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!
1 mom found this helpful
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.
1 mom found this helpful
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!!!
K.L. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
There are some good suggestions here, such as writing him or e-mailing him. There is nothing that says you have to talk to him personally, if he is confrontational. I don't think you are a coward for not wanting to deal with him directly. That's just self-preservation.
That said, he has a moral and legal obligation to support his child. And you are also obligated to do what is best for your child. That means seeking child support. You don't have to speak with him or write him at all. Just contact your local division of child support enforcement office to apply for assistance. You may not even have to go to court. I am a family law attorney, but I am not licensed in Maryland, where you are located, so I couldn't help you. You don't even really need a lawyer to get started. Just make the call.
I am sorry he has other financial obligations and debts, but child support comes FIRST. Why should you have to bear the entire responsibility? Good luck to you and stay strong for your child.
M.E. answers from Norfolk on February 19, 2009
First, there is no need to feel bad about not asking for help. I was in your situation a long time ago and my ex husband was very violent. It took everything I had to ask him for anything once we escaped this man. After 15 YEARS of not getting the amount we both agreed 2 for our 2 children, I finally got him back into court. The amount he owed at that time was 35,000.00. I was able to get all of it but about $15,000.00 from him. It made my children's lives better but, made me wish I had really pursued it when they were younger. Your child deserves it but, so do you! You are working, taking care of a child and trying to have a life. Please go to the Division of Child Support Enforcement and get money for you and your child. Let them handle it. Don't try to write or call this man. At least right now he won't have to pay as much because he hasn't gotten that far behind, I don't think. Just a suggestion. You can do that and the request for money would come from them, not you. That's their job. Take care and God bless you and your child.
S.H. answers from Richmond on February 19, 2009
You said it yourself, your baby does come first so you need to keep that in mind and steel yourself. I would make a phone call to the child's father. That way, if he gets really angry or beligerent, you can simply say "I can tell you are too upset to talk about this right now, we'll have to continue this later after you've had some time to digest it" and hang up. I would be very matter of fact with the call. "You know we are getting benefits, those benefits will cease if I don't file for support and I can't afford to lose them. I am telling you now so it doesn't come as a surprise. I am trying to keep you out of trouble (with child support enforcement). I know you're in a bad spot but we have to work something out." I know he has other debts and obligations but his son comes first; he had that child. We are all under financial stress in this economy and he can not and SHOULD NOT expect you to care for your son alone nor should he expect the rest of us to do so.
T.H. answers from Norfolk on February 19, 2009
i would tell him the situation. tell him that you have to file for custody and need to begetting something in wroting saying you will be getting something from him to keep getting help. wether he gives it to you is up to you to decide but then it goes against you. i hope this makes sense. the judge will decide what he should pay when you go. but if you decide to not make him pay or pay the full amout then you will be out that amout of help when you file for food stamps and such.
K.H. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
Look in your telephone book or on the internet for a women's counseling center or a law firm that says public interest. Or, you could call one of the law firms that mentions "family law" and ask how much they charge. If it is too high, then ask for a referral for a pro bono or public interest firm or office. They should help you. Lawyers belong to the "bar" for their state - an organization that often provides referrals and has a question and answer section. Sometimes you can find a number to call for help on the bar association web site for your state.
It is understandable that you are worried about asking for financial help from someone who has been difficult in the past. That is why it would be better to know what procedures are established for your state. You may not have to deal with your child's father directly. He also may respond better to an established procedure. Often the payments will be made from his wages without any personal involvement on his part.
Good luck. Being a mom is amazing and wonderful and sometimes tough! Hang in there.
C.D. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
Okay, so I'm not going to reprimand you since I recently went through the SAME EXACT THING. You can start by writing him a letter letting him know that you need some help. it took both of you to make your son so both of you should support him. Keep records of everything! a copy of your letter and whatever response he has. go ahead and file the child support papers. it takes FOREVER! I filed mine in October and just had my first meeting last week...
