February 10, 2012 - submitted by Paz, Colombia

Q. TEAM ORACLE QUESTION #58
My parents are divorced (one of the ugly ones in which they both hate each other). I always had a very close relationship with my father, despite the fact we don't live together, but lately he has turned into this horrible person I don't even recognize.
He got himself a girlfriend, and regardless it being hard (as I think it is every time your parents date new people) I have absolutely no problem in him dating.
But since he started dating he just stopped talking to me or my siblings, the few (now none) moments we spent together he just talked on the phone with her and since she lives in another city he leaves for months in a row and simply disappears.
To make matters worse, he decided he will no longer pay to my mom the money he gave her to her (after the divorce) to help with my brothers' and my expenses. My mom is a hard worker, but her sole salary is just not enough to pay everything, and currently we are practically living off my mom's family good heart , they are the best and we are absolutely grateful for them, but it's just not fair.
I don't know what to do, I considered taking legal action but not only my parents never officialized the money agreement in the divorce, but since me and my brothers are all over age, I don't think would be useful.
I am deeply hurt and disappointed, my dad has ignored our attempts to talk, he simply ran away. I don't even know if I want to see him again.
Please Oracle, I am so desperate I would appreciate some advice.


The Oracle replies:

Divorce is very hard on families and sadly these days quite a common part of marriage. It's difficult now that your Dad has a girlfriend as it may seem he has chosen her over his children but love makes us do selfish things. I can totally understand why you want to get involved and help your Mum and she needs to seek professional legal advice.
If you and your brothers are over an age to be supported by your father, you all need to contribute financially rather than look to either parent and grandparents to support you financially. Right now, it's finding out what yours and Mum's rights are. I don't know the law in your country well enough to comment on your Dad's obligations. It's going to be hard as it may mean your family have to take extra work to pay the bills or it may also mean a move of home, but the main thing is that you all stick together and help each other through the best you can. I know you're angry with your Dad and maybe you should write to him to explain how you're feeling but he's getting on with his life and unfortunately you need to move forward and do the same. The anger will pass and one day you may understand his reasons but now I would accept it and find ways to live with it. I'm sorry I have no practical help other than to suggest you look into Family Court Law and see if you have a case to bring. Wishing you the very best of luck Paz. Over to you.

Actually I think it's hard to give you some good advise because you faced not only the problem about your family, but also the money. You don't need people shows pity for you, you must be strong to face the reality.
First, you need to talk with your father. Don't beg him, please. Just like adult talks, get the answer from him, even though the bad news. Second, find the way to help your mom and yourself. Make money by yourself is a good way, leave your dad if he want. Don't be afraid anything dear Paz, Coldplay family here, we will support you! Sunny.


Well I am so sorry for your troubles, that's a tough situation to be in. It is familiar to me because just like your mom I was in that boat with paddles way too small to row with. I was struggling to raise my daughter who was dealing with the same sense of abandonment that you are, and for several years of her life had no financial support from my ex so I did what your mom is likely having to do I worked three (yes three) jobs and paid bills as I could. My daughter was always willing to help in whatever way she could and yes it hurt her not having him in her life but maybe one day he will resurface. So yes your dad did a bad thing but what you have now is a mom who very much needs your love and support. You mention you are of age, so maybe this would be a good time to help her with her financial obligations by getting a part-time job (if you are still in school) or a full-time one if you are not, help her with her daily tasks and make her laugh. You need to understand that just because your dad left does not mean you did something wrong or are not worthy of his love. He is distracted right now by his new life and love. You also mentioned that the breakup was far from amicable so maybe its more peaceful with him not being around. You will survive this as did my own daughter who is now a lovely young lady, she remembers her childhood fondly and she is always so kind about telling me what a good job I did in raising her. I am sure your mom is doing her best too. As far as taking him to court that is up to your mom (I would think) and the laws of your land will determine what compensation she may be entitled to. Be happy be strong and listen to Coldplay! Take good care , Laurie.

