Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My BabyDaddy isn’t Supporting our Child”

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:

I am 19 years old and my boyfriend is 17. We just recently had a daughter. His mother won’t let him support his own child. She takes his whole paycheck to pay for rent and she doesn’t even allow him to have his own bank card. He tried talking to them about it, but they won’t listen and won’t let him live at my house with parents to help me out. We have a secret account, but in order to get money and not have it be noticed by his mom, we can only take $30 out every two weeks and that is definitely not enough for a newborn. They have offered for me to live there, but they already don’t have enough room for the people living there. They have a three bedroom house, and they currently have twins who aren’t a year old yet and they had to put them in his mom’s room. I also won’t put my daughter in their house with all their drinking and fighting. How can we get the money we need from his paychecks and have his parents listen to us and treat us like adults for once? — New Mom Needs Money

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
ball rolling.

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.]

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

97 comments… add one
  • Carolynasaurus December 19, 2011, 3:10 pm

    I think Addie’s advice is awesome, you must put your daughter’s future ahead of your boyfriend’s childish decisions. However, I would consider proceeding in a very specific order. Talk to the family law attorney first. Make sure you know the laws of the state and how his mother could potentially come at you. Then, I would sit down and talk to both the boyfriend and his mom before you get the child support ball rolling. He may be telling you one thing while the mom is doing something else entirely so get your facts straight first.

    Lastly, no matter how you proceed, this will affect your relationship with your baby’s father. Hopefully, it will force him to man up and support you, but you need to come to terms that he may not and you will have to put your daughter ahead of your relationship.

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  • MissDre December 19, 2011, 3:16 pm

    How the hell does a 17 year old NOT have his own bank card? Seriously? If you can leave the house to go to school and to work, you can go to the bank and get your own account and card. If this guy can’t even stand up to his mother enough to keep his own money, there’s seriously something wrong with him.

    Maybe he feels guilted into supporting his mom because they are hard-up. But he’s a parent now, his priority needs to be his own child and he needs to tell his mom, here’s $100 towards groceries, the rest is mine to split between myself and my daughter.

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    • Addie Pray December 19, 2011, 4:27 pm

      Most banks – if not all – would require a parent (or someone of age) to co-sign on the account because the minor’s age prevents the bank from being able to enforce a contract with him. In the case of an overdraft on the acct, for example, the bank couldn’t ding the 17 year old with an overdraft fee. But the bank could charge the parent who co-signed. That’s one reason I really hope this LW has her OWN bank account. I’m worried that LW’s comment “we have a secrect account” means she is sharing an account with the boyfriend, which would make her fully liable for any problems associated with the account, even if it’s all the boyfriend’s fault.

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    • Temperance December 19, 2011, 7:03 pm

      My mother used to take money out of my account when I was under 18. She was my cosigner.

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  • silver_dragon_girl December 19, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Sounds like bf is whipped by his mom. Seriously, she can’t not “allow” him to have a bank card. If he can get his own bank account he can get an ATM card at least, or a debit card and checking account. Sounds like his mom is controlling and she’s trying to force you to move in with them so she can control you, too.

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    • Addie Pray December 19, 2011, 4:34 pm

      I think the bf is whipped too – or flat out lying to the LW. One of the reasons why I believe this is LW’s comment that they have to “sneak” $30. I didn’t address this because my response was already long – and it didn’t really change my advice to the LW. But I for one check my bank/credit card statements online every day (or every other day) to make sure all my purchases/withdrawals are MY purchases/withdrawals. (The online statement usualyl reads: Starbucks, Chipolte, Some Bar, Some Bar, Starbucks, Chik-fil-A, Some Bar, Some Bar, etc.) I would certainly notice a $30 withdrawal – or even a $1 withdrawal – that was not mine. My guess is the mom doesn’t care at all. The boyfriend is the one who has decided to limit his payment to $30 and is blaming it on his mother. Otherwise, how could she not notice $30?

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      • silver_dragon_girl December 19, 2011, 4:44 pm

        I’d bet my last $100 (Christmas shopping got out of hand) that the mom just has a general idea of what the boyfriend makes, and that’s what she expects him to hand over every two weeks. IF she’s really doing that and the boyfriend isn’t just spinning a line to the girlfriend.

      • KL December 19, 2011, 6:52 pm

        Just had to threadjack to say “Hey, that’s what my bank statement looks like too!” 😀

      • Something More December 20, 2011, 9:28 am

        She would probably notice the $30 coming out, but he could say he needed it for gas… or lunch money and then give it to his girlfriend, but any more than that would be too suspicious.

      • Kafer December 20, 2011, 7:17 pm

        Or here is a common scenario: the boyfriend’s income is needed at home to keep a roof over everyone’s head and the lights/heat on. I’ve seen that a often. Where fightin’ drinkin’ people live together sometimes the income is low and unreliable (low job and personal skills and addictions make it hard to get and keep jobs). Freeloading relatives may live there at “grandma’s” house too. Money management skills aren’t great, and maybe no one uses a bank, just cash – which disappears fast. Boyfriend himself may have done some foolish and costly things that his mom paid for, for all we know. I agree the best solution is let the attorney general sort it out so boyfriend HAS to pay child support. That’s a priority. Then he can pay rent to his mom and try to save what little may be left. Might motivate him to work hard and pursue his education – but it’s a tough road.

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    Bagge72 December 19, 2011, 3:46 pm

    Well you certainly are in a tough spot, and I think the first thing you need to do is find out if his mother can charge you with anything. I’m guessing since you BF is only 17 that he is in Highschool, and really not making that much money right now. I think you need to tell your BF that he either needs to go to the bank, and open a new account that his mother doesn’t know about, or you will be forced to get child support to get the money you need to support your child. Also once you do get any money put it in an account under your name only!

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  • bethany December 19, 2011, 3:46 pm

    I agree that a lot of this sounds like the bf is being controlled by his mother.

    He needs to check with him employer to see if they can do a direct deposit with his checks. If they can, he needs to set up a bank account that his mother knows nothing about, and have the checks deposited there. His employer can also probably split his check to have a certain amount deposited into 1 account, and the rest put into another (Mine can do this at least). That way his mom would have ZERO say in his finances, he can have some of his own money and some can go right to the LW.

