Ask Alma: Should I give my ex a break on support payment?


— Dear Alma,

I think I know what I’m going to do but I’m curious as to what you think about my situation. My husband and I were married for eight years. We have three boys. We are now divorced. He gets them almost every weekend and is very active in their lives. He has however been behind over the years with his child support payments but last year he paid on time every month. When he filed for his income tax return this year, he was told the money would go towards his back child support payments. He called, explained his situation and asked me if I would give him part of the money. The back child support check will come to me. I have not remarried, so no, I’m not working with a double income. Again, I know what I’m thinking but I’d like to know what do you think I should do?

Name withheld

‪If you’re a super fan of Ask Alma, and I think that you are, you know I’ve got a soft spot when it comes to our fathers. I don’t know if it’s because of the amazing relationship I had with my Dad, my incredible male friends who are fathers, or the fact that I have a remarkable son, who’s a father – there’s no two ways about it, fathers hold a special place in my heart.

‪Specifically, when it comes to your ex, the boys Dad, his actions speak loud and hearty, he’s handling his business. He has buckled his boots and put his best foot forward. Pops has met every payment, on time and that Sweetheart is a blessing. I’m sure at some point, something came up – maybe a flat tire, the need for a new suit or the electric bill was extra high one month ~ and he still came through for his boys. You and I both know as mothers, there’s always a bump in the road, without a doubt Here’s a shout out to the mamas who navigate them every day. Speaking of every day, your quandary reminds me of a quote I recently read from DMX. He said, “Every day, I get closer to God. Every day, my will to do the right thing gets stronger”. In that quote, I see a man who’s trying, just like your ex-husband, to be a better father.

‪I’m not sure of your answer, but my answer is yes, I think you should extend to him a few dollars. The amount ought to be of your choosing, since you do have a firsthand knowledge of what’s needed by the boys. Your ex is finally willing and able, offering to you and his sons, his best. Take the time to appreciate it and him, and return to him a portion of your best. Because of your boys, the end of your marriage doesn’t have to be the end of a respectful relationship. Offer up a cup of compassion and a fist full of forgiveness. Tenderheartedly handle your business mama, and while you’re extending that hand to be a blessing, hold it open just a minute, to receive one as well.


Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.