I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. If you would still like to have a connection/relationship with your dad, my advice is to go to him. And talk. Tell him everything, even if it's not related with your situation. If he tries to intervene with your talking tell him to wait, that its your turn to talk. Once your done, let him do whatever he wants. If he walks out the room then that's his problem, his loss. If he doesn't want to talk then he should feel the pain. But if he starts to talk, let him talk, just like he did with you (hopefully). Once he is done decide. It's always better to know the reason behind things than to never know anything. He would just feel like an outsider.
If you feel like this just won't work, do something to take your mind off of things. I know this may sound either impossible or stupid, but it helps. I frequently get bullied at school, kids yell at me and call me names. Teachers ignore my questions and insights. I go home and bake. I forget about all of my troubles for 2-3 hours and feel relieved and calm after that, all of my thoughts and ideas are organized. Whatever you do just make sure you love what you're doing. Even if you're not good at it. I was a pathetic baker at first, I forgot many ingredients and burnt the cakes. But as my dad always says "practice makes perfect". Silke, Barcelona. P.S. I love you're name, Paz. Peace.


Paz, I am so sorry you are going through this. I sort of went through the same situation as you, my parents were divorced and my Dad married his secretary, We really did not see much of him as he got caught up with his new family's life. I want you to know that none of your Dad's behavior is caused because of you. Your Dad is going through something and you should not feel like "Oh I could have been better" or "did we make him go away?". This is something out of your control and you probably won't be able to change him. It is devastating to feel like one of your parents are not there to take care of you physically or monetarily. That is what they are there for. But you have to keep moving forward. You have to take care of yourself and keep going to school and or work and be there for your siblings and Mother. I don't know how old you are but I think you said you are over age and you need to find out how old you have to be to keep getting child support from your Dad. If you are still entitled to it, you should contact a lawyer. I do not know the laws in Columbia regarding child support but it is worth a try. It's hard to imagine but some day you will look back and realize how this situation made you a stronger person. I know this is difficult because you stated he will not speak to you. What about writing a letter? I does wonders for you to get it all of your chest even if he does not respond. No one has a perfect life and I know you are angry and feel betrayed. What your Father did was crap. It's how we handle the difficulties in life and if we can do it gracefully and keep being the best person you can be, you will get though this wiser than ever. I hope someday your Dad realizes what he has done but you cannot wait for that to happen. You have to take your life in your hands. I wish you all the best. Take care, Christa.

Since you and your siblings are all over aged, I don't think there's anything your mum can legally do. Just in case, she could consult a lawyer; but the money theme is between your father and her. You're not the one who must take legal action if it was possible. That would only be worse for your relationship with your father. This is between them.
What you could do is try to reach your dad, like you've been doing. Set a meeting with him if he answers the phone or go where you know he's gonna be at and try to make him listen to you. Remind him of the relationship you two used to have and tell him that you miss him and you and your siblings hardly spent time with him now. Talk just about your relationship. Try not to involve his grilfriend in the conversation, because he might feel that you are attacking her, and DO NOT talk about the money, 'cause right now (that he's not the father he used to be) he might say that your mum is sending you and that it's all about the money. Try also to control yourself and to not pay too much attention to any provocation, so the things don't end up in a fight. Think very well about what you're going to say. After that, your dad may re-think about the way he's acting with you and your siblings (it might take time). But if he doesn't, focus on the positive things in your life and move on. Maybe in the future he reconsiders what he's doing.
What you can also do is to get a job (as far as it doesn't interfere with your education), so you can help your mum by paying your own things like clothes, books, etc. Best of luck for you. Love from Argentina. Noelia.


