...if he is in financial crisis with his new "family", that is NOT your problem. He can file for Medicaid too as far as that goes. Your only concern should be your son. His father helped make him, now it's time for him to own up and pay the price or he should have kept his "member" in his pants! Your son is owed this money, and he deserves to get it. If you don't stand up for him, no one will. It took me a while to stand up to my ex, but when I did he knew I was done playing his games and his "other situations" we NOT my problem. Good luck!
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M.W. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
This is something that is best handled by the government and/or an attorney. The amount of child support is mandated by the state, and the state will collect it and send it to you. You do not have to deal with his irrational reactions or his anger. As someone who lived with a person who would fly into a rage at times, I can understand that you are rightly fearful of triggering that reaction in him. For that reason, please consider your safety and the safety of your son and seek help from a third party. It may cost you money if you get an attorney, but it will guarantee that your son gets the money he is due and that you can be out of the direct line of fire.
Your son has the right to support from his father, and his father has the duty to help support his son. It's just part of parenthood, he should not be allowed to use his financial problems as an excuse. If you need help, and your income is low enough, there is Legal Aid available at no charge. It's not charity, it's your right.
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A.C. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
I don't think you're being cowardly at all. I think you've had bad experinces with him about this and you want to know the best way to go about it without messing up your head and still getting what you nned. I think you should email him and follow up with a certified letter letting him know what you need. You need child support for the medical benefits. Find out what the law in your area requires your ex to do concerning money. Say what you need and see if you can negotiate as peacefully as you can. I say keep things written because you will need proof of conversations if you have to goto court. ALso, email can be a little more seperate and less emotional. It also gives you time to say exactly what you want and re-write when neededbefore you press send. Get any forms so he doesn't have to think. Offer what you think he will need to go along easily and then go forward. It may be painful or may not. But your son needs it and that's what mothers do, we take the pain(dang it). Good luck.
J.P. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
I learned the hard way...if you have to file for child support, it is only retroactive to the date of filing! Not to the date the situation arose. Let him know you are filing to protect your access to benefits and then see if you can work something out. If you can, please do so. Family law and family courts are a HORRIBLE experience. You will spend >10,000 in legal files and you will probably not like the result. Also, keep good documentation of your communication (email is great for that). Good luck..... If you need a lawyer referral in Baltimore County, let me know...I'll give you the one my girl's father used!
T.B. answers from Norfolk on February 19, 2009
N....take care of this NOW. Go to your local Child Support Enforcement agency and let them handle the dirty work. You may have to have a court order first. But they can help you through the steps or guide you on what to do first! I have a 17 year old and had I not taken these steps 17 years ago I firmly believe I would have only recieved pennies on the dollar for support. Now his father and I have the DCSE to take care of the support and we can work on other things like parenting our child! It's simple. they take money out of his paycheck and then send it to ME. no chasing, begging, fighting...simple! DO IT! for your child!
B.S. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
You are not wrong in asking for support for your child. Everyother father in America is legally obligated to support their children no matter how financially strapped they are.
My husband has a son from a previous marriage and let me tell you, once the court gets involved, it's out of your hands. they will calculate how much he owes with a computer program and no matter how unfair or outrageous he will be required to pay. This system doesn't favor either parent, so my advice to you is to sit down and figure out how much you realistically need and break it down for him. It's always easier if you can come to an agreement together. Also, I know in our situation we could have a mediation with the Friend of the Court where both parties would sit down and talk. This was always helpful for us because if things got heated we had the mediator there to step in, also, she knew the laws and could give an alternative if we couldn't come to an agreement.
M.G. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
yes you need to find a back bone.
i would either write a letter or do it in person.
just tell him the facts and that if he dosent help out it will cost him more in the long run. say iam trying to do this with out involving a 3rd party but if you dont help one will soon become involved.
i think you will find if he works for a government agency they can automatically garnish he wages for you.
also talk to your insurance company and explain that your hubby is not the most stable person in the world
when you talk to your exhubby talk to him in a public place.
R.P. answers from Richmond on February 19, 2009
You seem to be suffering from the same problem a lot of single and/or divorced/separated mothers are having. You are not the coward, he is. He was so selfish while you were together until his needs became a way of life for you. This situation requires some simple re-programming on your part. You must put in perspective and remember one thing...it is not about him, but rather about your child. You only need to put your priorities in order. Can you see yourself having to live outside with your son because his father does not like being approached about money? Wake up young lady!!! It is either him or your child. Child enforcement and the court systems are out there to fight this battle for you. I can also hear that you still care for this fellow, at which you might be a little guilty of letting your emotions rule. Everyday I counsel young women on how selfish men have become, because so many of you seem to be having the same problem. If you are a church-going person, or if you read your bible, then you know the bible speaks of this travesty...in the last days, "Man will become lover of himself," and it is happening everyday. I am not a psychologist but just a concerned mother with a daughter, several girl friends, and co-workers, all going through the exact same ordeal. Reverse the situation. You went through 9 months and had a baby for him, which you did unselfishly. When all is said and done, he no longer wants the situation (you and child). Thumbs up on this, his attitude does not get any better. It is time for a change. It is now about you and your child, and you know you must do everything you "have to" to ensure the protection and well-being of your son. Your son is an extension of you, so turn it around and love yourself more. Wake up!!!