Family and child abandonment

  • shawn06

    Posts: 337

    Mar 20, 2011 12:32 AM GMT
    Recently my stepfather made the bright decision that the best way to get away from his problems was to abandon his family. My mother does not work, she has a 3 year old baby and is a stay at home mom who receives disability. She also has to take care of my 15 year old brother. Now he decided to sneak out of their already broken home last night leaving no money, food, or anything for that matter.

    I'm her most dependable son, however at this time I am struggling pretty drastically trying to make it through college and living away from home (as I have been since the age of 17). Luckily I recently did my income taxes and will be using it on making sure my little brothers survive, but what can she do regarding legal action against him? I know this is grounds for divorce, but does she receive alimony as well as child support? If anyone is familiar with Arizona abandonment laws or anything regarding divorce it would be greatly appreciated.

    Just wish I could take this pain away from her and I'm determined to make sure I do. She just lost her mom 9 months ago, so today I had to hear my own mother hint at suicide to me. Course I flipped on her and snapped her out of it, but I'm still worried for her.
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    Mar 20, 2011 1:46 AM GMT
    Hey man sorry your family is going through such a shitty time. Hopefully your step dad steps up and takes care of his responsibilities. Your mother would be entitled to both child support and probably alimony since she stays home but she has to be able to get him to pay which is generally enforced through the courts. Even if they enforce it, she still has to get the money from him. A lot of the times though they can garnish his paychecks which is the best way to make sure she gets paid. This process takes time though. My advice to her is to get a good lawyer!

    Just keep being supportive like you have been, you sound like a great son!



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    Mar 20, 2011 1:48 AM GMT
    I am so sorry this is happening to your family buddy. I have no idea what laws can be used against your stepdad, but the money she could receive in the divorce is up to the court and if they had any prenuptial agreements or whatever. Since she is a single mother, I am sure she can receive some government assistance.

    Hang in there buddy. You just need to be strong and the rock of your family now. Good luck man I know you can do it!
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    Mar 20, 2011 2:03 AM GMT
    shawn06 saidRecently my stepfather made the bright decision that the best way to get away from his problems was to abandon his family. My mother does not work, she has a 3 year old baby and is a stay at home mom who receives disability. She also has to take care of my 15 year old brother. Now he decided to sneak out of their already broken home last night leaving no money, food, or anything for that matter.

    I'm her most dependable son, however at this time I am struggling pretty drastically trying to make it through college and living away from home (as I have been since the age of 17). Luckily I recently did my income taxes and will be using it on making sure my little brothers survive, but what can she do regarding legal action against him? I know this is grounds for divorce, but does she receive alimony as well as child support? If anyone is familiar with Arizona abandonment laws or anything regarding divorce it would be greatly appreciated.

    Just wish I could take this pain away from her and I'm determined to make sure I do. She just lost her mom 9 months ago, so today I had to hear my own mother hint at suicide to me. Course I flipped on her and snapped her out of it, but I'm still worried for her.


    she needs a lawyer, she should contact social services to file a complaint and it sounds like she needs to file a petition for divorce with the court if its been a long troubled marriage. ALTHOUGH, i would wait and see what happens in the next few days first, at this point you wouldn't be able to prove abandonment at its only been a day and any action may exacerbate the situation.

    If needed, heres a few tips with finding a good attorney: steer clear of anyone who tells you that 1. they will win certainly 2. anyone who promises a huge settlement; it is highly unethical for a lawyer to make any sort of promises on the outcome of a case no matter how straight-forward it seems, you want a realistic attorney who doesn't make promises they cant keep. also find a lawyer that specializes in family law and divorce and avoid racking up billable hours by collecting relevant paperwork yourself if possible. generally there are a lot of lawyers who will try to get your business for their own gain, ESPECIALLY in divorce law. what you want is someone ethical and well read on case law.
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    Mar 20, 2011 2:07 AM GMT
    OH! and also be wary of a lawyer who steers you to rack up damages and expenses, you have a legal obligation to mitigate damages. and DONT go with a lawyer who outright says they will file for legal fees (having the husband pay your legal fees) they will likely try to rack up their billable hours and will end up jack-knifing your family if they dont get that filing granted.
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    Mar 20, 2011 2:09 AM GMT
    Shit. Sorry to hear about this. I wanted to read this post because today my friend and her 21 month old daughter arrive to stay with me. The father (an ex-friend) walked out of the house just after the kid was born and left the mother to handle it all, including the cancer she found out about only months later.