As I have told myself and others many times before, family is very important - and I wish to say the same thing to you. However, in this case, maybe your father isn't the right kind of person to have in your life. At least not right now. I don't mean that you should cut him out of your life entirely. But perhaps being away from him for a little while will help the healing process. Give him time to grow and realise his mistakes, while you give yourself time to really think about if the relationship between you two is worth struggling for. I don't think you should take legal action, simply because it will probably do more harm than good. And if he truly doesn't want to be a part of your life anymore, then let him walk away.
But I hope he sees that his behaviour is wrong. Also, you never know what's going on behind closed doors - maybe he's dealing with something difficult and this "acting out" of his is the aftermath. So, by making him see that he needs to change his ways in order to keep from losing you, you might find out once and for all where you stand. I believe in starting over and I also believe that a little time apart might help you see if your father is worthy of a second chance. Stay strong! Love, Medina.

Paz, your father has someone new in his life that obviously makes him feel good and keeps him wanting more. We all do this when we have something new; most of our attention goes to it, until the novelty wears off. Your father may be available once the relational excitement wears off. Sometimes though children are a reminder of the past and that might be something he wants to let go of, his loss. As for you, just love him, love is something that should be unconditional, but respect, trust and friendship are earned. The relationship will never be the same, but that's okay, you'll rebuild new one. Keep the door open with occasional texts, breaking all ties makes it harder to come back into another's life later.
As of support, you can't make people be responsible. Challenges in life, make us grow, so use this challenge to help out your family. You mentioned that you and your siblings are all over age and probably old enough to contribute to the family, at least part-time, if you have school too. Families all over the world have to pool together to make ends meet, it brings out strength of determination and confidence we might otherwise not know we have. Every negative has a positive if we just look, like the verse in Coldplay's UFO Bullets fly, split the sky, but that's alright sometimes sunlight comes streaming though the holes. Sunlight will come if you look for it. Dawn.


Paz, I want to say that I agree, your poor mother working so much is not very fair. However, as you and your siblings are over age, I don't find her or your dad responsible for your expenses. I don't think that's fair to her. Your mom needs support (both emotionally and financially) from you more than ever as she doesn't have your dad's. I think you should look into finding a job for you or your siblings that would help take care of some bills. You said your parents don't get along and that might be why your dad isn't bothered by the idea of your mom working and carrying everything on her shoulders, but you need to be there for her. As for your relationship with your dad, I'd say give him space for now. You've tried to communicate with him and he hasn't shown any interest in doing the same, but you know you've tried. You have been very close with him in the past and so i think maybe he's just gotten carried away with his new relationship at the moment. I'm sure he still loves you very much he might just be having trouble with how to balance his relationship with his kids. I hope this has helped at least a bit. Love, Darem.

Paz, divorce is never an easy thing to live with, especially when you love your parents as much as you do, but what your father did was wrong. If he found happiness with this other women, then that's good for him, but he owes money to his family, and you and your brothers are still his children. However, it seems he has moved on, and you know what they say: "No use crying over spilled milk."
Now your mother should be reimbursed for her hard work, but one thing my mother always tells me is that "The best reward for a mother is to see her children rise up to greatness." You need to move on from the episode that was your father, but harbor no grudges, give him your best wishes, and begin paying your mother back, the way I mentioned earlier. It's not the easiest path to traverse, but it is definitely your best option. Best wishes, Bradley H.


My parents divorced when I was really young. A legal agreement was made so I would get child's support until I was 18. He would never contact me. Time went by and my dad got into a relationship with a girl 20 years younger than him. I have always dreamed of going to college abroad and my father had always promised he would help, but all the promises went down the drain when he met this girl: the money to help me with basic stuff like health care was never available. My mom never had a lot of money. When my roommate had an accident we failed to pay a couple of months of rent. I was going to be evicted so I asked my dad for help he said he couldn't. Thanks to my friend's parents I've been living with them for two years. My dad went through another nasty divorce and I was there for him. I wanted to tell him to find another person because he was never there for me, but that was the person I wanted to be. I got a job to pay for my things and help at home; I would call him from time to time (rarely got an answer). I never gave up. When he realized all the love and dedication, he started doing it back and apologizing for before. Now he is dating, but we talk every week, he helps me with money when I need, I see him more often and he always answers my phone calls. Always tell your dad how much you love him, and wish you could have more time with him. It may not work now but be sure the seed will grow at some point. Lots of love, Lu.


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