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    Budj December 19, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I’m confused how a minor can conceive a child with a non-minor and then be forced to pay child support…. I am not discussing morality at all…legally…how does this make sense? How can the state force his parents to pay her child support if he was statutorily raped for the conception of the baby?

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    • Guy Friday December 19, 2011, 4:08 pm

      Well, as Addie pointed out, in many states there are “Romeo & Juliet” clauses that exclude consensual (in a “forced vs. unforced” sense) sexual encounters between an adult and a minor if the age difference was under a certain number of years; most states with these statutes make it between 2 and 4 years. So, in that case, it’s the same as two minors having sex, and generally the courts set some nominal amount ($25-50 a month) that the minor has to contribute. It’s not forcing the parents to pay; the child support order is in the minor’s name, and the legal repercussions are against the minor if there’s a failure to pay.

      I would note, for the record, that we’re all assuming that the act of conception must have been when the LW was an adult, but that depends greatly on the LW’s meaning of “just recently.” Even if this guy is 2 years younger than the LW, it’s not a stretch to imagine a scenario where “just recently” means “less than 4 months ago” and the LW just turned 19, meaning that, say, she had the baby at 18 years 8 months old and was 17 years and 11 months old when the baby was conceived, making it not a statutory rape situation at all. This is why I recommended she talk to a criminal attorney about this.

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      • amber December 19, 2011, 4:13 pm

        i was actually curious what the actual timeline was on this as well. like you said, if they were both minors at the time there would be no statutory rape issue.

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        Budj December 19, 2011, 4:20 pm

        Thanks – that makes sense to me now. I was confused why the parents would have had to pay.

      • Addie Pray December 19, 2011, 4:43 pm

        That’s right, even a minor may be legally obligated to pay child support. As for how the minor boyfriend’s parents could find themselves liable, well, in some situations a parent can be responsible for his or her minor child’s responsibilities. I think it depends on what the issue is and the laws of the particular state. … I don’t know. The LW should ask a lawyer though. 😉

      • Guy Friday December 19, 2011, 4:50 pm

        And THAT could be a family lawyer 😉

        (For the record, I wasn’t trying to imply your advice wasn’t solid, and I apologize if it came across that way. I hope I didn’t sound like too much of an ass in my reply!)

      • Addie Pray December 19, 2011, 4:55 pm

        Oh god not at all! I think that’s solid advise; a criminal lawyer would definitely know more about the statutory rape law in LW’s state. But truth be told, I’d bet money it’s not going to be an issue. I only raised the issue in case it DOES become an issue, but what I really wanted to say was “eh, don’t worry about it.” As an attorney, that is not good legal advice because I clearly don’t know all the facts or the law in LW’s state. I guess what I’m hoping happens is the family lawyer will at least know in their state that the victim must be under 16 – or something like that where the issue is wiped out right away because clearly there is no risk. If there is a risk… yes, you’re absolutely right; a criminal lawyer would be better prepapred to answer questions about that risk.

    • GatorGirl December 19, 2011, 4:10 pm

      Admittedly I don’t know much about this stuff- but I do know the age of consent varies per state so this could have been legal. I think the LW is wanting to have the baby’s father pay the child support, which if he is on the birth certificate they can force him to regardless of his age.

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    • savannah December 19, 2011, 4:14 pm

      This varies state by state but the legal age of consent in many states is 16 while the age of majority is 18 across the country. In these cases teenagers whose ages are 16-18 who engage in consensual sex are not considered to be statutory rape cases since the 16 year old has the ability to consent and it is thought that the power differential of 18 to 16 year olds is much less than say a 16 and 21 or 25 year old. Likewise someone who is 18 having sex with a 15 year old is considered a statutory rape case because of the inability of the 15 year old to legally give consent.

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      • SpyGlassez December 20, 2011, 4:06 pm

        FWIW, Age of consent in my state is 14 as long as the other partner is within 4 years (so 14 and 18 hooking up is ok here).

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        JK December 20, 2011, 4:19 pm

        14??? Wow.

  • Guy Friday December 19, 2011, 4:01 pm

    Speaking as someone who practices both criminal defense and family law, I wanted to clarify Addie’s advice about consulting a family lawyer, because it appears (though I doubt it was intended that way) to advocate discussing the statutory rape issue with a family lawyer. I’m sure there are some family lawyers out there who might handle that — and, of course, lawyers need to be generally proficient in a broad variety of legal fields anyway — but as a general rule you probably shouldn’t rely on a practitioner of one subfield of law to ask questions about another. For example, I draft wills and powers of attorney for my clients, but I’d NEVER be the one you want to go to for a complex question about the tax implications about setting up a trust. But when it comes to, say, drug possession, I’m definitely someone who could quote you state statutes and case law on the matter with relative certainty. Luckily, many criminal defense attorneys partner with their respective State Bars to bring business in the door via referrals, which has the benefit for you, LW, of their having to commit to very low-cost consultations in return for being referred (in the state I practice in, it’s $20 for a half hour consultation). So I’d call your local county or State Bar Association — you can probably find their numbers quickly by Googling it — and get a referral to someone there.

    Otherwise, I’d agree with Addie’s advice on the matter. One other thing to consider — and this may also tell you whether the father is full of crap or genuine about this issue — is that for most of my clients who have to pay child support I get them to fill out the forms to get their employer to take it out of their paycheck as a deduction along with taxes and whatnot. Child Support Enforcement loves it because they can guarantee they get their money to give to you; the father loves it because he doesn’t have to take any extra steps to get you the money; and you’ll love it because you won’t have to deal with the crazy mom in your letter 🙂

    Now, could this mother order her son not to do withholding? Sure. But at that point, sad as it may be, you may have to let the wheels of justice take their course. Another issue you may want to bring up to a criminal defense attorney you meet with is whether there are crimes on the books for Failure to Pay Child Support; around where I am, it’s a felony to fail to pay the full amount for 4 consecutive months, and it’s punishable by a maximum term of 6 years in the state prison system. So if there is that, you may want to pass that information along to the father, since he may develop more of a back bone if he knows he could have a felony on his record, you know?

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  • AKchic December 19, 2011, 4:20 pm

    There are other issues here that haven’t even been discussed. Custody. If there is an issue of statutory rape and the paternal grandmother insists on pressing charges after the fact because of the lost wages she can milk from her working son (the father of your child), then the grandmother has a case to get custody from you, and get child support (read: money) from you, and from the state if she can make the child a foster child for any set period of time, or from food stamps, medicaid, etc as the impovershed grandparent caring for a grandchild.

