After I received the following letter, I reached out to prolific commenter, “Addie Pray,” our resident legal expert who, you may have heard, recently helped her client win a $1.5 million settlement. She was nice enough to extend some of that superstar legal expertise to answer the following letter:
First off, let me say congratulations on your new daughter, and a big kudos to you for refusing to put your child in their house with all the drinking and fighting. I hope you always trust your maternal instincts and consider what’s in your daughter’s best interest.
So, what is in your daughter’s best interest? For starters, child support, as you already know. I find it odd that your boyfriend’s mother “takes” his whole paycheck each pay period. How does
that happen? Paychecks, even to minors, are in the employee’s name, not the employee’s parent’s name. Is she swiping them at the mailbox and forcing him to sign the checks over to her? If I had to venture a guess, I would say he is blaming his mother to avoid paying you more. … At best, your boyfriend wants to pay you but blindly obeys his mother – she says, “Give me your paycheck,” and he replies, “Here you go.”
If you want to test that theory, tell your boyfriend to pick up his paychecks directly from his employer and sign them over to you. You can then deposit the checks in your own bank account (by the way, you need your own bank account; I hope you have one), leave 30% of his paychecks (or whatever portion you two agree on) in your account, and give the rest back to your boyfriend in cash. It’s as easy as that. Will his mother be angry? Probably. But that may be the
first step in getting his parents to treat you two like adults.
If talking to your boyfriend doesn’t work, there are still things you can do. In fact, there are two things I want you to do regardless. First, contact your state’s child support enforcement agency. Most, if not all, states have agencies to assist parents in obtaining child support. Google “Child Support Enforcement Agency [YOUR STATE],” find the agency in your city or county, and set up an appointment. Ask what information they will need from you (i.e., a copy of your daughter’s birth certificate, your financial information, your boyfriend’s financial information if known, your boyfriend’s home address and place of employment, etc.) so you can be prepared when you meet. They will walk you through all the necessary steps to get the
Second, call a family law attorney. Many offer free consultations. Call one and set up an appointment. One side issue you may be concerned about is statutory rape. Depending on the state you live in, you may have statutorily raped your boyfriend. I know, those words are harsh, but your boyfriend is a minor in the eyes of the law, maybe. In many states, for example, the victim must be under 16 or the age gap must be more than 2 years; you may have nothing to worry about. Why does this matter? Well, a vindictive mother of a minor, for example, could just try to make your life hell by going to the police. Is this something she would do, and, even if she did, is this something the police would actually pursue? I have no idea. But please raise the issue with your attorney. He or she can advise you about your risks, if any.
The ultimate goal? To obtain an order of child support against your boyfriend (or his parents) and garnish his (or their) wages. If you’re worried that taking legal action will put a strain on your relationship with your boyfriend, remind him that the garnishment would not be necessary if his mother he would pay the child support you are entitled to.
[Disclaimer: The information contained in this Website does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to your particular issues.]