R.H. answers from Norfolk on February 19, 2009
Ok well i have to give my opinion about this. This is only my opinion. First what i do with my husband who is hot headed about money or most anything he thinks I'm forcing on him about.
I've gotten to where i email him. My suggestion is to send him an email late at night when he will get it on his way to work about it. So he doesn't have time to email back or call you. He's leaving and can't. That will give him all day to think about what you have said. He will digest it or talk to friends. Than when he gets home he will email or call you about what you have said. You will get more open conversation and not just being mad he's thought about it all day. If he has time to respond at the time he received it he will most likely be mad and email or call you about it. Don't make it sound like he did anything wrong make it sound like you are asking because you have to your being told to and if you don't could be in big trouble from the department of social services. Take the blame off you.
J.M. answers from Washington DC on March 05, 2009
It's time for you to stop feeling sorry for Dad. He brought this child into the world and he needs to provide financial support at the bare minimum. You should not put your son in the position of doing without- because you are afraid to approach Dad. I personally think you should get an attorney, go to court and have the courts decide the amountof support, and have it go through the courts to get to you (garnish his wages or whatever else needs to happen). You need a reliable stream of known income to provide for your son- don't let Dad's "anger" put you off. Good luck and be brave.
L.A. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
The unspoken truth behind the father's refusal or resistance is, "I am more important than my child, and I can't be held responsible for what I did. Since doing half of the work and support it too hard, I want you to do all 100% of the work and take 100% of the resonsibility."
It is time to stop discussing the problem with him, and step up to the plate file for your child, and his child support with the courts. The information is here:http://www.dhr.state.md.us/csea/open.htm.
You can let him know or not, or write a kind, direct, short letter stating his child deserves and needs his support. PERIOD. Life is just as hard for you, too. Do NOT go into all of your other problems together.
The father of my son left us before the boy was born. Initially he was a graduate student, but 4 years later was a lawyer, and by the time our son was 6, the father had a an excellent federal position. I never thought that would happen in a million years. But i filed while my son was just months old. It pays. in fact, it paid close to $250K over 21 years.
A.V. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
It is not wrong to want support for your child. I would simply say what you said here - that you are filing for CS because it is a requirement of the medical insurance you have for your child. If you go through a child support office, then it will be out of your hands. You may or may not actually receive any (my mom had to get them to chase our father for years) but the filing alone sounds like it would help you keep your insurance. I would put it in writing and keep it businesslike.
S.H. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
Consider finding a prefessional mediator. It's much less formal than a lawyer and the person is trained to help you work through the issue without the discussion ending in a screaming battle. The mediator is not on either side, but you might still feel braver with a referee to keep things polite. Good luck! You are showing your bravery just by asking the moms for advice!!!!
R.S. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
I'm really passive-aggressive, so understand where you're coming from, though I've become much more aggressive when I think about the fact that it's what my son needs.
I would consider (I'm not recommending per se, as I don't know the guy) approaching it as a really minor business matter. Not asking him for anything, just say "hey, if I want to keep my benefits, I have to file for child support. I'm not going to ask for much (though it doesn't matter what you ask for, the state decides based on his income), but I have to, if I want to keep the medical help."
Remember that a) the baby matters more b) he's a grown man and needs to learn to deal with issues that he doesn't like. I don't like bills either, but he's a parent. Or, if he really has an issue helping out, he can sign over full custodial rights, and the state won't ask him for child support. But he would have no say ever again regarding your child and would have no rights to him/her.
M.G. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
I can sympathize with your situation. It sounds like writing to him would be a better approach than calling. A letter would give you the chance to get across your request to him, but gives him some time to digest it before you actually speak about it. Also, it gives you a chance to choose your words carefully, in a way that will be least likely to spark his anger. In the end of the day, however, you can't allow yourself to be so intimidated by his reaction that you do not ultimately get what your child is entitled to from his father. Best of luck with this problem.
