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2 Bumps

Need some advice regarding child support

My ex is ordered to pay child support, but doesn't pay. He owes roughly $25K, and I just got notice for a court date next month for him to be held in contempt (my kids get medicaid right now, so the state files).

The problem I have right now is that the date and time of the hearing, I may not have anyone who can watch my kids - which means they'll have to go with me. I'm hoping to find someone, but if not, I don't have a choice. Which brings me to my question.

There's no way to avoid telling them why we're there. Even if I don't say it, the judge and the lawyers will. So I feel I need to explain it to them (only if I have to take them), but at what point do I cross the line from explaining facts to trashing him? I would limit it to explaining that he's ordered to pay and doesn't, and that the judge has to decide to punish him or not (which always results in jail for him, mainly because he doesn't show), and how much he owes (only if they ask for that). I won't be telling them my own opinions about how he's an asshole, and he doesn't care about anyone but himself and all that.

Am I just explaining facts by explaining what I described, or is it bordering on trashing him - and if it is bordering on trashing him, then how do I explain the situation without trashing him, and without lying to them?

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Asked by wendythewriter at 11:00 AM on Aug. 5, 2013 in General Parenting

Level 33 (61,976 Credits)
Answers (28)
  • Just say you have to go to court because Daddy didn't make his payments. Let them ask. And state merely the facts. Facts are never trashing.

    Give NO opinions. Let them form their own opinions. If they're smart kids (and I suspect they are, knowing you), they will trash him all on their own. And ya know what? I wouldn't feel badly about that at all.

    He ceased being a father a long time ago. His donating sperm DOES NOT give him a special place in their lives.

    Answer by gdiamante at 11:09 AM on Aug. 5, 2013

  • they will trash him all on their own.

    My oldest has already made it clear to me that he has no interest in getting to know his father (he hasn't seen him since he was about 3). Which is why I'm worried about making sure I don't trash him, because I don't ever want anyone to think that my son feels the way he feels because of me - I want it to be clear that he formed his own opinion based on his experience, not mine.

    And trust me, I don't feel bad. He made his choices, and now he has to deal with the consequences. I just always try to keep those consequences from affecting my kids. And he's gone to jail about 7-8 times for this now, and I've never told them anything about it, so all of this will be coming out of the blue for them. Quite frankly, I'm not even sure they know what child support IS yet. lol

    Comment by wendythewriter (original poster) at 11:13 AM on Aug. 5, 2013

  • Tell them the truth, the truth isn't bashing. Trust me they will figure out what a d-bag he is on their own.

    Answer by funlovinlady at 11:14 AM on Aug. 5, 2013

  • are you sure your attendance is required? i ask because we live in the same state and, ive had numerous letters from the court in the past with court dates regarding my ex being held in contempt, having his license suspended, stuff like that and i never had to go. it was just a notification and i could go if i wanted to but i didnt have to (and never did because he didn't show up to any of them either)


    Answer by tnm786 at 11:17 AM on Aug. 5, 2013

  • are you sure your attendance is required?

    As far as I can tell, it is. I ran into this once before when my kids were younger and my babysitter flaked at the last minute (though I found someone else), and when I called the Clerk of the Court, they said that I had to be there. :( He never shows, so I wish I could just skip it, but there's mention in the notice of having a warrant issued if you don't show - and I'm not sure if that applies to just him, or to both of us, but since the only jail I've ever seen is on TV, I kinda don't want to find out. lol

    Comment by wendythewriter (original poster) at 11:24 AM on Aug. 5, 2013

  • You don't have to trash the EX. Just saying you had not one or no money for a baby sitter is enough.

    Answer by louise2 at 11:31 AM on Aug. 5, 2013

  • call and double check if you have to be there.
    and like the others said, if you do have to be there, then just state facts

    Answer by feralxat at 11:36 AM on Aug. 5, 2013

  • I'm pretty sure you don't have to be there, but I always went/go because I want to know exactly what's going down. I would do everything within my power to find childcare for my kids, and then I'd look some more. Regardless of the kids feelings about their dad, they don't need to be subjected to having to sit in the courtroom and deal with all that. I would call my case manager for child support enforcement and let her know the situation, but I would not take my kids to court.

    Answer by missanc at 11:39 AM on Aug. 5, 2013

  • While you're checking, make sure the kids can go. The courts here will not allow children in the hearing for the reasons you're worried about. They don't want the kids hearing bad things said about one of their parents.

    The warrant would be just for him. Failure to pay support is a criminal offense, and just like any criminal case they issue a warrant if you don't appear to face the charges.

    Answer by desert_diva at 12:06 PM on Aug. 5, 2013

  • While you're checking, make sure the kids can go.

    They can. I've seen plenty of people bring them, and the only thing ever said is a general statement at the beginning that children need to be quiet or you'll be asked to leave.

    The warrant would be just for him.

    Okay, that's what I wasn't sure about. The wording of it is something like "Failure to appear will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest." or something like that, and since it has my name on it, too, I could never quite tell.

    Comment by wendythewriter (original poster) at 12:09 PM on Aug. 5, 2013

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