How to Handle Your Ex .. A Paralegal's guide to avoiding Baby Mama Drama
I really should be getting paid at least $30 an hour for this but guys seriously just take my advice.
I have dated a lot of guys with kids or been bestie to many of them so here is some unsolicited honest advice for the guys.
1. Don't have a baby with a crazy bitch. Easier said than done, and I will forgive most of you because you can't exactly predict that mama is going to go psycho 10 years down the line. Seriously though there are some things you should be on the lookout for before you start knocking boots with every woman that looks cute in a tight dress after a night of Bro drinking.
First of all- wrap it up. Simply put wear a condom. It prevents more than STDS. It prevents child support payments.
Second, if you don't and she says she is knocked up - pay to take her to a Doctor. Look at the test results yourself before you are on Maury and you get the 99% probability it is/isn't yours. If she is pregnant- you don't have to marry her. More divorces happen over an antiquated sense of a shot-gun wedding enter in domestic violence cases because you two are arguing at 3 am because you worked late or happen to look at female while hanging with the guys- even if it was just to place a drink order.
Third, and the most practical advice I can give anyone- know your legal rights. Of course they vary from state to state but there are two things you want to avoid- 1) Paying child support for a child you may love dearly because you thought was yours and sadly have no legal rights to (in some states if you were married and the child is not yours this is a little different- however it can make life very complicated when she decides to start dating someone else and divorce you) 2) Your biological child not having your name on his/her birth certificate. 3) Consult a legal professional. If you don't have the cash for a $250 an hour lawyer, find a paralegal who can at least explain the the law and your options.
I was a juvenile probation officer for a lot of years. I will tell you straight out the mamas where also a pain in my ass in a lot of cases. I had case after case where mama got overwhelmed with the 4 other kids she had and would ignore the one that really needed her attention. I saw a lot of you step up. In fact, in a lot of cases I saw fathers I would rather have their children with. I couldn't do anything more than suggest to them maybe it was an option to look at having custody changed. I have had mothers blame fathers for not teaching their sons about the Birds and Bees and that having caused a child to commit a delinquent offense. In one particular case, even though the dad was a jackass, he was not the cause of his son's behavior and I ended up suggesting the mother go to counseling to resolve her issues with him cheating on her and the new wife rather than make that leap in logic.
The biggest advice I can give you, do not deny you are or could be the father. This creates a whole other can of worms. I'm not saying you don't have the right to question paternity or that it won't screw up your world. Just handle it the right way. Be pissed off. Be angry. Don't punch walls or anyone else. Call a friend. Get really drunk in your own home, with your cellphone hidden and password protected.
Yes it hurts. Yes it is a pain when you get a notice from the local court baby mama has been collecting welfare, and the state wants it back and for you to pay your fair share. In most cases, the local child welfare agency will track you down and ask for a cheek swab. Just do it. There is a process called legitimatization where by a court has to be involved and prove if you are the father. Don't worry, in most places you are getting an attorney to be there for you. If not, in less you are dealing cocaine or fencing stolen property, there is not a reason to be afraid.
So the results come in and congrats you are a Daddy. Most good men have an initial "Shit I have to tell my parents and friends" moment. No paralegal is going to help with this one but most times people get over it especially when it comes to baby. Most of the argument comes from your choice of baby mamas. If you read the beginning of the article, we covered how not to get this point..but you are still reading so we have a bouncing bundle of joy I am guessing. If you are lucky enough to have a woman who just wants you involved in the child's life I can't hate on you too much.
The biggest thing is the child support. In most states there is something called a child support calculator that will tell you what you should be paying. So if she is asking for $10, 000 a month and you aren't a Basketball Star Houston we have a problem. Don't be ashamed to ask for help. I dated a police officer who has two beautiful daughters and was giving baby mama almost his entire paycheck because he loves them so much. You still have to live, and have a place with you for them to call home. There is no shame in setting limits on your support so you can have a life and not have to stay on your friends couch or at mom's. If a police officer needed someone to say "you need to look at what you can do, not what you want to do" then no one should be ashamed.
In a perfect world, I solved this a long time ago. There would be a court ordered amount. The custodial (who baby lives with a majority of the time) parent would get an allotment for rent. The rest would go in on a Child Support Savings Account. Both parents would be required to pay monthly into the account- because both parents are responsible for the child. Each parent would receive a card linked to that account and could use it to buy items for the child. Keyword THE CHILD. Each parent would receive a copy of the transactions on the account so no one was buying themselves Prada under the guise of "it is for a two year old." If either parent failed to pay into that account, that parents access to the card would be cut off until they paid their share. If there were questionable charges, there is at least an option for someone to say to a judge "Respectfully, your Honor my 2 year old is not buying gasoline for her Big Wheels or should be getting her nails done every week."
None of this is intended to substitute for legal advice. It is my way of helping out. There is so often a presumption that a mother is a better parent because she birthed the baby. That is not the basis any custody decision should ever be based on. I have known so many of you that were good men, who have felt unheard, or afraid to speak up for yourselves because you were taught by good mother's that men don't fight with women. There is a difference between "fighting with" and wanting to be treated with the same respect that is given to the mother. Don't confuse the two. My final piece of advice..If you aren't happy in a relationship don't just stay "because of the kids." You children are smarter than you think, they can tell. They pick up on the hostile glances, they can hear the arguing when you think they should be asleep. On of the most painful calls I have gotten as a bestie was my friend telling me his daughter cried at Christmas because she noticed he hadn't gotten his wife something more expensive and his wife was upset. Children pick up on tension. They may not understand the details but they know more than you think and they will start to act out because of it. Remember you are always you child's role model. What they see at home they are going to do as parents. While it may be hard to leave, while it may cause some temporary issues, they are temporary. Divorce is hard on kids, but they are amazingly resilient - they bounce back. So before your child is recreating what they saw at home, or sitting in the office of a probation officer, or in court before a judge and you are being court ordered to therapy. Remember there is a special type of lawyer, a Guardian Ad Litem or GAL that you can request be appointed for your children. Their role is not to do what any parent wants, or even to do what the child wants it is to be the child's advocate for what is best for the child.
Keep Calm and Father On.. https://www.linkedin.com/in/devani-rogers-39b4051b1/