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Ask Dave

Holding Him Accountable

Michelle is in the middle of a heartbreaking situation and needs Dave's help.

QUESTION: Michelle in California says her husband left before Christmas and she's pregnant. They also lost a 7-month-old child last year and have a 9-year-old daughter at home. Now she's scared, and she doesn't know what to do.

Dave's ANSWER: Going through the loss of a child is unbelievably difficult. Sadly, there are a whole lot of marriages that struggle after that. That's not an unusual thing. I’m sorry that's the way this is headed.

You say he's chipping in here and there with household expenses, but that's not good enough. The thing I'm most concerned about with you contacting an attorney is that it's a lot easier for you to deal with your high-risk pregnancy if your stress level is down. Your stress level is down if you've got some money coming in for you and for this baby. I think an attorney will tell you that California law provides for that. Your husband needs to start writing some checks.

If he doesn't do that, you'll have to have your attorney instruct his attorney that you're going to have the court force him to do that. That's the only thing I'm concerned about–getting you guys some money. Once the baby comes and everything is all right, if the marriage dissolves then, you've got a single mom with two kids making $70,000 a year after you go back to work.

That's not your preference, but it's doable. You can run your household on that income, I think, and he'll also be paying child support. Go ahead and select your attorney, then have your attorney push for you and be an advocate for you to make him start sending you formal payments. He needs to get used to that idea.

Sometimes in these situations, the other person doesn't realize they have these financial obligations that the law requires. He may think he's doing all right, but I don't think he is. I think there is a lot more than he could or should or is supposed to be doing under the law. Check on that, and I think you'll be fine.

Make sure you're in a good church where there are lots of people around you giving you hugs and praying for you and loving on you. They can make you some meals and babysit the 9-year-old for you.

Don't be afraid to ask for help from your friends and from this group. It is their opportunity to minister, so don't rob them of that. You need some help, so put some things like that around you. But I think when the smoke clears and we revisit a year from today, you've got child support and $70,000 in income with two kids to take care of. That's doable. You'll be able to pull that off.

I think more than anything right now, you're just scared. Keep yourself surrounded with support and prayer, and get in touch with an attorney to get that child support coming in.