If a court has ordered you to pay child support and you don’t, shame on you.
Talk is cheap. You can say you want to be a great dad post-divorce. But your words are hollow if you don’t do the bare minimum as a divorced dad: pay child support.
I’m a little agitated because I just read a story in GQ magazine about former pro football star Terrell Owens. It says he’s supposed to pay a total of almost $45,000 a month in child support – to four women.
Despite earning about $80 million during a 16-year NFL career, Owens is somehow behind on child support, some of the women claim.
It’s bad enough for an 8-to-5 guy to ignore his obligation to pay child support. But for a wealthy celebrity to stiff his ex-wife (or ex-wives) and kids – that’s unconscionable.
Child support is not optional, although some guys seem to think it is. You don’t get back at your ex by refusing to pay; that’s depriving your kids of a better life.
Don’t let down your kids
You may think your child support payments are too high. OK, contact your lawyer, go to court, and try to get them lowered. Fair enough.
But once the court has spoken, stop whining and start writing checks.
Your kids will eventually find out if you’re a deadbeat dad. Do you want to disappoint them? I hope not.
You’ve already put them through enough with the breakup of their family. Don’t make things worse by cheating them and their mom financially.
No one said paying child support was easy. You may have to work longer hours to make enough to meet your obligation. Sorry. You got divorced; you’ve got to face the consequences.
Obviously, not all dads drop the ball when it comes to child support. Many pay on time every month. Good for them.
Not a gender issue
Some dads don’t pay child support – they receive it. At least they’re supposed to. Women who don’t pay court-ordered child support are just as sorry as men who don’t.
This isn’t a gender issue. It’s a responsibility issue.
If you’re like me and have primary custody of your child, I hope you’re receiving child support from your ex. You’re entitled to exhaust every legal avenue to get it. But if your ex won’t pay, you’ve got to move on at some point.
That’s what I’ve had to do. Does my first ex-wife (the mother of my 11-year-old son) owe me tons of child support? Damn right. Do I wish I had the money? Absolutely.
But gaining primary custody of Connor and being a good dad has always been more important to me than making sure his mom paid up. I feel fortunate that he’s with me most of the time.
Paying child support alone doesn’t make you a good parent. You need to spend quality time with your children. Teach them proper values. Make them feel special.
Supplement your financial support with an investment of time and attention. Then, you will have fulfilled your responsibility as a parent.
Re-think child support. Don’t see it as an unfair burden. See it as an opportunity to be good to your kids. You owe them that.