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    • Jessica B December 19, 2011, 7:07 pm

      What credible source are you getting your information from? This comment reeks of scaremongering.

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      • AKchic December 19, 2011, 7:39 pm

        It’s happened a few times here in Anchorage. Which is why the LW needs to establish custody.

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        katie December 19, 2011, 7:44 pm

        you obviously have never dealt with really terrible “baby daddy” issues…

        this really can happen.

      • Laura December 20, 2011, 5:09 pm

        If the paternal grandmother is taking the 17 y.o. boy’s entire paycheck away from him, or at least attempting to do so, she may make a LOT of trouble when the boy or his girlfriend and baby leave her house. Assuming that the girlfriend is receiving food stamps, WIC, welfare, etc., the paternal grandmother may see these as “family resources” for her family living under her roof.

        It is not scaremongering to point out that many situations like this go straight downhill. I would also point out that MANY of the younger children in the foster care system were born into situations very similar to this one: “mom” and “dad” do NOT have a home of their own when the baby comes “home” from the hospital, and there are immediate disagreements over who should be providing what. Since government benefits flow to “poor” people with custody of minor children, if the paternal grandmother has no job of her own, she may be highly motivated to seek custody of her grandchild.

      • AKchic December 20, 2011, 7:54 pm

        Exactly. It happens too many times to even contemplate counting. Both from paternal and maternal grandparents. Sometimes even other family members who are “willing and able” to care for the child without the child needing to go outside the family for fostering. Most state fostering systems prefer to keep a child within the family for care rather than remove completely from the bloodline and put into a stranger’s care.

        Many will exploit that. Especially if money is involved. I have an aunt and uncle who were to adopt my aunt’s two nieces and nephew. They figured out that they got more money by being the foster parents until the kids aged out of foster care than by adopting them. They’ve had the kids for 6 years now, and they will have them for another 4-5 until they age out of the foster system, but they get a couple hundred a month from the state per kid, food stamps, medical benefits, discounts at JCPenny, Nordstroms, Toys for Tots, free school supplies, free lunches at school, free after school activities and free sports, free camp in the summer, etc. None of that would be available if they’d adopted the three kids as they’d planned.

  • amber December 19, 2011, 4:22 pm

    you say that your boyfriend pays rent….is he still in high school and doing this? how close to being 18 is he? his mom can’t keep taking his paycheck when he’s an adult, i mean not unless taking it like addie says means her asking for it and him giving it away. is he working full time or part time? what are his plans and your plans for the future? are you going back to work/school eventually? how would living with them help with money for the baby. is she going to give you money to provide for your child if you chose to live with them? i think addie’s advice is great as well as the advice of guy friday. but, i think you also need to figure out what you’re both going to do in the immediate future.

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    • spark_plug December 19, 2011, 4:44 pm

      I also find it a little odd that she takes his paycheck to pay for rent but refuses to let him move out. If he stopped paying rent, would she kick him out? I agree with Addie that it sounds like either the boy is too whipped to step up to his own mom or he’s making something up to not have to pay child support.

      In any case, if all they do is drink and fight, this sounds like a pretty dysfunctional family, so I would get the law on your side in terms of childsupport.

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      • demoiselle December 19, 2011, 8:14 pm

        It’s probably to pay for the whole family’s rent. Not his rent for living there.

      • meg December 19, 2011, 8:25 pm

        Yes, this is the main thing going through my mind while reading the letter. Wouldn’t that solve a lot of their money problems if the boyfriend would just move out and into the LW’s home, where her parents have invited him to stay? He’s paying rent to live with his family, so how is he being forced to live there? If, say, he quit his job, wouldn’t they kick him out, if the rule is he must contribute to the rent? HE NEEDS TO MOVE OUT. Seems like such a simple solution. LW’s bf: You made a baby, it’s time to step up and take control of your life and not let your mother walk all over you with irrational demands.

    • AKchic December 19, 2011, 5:22 pm

      Actually, it’s very easy for a mother to take a paycheck in many states.

      If a teenaged “child” doesn’t have an ID, but gets a paycheck, the mother can deposit the check into her bank account, therefore controlling the money herself. My mother did the same thing to me when I worked legitimate jobs as a teenager before I had my oldest son. I didn’t have an ID to get my first (or second) job. All my mother had to do was give me my birth certificate and SS card to verify my ID (because they are technically valid for people, especially teenagers without licenses), and then she’d sign the minor working paperwork (when I was under 16). Until a person is 18, a parent/guardian needs to sign the ID application at the DMV in most states, unless the minor can provide legal documentation proving that they are an emancipated minor. Having a child (for a girl) is an unofficial way of becoming legally emancipated in some states (it is in Alaska, but without legal documentation, you still cannot get your own ID card – I came up with this trouble myself at 16, and couldn’t get my driving permit until I blackmailed my mother after my son was born).

      I honestly think that the LW is stuck with this situation until the father is 18. Many states will not hold a minor father responsible for child support until the father turns 18, and then they MIGHT (not always, but might) go after him for back child support. Not all states will hold a minor father’s parents responsible for child support in the interim.
      The LW needs to file for full custody (legal and physical), and get a child support order written up and put into her local enforcement office. If the father’s mother is already this controlling and dependent upon the father now, think about how she will be for the rest of the father’s life. Dysfunctional families don’t magically change because a new generation enters the picture. Plan ahead and make plans for when this relationship doesn’t work out. I don’t know many people who have had children before 20, before they were married, and have actually stayed with the fathers of those kids.

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      • amber December 19, 2011, 7:22 pm

        yeah i guess i kept thinking back to my teenage years. i had a job, but i just cashed my checks i never put them in to a bank account. i also never had to worry about my mom hijacking my paychecks in general. it was all my fault i never had any money because i spent it all on slurpees and warm vanilla sugar everything from bath and body works haha. although as some other people have mentioned i wouldn’t be surprised if the boyfriend was just saying that so he didn’t have to give her more money. and what parent charges their kid rent? unless he’s out of school and the mom said something along the lines of you work or you go to school your choice.

      • AKchic December 19, 2011, 7:45 pm

        Actually, lots of parents charge their teenage kids rent once they start working. Especially when they make the “adult” decision to start having sex and reproduce (even if it was an accident).

