“Tell the judge you want to live with me,” dad tells 13-year-old daughter to avoid paying child support

Mary Duncan

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*

I count my lucky stars every day that I ended up with a good man to co-parent my child with. Though I don’t really like my daughter Tori’s father, James, we get along well now and have respect for each other. He is a very dependable man who always pays his child support to me on time through a direct bank deposit he set up himself. We never even went to court for a custody agreement, that’s how civil we’ve been able to be with each other.

I have known so many women over the years who have had a much worse time than I have with their children’s fathers. From being emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive, to being emotionally and physically absent, and to straight up disappearing, all of these are things my friends have had to deal with.

Not having to fight with a man over custody and support of my daughter is a gift that keeps on giving and I will be forever grateful. Unfortunately, my friend Renee did not have that sort of relationship with her daughter’s father.

Renee and her husband Tom had a daughter, Lily, who was ten when her parents got divorced. Though Tom had never been abusive to Renee or Lily, he was what you may call an absent father figure, and therefore Renee asked for and was granted primary custody of Lily.

For a few years, Lily only saw her dad every other weekend for a few hours on Sundays. She did not have a close relationship with him and expressed to her mom that she didn’t like spending time with him because he was boring and never did anything with her. Lily just spent her time at Tom’s watching television alone.

One weekend when Lily was thirteen, a short while after her mom Renee had remarried, Lily came back from Tom’s very upset, and Renee prodded her daughter until she would come out with the truth.

“I’m not supposed to tell you this,” Lily began, “But daddy says he’s going to take you to court to try and take me back.”

“What?” Renee asked, perplexed at why her ex-husband would want custody of a child he barely ever saw or spent time with.

“He told me to tell the judge that I wanted to live with him, and when I asked why he said: ‘So I don’t have to keep giving your mother half my paycheck anymore,’ but I’m not supposed to tell you that,” Lily cried.

Of course, Renee was enraged and didn’t skip a beat before calling up her ex-husband and reaming him out for putting their thirteen-year-old daughter in the middle of his financial problems.

Eventually, they did go to court again and Tom began paying less in child support because Renee had remarried, but he also saw Lily even less as well, showing exactly what kind of father he really was.

How would you have reacted if you were Renee?

Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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I write about the weird complexities of relationships to make a better life for me and my daughter through words. https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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