Explain to me what "deadbeat dad" means?

Lana - posted on 05/06/2013 ( 28 moms have responded )

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I am seeing this term thrown around so loosely. Too often I see and hear a woman spewing this hateful remark towards the father of her child. Keep in mind the parents are broken up.

Explain to me what exactly is a "deadbeat dad" by your definition?
Extreme detail and reasons are required.
What exactly is he expected to do, and how often?
Do you ever sympathize with a man for not wanting to see the child because the mother is difficult? why, or why not?

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Dove - posted on 05/21/2013

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So if a parent bails on his/her kids and barely ever sees them... that parent shouldn't be at least partially financially responsible for his/her kids? It takes two to make a baby... and it takes two to raise a baby. IF the child is spending close to equal amounts of time with each parent... I would tend to agree with you on the child support issue, but you can't tell me that a parent that is mostly absent by choice should not still be partially responsible for paying for his/her child's needs. That's ludicrous.

Dove - posted on 05/06/2013

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A man who walks away from his kids because the relationship with the mother is over... is a deadbeat. A man who makes no effort to pay child support.... is a deadbeat. A man who barely ever contacts or visits his kids and doesn't send birthday or Christmas presents (not even a card or a few bucks).... is a deadbeat.

What is he expected to do? Whatever it takes to remain a significant part of his children's lives.

Do I ever sympathize? Nope. Because they are still his kids and that is their mother and not wanting to see your own children is NEVER acceptable.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/06/2013

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A dead beat dad is a father that will not help support his children. This can be in cases where they are living with the family or separate. IMO it also involves how much time he spends with them, or more to the point not seeing them at all.

"Do you ever sympathize with a man for not wanting to see the child because the mother is difficult? why, or why not?"

Nope. They are his kids. Get over it. You don't need to be with the mother....but if she is the excuse for not seeing the kids at all, then that is exactly what it is.....an excuse.

Jodi - posted on 05/31/2013

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I think you are taking it way to personally. You're not crumpling anyone's feathers. Just asking some questions........

To be honest, I ALWAYS sympathise when a woman refuses to allow the father to see a child. But it also shouldn't be linked to child support. Just because a mother won't allow a child to see the father doesn't mean child support shouldn't be paid. What that means is that it is time for a lawyer.

You asked the question what a man is expected to do and how often. In my view, he is expected to provide regular financial support for the child (whether he sees that child or not) AND also make every attempt to maintain regular contact and/or visitation. I use the term attempt because I recognise that sometime is can be difficult for a variety of reasons.

Jodi - posted on 05/31/2013

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Let her file for it then. I fail to see how that should be a threat. It's his job to supply things when she is with him anyway, whether he pays child support or not. The trouble with your arrangement is that you just said he hadn't seen her for 3 months, so for 3 months he hasn't contributed financially for his child. He really should be making more regular financial contributions than just clothes and diapers when she is at your house. But its not fair for her to call him a deadbeat either if she hasn't even filed for it.

I'm assuming if she hasn't filed for child support, there is also no court order for visitation? Maybe it's time to talk to a lawyer to tidy that one up. At least if there are orders for both of these things, there are no misunderstandings about what is fair and what isn't.

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Sharica - posted on 06/22/2014

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I can speak from experience. My child's father CHOOSES not to see him, get him or provide for him financially. I have never once told him that he had to stay away or anything like that. What I did tell him is that I will not tolerate him coming in and out of my child's life. Such as him coming to see him when he's two years old and then us not hearing from him again until my baby is ten years old. That is crazy. When a man does absolutely nothing for a child and acts as if a child doesn't exist, that is what I call a deadbeat!

Lana - posted on 06/01/2013

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Hm okay thanks. I misunderstood some things that were said. Thanks for clarifying

Dove - posted on 05/31/2013

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No crumpled feathers here. Just wondering if he's gone to court to pursue his legal rights. Her keeping the kid away from him isn't right, of course, but if there is no legal custody, visitation, and child support set up and he's not pursuing it.... There isn't much to say about it.

Lana - posted on 05/31/2013

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Hm. I dont feel like what I am writing is veing read understood and absorbed. I appreciate the input and advice though. I think i'm done here before i crumple people feathers.

Lana - posted on 05/31/2013

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She hasnt filed for it. We get her clothes, diapers and things as we see she needs them when she comes over. The mother rarely answers his texts.

Jodi - posted on 05/30/2013

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"Then she threatens with child support at any opportunity when she calls him a "deadbeat" and he corrects her."

Lana, can I ask why she threatens him with child support? Is there no child support order? Does he not pay any child support?

Lana - posted on 05/30/2013

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To add men are RARELY if EVER given sole custody of a child. The courts fully support the women even if she is an unfit mother and keep giving her chances. Proving she is unfit would be hell unless we videoed in her house.