        My mother took any money I brought into the house because she was a single mom and she had “appearances” to keep up with. She called it “rent” because she said she wanted me to learn financial responsibility (which is what most parents do to teach their kids about it), but at the same time, she wasn’t doing that because she was spending the money on make up, clothes, and coffee.
        From what we’re hearing with this LW, the newly-minted grandma has twins who are roughly a year old at home. That’s expensive. We don’t know if she’s a single granny, or a working one (daycare is expensive), or if the parent(s) are working or not in this economy. We don’t know their bills. She did say “they” are drinking and fighting, so there could be some dysfunction with alcohol/drugs there, and that could be sapping money. And hindering decent income levels.

      • amber December 19, 2011, 8:00 pm

        oh very true. my mom made me pay for car insurance gas, my cell phone, etc so i guess in the end it’s the same thing. at first though when i thought of paying ‘rent’ at 17 i was taken aback. but, it is good for ‘kids’ to learn money management.

      • AKchic December 19, 2011, 9:00 pm

        I didn’t have a cell phone. I had a pager.

      • amber December 20, 2011, 8:56 am

        too funny, i wasn’t allowed to have a pager even i paid for one. i did however get what i thought back then was the coolest cell phone ever at 18, haha.

      • AKchic December 20, 2011, 12:31 pm

        I got the cell phone in my first divorce. Because it was tied to our home phone, which was in my name. *laugh* Like everything else. I was 19. Until then, I wasn’t allowed to touch the cell phone (he “needed” it). I had gotten rid of my pager when my first son was born. “A mother shouldn’t look like a drug dealer” was what I was told when I was told I should get rid of it.

      • Laura December 20, 2011, 3:29 pm

        I think the MATERNAL grandparents have the twins, while the PATERNAL grandparents are allowing the 17 year old son, the 19 y.o. girlfriend, and the baby granddaughter to live with them.

      • AKchic December 20, 2011, 7:58 pm

        LW wrote: “They have offered for me to live there, but they already don’t have enough room for the people living there. They have a three bedroom house, and they currently have twins who aren’t a year old yet and they had to put them in his mom’s room.”

        “His mom’s room” would indicate that the twins are the father’s siblings, so the paternal aunts/uncles of the LW’s baby.

  • Trixy Minx December 19, 2011, 4:38 pm

    I hate the term BabyDaddy.

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    • John Rohan December 19, 2011, 4:57 pm

      I do too, and I wish Wendy wouldn’t use it. It’s a term I first heard on the Jerry Springer show, and since then, the only people I’ve seen using it are people that belong on the Jerry Springer show.

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      • AKchic December 19, 2011, 5:25 pm

        Totally agree with you. The female respected the male in question long enough to spread her legs or bend over at least once (in order to get pregnant), so give the resultant child some respect. That child is half you and half that other person. By belittling that other person and relegating him to a non-entity with no name, you belittle the child you helped create. Yes, your poor choice(s) in a (albeit temporary) mate, but the moniker you give that individual is just as poor a reflection on your judgement as it is on him. I tell that to my sister every time she calls her BOYFRIEND “babydaddy”. Makes me shudder.

    • iseeshiny December 19, 2011, 10:42 pm

      I always thought it was a contracted term for the father of one’s child when one is no longer “with” the man in question, ie, “Bitch, my man ain’t yo baby’s daddy!”

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      • AKchic December 20, 2011, 12:35 pm

        Originally, yes. Now it’s become an all-purpose term for everyone to use when they no longer want to outright admit that yes, they did fornicate with that spurious individual in a high state of mind at a kegger a few years ago, so he has become relegated to “BabyDaddy” to attempt to wipe away the shame. It just makes them sound that much more “ghetto” (their terminology, not mine), and trashy, which is usually how they are to begin with.
        It shows their lack of respect for their own bodies, on top of the lack of respect they have for the males they slept with (regardless of how much they deserve the lack of respect), and in some cases, how little they regard their children as individuals, but rather a gov’t issued check.

      • kali December 20, 2011, 1:21 pm

        Let me add another vote against the hideous, degrading and low class term “Baby Daddy.” UGH!

        People who use it only make themselves look worse. Not to mention how they’re mangling the English language. I shudder every time I hear or read it.

  • rangerchic December 19, 2011, 4:47 pm

    I know everyone is saying get a lawyer but it doesn’t sound like she can afford one. I understand many do a “free”consultation but is the lawyer going to tell you everything you need to know in one meeting? Uh, probably not since they probably want to get paid.

    There are some things you can find out for yourself with a little online digging or phone calls – like the rape thing. Also, have you tried to get food stamps, is your baby on medicaid? This is money that will help you. I don’t know if every state has this but in Arkansas we have WIC which is similar to (and sometimes in addition to) food stamps. It covers formula if you are not nursing and many other staples (regular milk for you etc.). I don’t know how much of this you will qualify for living with your parents though so look into it.

    Look, I was 19 when I had my first baby. Very stressful, overwhelming. The dead beat father did not pay child support and he was an adult. I got a full time job, moved in with a room mate to help with rent and had WIC, etc. Since I was a single mom, I found out I could go to college with multiple loans and scholarships since being a single mom you don’t have to count your parents income to qualify – my sister is doing this right now. So there are options.

    My point is you may have to deal with little to no income from him for a while – even if you do get an attorney and whatnot. Then what if he goes to prison for failure to pay? Then he can’t pay because he is in prison.

    I’m not saying it is right and that he should not pay I’m saying you have to start looking out for your child and yourself first.

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    • Addie Pray December 19, 2011, 5:01 pm

      That’s some good, practical advice. I guess I ignored completely how to get $$ from other sources. Food stamps, medicaid – all good options.

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    • Guy Friday December 19, 2011, 5:02 pm

      “I understand many do a “free”consultation but is the lawyer going to tell you everything you need to know in one meeting? Uh, probably not since they probably want to get paid.”

