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Readers Respond: Child Support Horror Stories

Responses: 159

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From lost addresses to disappearing payments, child support horror stories are not uncommon. Here, read real-life stories from moms and dads who've had to battle the system to get what's fair.

Child Support Has Too Many Strings

My ex left me for another woman 17 years ago, and left me bankrupt with four little kids. He didn't pay child support for more than three years. When he was ordered to pay, he told me he would convince our youngest child to live with him so I would have to pay him. When our daughter turned 13, he did just that. It's been four years and I've seen her a total of two months in that period of time. He reports an income of $10,000 a month after taxes. I earn $1,200, and $220 of my income goes to child support each month, based on the amount of time I spend with her. He lives thousands of miles away and buys our daughter's plane tickets, but he arranges multiple vacations and camps in such a way that she can only visit for short periods of time. I don't think this bothers my daughter; she tells me she's happy. To retain an attorney would cost $10,000 and I support our youngest son (who is in college) by myself. My advice is this: Don't seek child support that isn't offered. You may lose your child in the process!
—TheWaltons

A Flawed System

I have been receiving child support off and on over the years. I have two children, ages 18 and 15. I stopped receiving child support for the 18-year-old when she turned 18, but I am still supposed to receive it for the 15-year-old. Earlier this year my ex owed almost $4,000 in arrears. He went into court, and I didn't know a thing about it. His attorney set it up and it was done before I knew about it. The courts excused all of the back child support debt except for $922. He paid the $922, and I still haven't received it. The child support website says it was paid, but I haven't received the money. I call my child support worker every week to try and get them to do something. Now, since going to court, my ex has only paid $389 of the monthly order, so arrears are building up. So he'll eventually go back into court and have it excused again. He has done this 10 or more times since we divorced. He makes around $60k a year, but he keeps getting away with it.
—Guest Nandid

How can we change the system?

My husband used to make twice as much as he does now. He was ordered to pay over $800 a month for one child. They were supposed to deduct the amount from his paycheck, but didn't. He tried to contact them to let them know, they never did anything. His place of employment went out of business, so he had to move across the country because he couldn't afford to live in CA anymore. He got a job that pays half as much as he was making before. He tried contacting the court to let them know he had a new job making less money, and he has been trying to contact them for the last seven years. He gets the run around, or the voicemail of the caseworker, but no one calls him back. There was a hearing, and it was dismissed, but he didn't know why and couldn't get anyone to tell him why. We live in FL, the case is in TN, the child and mother live in MA. I would propose we have an automatic deduction in paychecks for 20% or around there. They automatically deduct taxes. Why can't they do the same for this?
—Guest Rediculous

I expected better.

I had a great relationship with my ex, as far as I remember. We dated for 5 years before I became pregnant unexpectedly. But my ex knew what he was doing! Finally he told me that he wanted me to be the mother of his children. Little did I know, I was already expecting my son and I thought we would be living a good life. But I was really wrong! He received the news and straight up told me he wanted his life back and for me to have an abortion. To this day, he has only seen his son twice. He has never looked for him, and now my son is two years old and I don't receive child support from him. it's good to know there are caring fathers out there!
—Guest never again

