Three years ago my husband left home for another woman. We have two school-age children. My husband… doesn’t give me anything for them… even though he told me that he was going to help with the daily expenses…. Now I’m thinking of seeking child support.

I had not wanted to resort to this, but it’s not fair that my children go through hardships. I work, but at times I can’t provide all that they need. I only want to know if… it is right to do what I want to do.

Dear Friend,

We are very sorry to hear that your husband has broken his marriage vows and has deserted you and his own children. We know that the situation has been painful for you, and that seeing your children’s needs not being met can cause you to be reminded of that pain on a daily basis.

Most countries have laws that were created to try to protect innocent children who are the victims of their parents’ bad decisions. The laws are not always fair, and they are certainly not always administered fairly, so we can understand why you are reluctant to seek child support. Possibly you have witnessed a situation in another family where the administration of a child support law seemed to make things worse rather than better.

Obviously it would be preferable for your husband to be honorable enough to do the right thing without the legal system being involved. But he threw his honor away when he left you for another woman. At that point he had to ignore the voice of his conscience telling him that what he was doing was morally and ethically wrong. He ignored that voice for so long that now he barely hears it anymore. So when his conscience reminds him that he is responsible for the welfare of his two children, he ignores the voice and tells himself that it is not really his fault because he can’t afford to support two families. What a shame that he didn’t figure that out before he decided to commit adultery!

The Apostle Paul wrote that everyone should provide for his or her own household.(1) In addition to being a Biblical standard and being part of the laws of any country, caring for your own is an almost universal moral standard. Those who do not care for their own minor children may have many excuses for their refusal to follow this moral, legal, and Biblical standard; but their excuses are more evidence that they are ignoring their consciences and that they are living dishonorable lives.

There is absolutely no reason why you should not seek child support to force your husband to provide financially for his children. We encourage you to take this step as soon as possible. However, we do want to add that for the good of your children, you should allow your husband to see them, spend time with them, and have a positive relationship with them even before he provides for them financially. You should do everything in your power to encourage them to love their father, even though it hurts you. You can do what’s right even while your husband is doing what is wrong, because that will give your children a happier and more stable life.

We wish you well,

Linda and Charles
1 1Ti 5:8