Family Law (Divorce, Family Relations)/Child support


QUESTION: My friend has a minor child that she is not getting child support for, and she has been supporting her on minimum wage.  Unfortunately, her income does not allow for a babysitter.
  She was never married to the father, but was with him for almost ten years while he was ordered to pay support for his children.  She separated about four years ago, but never filed for child support because he said he would take custody if she did.  
  My friend is struggling to make ends meets while he has remarried, has a nice job, and lives in a nice house.  He does take the child on weekends IF it is convenient, meaning he will pick the child up after work on Friday, but will not make a trip on Saturday.
  Also, she is afraid to file now because he has a temper and he is always yelling at her (I have heard some of his tirades), telling her she is not a good mother, and degrading her in front of the child.  According to him, everything is her fault, and although the children from both families has turned out all right, this child will not.  
  What would you suggest for her, what are her options, and what are the chance that he could get custody of the child after a four year separation?  Your assistance and advice will be greatly appreciate.

ANSWER: Catherine,
DISCLAIMER:  I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY: I am someone with experience with Family law matters, and can give some directions of what I would do but these are my opinions: I strongly recommend that you get an ATTORNEY who specializes in family law in your immediate county/country.

If father has had no contact with Mom or child for over 4 years then have friend work with attorney to have fathers rights terminated: Good chance they would be giving Mom sole custody of said child.

Now in reference to child support, can be a been tricky, but turn the case over to Child Support enforcement department with Social Services for your state: They will go after father for back child support, and Mom doesn't have to do anything.

Sorry for delay..its summer was on short vacation.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The father DOES see the child on weekends IF it is convenient for him - meaning he will stop after work to get her, but WILL not make a special trip on the weekend if by chance he missed getting her after work on Fridays.  He has NEVER paid any child support, and continually tells the mother what she should & should not do.  He threatens to take custody away IF the mother tries to get child support, and he criticizes the mother for where she lives, how bad of a parent she is, etc; and tells the child how bad her mother is.
 The mother cannot afford a babysitter, and has to leave the the child alone behind a locked door while she works second shift?  The child is 12 and does not want to go with him.  I have already told her what I know about the process and informed her she could avoid the badgering by filing a restraining order & having a neutral place for him to pick up the child at. I have encouraged her to talk to Legal Services of Iowa, but she does not want to make the situation worse by filing for child support, etc.  I was hoping for possible things she could or should do from someone with actual experience in the field, and what has actually happened in the past in similar situations.    
  I believe it would be beneficial for her to know what the possibilities are; what has happened during similar cases, and what you have seen during the court cases that you have experienced.
What are the responsibilities of a father?
What responsibilities should a father have?
what are the possible actions she could take?  
What are the probable outcomes?
What facts do judges consider more relevant?
What qualities of the mother & father does the judge look for on the good side & the bad side?
What are the chances that the father could actually get custody after 4 years of not seeking it, but threatening the mother about it IF she files for child support?  
How much child support could she expect if he were grossing $400 per week?
Could she get any support for the 4 years that have already passed?  
How could she control his demeaning character - bashing her personally & in front of the child?
What other facts should a mother facing this kind of a situation know in order to make a good decision?
What if ...?
What ...?   
What ...?
  Thank you for your experience, insights and recommendations that an uncertain mother really needs to hear & to know.  What would you recommend the mother to do?  Hopefully, with enough facts, she can make the right decision about the future and see an attorney.


In reference to your follow up, "He threatens to take custody away IF the mother tries to get child support"  this occurs quite often in most cases where Mom and Dad do not get along hence why I recommended using Child Support services: For IOWA I think it would be:

The amount of child support would be determined in most states based on BOTH Mom and Dad income and usually there is a worksheet to fill out: I believe on the site above there is an actual calculator to help.  The difficult part comes when DAD doesn't have a steady job and gets paid under the table.

I strongly recommend hiring an Attorney to help in this case: Most Attorneys offer 1/2 free time to consult and provide payment options.

In reference to Dads demeanor, IF at all possible Coach DAD to become a better Dad: It all depends on the relationship, hopefully friendly and business like, between Mom and Dad: Otherwise simple stay away from situations like that.

Hope this helps,

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Jeff Laatsch


WA Law with respect to family court issues: order to show cause/notice of motions, establishing or modification of an order, custody, visitation, child support, parenting schedules, mediation, preparations and filings of all documents: International relocation experience: Create a win/win/win situation between Mom-Children-Dad...


Self taught and experience with working with various Court Clerks.

Masters Degree

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