Father of Children Left & Not Supporting Them

by Rhonda from Boca Raton, Florida, Palm Beach County

I filed a Petition for Paternity and Other Related Relief in 2007. The father of the children (2 boys) never filed anything but did show for mediation. At mediation it was determined that we would work it out and the case was voluntarily closed.

We did work things out and he moved into our home in Broward County, Florida. After about 1 year we moved together with our children to another home in Palm Beach County in which we rent and have been there for 2 1/2 years. On 12/14/10 he went to work and never returned back home.

The next day he phoned me and told me that he would not be returning and wanted his belongings which only included clothes and some stuff in the garage. It has been a few weeks and he promises to pay $150.00 a week which he has not done and I feel is not enough money for child support.

I also can not afford the rent payment by myself which he is fully aware of and me and my two children will be getting evicted. He tells me that the rent payment is up to me and he will not help. I also do not have the money to move. What can be done. Please help!

Answer to Florida Child Support Question

Dear Rhonda,

From your question it sounds like his paternity has been established. Your first step is to contact the Department of Revenue and tell them you need their help in establishing child support.

If he cannot be located, you might qualify for cash assistance or food stamps. Don't feel bad about applying for any and all help that might be available. You need it for your boys.

Then go to your landlord and tell them what has happened. Landlords prefer not to evict tenants; and might work with you for a short time or come up with a plan for you to stay.

If he is on the lease, then he is legally responsible for rent payments just like you. It doesn't matter whether he lives there or not, unless somehow he convinced the landlord to release him from the lease.

That is doubtful, because the landlord wants their rent money, it wouldn't make sense to release someone from an obligation to pay rent, until and unless, the other tenant (you) had the ability to pay without him. If you do get served with a 3 day notice to pay or quit, which is the first step in an eviction, don't panic.

You have about 30 days before you actually have to move, if there is no way in the world you can come up with the rent, and there is no way to work things out with your landlord. As a long shot, if you can qualify for section 8 housing, and your landlords agree to accept you as a section 8 tenant, things could work out and you can stay put.

There is a huge long waiting list for section 8 housing, but any suitable dwelling can be turned into section 8. So if you income qualify, and your landlord agrees, and the dwelling passes inspection, you might be able to stay right there.

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