More men than ever are finding themselves suddenly single parents when their wives leave due to an inability to fulfill their roles as parents. This sad trend has become more pronounced in the last ten years as “deadbeat moms” become much more common. At least one study suggests that moms are less likely to pay child support when it is ordered by the court than dads: 68 percent of fathers pay their child support regularly pursuant to a court order, while only 57 percent of mothers do so.
Even more heartbreaking is the situation in which the mother refuses to spend time with her children. This happens sometimes in cases in which the mother has a new romantic interest of which her kids do not approve.
There are some things you, as a father, can do when your ex does not handle her obligations to her children well, including:
- Keep good records. It may be difficult to handle recordkeeping when you are dealing with such an emotional issue, but it is important to document your wife’s behavior. If she is failing to make child support payments as scheduled, be sure to document the amounts and dates of missed payments. If she fails to pick up the children for visitation, document the dates and times. This will help you if you decide to pursue a case against her at a later time.
- Be aware that word-of-mouth is not enough. Some fathers have the mistaken idea that if their wives leave the children it is safe to keep them and pay no child support. They refuse to “rock the boat,” thinking that a verbal agreement with their exes will give them what they need to avoid legal problems. This is rarely true. If you have been ordered to pay child support at any time in the past, or if your wife has been awarded custody, you must go back to court to have the situation changed no matter what your ex does. If she brings you the children and states that she is willing to give them up, contact an attorney immediately.
- Hire an attorney. A family law attorney can help you craft an agreement that will protect you and your children and ensure that your ex-wife cannot suddenly change her mind about custody or child support.
If you are dealing with custody and child support issues, the attorneys at Men’s Legal Center are here to help. Call us today for an appointment.