    First, it sounds like you're a great son. Do what you can and if possible, take on the financial burden or else find some means to help your mother manage financially. I'd look every direction possible to get cash flowing into the household to take care of the basics.

    Then you can pursue the guy who left if there are grounds. But assume it will take time and maybe even money.

    It sounds old-fashioned but "you just became the man of the house" even though you're not there.

    Good luck. Let us know how you fare.
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    Mar 20, 2011 2:24 AM GMT
    Very sorry to hear about all of this. For some reason it seems like this has been coming even if you didn't realize it. Your mom may not want to admit it but usually their are signs. Not that I condone this at all.

    Yes I woudl advise her to get a lawyer but they will usually require some type of payment up front. My mom got divorced a few years back and a non-contested divorce with no problems was still over $1000. But she also got divorced about 15 years ago and the total bill was over $20k. So as you can see it all depends on what happens with the case.

    Now I am not a lawyer but a few things I have learned:

    Best to file for divorce quickly. If I am correct that is when liability if limited. If your step dad would go out and buy a new Lexus before she files and he doesn't pay she would be liable for it (even if she didn't sign). But after she files it says she isn't liable for debt after that point.

    Hopefully she will get child support (pretty standard) but alimony laws have been changing and they would have had to be married for a certain time frame before she would be entitled to it. Also as others have said even if the court order him to pay doesn't mean he will pay regurally.

    Some how she will need to be financially self sustaining until the court order goes into effect. Who knows how long that will take.

    Also you are the man of the house now and need to be their for your brothers and mom. Just remember you can't do everything and if you can't financially do it don't give them all your money.

    Keep your chin up and don't let this affect your college. I'm here for you if you need any help or just talk with someone that has been in your shoes.

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    Mar 20, 2011 2:27 AM GMT
    oliver1989 saidOH! and also be wary of a lawyer who steers you to rack up damages and expenses, you have a legal obligation to mitigate damages.

    Mitigate damages? That's a tort-law concept. The OP's Mom would be seeking child support and the obligation to pay support can't be mitigated.
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    Mar 20, 2011 2:31 AM GMT
    TexDef07 said
    oliver1989 saidOH! and also be wary of a lawyer who steers you to rack up damages and expenses, you have a legal obligation to mitigate damages.

    Mitigate damages? That's a tort-law concept. The OP's Mom would be seeking child support and the obligation to pay support can't be mitigated.


    im mean insofar as their own lawyer's costs. basically the same thing as an attorney who promises that they will file for costs with the court and tells the client not to worry about their billing.
  • mke_bt

    Posts: 707

    Mar 20, 2011 2:52 AM GMT

    Is he the father of the three year old? You could check into getting a guardian ad litem appointed for the child. It varies state to state but basically they are appointed to see to the best interests of the child.
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    Mar 20, 2011 3:08 AM GMT
    mke_bt said
    Is he the father of the three year old? You could check into getting a guardian ad litem appointed for the child. It varies state to state but basically they are appointed to see to the best interests of the child.


    The child has a mother.
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    Mar 20, 2011 3:11 AM GMT
    shawn06 saidRecently my stepfather made the bright decision that the best way to get away from his problems was to abandon his family. My mother does not work, she has a 3 year old baby and is a stay at home mom who receives disability. She also has to take care of my 15 year old brother. Now he decided to sneak out of their already broken home last night leaving no money, food, or anything for that matter.

    I'm her most dependable son, however at this time I am struggling pretty drastically trying to make it through college and living away from home (as I have been since the age of 17). Luckily I recently did my income taxes and will be using it on making sure my little brothers survive, but what can she do regarding legal action against him? I know this is grounds for divorce, but does she receive alimony as well as child support? If anyone is familiar with Arizona abandonment laws or anything regarding divorce it would be greatly appreciated.

    Just wish I could take this pain away from her and I'm determined to make sure I do. She just lost her mom 9 months ago, so today I had to hear my own mother hint at suicide to me. Course I flipped on her and snapped her out of it, but I'm still worried for her.


    Dude, I can identify. My mother divorced my piece of shit father when I was 5, hadn't seen him in over a year before that as he was stationed in Guam in the military during the Viet Nam war.

    The loser asshole didn't contest, and was assessed a $150 per month child support "penalty".. He didn't pay a cent, didn't call, never sent a christmas card, birthday card, nothing..and that was for two kids, I have an older sister.

    My mom was afraid she couldn't afford to fight for custody so she never went after him.

