The Deadbeat Dad: Should He Pay or Should He Go?

In my book, “The Business of Co-Parenting-for single moms,” there’s a segment called “Should he pay or should he go?”  In this part of the book, I discuss how for some people, the pursuit of child support could make their lives worse rather than better.

When dealing with the deadbeat who refuses to financially support your child, the most obvious remedy is to seek a court order for child support. But before you do this, you must consider the possible effects a child support order could have on your family. On one hand, a court order may be beneficial because if he is ordered to pay support and complies with the order, it will lessen your financial burden by whatever amount he contributes. On the other hand, for various reasons, it can be bad in the sense that pursuing this order can open up many doors of complication that you may not be prepared to deal with.
Specifically, because the amount of time a deadbeat spends with his child is minimal, his child support amount is often higher than it would be if he was more involved in his child’s life. So, when you persistently pursue child support, often the child becomes the victim of this deadbeat’s plan to have his child support reduced; he begins to insist on being involved in your child’s life more, so that as a result his child support amount may be reduced. In cases like these, his increased time would be a good thing if his intentions were genuine. However, because he still has the mentality of a deadbeat, this situation could become problematic for you and your family.
That was exactly the case for the mother of Lauren Sarene Key. Lauren’s father, Cameron Brown, was reportedly never interested in being a father, and made no effort to see his daughter until after he was forced to pay child support — about three years after she was born. At that point he suddenly began visiting with Lauren. In 2009, during his visit with Lauren, he allegedly threw her off of a cliff and sadly, she died. Cameron has had more than one trial that has resulted in a “mistrial” and will go on trial for the third time soon.

Although this is an extreme case, the take-away is the same: Unfortunately, a true deadbeat who refuses to be a parent to his child has issues with himself that neither you nor your child have the capability to reach. And while the average situation doesn’t end fatally, oftentimes, he will not pay the child support anyway, will begin a war of “getting back” at you and try to do everything he can to make your life miserable.

You have to decide if it’s worth it to take a risk and begin and continue an ongoing battle with someone who will likely bring unnecessary stress into you and your child’s lives.

For more on Lauren’s story, click here.

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