      I’m not going to speak for every state, but under the terms of the agreement my firm (and I, by extension) enter into with the State Bar, we have to be able to explicitly lay out what needs to be done and, yes, how much it would cost to do it if you hired us to do it, but we have to be able to describe it in broad enough strokes that the consultee can then decide if he or she really needs us to do it. It’s not like we can say, “Well, there is a law that applies, but you’ll need to pay me $5 for me to tell you the statute number.” We need to be able to give him or her an overview of the law, with the understanding that if he or she wants specific and explicit targeted legal advice he or she will need to hire us. So, to use a criminal example that actually happened to me about a month ago, if you come in looking to potentially hire me to defend you in a possession of marijuana case, I can talk about what the elements of the crime are and I can talk about what the basic law is as to potential motions to suppress the stop and search the cops did of your car, but I’m not going to explicitly tell you that the baggy you had in your center console did or did not fall under the “plain view” doctrine. And it’s not because I want to keep you coming back for more; it’s because to do that would result in an attorney-client relationship, which has A LOT of ethical ramifications attached to it.

      The thing about the kind of questions the LW is asking is that they’re not, at the moment, things she needs a LAWYER for so much as it is things that she needs someone who has a KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW. Put another way, right now it doesn’t seem like she’s at the stage where she’s looking to hire someone to file a motion to compel payment of child support or to pursue any lawsuits against the father. Right now, she seems to want to know (a) what the law is on statutory rape in her state, and (b) what options are available for getting the child support she needs, and what would need to be done to get it. A lawyer wouldn’t have to spell out for her “Yes, you’re liable” or “No, you’re not” in a consultation; the lawyer can simply point her in the right direction and let her connect the dots. Now, if she wants to actually have a lawyer get involved in the specifics of her case, then, sure, she’ll have to hire one. But in my area there are any number of flat-fee or sliding-scale non-profits dedicated to family law, many of whom wouldn’t require very much money at all to represent her. So it’s not necessarily going to bankrupt her down the road if she needs it.

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    • AKchic December 19, 2011, 5:32 pm

      Because medicaid and cash assistance are federal programs, the child support enforcement office will automatically start a case against the father. Thanks to new regulations, if you get on cash assistance, any child support received goes back to the state to pay back what cash assistance you are receiving.
      Apparently, welfare is now a “loan” program, that can be paid back by child support. I’m not saying that this is a good thing, nor am I saying it’s a bad thing. I’m just stating the facts, and not exactly approving it, all things considered, knowing what I know of the system.

      I’m not sure how medical assistance/child support is worked since my kids are on the Denali Kid Care program, which is state-paid, not federal, and it’s supplimental to their regular insurance through my company (it pays the co-pays), and I don’t get child support from my exes in the first place, even if our CSSD division could get blood from a turnip (seriously, as of the beginning of December, I’m owed $28,100 for my 9 year old from my 1st husband).

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    • Beckaleigh December 20, 2011, 9:52 am

      In the state where I practice, you can call the clerk of the court and get some direction (not legal advice) on what forms you need to file to get the ball rolling. The courts are also considerate of those who are unrepresented. Honestly, it doesn’t look like either party can afford an attorney so I’m sure that the LW can handle filling out forms and paying the small filing fee, and not have to worry about going up against another attorney by herself if it makes it to a hearing.

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  • honeybeenicki December 19, 2011, 5:07 pm

    I haven’t read the rest of the comments, but I really want to stress something important – contact child support. I don’t know if you have done this yet or if you haven’t, why but if your boyfriend really wants to support his child then he won’t have a problem with you doing this. If he has a problem with you getting child support, well then there is something else going on there that doesn’t really involve his mother. Also, are you receiving any kind of state aid for the child at all? (food stamps, heat assistance, etc) If so, it is possible that eventually the state is going to step up and pursue child support whether you do it or not (I know they do in our state), but don’t wait that long. Go now. I have a good friend who was receiving medical assistance for her son, so the state went after the father for child support and they were living together. So basically, she got the child support and it went right back into shared costs anyway and its not a problem.

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  • Addie Pray December 19, 2011, 5:34 pm

    Oh, and “superstar legal expertise” – ah shucks, Wendy – go on!

    p.s. For those wondering, that $1.5 million got reduced a shit ton (yes, that’s a legal term of art) because of statutory caps on punitives. Damn you, tort reform!

    But I digress.

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    • Guy Friday December 19, 2011, 11:15 pm

      LOL. I was wondering whether that was going to come up. And now you see why I don’t do tort and PI law 😉

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    • kali December 20, 2011, 1:24 pm

      Congrats on the big win, Addie, even if it was reduced… You rock!

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  • *HmC* December 19, 2011, 5:58 pm

    I was a bank teller all during college, and I’m not sure why so many people seem to think it’s easy as pie to “sign over” your paycheck to another person. Like if you sign a check made out to you, it’s as good as cash to anyone else who’s in possession of it. Not so. (And if you really think about it, wouldn’t that be a little scary and too easy to commit fraud by doing?)

    If you deposit checks into an account that are made out to someone who is not on the account, and that someone is not right in front of the teller with their ID to confirm that they are signing it over, the bank is often very reluctant to let you make the deposit. And they are especially uneasy if it’s for a larger amount, say anything over a hundred dollars. I worked at more than one large bank, and this was all standard procedure. So many people had the wrong idea about how signing over a check works… I guess because you used to be able to do that?

    You could try slipping the checks into the ATM, but the bank will stop you if they catch it. Sooo… I wouldn’t support the idea of having the boyfriend sign his checks over to you LW, nor do I think the mom is necessarily just taking them without him cashing them for her first. Ultimately, I agree with Addie that your guy is not really doing everything he can to get you the child support you need.

    And as far as that child support goes (I worked in Family Law also)- the state determines child support based on what the non-custodial parent’s income in, the fact that his mom is basically stealing his paychecks (if that is what’s happening) notwithstanding. Go get a child support order right away. The state will calculate how much he owes monthly based on his income and what your custody and visitation arrangement is. And once that court order is in place, he faces dire consequences for non-payment- you could even easily get a wage claim done so that your child support would be deducted automatically from his paychecks and sent to you before his mom even sees the money.

    Due to the overall complexity of your issues here LW, I URGE you to visit your local courthouse and try and get some help with your case. Many courthouses will have something like a Family Law Facilitator’s Office, that gives free legal counseling to litigants with family law issues. Look up what’s available to you locally. These offices are usually staffed with knowledgeable attorneys and law students, and there is usually a very long wait, but it is worth the wait to get these documents done correctly.

