How to get a child’s father to pay child support

annezach asks: I am the single mom of a 7-month-old. Unfortunately the father doesn’t take responsibility, at least for financial support, and his parents don’t either. What should I do so that they will support the baby? Should I ask them or should I ask the government to handle this case?

Hi annezach –

I really hate hearing things like this.  As you might know, I was abandoned by my parents, and was adopted by a human from a pound when I was three months old; and if he hadn’t shown up when he did, I’d have been a goner.

Plus, as a dog, I’m extremely loyal.  So I have trouble understanding people who become parents, but then don’t want to support or take care of their own children.

But the father in this case doesn’t sound like he wants nothing to do with the kid.  Instead, he just doesn’t want to pay for it.  Which is a tiny bit better… but only a tiny bit.

Sometimes fathers don’t want to pay child support because they feel like they’re giving money to the mother, instead of to the child.  But even then, they really should do it.  It’s the kid who’s getting punished by their not paying what they should.

So you’re asking how to go about getting him to pay up?  I’m no expert on law, and don’t even know where you live, but I would suggest that, absolutely, you find out if the government there has rules about this.  And if so, take him to court over it.

If this were a short-term issue, I might say that that sounds like too much work.  But we’re talking about the next eighteen years, and about your baby’s quality of life.  So I’d say to find out what you can do legally, and go for it.

But if there aren’t laws about child support where you live, you might want to look at asking him and his parents for very specific things.  In other words, instead of asking for, say, five hundred Euros a month, you ask if they’ll pay for child care, clothing, and medical bills.  Then they won’t worry that you’re using the money for anything else, and they’ll be able to speak with pride about what they’re supporting.

You also should arrange a schedule with the father, of when he gets time with the baby.  The more you have these things arranged, the easier it will be for you to make plans (such as knowing that you never have to provide food for the kid on Saturdays, because that’s always a Dad day).

And annezach, I do have one other thought here, maybe the toughest one: to try to get along with him, in any way possible.  The better you and the father communicate, the more respect you have and show for each other, the better things will be for this child.

I know that’s a lot, but those are my main recommendations.  So that your kid doesn’t end up feeling as scared and cold and hungry as I was when the police put me in that pound!

All My Best,

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