Lana - posted on 05/30/2013

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Um okay... My husband has a daughter who decided that for 3 months she wasn't going to allow him to see his daughter. After multiple attempts at putting his name on her birth certificate she still comes up with excuses. She rarely if ever answers his questions about what his daughter needs. Then she threatens with child support at any opportunity when she calls him a "deadbeat" and he corrects her. If you do not know anything please don't try and call me out for my "odd" opinion. I seek understanding in any situation where I am ignorant or misinformed. It is called being a well rounded grounded individual. If I somehow hit a soft spot in your life I am sorry.

Shawnn - posted on 05/29/2013

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@ Christian, I present to you my husband's psychotic ex.

She "allowed" him to sleep with her, knowing that she was already pregnant with another man's child.

She then provided falsified documents stating that paternity was his.

Her mother forced them to marry.

After a year of a horrible marriage (admitted to by the both of them) she cheated on him multiple times, once with his best friend, and then abused him. (many witnesses to abuse) When he sought to leave the abusive situation, she served him with papers for divorce, restraining order, and support with no visitation, and when he asked for visitation he was told "her family has more money and they don't want a bum loser around the child"...

And yet, by your definition HE IS THE DEADBEAT????? The door swings both ways, honey, and it's NOT ALWAYS THE MAN who's in the wrong. But, since sympathy rests (still, in this day and age of enlightenment) with the female, generally they'll get what they want out of the court process.

Deadbeat: A person who, without having mitigating circumstances, refuses to acknowledge or support a child that they have helped in creating. Gender? Male or female.

Tena - posted on 05/25/2013

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And in my case the sad part is that was/is how he is with almost all of his kids. I was talking to a girl one day years ago and she was talking about her daughters deadbeat and I jokingly was like his name must be Don and she said yes. Came to find out that She delivered her daughter - my son's half sister 6 months before he was born. She broke up with him because she found out that there was a daughter born 3 months after hers so my son has 2 half sisters born within 6 months of him.

When the courts finally caught up to him they told me that I most likely will never see all of the back support because for just one case his was in arrears +16k so that probably was his oldest daughter that lived with us until I moved out. Makes me wish I would have listened to my family back then because no one liked him but me. Lesson learned the hard way.

Christian - posted on 05/24/2013

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@Lana: Really? If a woman is psychotic, she should not have custody of a the child. So, these women who wage war are perfectly fine to get into a relationship and become "psychotic" during the break up? I doubt it. I think that people paint others as extremes to make themselves look better. It is very very rare for ONE PARTY to ruin a relationship (unless it's the party who cheats). I'm assuming your a mother since you are on a "motherhood" site and that's a very odd opinion to hear coming from another woman. Hmmmm...

Christian - posted on 05/24/2013

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I think that a deadbeat dad is someone who meets the legal definition of deadbeat, meaning he doesn't pay child support or does not make REGULAR monthly (or more) payment toward his child. So, in my opinion, a man who buys Christmas presents or clothes or diapers once in a while, but does not regularly contribute to his child financially is a deadbeat dad. So, for me, while my child's father barely sees him, I would not call him a deadbeat anymore because once the court forced him to pay each month, he started doing it.

I don't sympathize with men for not wanting to see the child because the mother is difficult - I didn't even before I had a child. Now that I am a parent and I know good fathers who would NEVER let a difficult woman keep them from their child, it seems like a ridiculous statement. To me, it really depends on the kind of man you are and those kind of men, in my opinion, are spineless and lack character.

Also, I know first-hand that men "say" that in order to get out their responsibility. None of you know me, but I really do have a pleasant personality. :) My child's father said I was difficult and honestly I was (but not to the extent that I could have been) because he was being difficult and making unreasonable demands - like really being stubborn in my opinion). He was always so rude and condescending and I consistently felt the need to defend myself because I didn't feel that I deserved that kind of treatment.

Then, suddenly (all I can say is that it was God), I decided not to engage with him at all. NONE. When he would tell one of his lies about me, I fought the need to defend myself and/or tell him that he was a liar. Boy, was it hard! I told him that he could see his son whenever he wanted and then when I would take my kid for visits, I would literally hand my son over and walk away. When he would say things to try to bait me in an argument, I would LITERALLY not respond, but not in a condescending way. Now that he has realized that I will not react to anything he does - he barely tries to see his son. It's laughable. Before, he would try to argue when it was time to leave after they had been together for hours, now I've very politely told him to let me know the hours that he would like and he's never requested more than a two-hour time frame.

Before, he would tell people that he couldn't see his son because I was "keeping him away" (lol!) and that I was difficult to deal with. Now, he doesn't have that excuse, but he still doesn't see his son. It makes my life peaceful, but it's ironic and I think that if you are going to be an absentee dad, you will be one no matter what your situation is with the mother.

I write all that to say that I don't think my situation is unique. I think that the only thing unique about it is that I have through the grace of God found a way to not react, BUT I don't fault women who just can't hold it in when their child's father is rude or snide or even wants to act "pleasant" when he just called her a horrible name a month or a week ago and/or doesn't help her at all financially.