    Finally, I’ll say that if what I’m saying sounds too litigious for your nature, keep in mind that a child support court order merely protects you and your daughter in *case* he doesn’t pay. If you and the dad can agree between yourselves on a sum of money and visitation schedule that works for you, you can do something called a stipulation. That is, the court will make a court order based on what you two want, so long as you both are in agreement and what you have decided is reasonably good for your daughter. This applies to both visitation and child support issues. If you can’t agree and do a stipulation, the court might send you to something called mediation with an objective third party mediator to help you come to an agreement. But listen to me LW, you get that court order! It gives you so much protection, and it is worth it!

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    • *HmC* December 19, 2011, 6:07 pm

      p.s. Addie, I’ve used disclaimers just like yours when dispensing general legal advice online, are you 100% sure that protects us, ethically speaking? It always makes me a little nervous to proclaim my legal profession and give person-specific advice online… am I just being a neurotic weirdo?

      Also, in case I came across like my above advice was disagreeing with you, I think your advice was great and I’m just adding to it. 🙂

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      • Addie Pray December 19, 2011, 7:02 pm

        Well, we’ll find out!

      • Addie Pray December 19, 2011, 7:33 pm

        But in all seriousness, no. For a couple of reasons. One being I didn’t give legal advice. Except to seek legal advice. Which isn’t legal avice.

      • *HmC* December 19, 2011, 7:44 pm

        I agree I think it’s probably fine… I’m just kind of paranoid.

      • Guy Friday December 19, 2011, 11:21 pm

        The short answer? No, it doesn’t necessarily protect. Ethics opinions have been written in all 50 states about how even warning people that it doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship doesn’t necessarily do the trick.

        The long answer? You’re right to be paranoid, because of what we all can lose if we DO get in hot water for it, but Addie’s comment about how it’s not technically legal advice that she’s giving is right. I doubt the LW could argue an expectation of an attorney-client privilege on a public blog post on a site that isn’t related in the slightest to any of our respective firms. Kind of hard to make that relationship when you don’t know anything about the State the person lives in 🙂

        (Totally off-topic, but do either of you guys have really anal-retentive email disclaimers? I’m so paranoid that I say the same thing about 12 times in mine:

        “CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic transmission (including any files attached hereto) contains information that is legally privileged, confidential, and exempt from disclosure. It is intended for use only by the individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, dissemination, copying, distribution, or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents of this confidential information is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please destroy it, remove it from your computer and/or network, and immediately notify me by email. Thank you. Receipt by anyone other than the named recipient(s) is not a waiver of any attorney-client, work product or other applicable privilege, protection or doctrine. ” )

      • Addie Pray December 20, 2011, 12:10 am

        Yes, and it also has some sort of tax disclaimer. … But my favorite part about the automatic disclaimer is the automatic plug to be green that is included sometimes. You know, the one that encourages people not to print the email to save paper? I’ve always wondered who the hell would print off emails otherwise?

      • *HmC* December 20, 2011, 12:45 am

        Old people. Some of the older attorneys I work with have their secretaries print out important emails… because they’re more comfortable working with real paper? Is that ageist to say? *shrugs*

      • AKchic December 20, 2011, 12:37 pm

        Not at all ageist. Older folks prefer hard copies. I am young, but I prefer hard copies too. I have to resist mightily to print everything out. Instead, I SAVE all emails in case I need them.

    • savannah December 19, 2011, 6:32 pm

      I think people think its easy to ‘sign over’ a check because perhaps they’ve done so in the past. When I was younger I didn’t have a bank account and my father would deposit my work check into his account and then take money out for me when I wanted it. I don’t even remember endorsing these checks. The reason he could do this- well, he knew the tellers at the bank. Banks are run by people and not computers, and if the LW lives in a small town this dynamic might be even more at play.

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      • *HmC* December 19, 2011, 6:35 pm

        So true, if a teller does it then that’s what people learn. But for the record… any teller at a big bank that is doing that for you is (very likely) doing so at their own risk, ie. breaking the rules and would get in serious trouble if something went wrong. If it’s for a little kid, I could see more tellers just going ahead and doing it for you. Not a 17 year old with a paycheck though.

    • CottonTheCuteDog December 19, 2011, 6:45 pm

      Yes, I worked at the bank as a teller too and I agree.

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    • 6napkinburger December 19, 2011, 7:27 pm

      I could have sworn that in Commercial Paper, they explained that it really was that easy to sign over checks. But perhaps it is not a law issue, but rather a bank policy issue.

      And I would never give legal advice online because it would scare me too much, if I were a lawyer. I would also be worried that all my advice might be seen in the light of legal advice. So I wouldn’t even admit I was one. Not that I am one. But if I were.

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      • *HmC* December 19, 2011, 7:41 pm

        I don’t have legal experience with banking, just firsthand experience working as a teller. But my logical view of it would be that the whole signing over a check issue is more a bank policy issue than a legal one. If a bank takes a loss on a fraud, then that’s a loss they have to eat, so they’re going to implement whatever policy makes the most sense for them and helps avoid losses (people who come back and complain that they cashed stolen check for the wrong person) while simultaneously not making them lose too much money from the customer service point of view (helping out customers signing over checks in non-fraudulent ways).

        Without researching this, I’d guess that the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) dictates these policies to a certain extent, since they are the ones insuring the money. So, if the bank goes against an FDIC policy, then they take the loss. So it becomes about weighing the risks against the benefits of any given transaction. If the bank is small and they know their customers, the risks are much lower.

        Just my thoughts on it anyway…

      • Addie Pray December 19, 2011, 8:40 pm

        Agreed. It’s as easy as that from a legal perspective (notwithstanding that it’s been several years since I had to cram for commercial paper on the bar!!). But from a practical perspective, if the boyfriend is as willing to help as the LW makes it seem, and if he’s willing to sign the check over, I assume he’ll be willing to go with her to the bank… But eh, I doubt he’s that willing. So they probably won’t even get to the issue. I’d trust these bank-experienced people in re bank policy.

    • Something More December 20, 2011, 1:16 pm

      At the company I work for we have 2 employees that work for a different division, but we still pay for their insurance. Every month their AP writes a check in their name, they sign it and give it to us to deposit in our checking account as reimbursement. As long as we have our “Deposit Only” stamp on the back and it’s signed, we never have a problem depositing it. I live in a pretty big city and we bank with a very big national bank. I always thought that was weird.