    The day he dies won't be blip on my radar and I will probably not even hear about it.
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    Mar 20, 2011 3:13 AM GMT
    mke_bt said
    You could check into getting a guardian ad litem appointed for the child. It varies state to state but basically they are appointed to see to the best interests of the child.

    The court appoints the attorney ad litem whose fees are paid out of the community estate, i.e., by the parents. In a case where one parent has absconded, unless he left assets behind -- which doesn't seem to be the case here -- guess who will be paying the ad litem?
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    Mar 20, 2011 4:49 AM GMT
    First and foremost, I would like to say that I'm sorry that your stepdad's a complete bum- especially since from what it looks like, he fathered a child only to abandon he/she as a toddler. You're going to be the rock of your family and provide for your mom and your siblings, which I understand that since you've been dealing with it for the past four years, it matures the hell out of you and you seem to be a trustworthy character.

    The best advice that I can think about giving is to take baby steps into the situation. Since you mentioned divorce, go to a lawyer that specializes in family law, and discuss the possibility of divorce and what that means financially after that for the four of you minus that deadbeat asshole. Good luck, Shawn.
  • shawn06

    Posts: 337

    Mar 20, 2011 5:00 AM GMT
    Thx you guys for the amazing advice, helps to know when your not the only one who has gone through stuff like this. First, my mom is an incredibly strong Brooklyn Italian women who never put up with bull shit. Growing up I have seen her fight countless men and women for her mischievous 4 boys that followed her around. I mean she even beat up a grocery store owner for yelling at us after we destroyed his store icon_razz.gif, we got it later on.

    So as you can imagine she was like mama bear and no one fucked with her kids, now we end up protecting her. So it just baffles me that a guy who has been with her for 18 years can do this, he has 2 boys with her and the other 3 of us have a different father. Luckily my best friends mom is a paralegal for a divorce lawyer so she has experience here and will be helping to represent my mother through this. Of course every case is different so she can't predict the outcome and that's why I posted here, to get advice from people who have gone through this.

    I know right now it won't be considered abandonment yet, but being that he has left with all his stuff (even his xbox) and left no money at all, nor bought any food for the baby before hand, it should soon be considered abandonment. The signs of him leaving were all the usual talk they both have had in the past couple years, my mother who doesn't work has threatened to take her kids and leave plenty of times; and he has threatened to take his shit and leave plenty of times however neither of them acted on it. So no my mom had no expectation of this. They have been married for about 15 years so I'm sure there is alimony, child support is a sure thing as there is no way this guy can just abandon his kids and pay nothing.

    The only thing preventing me from going to his job and handling things in the usual manner is the fact that she can't have another person close to her have to leave her side and go to jail right now. She has lost 2 of the closest people to her in 9 months. He is gonna pay for this in a different, more effective way anyways. I will keep this posted and will hopefully know more on monday when we can start moving forward.
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    Mar 20, 2011 5:02 AM GMT
    shawn, make sure she knows how your life would be without her, and I feel she'll re-think ending things. Remind her of the baby.

    If one's own life is deemed worthless by its owner, then the owner can devote(give) it to another, seeing as how they don't want it. The only requirement is that they continue to exist. icon_wink.gif

    -Doug
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    Mar 20, 2011 5:28 AM GMT
    I dont really talk to my father myself for similar reasons... the best I can tell you is that it sucks, but you can make it through it
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    Mar 20, 2011 5:31 AM GMT
    Dude, you are a brave and respectful man. My father and mother divorced when I was 12. I had to pick up where my father left off. It wasn't easy at all. Times are going to be tuff and emotional and depressing but you will have a whole different out look on life making you a stronger person. Your stepfather is a major pussy and will never be a real man, sorry but had to say it.

    Be strong for you and your new responsiblitys, take time to breath and have a drink once in a while, and I mean once in a while, not all the time. Find a sport or hobby to keep your mind and spirit healthy. Fitness has always helped me stay sane for most of the hardest times.

    Best to you
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    Mar 28, 2011 10:35 AM GMT
    I was adoptedmy biological mother has 2 kids older then me which she raised and one younger im the only one who was put up for adoption i have recently contacted her she contacted my father who lied tonme and he wanted a realationship with me to get to heri also have another brother by him and again i was the only onenput up for adoption took 23 years im now in contact with my mother but still wonder why me only i know i have abandonment issues my friends and fiance all say im cold kinda a bitch dont let people in and do show emotion what can i say i have experoenced the biggest heart breaks in life growing up and knowing ur mom didnt keep you but kept ur older siblings