I have sympathy for men in the situation only because they are CHOOSING to miss out on their children. I think that blaming a mother for being difficult, 99.5% of the time is an excuse used by a man who wants to think of himself as a good person, but can't really reconcile that with the knowledge that he is failing a child he created, therefore he has to blame someone. It can't be him. A single mom is an easy target. I think that .05% leftover that actually do have to deal with crazy woman and they don't see their child because of it are cowards because they need to help their kids. If someone is truly that difficult, then they are probably not a fit mother. I just saw an article last week where a single mom murdered her son and the dad said he didn't come around because she was difficult. He's part of the .05% and in my opinion a selfish coward.

Great question. My two cents. :)

Kelly - posted on 05/22/2013

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No, Dove, I agree with you. A parent who is mostly absent by choice should be required to take financial responsibility. I, however, still consider that parent to be a "deadbeat" for CHOOSING not to meet ALL (or as many as possible) of his or her child's needs.

Kelly - posted on 05/21/2013

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A deadbeat is a parent who does not take an active interest in the life of his or her child. I have known both mothers and fathers who fit this description. To me, an active interest means being available to support all the needs of the child: physical, emotional, etc. For those parents whose visitation is limited by court orders, being physically present may be more difficult, but every effort should be made to ensure that the child knows that the parent is always available to them, even if it's "just" a phone call.

As for child support, I disagree with the concept in general simply because I have known so many recipients of support to use that money to meet their own financial goals. I am of the opinion that unless there is neglect or abuse on the part of one parent, every effort should be made to ensure that the child spends equal time with each parent. If one parent then wants more time and "doesn't want to share" or some such, that parent has made a choice to make a go of it with less help and is not entitled to take financial resources from the other parent to support their own decision. If the child spends equal time with each parent, the issue of support is largely avoided. Then again, I expect people to be adults and realize that custody is not about the parents, but the children. So often, people seem to get confused.

No, I am never sympathetic with ANYONE who chooses not to see his or her child because the other parent is "difficult". Again, this is not about the parents, it's about the child. If you were enough of an adult to create a child, you are enough of an adult to take responsibility for the child. If the other parent is completely unreasonable or does inappropriate things (harassment, etc.), the only acceptable avenue is to document the offenses and take it up with the court. It is never acceptable to punish the child (by withholding visitation, contact, etc) for the offenses of the parent.

Tena - posted on 05/14/2013

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My oldest son's father is a perfect example. We broke up when I was around 6 months into the pregnancy. He has only seen my son 3 times his entire life. When he was a week old, 3 months and 18 months. He refused to come to court to establish paternity or child support. The courts finally issued a default order. He would not keep a regular job to avoid paying child support until my son was about 13. By that time there were 6 child support orders so I got little to nothing from him (he has about 10 kids now from what I heard on the street). His family was just as bad. I actually lived on the same street at one point and being the bigger person took my son to meet his extended family, gave them my address and phone number and have never heard from them. My son is now 20 and would not know his father if he was standing next to him on the street.

Sandra - posted on 05/11/2013

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My EX-Brother-in-law is the epitome of a deadbeat dad. My sister was married to this guy for 14 years had 2 children with him and although he did not work & she had a full time job ...she had to take the kids to daycare!

My family helped financially support their household for years and purchased a small house for them. (Which they lost in less than a year after they mortgaged it)....

My sister finally filed for divorce after losing the house. She had him put in jail for non-support.

Yes, he was (still is) ... A true deadbeat and NOW preys & cons the 2 adult children for money and help. A consummate professional at conning others.

Evelyn - posted on 05/09/2013

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Actually, deadbeat goes both ways. I am in agreement with the others definitions and reasons but it can go both ways. There are women out there that are just as deadbeat as men are. I know one woman who was all about her kids but when she tossed away her schooling to become a nurse and her job after that for a man whom she knew did drugs and drank a lot; she became that deadbeat person. She left her kids alone and they ended up with their dad because she chose a man over them.

Lana - posted on 05/08/2013

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Okay thanks ladies. I first hand have witnessed psychotic women who wage child warfare because the two split up. I just had to know what on earth "deadbeat" really meant. I have grown to understand that deadbeat commonly mean "scorned woman ruining relationship with childs father."

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To me, a father is required to support his children physically, financially, and emotionally. This means that he should see them just as often as the mother does when possible (in many cases court rulings or living situations prevent that, but he should at least call every night). He should support them financially when they are with him, and should pay half for ongoing or seasonal expenses, such as sports fees, tuition, etc. He should be available daily for the child to call or talk to about emotional issues, he should call the child at LEAST once a day on days the child is not with him.
If he doesn't do those things, he's a deadbeat. That said, I know in some cases fathers' time is reduced to weekends or summers, and he is forced to pay child support to the mother. I'm not a fan of those arrangements. I do NOT sympathize with any many for not wanting to see his child because the mother is difficult. HE chose to make a child with her, so he chose to have her in his life forever and if she is difficult, that is his problem to deal with, he shouldn't deprive his children of a relationship with their father just because he doesn't like their mom anymore.

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