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      • *HmC* December 20, 2011, 5:22 pm

        I don’t know all the particulars here, but most companies deposit their checks in big bunches, so it’s not really financially feasible for banks to examine all the checks closely. Also, there’s a lower likelihood of fraud with a company than with an individual. So, tons of checks slip through in this fashion. It’s still technically against the rules at every big bank I ever worked at. But, at that point it’s sort of like speeding on an empty road in the middle of the country at 2 am. Sure, it’s not technically allowed. But it’s not worth the resources to crack down on you.

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    katie December 19, 2011, 8:29 pm

    LW, the first thing to find out for sure is any way that you could get in trouble– the statatory rape thing, or even something weird like that $30 every 2 weeks being “stolen”– literally anything that the mom could come after you for. find out all of that and figure that part out first before you go forward… it sounds like with the homelife that your babby daddy has, that mother will NOT be happy having her free money taken away….

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  • Constitution First December 20, 2011, 3:03 pm

    Marry him, take it to a judge, or stop your whining and just deal with it.

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    • AKchic December 20, 2011, 3:32 pm

      Until he’s 18, his parent/guardian has to sign the marriage application and marriage certificate in order for him to get legally married. That’s how it is in Alaska and just about every state I know of. He’s 17, so his parents would have to sign it, then she becomes his legal guardian until he turns 18 (at least, that’s the law in Alaska). If his mother doesn’t want to give up the financial ticket, then she won’t sign for him to get married. Sounds like she wants to keep the LW out of control of her son’s life in the first place. By keeping everyone under HER roof, she controls everything. She is probably pissed at being made a grandma in the first place and feels that had they been under her roof, it wouldn’t have happened, and if she controlled all the money (for both of them), then they can’t get protection and won’t have sex (yeah, that will just result in more grandkids).

      Not knowing which state she lives in, she may just be stuck with the money situation. She needs to look into alternatives like public assistance, WIC, etc.

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  • Laura December 20, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Find out the statutory rape laws for your state BEFORE you pick a huge fight with BabyDaddy’s mama, who just happens to be supplying the house you live in.

    I’m an attorney, and I’ve been through a brutal divorce and custody fight, and the advice this attorney gave fails to consider the extremely precarious situation this young mother is in.

    Honeylamb, you lose your housing OR get into a massive fight with your boyfriend or his parents, and Child Protective Services is going to take your baby away from you, and you will NEVER be able to jump through all of the hoops that they will set up for you to jump through.

    I don’t know where you live, but you need to find out where in America the waiting lists for HUD housing vouchers are the shortest, and you and your baby need to move there. Your parents are too screwed up to help you, so don’t worry about leaving them behind. Take your boyfriend with you, if possible, by waiting a few months until he turns 18 and finishes high school. Even if the relationship doesn’t work out long term, it would be great if he would stick around until you can finish a nursing course or something similar. He could work during the day and babysit the child in the evenings while you go to school.

    If your boyfriend stays involved with the baby for several years, he is much more likely to stay involved with her, and pay support, in the long term.

    Good luck, and remember that you aren’t a real adult until you are self-supporting. As long as you are living under your boyfriend’s parents’ roof, you are going to have to be deferential to their opinions and obey their house rules. Plan your escape carefully, put the pieces together, and then make your move.

    I don’t know how much your boyfriend earns, or whether he is working full time, but his mother may think that it isn’t enough to cover the expenses for two adults and a child.

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    • AKchic December 20, 2011, 3:38 pm

      A father doesn’t “baby-sit”. A father takes care of his child.

      From the LW’s letter, she lives with her parents (she doesn’t want to live with his family due to their implied dysfunction). If she up and moves to another state for housing vouchers/rent assistance, how is she going to support the child with no job/home set up? That’s basically welfare shopping.

      I think that living with her parents is okay for now while she sets herself up with the basics, gets herself what she needs (custody, WIC, medical assistance, food stamps, whatever), and then gets a job and housing. Once the boyfriend is 18, graduated, whatever, then deal with him.

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  • uncleFred December 20, 2011, 3:23 pm

    I find it interesting that no one suggests that the mother investigate giving the child up for adoption. Doesn’t seem rather obvious that a nineteen year old and seventeen year old minor living at home are not equipped to provide for and raise a child? Focusing on various tactics to extract money from the seventeen year old and/or his family merely highlights the absurdity of this situation. The very real possibility that their sexual activity has placed the nineteen year old at risk of criminal prosecution, should be a red flag that this couple is utterly unprepared to raise a child. The mother says nothing of her family, but from her description of her boyfriend’s family there is little support for them there.

    The ultimate goal should not be “to obtain an order of child support against her boyfriend” it should be to find a way to ensure that the child is raised in loving family with the means to do so. The infant child should be our primary concern, not a pair of teenagers who were irresponsible enough to create a child, who they may love very much, but for whom they are incapable of parenting.

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    • mrmandias December 20, 2011, 5:16 pm

      Seriously. Why pay an attorney to get a child support order when the boyfriend has a tiny income and no prospects and apparently comes from a dysfunctional family?

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  • yoyodyne December 20, 2011, 3:40 pm

    A 16/17 yr old boy is certainly not mature enough nor developmentally complete to make the decision to provide for a child for the next 18 years. Aside from the issue of whether or not he was raped by the adult in this case.

    I find it very….interesting that some commentors spent time debating whether the adult was 18 or 19 but none discussing the same math which would make the boy 16 the same % of the time. [Also, 16y5m to, say, 18y7 months is more than 2 years, as another footnote].

    If you’re an adult, and want to get impregnated by a 16-yr old minor because you desperately want a baby, then you should pay for it, end of story. Otherwise, use a condom [they’re free virtually everywhere] or use some other form of birth control.

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    • Steve Kellmeyer December 20, 2011, 4:46 pm

      Doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.

      Any male old enough to produce sperm and impregnate a woman, even if the woman raped him, MUST pay child support.

      That’s the law.

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  • Ronnie December 20, 2011, 3:54 pm

    How ’bout this for an answer: Girl, you got pregnant before you were equipped to handle raising a child. You didn’t wait until you were married, you didn’t wait until you had established yourself in the world, and now you seem content to make your innocent child suffer all the consequences (poverty, poor education, tendency toward incarceration) that flow from being an underage, unwed mother. How is all came to pass is immaterial to the situation you’re in, but now that you have the responsibility for caring for a child you need to consider the welfare of the baby first. Clearly, this child would be better off with a stable home and both a father and a mother who were prepared to handle raising a child. Why haven’t you considered adoption? Your love for the child and your feelings of loss and sadness that would come from releasing her to such a family who would be able to care for her should be much less important to you than the realization that the welfare of that baby is more important than anything you, an immature mother with little experience, preparation, or prospects would feel.
    Let the young man live his life; go forth and live yours. BUT let that child grow up with parents who are ready. Talk to your mother and Child Social Services about ADOPTION as soon as possible.