Unjust Mother

I'm the father of a boy and a girl , who are now 18 and 15. After I separated from my wife, she told me that I would spend the rest of my life in prison! I was always a good father. I raised my kids in church and have no felonies. My ex was just nothing but a control freak and always jealous. I have always done my best to do the right things in life , I've always devoted after work time to my kids. I had no friends outside of church. Even though I fell out of love with her, I have always loved the kids. I left North Carolina in 2005 and haven't seen either of my children since. "How can this happen?" you might say. First, let me tell you that I have remained in the phone book listed in Florida all this time . Over the years I have made many attempts to find my ex and my children, on the internet and through unlisted phone searches. I have had church people in two states try and find my children, but they cannot find them. I haven't had the money for a lawyer, and my family won't help. It's always hard to swallow this injustice. People and family thins they're not getting the whole story. It's sad when I was the dad that loved my children so very dearly! I hide the pain because I start getting crazy with anguish and go into a deep depression. The modifications to reduce failed twice. They kept sending them back saying they had errors on them. I had a good job in North Carolina, so when I moved here in Florida, the high payments of $595.00 a month kept coming. I couldn't stop it, and I made $8.00 an hour! Up until two years ago, I always paid, but I have been unemployed. I am three classes away from graduating with an associate's degree, but I haven't seen my kid for eight years. The system took my student loan money on the 16th--$3,800--and for the eighth time suspended my driver's license. I don't try to find reasoning. It's just pure evil. It's an evil system against men. I'm not able to fight, with no money, and no-one will get that lawyer for me. Oh, yeah, good luck with that pro bono crap! Don't wast your time; they don't do anything. What a perfect plan to destroy someone! Next comes all the jail time, and yes they can keep you behind bars until you die. If no one gets that very high bail, the judge will have no problem keeping you there until you die. Where do you think judges get those high bonuses? (Left over cash the feds pay to the state for your body in that jail!) They make money on your body! They're not interested in helping, even if you have done nothing wrong. Now I'm stranded again, having to soak up the defeat of almost getting my degree. And I am 50 years old!
—Guest rodger heagy

Victim of the system

Missouri must be stuck in the fifty's when mothers raised children and dads just paid money. I consider my self a rare dad my son will be 10 this year and I've had my son a majority of his life . To put it in state terms I've had him 70% of the time. This has been since he was 18 months old. His mother is an alcoholic and drug abuser. My son attends school from my house yet i am still forced to pay her the child support. Things need to change i don't have money for a lawyer but i shouldn't need one. Whats right is right. Didn't women fight for equality? Well it works both ways...
—Guest Help

County Barier

I've been divorced since 2003...At that point, I received a court order for child support. Well, it's now 2012, and I get exactly $0.00 a month! I get a statement, too! I live in Yavapai, and she lives in Maricopa - but a deadbeat mom may as well live on the moon!
—Guest Arizona dad

I Still Get to Pay

When I was first separated, I lost my job. Then my less-than-sympathetic hearing officer figured child support based on my "earning potential," and not my unemployment of $1,600 a month. I was ordered to pay $1,200 each month. I lost everything, and no one cared. A year later CPS investigates my ex for child abuse and I am given sole custody. The best part is someone decided that the money I gave directly to her when we first separated didn't count. I now have complete custody - for this I couldn't be happier - but I still have to pay her. I will make sure my children never want for anything and have all the love in the world, but I don't see how it's fair that she hurts them and gets to benefit financially.
—Guest Scott

I Had a Baby With a Stranger

Well, I have been on and off with my ex for almost seven years. So when I had my son, I thought it would be a great addition. Boy, was I wrong! My ex began denying my son before he was even born. When my son came out looking like his twin, he somewhat stepped up, but he still managed to miss his first Christmas, first birthday party, and Christening - all the while blaming me! I've never wanted to take him to court, but for all of my son's short life I've done everything, receiving maybe $150 and a few presents from him. I'm emotionally, physically, and financially tired. But I don't have his new address and don't have his cell phone number. His family also has never seen my son or acted like they wanted to. So for those GREAT dads on here who actually take care of their kids, thanks for letting me know there are better ones out there!
—Guest we used to be in love

Pregnant and Fighting Cancer

And I still have to force the father to step up, take responsibility, and help support the life and baby he helped create. I am now going through a subpoena. The court ordered him to do a DNA test, and then they're going for child support. The sad thing is he claims that I'm trying to blackmail him and extort money from him by doing this. And he has left numerous threatening messages detailing what he is going to do to stop me from doing this. The funny thing is he was willing to help if I continued to have sex with him! But the offer to help - and his mind - changed when I told him that due to being pregnant and with being sick with the cancer/a tumor, sex with him was off.
—Guest Robin gist

Back Child Support

I was married to a woman for seven years, and we had two children. When we got divorced, I was paying her child support. But the time came when she couldn't handle our son, so she asked me to pick him up and raise him. Since my son was in the sixth grade, I've raised him. And my ex-wife and I agreed that no child support needed to be paid, since I was going to raise my son, and she would raise our daughter. I know - dumb me! But I didn't have the money to hire a lawyer to change the documents or legally change custody. Anyway, after my son graduated, my ex-wife filed for back child support. I hired a Legal Aid Attorney, because that was all I could do, but the judge didn't care that I had school records for my son, etc. He made me pay back child support since the time my son lived with me, which totaled $25k. How fair is that? I'm remarried and have two more children now, and we lose our tax refund each year to pay this back child support back. How is this right? I raised my oldest son, and yet I'm paying for it - even after I proved it. It's not fair!
—Guest E.Martinez

Mothers Are Deadbeats Also!