S.K. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
It sounds like you're feeling sorry for him too. Don't. he is doing this guilt rip thing on purpose. His obligations are his obligations. and if, like the other ladies have suggested, you can go through a third party to get it done, then do it. You're broken up with this person, you do not have to put up with his temper.
His child, he needs to pay, period.
S.C. answers from Norfolk on February 19, 2009
Give him a copy of the letter you received. Ask him for ideas how to handle it. Make sure he understands that your son's healthcare coverage is not negotiable. His son IS his responsibility to financially support regardless of his other family obligations. If the two of agreed to have this child then the TWO of you have to support it. Not just you, not just your family and not the taxpayers. Give him a chance to step up. If he doesn't file the necessary paperwork to make sure your child has what he needs. Good luck.
N.R. answers from Washington DC on February 19, 2009
It's to bad that the baby's father is having money problems, but he is still responisble for his child. Just think bout all the money problems you will have if he doen;t start paying. Insurance is crazy expensive and besides it is what he should want to do for his child. He'll have to work out his tensions. N. Russell
T.B. answers from Norfolk on February 18, 2009
I have to assume that your baby's daddy is keeping the insurance on your son. If that is the case, there must be a legal document requiring him to do so in order for the insurance to keep covering him (at least that is my experience). Without that documentation, he could drop your son's coverage at any time and you would have to pay for it out of your pocket.
If you need the money from him, then you have to be strong enough to tell him that. It does not matter if he is having financial problems or not, he is still obligated to his son. He has to help you care for the child that he helped create.
If you do not need the money, then tell him that you are filing for child support solely for the medical insurance. When you file, you can either go to court and have it court ordered or go through child support enforcement. If you take it to court, you can ask the judge to order that he carry medical and dental insurance on your son and just tell them that that is all you want. They will decide if he will be ordered to pay child support to you. If he is, and you really do not need the money to care for your son, then you could always put it in a savings account for him when he gets older.
No matter what your son's needs have to come first here.
J.A. answers from Norfolk on February 18, 2009
Well, here's how I would look at it.
1. Do you need or want his money?
YES or NO
If NO: Call him up to discuss the situation. Explain that your insurance company has made a demand and that it's very important that you submit whatever paperwork is necessary to appease them, HOWEVER, you are not actually asking for his money. Some would say this is not the way to go, that's it's 'dishonest' somehow, but I feel it's real life. Tell him ALL you want is to make the insurance company happy so you don't lose coverage for your son.
If YES: First determine how much the insurance company is requiring if they have a specific amount requirement. Then, call him, tell him that you have put off bringing this up because you are aware of his financial strain, however you are also struggling and now it's become a bigger issue. Explain that you will lose coverage for your son and that you need "this" much per month from him in order for that not to happen. If you believe the amount required is too high, you can always give some back to him and that might help ease his mind about it, but if you really need that amount, don't be shy in asking for it.
If he gets angry or upset with you - simply end the conversation and take it directly to court. There are many groups that will help you legally and they will handle all the talking to him.
And yes remind yourself (in writing even) that you MUST put your sons needs FIRST and even if he doesn't need money from his father - he DOES need insurance!
K.F. answers from Washington DC on February 25, 2009
You are a lot nicer than some would be in this situation...I think you are putting your son's needs first, but need to know the right way to go about it...but the most important thing to remember is, your ex had a part in him being brought into this world and he should take care of him too - you should not feel guilty at all about asking him for money. As a man, he should step up and offer, but since he is not being the best dad he can be, you will have to nudge him along...but please don't be a pushover...ask for what you need and then file for it to be made a court decision, so he cannot default - it will be garnished from his wages...my husband did this proactively since his ex was always fighting him on issues. We have full custody, so we pay for everything, and didn't really need her money, but later on when she was trying fight us on some issues, we could use the child support as leverage - so now she doesn't pay for anything, but we were able to look after the best interest of the children...something she was not able to do. The courts will decide for you how much he should pay - so that is not something you have to worry about. Just explain that he has not been doing his part, and you will be petitioning for child support and he will have to deal with it - no conversation needed.