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  • rosignol December 20, 2011, 3:58 pm

    I’m going to second what uncleFred said. This is a horrible situation, and I don’t see litigation or getting the government after a 17-year-old for child support as good solutions.

    Adoption is probably the least-bad solution for everyone involved.

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  • Michael Becker December 20, 2011, 4:12 pm

    So, you want to do what’s best for the baby? Put her up for adoption. You are going to condemn her to a life of unrelenting poverty if you keep her.

    And please, can we stop referring to the “parents” of this child as “adults”. They’re a long way from that.

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  • Joe LP December 20, 2011, 4:28 pm

    Wendy, you failed to explain to your advisee that her “boyfriend” is looking for a way to get rid of her, that he is using his mother as a convenient excuse, and that she should forget about the kid pronto and instead get on with her own life.

    Otherwise, he would get himself emancipated and move in with her parents and her. If he has a job, a baby, and a place to live to take care of said baby, I don’t think it would be too much trouble. Worst-case scenario, her daughter’s father tells his “girlfriend” to hold on until the dau he turns 18.

    This not being the case, the “baby daddy” (disgusting term) wants only one thing, out, and that’s where he’s going the day he turns 18 or gets his diploma.

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  • Steve Kellmeyer December 20, 2011, 4:44 pm

    It doesn’t matter if she raped him or not.
    He will still be culpable for child support.
    Boys as young as 12 have been raped and held for child support.
    It’s a slam-dunk from that perspective.

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  • bobby b December 20, 2011, 4:59 pm

    I’m on the same page as a few of the later commenters. You’re giving advice here based upon the question of, what should adults do about this? Well, they’re going to need to find some adults first before they can take your advice.

    He’s 17? She’s 19? Mommy won’t let him come out to play with his paycheck?

    To even speak to these children as if you were addressing adults is misguided. They’re not adults. We don’t hear much about the boy, but this girl comes off as being a very selfish little thirteen-year-old princess trying to steal cigarettes from mom’s purse.

    The point of view that holds that these two are entitled to make all of the important decisions for their own lives sounds oh-so-fair-and-modern, doesn’t it? Well, now you have a baby who has been born into what will no doubt be a family life of poverty and bitter complaints about entitlements not received. Good work, guys!

    We’ve spent the past several decades ridiculing the old idea that sex between two such as these is a bad thing, to be avoided if at all possible, with fear of shame used as the initial barrier. It’s just a bit of physical pleasure, and they’re in charge of their own bodies and lives, so get out of their business!

    Instead, now we help them with their self-esteem and we play along that this is society’s problem not theirs and no one is ever heard raising the point that their few minutes of pleasure (assuming a state of sobriety that would let them remember if there was pleasure) has now severely corralled the rest of their lives and has introduced an entire new, entirely innocent baby into their self-induced Life Of Poverty And Complaint.

    So, sure, congratulate her on her new baby, and be very sure to avoid any topic that might reflect on the gross immature stupidity shown by both participants. Wouldn’t want any other teens out there to take the wrong message from this, like, maybe, “getting pregnant at this point in my life would be incredibly harmful to many people, and is so mindnumbingly easy to avoid that I’d have no excuse.”

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    • AKchic December 20, 2011, 8:16 pm

      While I understand you opinion, I must say that not ALL who have children when they are chronologically young are dooming themselves or their children to a “Life of Poverty and Complaint”, as you so eloquently put it.

      Yes, some of us come from dysfunctional families. Yes, some of us are very fucked up individuals ourselves, for a variety of reasons. We are no different than the many who have children when they are chronologically older, and in many cases, wed for the first, second, or fifth time when they have children. Some of us go on and make a glorious name/career for ourselves – with or without education. With or without a husband.
      For some of us, having children was the best thing to happen to us because it changed the course of our lives. For the better. It helped us center ourselves, and made us start thinking things differently, and stop acting like idiots.
      Yes, there are those out there, those that are featured on television, and in newspapers, and in magazines, that are showing the contrary. They are there for ratings. Good parenting doesn’t equal ratings.

      The LW asked for specific advice, so we gave it to her. She made her decision. There are plenty of adoptees who have ended up in jail, so you cannot say that by putting that child up for adoption, the child will avoid jail. 1 in 3 people end up in jail/arrested by the age of 23 according to the latest study.

      As far as our gov’t is concerned, the LW is an adult. She needs to start acting like one. Of course, today’s parenting tactics don’t exactly lend itself towards making our youth self-sufficient. I weep for future generations.

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  • Karen December 20, 2011, 5:30 pm

    In my state, the law is that 17 year olds cannot have a bank account without a parent co-sign. In fact, the age is 19. That is because only adults can form legal contracts. I had to co-sign for a checking account and a credit card, although my son was working full-time and having taxes withheld.

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  • Anonymous December 20, 2011, 5:55 pm

    This is like two people saying “Our kids are in gradeschool, but we don’t know if we really want to get married yet” … priorities are a bit reversed (call me an old fogey); i.e., the decision’s already been (long) made and there needs to be catch-up done. The guy’s mother needs to help him be independent and a father instead of what she’s doing (which is the opposite). I sure hope he has an escape plan in mind when he turns 18.

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  • clarenancy December 20, 2011, 8:09 pm

    In my state a child must be 19 before they can have their own account without a parent as a guarantor. I know that seems incredulous. At 19 he is no longer a child. Be that as it may, my son could not get his own bank account until he was 19. Prior to that we shared a bank account.

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  • Tex Lovera December 20, 2011, 10:43 pm

    Wow. Truly a cautionary tale that highlights tremendously bad decision-making on the part of several people, and the punishing consequences of those actions. One more example for my kids of how not to live your life.

    Here’s some advice for all you other kids out there:

    1. Don’t have kids before marriage. This is one of the key markers for economic, social and emotional well-being for both parents and children.

    2. See item 1.

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  • Zorbitor December 23, 2011, 2:16 pm

    $60 a month??? That’s like $720 a year or $12,960 over the life of The Child

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