The mother of my children and I were never married, but we lived together for 10 years. Throughout all this time, I took care of her two daughters from her first marriage and raised them like my own. We also had two boys, who are now 8 and 13. Almost seven years ago, my ex decided to have an affair with my next door neighbor, and ultimately we split. She was so much in love that soon after she moved out - leaving me and the boys, shipping the girls to their father, and moving in with her new found love. At that time my youngest son was a little over 10 months old! It's been almost seven years now, and all she's paid is about $1,000. Finally I have a case against her, since I lost my job and had to beg the state for help. I don't want to sound bad here, but I am determined to get every penny she owes to my sons, including what she hasn't paid for all this time. Needless to say, she hasn't sent even one (!) birthday or Christmas card to the boys for all this time.
—vgrigorov

$520,000 in Back Child Support

My ex is a doctor in CA. He left us to, among other things, pursue a sub-specialty in Neurology to add to his two other medical specialties. At the time, my kids were 18 months old. I lost everything during the process of our divorce, including a home to foreclosure, while he got further education! He is now out of residency and pays dinky, inconsistent amounts - despite court orders to pay $5,500 a month in back and current child support. Because he pays "something" every month, Child Support Services won't garnish, levy, lien, suspend or arrest him! It's a ridiculous amount of money that he owes. Now I am in and out of court with his requests to eliminate spousal support, reduce child support, seek more custody, you name it. This results in expensive attorney's fees while he is never held accountable for his delinquent child support! Someone please help.
—Guest TK

Biased System for Women

The mother is financially able. Her family's trust was providing her in excess of $100,000 in annual endowments until she filed for divorce and was disavowed from the trust (for obvious reasons). And she now tries to bleed the father (me) until the children are 18. Also, the oldest child quit school and was working - until he was fired - yet the Child Support Authority continues to make me pay child support.
—Guest rovbob

Deadbeat Dads and Step-moms

Ever had an evil step-mom or step-sister? Well I had both. A step-mom, two step-sisters, and a step-brother. My step-brother was the best out of them all except he was or is an alcoholic. (My step-mom and step-sisters not so much.) I have a 5-month-old who was born in September, 2011, and he has seen my father maybe three times, and two of them were because I took my son to see him (and if you have never driven a total of two hours - there and back - with a newborn and no AC, trust me - it's not a pleasant ride!). The other time was the day I gave birth to him. He says he can't come because of the gas prices, but yet he can go out to bars with my step-sisters and my step-mom (and we all know drinks ain't cheap at bars). But he can't come see his grandson! And, yeah, he has eight grandkids, but only one is his blood. And even when I wasted my gas to see him he would leave his house to go work (under the table). Now, don't get me wrong. To me, there are no steps; but in this situation there is because I don't want any of them to be considered my family. My brother turned 19 this year, and my father has not talked to him since he was 16 (other then when I was pregnant, but that's because he had to). And when I was pregnant, they were at my house almost every weekend, which drove us all nuts. On his Facebook page, he has maybe 200 photos, and about five of them are of my son (most of which got put up a day or two ago, thanks to me). The rest are of all the other babies. He didn't pay child support for me or my brother until the courts started taking it out of his paycheck, and the only reason they did that is because he was stupid enough to take my mom back to court to lower the payments. LOL! He lost, by the way. In the next few weeks, I will be going to get my stuff from his house, which is in the oldest shed they have (and they have four of them, so they have plenty of room to keep it from getting messed up by the weather, but no it goes in the shed that has holes in the floor the walls and the roof) and he will be out of mine my brother's and my son's life forever because the drama and lies are not good for babies to be around.
—Guest FloridaMommy

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