My ex-husband has abandoned our children

What you need to know:

The problem is, he does not support the children, especially now that they are in school

I was in a relationship with the father of my four children for seven years. However, due to irreconcilable differences, we have since separated. The problem is, he does not support the children, especially now that they are in school. Kindly give me advice because it has become so hard to satisfy their needs alone.


Dear Pat,

I am sorry to hear that you are going through such a difficult situation. Sometimes, it can be expensive for two parents to provide 100 percent of their children’s needs. It is even more stressful to be the sole provider for your children, especially during their school years.

Here are a few suggestions that might be of help.

 Taking legal action might be one of the options in this case. Find a good lawyer who deals with family matters to guide you through the process. They can also show you organisations that support such children. This can help to ensure that your husband contributes financially through a legal obligation.

 Just in case you are on talking terms, you could try reaching out to your ex-husband directly and discuss his responsibilities towards the children. However, if you sense that there will be no civility and this can create further tension, take legal action as a priority and take care of your mental health.

 Find an emotional support group. This can be your friends, family, or even support groups for single parents. Talking with people who understand your situation can be a huge strength and one way of lessening the burden. Take good care of your mental health, especially about anger outbursts.

Yes, it is very normal and human to feel angry and bitter towards an ex-partner. If you are committed to your children, then you will nearly always have to deal, to a greater or lesser extent, with your ex. In my experience, sometimes it goes smoothly, and sometimes it does not. Sometimes the two people cooperate well, and other times you do not.

It is always best to co-operate as best you can. By all means, stand up for what you think is fair and right for you and, most importantly, the children, but do not fight for the sake of fighting. Children much prefer their parents, even if separated, to be friends.

It upsets them and is damaging to them if you fight. It is also damaging to you. And, the more you fight, the more work your lawyer will have to do for you, the longer it will be before you achieve an outcome, the less satisfactory to you the outcome is likely to be, and the more it will cost you.

You can stand up for yourself, but you cannot have everything your way. Do what is best for the children and in this case, it is compromise.


Sue him or go to FIDA

Penninah Kyasiimire. Fellow Africans, please give birth to children you are sure you can take care of no matter what happens to your partner. But in this particular case, if you know your children’s father can actually afford to take care of them but is being stubborn, sue him or go to FIDA, you will be helped.

Get a job

Denise Woods. Some Ugandan men behave that way. Only a few handle their manly responsibilities. But do not worry, get a job so that you can support your children. Keep going; those children are your everything. Just know that.

Plan to meet him

Davis Samuel Wante. The father in question might be doubting the paternity of the children or your ill conduct might be contributing to his refusal to support them. Some important reasons as to why a man may refuse to support his children include your failure to let him see them, involving yourself in extramarital relationships in case you are still together, being disrespectful to him plus his relatives, being egocentric, overstepping his rights/freedom if he is married to another woman and being so demanding. Schedule an appointment with him in the presence of someone you all respect to find a lasting solution on how your children will be effectively supported.

Its his responsibility

Kimi Apple Tart. When parents separate, they still have the children’s interests at heart so they have to learn to cooperate . If he doubts the paternity of the children, let him go for a paternity test. Not taking care of his children for any reason is no excuse. Take him to court already.

Sue him or go to FIDA

Rashida Walusimbi. Take the children to his parent’s house and leave them there. Accept that you are now a single mother who must look for ways to take care of her children. Get a job and when you settle down and can support them, go get your children. You will make it, just be strong.

Pray to God

Lydia Nakabba. Avoid being alone in the struggle, and involve God in your children’s needs. Never underestimate the power of prayer. God will help you in ways you cannot even imagine and with time, taking care of your children will cease to be a burden.

Practice birth control

Generous Nakie. Let him have custody of the children if you are financially drained. But how is he financially and mentally? Women should normalise having children they can support by themselves in case things go wrong. Four children in seven years with the economy and marriages of nowadays?

Why did you separate?

Jacob Kwesiga Gatasha. Before we can advise, we need to find out the cause of the separation. Sometimes it is wrong to blame one partner without listening to their side of the story.

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation