Family, Heartbreak

Depending On Child Support Is A Bad Idea

Depending On Child Support Is A Bad Idea

Many custodial parents believe that they cannot live without child support from the absent parent. It is always to the child’s best interest to be supported by both parents. However, danger lies when the custodial parent depends upon the child support for living expenses such as shelter, utilities and possibly even their car payment. This is dangerous because your livelihood depends solely upon someone else.

You are giving your ex control over your life. You might be saying, he should have to pay for his children. This is true, nevertheless they are your responsibility as well. Taking responsibility and control over your financial flow, is a way to gain self-confidence and to show yourself some love.

Consider the following scenarios:
1. Beth worked at a minimum wage job part time. Her child support was sufficient enough to pay for all of her living expenses, including food and clothing. This even allowed her to go on a vacation once a year. She enjoyed the freedom she had and knew that she could depend on Frank, the father of her children, to take care of unexpected expenses for the kids. She had little in savings. Beth’s entire world began to crumble around her when Frank became severely ill and was diagnoses with cancer. He could not work. His income was reduced by over 50 percent along with an influx of medical bills. He could no longer afford to pay the full amount of child support. This left Beth in a panic. She did not have the experience to get a job earning what she used to receive in child support. Beth thought this was so unfair and kept turning to the legal system to help. However, there was no help to give. The legal system could not demand that Frank pay what he did not have. In matter of fact, the courts lowered the amount of child support that Frank was obligated to pay.

2. Ron was a self-employed construction worker. He made good money. It was common for him to give Rhonda more money than the agreed upon child support amount. Rhonda chose not to work because the income she received was sufficient for her to care for the children and pay all of the household bills. She believed that a mothers place was in the home and relished in the fact that Ron was such an upstanding man that she never had to worry about receiving her child support timely. Then the unexpected happened, Ron had a massive heart-attack and died. Rhonda was shocked to learn that he had allowed his life insurance to lapse. She then applied for social security survivior benefits and was shocked to learn that Ron had not been paying his self-employment taxes, which meant there was no money available for the children. Rhonda scrambled to find a job, any job and found herself humiliated and beaten down as she found herself in the welfare lines. She didn’t like the feeling of having to ask her family and friends for help. She felt worthless and incapable of caring for her children while they were still grieving for their father.

3. Annie was devastated when her affluent ex was charged with a white collar crime and sent to prison for five years. This left her to fend for herself and her children on her own.

4. The financial bliss ended for Wanda when her ex got remarried and had a child. His child support was reduced and he refused to pay for the extra-curricular activities the children were involved in.

5. Connie lived on child support for years. When her youngest turned 21, the income ended. Connie found herself lost and afraid as she desperately tried re-entering the workforce in order to survive.

All of the above women could have avoided pain, shame and poverty had they not depended upon child support for their basic living expenses.

The smart woman may depend upon child support on a temporary basis. She will do whatever it takes so that she is only dependent upon herself. She uses child support to enhance the children’s lives. She puts some of it away in a savings account for her children’s college education. She uses the money to pay for dance classes, sports equipment, summer camps, or a private school. She will also use the child support to pay for designer clothes, video games and other items that her children believe they just have to have. 

More parenting advice from YourTango:

If you are reliant on child support for your livelihood, it is time to begin taking steps towards your own independence. You may opt to go to school and get a degree in a field of your choice. Another step may be to start saving five to ten percent of the child support each month and then increase the amount as you earn more. The most important thing to take a long, honest look at your current situation. What would happen to you if the child support suddenly ended? And begin taking steps to assure that this never happens because you are the author of your life. You are responsible. 

For more tips and techniques to heal, love and find inner-peace during and after divorce, visit

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